The English Premier League is back! For some of you looking for a club to support look no further than Arsenal Football Club (the Gunners). Arsenal are a massive club, rich with tradition and a great history of success. However, they have come on hard times as of late coming in 5th last season and were 9th when the season was suspended. So you may ask why should I support Arsenal?
Blacksmiths who built cannons formed Dial Square in 1886 in southeast London. This team changed their named to Woolwich Arsenal and then eventually to just Arsenal. They became the first southern English team to become part of the Football League in 1893. The Gunners reached the First Division in 1904 and since then have only been relegated to a lower division ONCE in 1913. This is the longest active stretch (106 years) of ALL English Football clubs. Henry Norris bought the team in 1910 and brought the team to northeast London where they would begin to play at Highbury.
In more recent history, Arsene Wenger or “Le Professeur” brought Arsenal to another level. Wenger took over in 1996 and ushered in a new Era for Arsenal Football Club. Wenger brought in and developed talent such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, and Robert Pires just to name a few. He lead the Gunners to 3 English Championships (97/98, 01/02 and 03/04) and 7 FA Cups victories (Arsenal have won the most FA Cups in the Cup’s 149 year history).
The hallmark of his time with Arsenal was the 03/04 “Invincibles” run which is the only time an English team has ever gone unbeaten for 38 matches (Preston North End went unbeaten for 22 matches in 1888/1889). In total Invincibles went 49 matches undefeated from May 2003 to October 2004 breaking the record for top flight league games unbeaten. Wenger also ushered in the Emirates Era as Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium in Holloway.
Today, Arsenal find themselves in a tough position coming into the return of football. They are 9th and face of against Manchester City on Wednesday. However, there is hope on the horizon. While this season might be a bust, Arsenal have recently brought in 38-year-old Mikel Arteta as the new boss. The Spaniard was a former midfielder under Wenger and an assistant coach under current Man City manager, Pep Guardiola. Wenger and Guardiola are 2 of the best coaches in football history and they both backed Arteta to have great success. Guardiola even thought Arteta would eventually take over for him at Man City before Arteta took the Arsenal position. The Gunners have shown a measured improvement under Arteta, but still need to give him more transfer windows.
Arsenal are full of young talented players at almost every position. The Gunners have so much young talent I wrote another article just on them which you can check out below.
Willingness to Spend Money
Arsenal in the past has been criticized for being cheap and not investing enough money into the transfer market. In 2010/2011 for example they only spent $13 million on players which compared to teams like Manchester City and Manchester United is peanuts. However, things changed last summer. Arsenal broke their club-record by bringing in 25-year-old winger Nicolas Pepe for $72 million pounds from Lille OSC. In total Arsenal spent 138 million pounds on transfers and gained 54.5 million pounds. Their net spend was 118.5 million pounds. I am not saying they will spend like this again this summer but this was a huge step forward for a notoriously miserly owner, Stan Kroenke.
There are many rumors that the Gunners are currently trying to sign Athletico Madrid defensive midfielder Thomas Partey and RB Leipzig center -back Dayot Upamecano. With all Arsenal’s young talent they do not need to spend much this summer, just bringing in Partey, Upamecano, and another right-back would enough for me.
Don’t be a Glory Hunter
When looking to support a team that is not local to you there will always be the people who claim that you are a “glory hunter” or a “bandwagoner.” And you know what? They can definitely be correct if for instance you decided to root for Liverpool right now. You will absolutely not be a glory hunter if you become a Gunner now and stick with us through the tough times. In order to be a respected supporter of an English club from overseas you cannot be perceived as a glory hunter. Although you will definitely have to pay your dues if you start supporting Arsenal now, it is definitely worth it to be a respected supporter.
Massive Fan Base
Anywhere you go around the world you will find Gunners. Since I have started my Arsenal Twitter, I talked to people from all over the world. There are an estimated 125 million Gunners worldwide and growing everyday. Africa is one continent where the Gunners a growing rapidly. You can not watch a film or documentary based in Nigeria without seeing at least 10 Arsenal kits. Arsenal currently recognize 24 supporter clubs in 24 different African nations.
Asia and North America are also huge hot beds for Arsenal supporters. The Gunners have made many preseason tours to places like Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and China. One Vietnamese supporter even chased the Arsenal bus for several miles. There are currently 35 Arsenal supporter clubs throughout Asia from Japan to Lebanon.
Arsenal toured last summer in the U.S. going to cities like L.A., Charlotte and Washington D.C.. I am from New York myself and can tell you New York has some of the most avid supporters you will ever meet. I spoke with a Londoner a couple years back at an Arsenal bar in NYC and he said he was shocked at the support level for the Gunners in America filling the bar at 2:45 on a Tuesday. Click here to find one your local supporter group. There are 71 supporter groups in America alone so there is probably one close to you if you live in America.
The Beautiful Game
As you probably know football is known as the beautiful game. No team other than maybe Barcelona has exemplified this better than the Gunners since Wenger took over. Arteta has learned under the tutelage of both Wenger and Pep so I do not see this ending any time soon. If you are just starting to watch English football, you need to learn to appreciate the build up play. No better team to watch than the Arsenal. I could write for days about this, but just watch this video and you will see for yourself.
There were so many other reasons to become a Gunner but in order to keep this from turning into a book I will just list them.
- Anti- Racist
- Famous Supporters including Prince Harry and Keanu Reeves
- Arsenal Fan TV is quality entertainment
- We have Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
- Fantastic Chants and passionate supporters
- Kits are the best in the league
Unfortunately, if you start now you will not get to see all the passionate Gunners in the crowds and hear all the Arsenal chants. However, you will still get to see some of the best young talent play beautiful football and be apart of ushering in the Arteta Era at Arsenal.
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