Less than two weeks away from the start of the Premier League season and Arsenal supporters have reason to feel optimistic. Last season ended with the FA Cup, the Gunners’ first silverware in some time, and during the transfer window, Le Boss has been far from idle, with new boys Sanchez, Debuchy, and Ospina.
We’re expecting good crowds at our home pub, Maggie McGarry’s for the Arsenal match-viewings. There are the Gooners who’ve been there from the beginning, those we’ve added each season, and no doubt, we’ll see some new faces, their appetites whetted by the recent World Cup.
So who are the Bay Area Gooners? We started almost nine years ago with a desire to watch Arsenal Football Club with other dedicated Gunners fans. And it’s become an eclectic group -Americans, British ex-pats, South Africans, Hungarians, black, white, straight, gay, women, men, you name it, Gooners from all walks of life – united by their love of this North London football side.
What should you expect when coming to Maggie’s for the first time? If you’re a Gooner, you’re family. There’s cheering, singing, collective moaning, drinking, shouting, laughing, and all round camaraderie.
We don’t always agree on players, team selection, or match tactics, but when the team takes the pitch, we’re united behind the 11 wearing the Arsenal kits.
What we won’t put up with is drunken incivility, racial abuse, sexism and misogyny, homophobia and the like. The brilliant thing is we hardly need to say this, because Arsenal supporters by and large, are intelligent, enlightened, and worldly folks.
We often get asked, “How do I join the Bay Area Gooners?” Easy-peasy, just live in the San Francisco-Bay Area, support Arsenal, and turn up at the pub for the matches.
Last season, we formed a satellite group, the South Bay Gooners, as many of our regulars living in San Jose, Santa Clara, and Silicon Valley, were finding it difficult to get to The City for 7AM kickoffs. They now watch their matches at Jack’s Bar in San Jose. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Maggie’s does attract supporters of other clubs. One of the Manchester clubs often has a few fans show up, and we get the odd fans of Fulham, United, Liverpool, and other clubs.
Occasionally we even get a Spurs supporter whose sense of direction is as poor as his/her choice of club. And yet, in all of these instances, we keep the banter civil and unthreatening.
In addition to organized viewings for every Arsenal match, we often engage in charitable efforts – canned food drives, raffles to raise funds, or charity matches. In fact, we’re fielding a Bay Area Gooners team for the Street Soccer USA National Cup tournament at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza on August 15-17, 2014. We’re playing in their Open Cup alongside teams from SF Spurs, Liverpool SF, and more.
In closing, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been an Arsenal supporter for 50 years or 50 seconds, provided you’re 21 and over*, you’re welcome to join us at Maggie McGarry’s in North Beach on match day.
*We do try to schedule several all-ages get-togethers during the season to accommodate Gooners with kids or those not yet 21.
Questions, suggestions, complaints? Drop us a line here
Honestly, it was all a bit surreal. For a brief moment in time this past Saturday, a single block of Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood, was transformed into a borough of North London.
Inside Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub, hundreds of the Bay Area Gooners, our Arsenal FC supporters group sang, chanted, and cheered on the English club as they battled back to win the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
A hundred or more other supporters who could not gain entrance as Maggie’s capacity had been reached, crowded close, watching the match through the open pub windows.
When Arsenal’s talented midfielder, Aaron Ramsey scored the winner late in the final period of extra time, it was in a word…pandemonium. Joyous rapturous,euphoria.
Screaming, crying, hugging, laughing, the crowd spilled out into the street.
And it was brilliant!