Brian Espinosa is a familiar figure to Gooners attending Arsenal match-viewings at Maggie McGarry’s and the Irish Times pubs. He regularly travels over from the East Bay (you know, across the grey bridge) to support the Gunners with us.
However, unbeknownst to most, he is also a talented web designer and photographer. Brian is responsible for revamping the Bay Area Gooners site as well as the complete redesign of the Arsenal America site during the 2011-2012 season. Brian has also launched a new headwear venture, Opposing Threads, which he discusses later in this post.
Brian has been a Gooner for well over a decade, following a chance TV viewing of an Arsenal v Manchester United match at Highbury.
He recalls, This was the most exciting game I had ever watched up until that point in my life. I also remember that the announcers (as they still do today) had it in for Arsenal. There was constant criticism of them for the whole match. Despite being supposed underdogs, they were able to come back and get a late goal to win the game. I have always had a thing for the underdog… so Arsenal was definitely my team.
He counts Jack Wilshire as his favorite current players, saying, Out of the whole team, he is really the only player on the pitch who I have never seen throw in the towel for a single second.
I love his attacking style and the way he is willing to take chances press into open space with the ball instead of moving the ball back to another player. His dedication to the team is evident and refreshing with the way the sport has turned to being mostly about money in the modern game.
Like many of us, Brian is weary of our trophy drought, but remains firmly behind the club. I think it’s safe to say that I am as frustrated as anyone else who has been following the club for the past few years. I was extremely excited about our start to the season and our latest round of transfers. It is hard to put your finger on any one thing that is the problem since the first international break. I don’t see the same movement off the ball as we had early on from players once they pass.
I think for the most part we have the quality of players to compete in the league. I also think that Wenger has been punching above his weight financially in the league for some time… but that he is probably the best one to make this team work. I am trying to remain moderately optimistic that some of the new financial deals that the club is putting together, like the larger sponsorship deal with Emirates, will help the club in that arena. It seems that the club is only recently starting to examine its wage structure to reward players who perform consistently. Overall, I am cautiously optimistic… but a Gooner through thick and thin.
With a background in screen printing and embroidery design, Brian was surprised to discover there were literally no flex or fitted hats for Arsenal and other Premiership clubs. He says, This surprised me being a fan of other sports in the US and seeing the sheer volume of apparel put out for professional teams for football, baseball and even hockey. This is something that most soccer leagues and teams in Europe are not doing and are FAR behind their counterparts over here.
I decided that I did not want to wait to get these hats myself and that some of the hats I would want to wear would probably not be produced by the club, like the “We Hate Tottenham” hat. Thus, Brian and a friend got together and Opposing Threads was born.
In addition to their current selection, they’re working on several more Arsenal specific hats they hope to offer before the end of the season. And if things go according to plan, Opposing Threads will be offering team specific lids for the start of the 2013 MLB season.
Brian is upbeat about the future of Opposing Threads, Currently, we are doing this as lean as possible. As capital allows, we will be producing more and more hats. We hope to eventually offer hats for most major sports leagues that are fun, semi irreverent or just great style. The only team we will never make any apparel for is Sp*rs.