A big loss

Arsenal’s loss to Brighton & Hove last week, effectively ending their title challenge was depressing and demoralizing. But it pales compared to the personal loss, we endured this week.

Long time Bay Area Gooner, Brent Yocom passed away this week. He was 46. Brent joined our group in 2011, and was immediately hard to miss. He was funny, gregarious, boisterous, and many knew him as the first Gooner they ever met here. I could always count on Brent to chat up new Gooners and make them feel at home. He dragged more first timers to Maggie’s than anyone I know.

Brent moved here from Philly and was beyond dedicated to his hometown teams. He launched an Eagles fan group at the Northstar on Powell and Green, and much like here, he was a welcoming presence, creating community around a team he loved. He was also a DJ, producer, and passionate about all things music.

He had a funny habit of buying Arsenal jerseys of the most random players. He owned the only Chamakh shirt I ever saw at Maggie’s and of course, his infamous Kallstrom jersey, a player who only made 4 appearances for Arsenal. There are rumors he went on a date with an Arsenal women’s player, though I cannot verify the veracity of that report.

Brent and I were quoted in a Guardian article on US soccer fans. He said he was drawn to Arsenal by Emmanuel Adebayor and “a fucking cannon” as their logo. He was annoyed they spelled his name wrong, but still very proud to be quoted.

Brent struggled with his health a lot, but those who knew him, saw him as a bright light, generous and dedicated to his friends, a guy who would do anything for them.

The last thing he would want is a moment of silence, so at the 46th (45+ 1 minute of extra time) minute of Saturday’s game, raise a glass, cheer, or just make some noise in Brent’s memory. Note: if there is no extra time to the first half, we’ll do it just as the half ends.

My fervent hope, is that anytime you meet a new Gooner here, you’ll be like Brent and make them feel welcome.

Hope to see you Saturday at the pub.

Cheers, Mark


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