Fans' View

Fans’ View: A young gooner takes a road trip

Photos: Staci Klemmer

As I’ve mentioned before, we are a soccer family. We play, we volunteer and coach, and we watch.

However, with the exception of my youngest son, we don’t have an EPL team that we support. New to the EPL bandwagon, I just haven’t found a team that grabs me. If I was going by my standard wine bottle test, I might pick Hull City (cool uniforms). According to players I enjoy watching, I might pick Everton (Howard). Based on cuteness of player, I might pick Liverpool (Gerrard). Depending on the warm fuzzy feeling I got watching a movie, I might pick Newcastle United (Goal).

Too many choices. So, for now, I opt to just watch and enjoy without a horse in the race.

My son is a Gooner

For some unknown reason, my youngest is a rabid Arsenal fan.

When asked, he can’t really give me the sequence of events that got him to that state of fandom, but I’ve pieced together this timeline: We visit Germany in 2011, he falls in love with everything German. Ozil plays for the German national team. Ozil plays for Arsenal, therefore he is an Arsenal fan. In a roundabout way, I get it. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Germany won that little tournament in Brazil.

Young Klemmer at Arsenal watch partySo, last weekend, we decided to trek down to Philly at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am to watch the Arsenal vs. Liverpool game at Misconduct Tavern. (Side note: I thought the game was at 11:00 am. If I’d known it was at 7:45 am when I committed to take my son, I might not have been so enthusiastic.)

Being that this was our first venture into the realm of supporter pubs, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We have watched Liverpool games at the Iron Abbey, but never quite that early and always with friends who go there regularly.

Arsenal Philadelphia welcomed us with open arms, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my child wasn’t the only one under the age of 21. It was a great atmosphere, helped mightily by the 4-1 win (which kind of offsets the 5-1 loss last year when we were watching with our Liverpool friend at the Iron Abbey). I only wish the pub was closer. The 45 minute drive is a bummer that early in the morning.

I had a chance to talk to Mike, Arsenal Philadelphia’s chairman, about how Arsenal fans ended up at Misconduct. I find it interesting that it seems to be a self-policing situation. Supporters’ groups find a pub and claim it as their own. This not only prevents arguments during the game, but also prevents overlap when the earlier game’s fans don’t leave in time for the next game’s fans to come in and find seats. Nevertheless, I can imagine it can get a little crazy on the corner of 15th and Locust when a rival team’s supporters are watching at Fado across the street.

I’ve decided that its much more fun to watch when you have a team to support, so, I’m open for suggestions: who should I pledge my allegiance to? What’s the best supporter’s bar? How did you pick your EPL team?

I would like a team that wins a few. I already have a team that I love that’s struggling at the moment.


  1. I have a similar fan relationship with Arsenal. I started following the premier league closely in 2007. Arsenal played pretty possession soccer with great commitment- that is the game I like to watch.

  2. Arsenal. Hard not to like Arsenal when you are a kid and no previous loyalties. How many other kits have a canon on it.

    • Dude…….they are just pleasing on the eye. The closest to Catalanya the English will get is from the Gunners. I really worry the day Wenger retires or moves on……the guy has built something special there. From the Academy on up….they just spit talent out. Before all the spending this summer….the Gunners always had a saying……”We don’t buy stars, we make them”.

  3. *******************SUPER GUNNERS********************
    Pretty football………

  4. Became a Liverpool FC supporter through family tie Great-grandfather was huge Celtic FC supporter.So as their top players went on to join Liverpool his support and our went too. With at in mind my family settled in the Boston (Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots) area those are our roots very anti-NY. So when Fenway Sports bought LFC it sealed the deal. Thou I do like Everton FC (Howard). Much like I do the Flyers, Phillies,and Eagles.Can stand any NY teams or clubs.both Manchester clubs have New York ties even more reason for me not to like them.

  5. Everton! Long, established history. Tend to be the scrappy underdogs, punching above their weight, though they’ve made an effort to play much more attractive soccer these last two seasons under Roberto Martinez (worked great last year…not so much this year). Plus you get elephants on the front of your jersey (adult jerseys at least…they don’t put the Chang logo on kids’ jerseys). And they’ve had some great American players pass through.

  6. It is fun to see how kids pick their teams. Kids like to see teams win which is why my 5 year old typically asks “Dad, which team is the best,” before he declares his allegiance.
    It is interesting how many of us in America decide to choose a club to support – it definitely makes the games more fun to watch. Here’s my own story of how I became a Liverpool fan:

    2010- living in Italy, watching a lot of Premier League for the first time. Decided I needed a club to support. Didn’t want to be a front runner (at the time Liverpool was mid-table), and they were coming to play Napoli in the Europa League. Leading up to the game there were a couple of awful violent meetings between supporters (two Liverpool fans were stabbed in a main public square the morning of the game). I went to the game with my mostly American soccer team, and we all decided to wear Napoli gear for safety sake. Sure enough, as we’re walking a mile or so to the game, we approach a little park full of travelling Liverpool fans. A bunch of young guys notice our group marching up the street and immediately walk out to the street looking a bit confrontational. Looks as if our plan to wear Napoli colors has backfired! So we start talking loudly (American accents) and they get a really confused look on their face. They start asking why we “Yanks” would support Napoli. After explaining that we didn’t want to be mistaken as Liverpool supporters, they got a good laugh and invited us to share a few pints with them before the match. That was all it took. A personal connection to a club. Plus, being from Philly, I like the idea of a club from a city that is a little more working class than London.

  7. “Based on cuteness of player, I might pick Liverpool (Gerrard).”

    You’re about to be very disappointed.

  8. Philadelphia Collins says:

    Arsenal and because of one man… Thierry Henry

  9. alicat215 says:

    How bout this. Anyone remember English Soccer Weekly on Sports Channel America during the early 90’s? You would get 45 minutes of a match from the weekend….and then all the goals. I would watch it religiously with my father, who is a Red………I became a Gooner way back then. I find it awesome that kids today have every league on the planet at their disposal!

  10. Couple reasons why you should consider Chelsea:
    Best team that when they travel to Philly give the fans an incredible experience. When they played the All-Star game here we were invited to 3 events: meet the player event in the Ritz during which 95% of the players were present and signed up to 2 items per person. Ended up with 2 jerseys with all the signatures. Then that evening we had a Q&A with Graeme Le Saux and someone else from the FO and could take pictures with the Champions League and FA Cups they had won that season. Then we had an event in Tir Na Nog during which we met ex-players and Neil Barnett. The next year Chelsea’s U21 team came to play the Union’s U23 team and some of us were invited to watch the ‘closed door’ match (was surreal in the empty stadium). Have seen many other teams come to Philly but very few give their supporters anything close to what we experience.
    The leader of the ‘Philly Blues’ is the US Rep on the Chelsea Supporters ‘Board’ and flies once a quarter to London to attend their meetings. Afterwards he always gives us good insight of what the general public does not know.
    We watch the Chelsea games at Tir Na Nog and have a relative good sized crowd. Not so much during regular games but it is packed during special games such as the recent League Cup Final. Also those who were at TNN during the Champions League final in 2012 will never forget the atmosphere in TNN during that game.
    Once a year we watch a game in NY or the NY Blues come to us. Together we also plan an annual trip to London to watch a game there for whoever is interested.
    Come down sometime and watch a game with us. A good one would be May 9 at 10am when Chelsea plays Liverpool. NBC will actually feature us in TNN on their ‘I was there’ special that will be shown on the NBC Sports’ MatchDay Live Program.

    • Sounds great! MIght have to join ya!

    • alicat215 says:

      That’s pretty darn cool Guido………..thanks for the share

    • Here’s one reason to consider NOT supporting the Blues:
      I once had dinner overlooking the Almafi coast next to a table that consisted of an average looking guy in his 40s and about a half dozen drop dead gorgeous models who were obnoxiously flirting with him. As they left the restaurant, they all boarded a helicopter and flew out to a ridiculous super yacht. I asked our waiter who that was, and he said, “Sir, you just witnessed the most evil man in the world…the owner of Chelsea football club, Mr. Abromovich.”

      • the Chelskis…… their players and coach….hate the owner.

      • The one thing I respect about Roman and Chelsea is this……..they never take any competitions off….if there is hardware at stake….they are all in. I love that about them…..Roman wants to win everything.

      • Spugger, I think anyone could find a reason to not to like another club. Case in point, you are a Red, my Pops and brother are Reds. A couple years ago a friend of my families went to Anfield for the first time to see a match with his pops. They went to a pub down the street from the stadium to have a pint and soak in the atmosphere. When the bartender gave them two pints, other supporters yelled at the bartender for serving Yanks…and that they didn’t “want their kind there”….and to please F#%k off before we hurt you. There is anti-American sentiment around Liverpool….fact.

      • at the same time……they have some of the most racist supporters in football………look what happened in Paris in the CL a month or two back…..AND the previous year! Can’t support a club who has a population of supporters that are bigots…..never happen. Like I said, for every positive….someone can find negatives……I’m sure even The Arsenal and its supporters have had their moments……

  11. Sunderland. It’s the closest thing to the Union.

  12. Top lad!

  13. The Black Hand says:


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