Arsenal v Liverpool Friends & Family Event in Philadelphia

Philly Gooners at Misconduct Tavern

Philly Gooners at Misconduct Tavern

Editors Note: From time to time we see ideas and events from other supporters groups within Arsenal America and from afar. We’d like to highlight one of these event ideas from our friends in the Philly Gooners and would love to hear about and promote events your local group might line up for the future.

By George Sedgewick and Mike Hiddi, co-founders of The Philly Gooners

The Philly Gooners have had loyal members for a decade. We regularly fill Misconduct Tavern, singing, cheering, and happily enjoying sincere camaraderie. This weekend’s match vs. Liverpool, however, marks an opportunity for Philly Gooners to introduce friends and family to the group! Normally, we have a special room for Gooners only. This time, feel free to bring your football-curious friends, family members, or co-workers to see what being a Philly Gooner is all about. We’ll have standing room for many fans, tables and chairs available for families or those needing a place to put their beers and snacks. We’re catering especially to families with children—we have several such groups already—as well as football friends who are on the fence! Bring them to Misconduct on Saturday for the 1:30 kickoff to take part in singing, match-viewing, dining, and a real supporters club experience. For more info, contact us by emailing, following us on Twitter @ArsenalPhilly, or joining our Philly Gooners group on Facebook.

Supporter Profile: Joe Meloni (@CHNJoeMeloni)

Arsenal America: Where are you from? How and why did you get to where you currently live?

Joe Meloni: I’m from Stoughton, Massachusetts, originally, about 25 minutes south of Boston, and I currently live in Brookline, Massachusetts. I moved to Brookline because it’s basically a part of Boston without being directly in the city. There are elements of it that feel like the good parts of the suburbs. Still, my apartment is about a mile from Fenway Park, so I still get the feeling of living in the city.

AA: Why did you become an Arsenal supporter?  What was your first live Arsenal match?

JM: In 2005, I was in my dorm at the University of Massachusetts, watching Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. One of the interviews they featured in that edition was with Thierry Henry, discussing racism in soccer. The spot was ahead of the 2006 World Cup and Henry had just collaborated with Nike to start Stand Up, Speak Up. At first, Henry’s stories about the racism he experienced on and off the pitch served as just another reason to ignore soccer altogether – as I had to that point. However, as Henry’s story progressed, it dug into his work in trying to end racism in the sport and his place as one of the world’s best. The highlights they showed of Henry and Arsenal showed me a style of soccer I’d never seen before. It was fast. The players moved. They worked so well together, and I immediately started looking up clips of Arsenal and Henry. The highlights and other stories about his efforts to educate the public about racism in the game made me admire him even further, as a player and a man. Part of my focus in college was sport sociology, and soccer provided some great subject matter for papers and research. So I suppose I became an Arsenal supporter because of Thierry Henry, a great soccer player and an even better man.