Moving towards democracy

Branch ManagerI founded the Bay Area Gooners over 8 years ago because of a desire to watch Arsenal matches with other fans of the club.  In that time, we’ve gone from about 10 people in the pub to a mailing list of over 700, a Facebook group of 874, and a Twitter feed with some 2,700+ followers.

Most matches now at Maggie McGarry’s draw a pretty good crowd, even at 4:45AM, andit’s especially packed for particular big matches.  I’m there for most if not all of the matches, and do my best to make new Gooners feel welcome and part of the family.

Over the years, I’ve tried to steer the group towards good works. We’ve done charity matches against the local Spurs group, raising money for everything from Southern tornado relief to the Japanese earthquake fund.  We’ve also collected canned goods for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank on numerous occasions, and held the occasional charitable raffle for different causes.

Running the group can be time consuming, and while I’m not complaining (it’s been a great experience thus far), I’ve decided to try and bring some other folks on board to help share the load. I attended an event a few months back put on by the local Liverpool supporters group, and was impressed by the fact that they have a committee of 6 or 7 leading their efforts.

AH14-Happy Mark2So if you’re a Gooner, who’s at the pub on a regular basis (minimum 2-3 times a month), and want to get involved, let’s talk at the pub.

Not exactly sure how this will work, but there are things the Bay Area Gooners could accomplish that I’m finding I don’t have the bandwidth to do on my own, such as more charitable efforts, a site redesign, maybe even a group trip to the Emirates.

At the very least, if I’m can’t make it to the pub, it would be great to feel assured that someone was taking new Gooners under their wing and making sure they’re integrated into our Gooner family.

See you at the pub!

Cheers, Mark


North Beach is Red!

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.


© 2014 Thomas Wechsler – All Rights Reserved.

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.


© 2014 Thomas Wechsler – All Rights Reserved.

AH14-Happy Mark2

© 2014 Thomas Wechsler – All Rights Reserved.

Screaming, crying, hugging, laughing, the crowd spilled out into the street.

 © 2014 Thomas Wechsler - All Rights Reserved

© 2014 Thomas Wechsler – All Rights Reserved

 © 2014 Thomas Wechsler - All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Thomas Wechsler – All Rights Reserved

And it was brilliant!

California Gooners Über Alles

As the country’s most populous state, you’d expect to find a few Gooners here and there.

But in the past decade, there’s been an explosion of Arsenal supporters groups throughout our great state.  We’ve listed the ones we know about.

If we’ve missed any, let us know in the Comments section.

Bay Area Gooners
Home Pub:
Maggie McGarry’s
1353 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

Fresno Gooners
Home Pub:
‪Peeve’s Public House
1243 Fulton Mall
Fresno, CA 93721

Inland Empire Gooners

Los Angeles Gooners
Home Pub:
The Fox And Hounds
11100 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604

North County Gooners (San Diego)
Home Pub:
The Stage & Lion Pub and Grille
850 Tamarack Avenue
Carlsbad, California 92008

Orange County Gooners
Home Pub:
The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant
1120 W 17th St, Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 550-6700

Sacramento Gooners
Home Pub:
de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L Street
Sacramento, California 95818

San Diego Gooners
Home Pub:
Bluefoot Bar & Lounge
3404 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Santa Barbara Gooners
Home Pub:
The Press Room
15 E Ortega St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101