I have a smile on my face. My Arsenal Gunners have their 13th FA Cup title, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the cup final at Wembley Stadium. Yes, Dudley, that’s more Cups than ManU, or any other club. And Arsene Wenger has two more Cups than Sir Alex.
A lot of Gunner fans wanted Wenger out after they “only” finished fifth in the 20-team league. I suspect he may have earned himself another year or two. It looks like Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke (who has a brick with his name on the Bentonville square and is married to Bud Walton’s daughter; there’s your Arkansas connection) will keep his manager for a while longer.
I have watched soccer in the Olympics (rooting for the USA) and watched some Lady Razorback soccer this year, but just curious, how did you get a rooting interest in European soccer? If I was wanting to watch a game, I wouldn’t have a rooting interest. It is clear you have a favorite team.
But…20 League Titles, 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. The club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.
But congrats. We floundered this year, but it sounds they are going to throw money all over the place to fix it.
Absolutely have a favorite team. I am actually a member of Arsenal Football Club (member #3151359), so I have no compunction whatsoever about saying “we”. Just as direct a connection as I have with UA as a RF member and an alum.
How did I get here? I’ve been a soccer fan since watching NASL matches on TV as a kid. Then, in my teens, PBS showed “Soccer Made in Germany” on Saturday afternoons, which was a match from the previous weekend, and I never missed it. But there were no amateur teams in Lower Arkansas then (mid-70s), so all I got was high school intramural soccer myself.
Fast forward 25 years or so. Fox Soccer Channel was around by then carrying matches from England and other leagues (Argentina and Italy, I remember). The two best teams in England at the time were Arsenal and Manchester United, which is Dudley’s team. I decided I liked the way Arsenal played and their stars like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp, as opposed to ManU’s twits like Ruud Van Nistelrooy and David Beckham. And in 2002, when Arsenal beat ManU at Manchester 1-0 (Sylvain Wiltord scored the goal) to clinch the Premier League title, that was it: Gunner for life. Two years later, Arsenal went through an entire 38-game season without losing, which no team had ever done and probably won’t ever do again. But I didn’t join Arsenal FC until 2014, and finally got to my first match at the Emirates Stadium in April 2016.
I’m not sure how much Everton even teases and disappoints. They’ve played one Champions League match in their history. Rarely get into Europe at all (2017 is an exception, as they will have a qualifying round match in the Europa League).
Everton is my preferred team in the Merseyside derby, and I generally root for them when they’re not playing Arsenal. Tim Howard playing there didn’t hurt. And I understand Paul McCartney is a lifelong Toffees fan. But they’re usually not good enough to tease and disappoint. Kind of a 5th-6th-7th place side. Never in danger of relegation, but not going to challenge for the Prem title either.