Mapping Arsenal's Global Fanbase
Arsenal are one of the largest and best-known clubs in the world. A consequence of their largely erstwhile success is one of the most widespread diverse fan bases in all of football.
No longer can North London natives snobbishly look down their noses at American, Asian or African Gooners, for whom a trip to the Emirates is not a mere fun weekend trip but a pilgrimage.
Here we look at all the places from which Arsenal fans hail, and examine just how widespread love of the Gunners is.
Let's start off with the heart of Arsenal's fan base: England, and, more specifically, London.
The Emirates Stadium straddles several diverse areas of London, and thus the club is able to attract a wide variety of supporters—though not everyone in all strata can make it to the matches anymore because of the price of tickets.
People from wealthier areas like Barnsbury and Canonbury mix with those from more democratic districts like Islington, Holloway and Highbury. Much of Arsenal's local Caribbean support emanates from the Borough of Hackney, which is right next door.
While these people might not mingle at the same pubs, or at every match, Arsenal have attracted a very broad array of individuals in their local community.
It is certainly no coincidence that Arsenal have organized preseason tours of Asia before the last three seasons.
The Gunners are obviously attempting to exploit the enormous pool of potential support that exists in the world's most populous continent, and their efforts have evidently been working.
Every time Arsenal venture to the Far East ahead of a new season, they are met by eruptions of passion from supporters in every city and stadium. This year, one particularly devoted Vietnamese supporter gained international recognition for chasing the team bus for several miles.
The Gunners draw a substantial amount of their support from a region that finds it difficult to watch matches that often take place in the middle of the night. It is an ever-growing section.
Though this is purely anecdotal, the fact that a grossly disproportionate percentage of my Twitter followers are from Nigeria (and, to a lesser extent, other African countries) suggests something about the breadth and passion of the supporters in Africa.
Arsenal officially recognizes 10 supporters' clubs across the continent, and a preseason voyage to Nigeria was cancelled last year due to what were, ostensibly, logistical difficulties.
The marketing team really should attempt to make a concerted effort to get the squad over to Africa at some point in the future. I know from personal experience that there are oodles of vociferous fans eager to engage with their favorite players and purchase tickets to matches.
Welcome to my world!
North America, and America in particular, is absolutely saturated with Arsenal supporters in every community, regardless of its size.
The supporters' groups range in size from the massive, like NYC Arsenal Supporters (of which yours truly is a proud member!) to smaller clans in more isolated regions of a nation whose interest in, and passion for, football is absolutely exploding.
Arsenal's perennial unwillingness to travel to the richest and arguably least exploited footballing nation, per capita, in the world for its preseason tour is utterly inexplicable.
Regardless, we American Gooners will continue to blow our lungs out on match days with our brethren from across the globe.