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The British Are Coming, But This Time As Friends

MURCA WEEK starts on TSF as we build up to Arsenal's visit to Harrison, NJ on Saturday.

Bring me your well-rested, your well-off, your huddling team yearning to breathe NJ air
Bring me your well-rested, your well-off, your huddling team yearning to breathe NJ air
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's preseason, which in this modern day and age means big clubs go on tour.  PBFC were just in Seattle, Manchester United's going to a few places, and it's not at all rare to see English teams play games in the US in July.  It is, however, rare to see Arsenal come here.

When I first started following Arsenal, they'd play friendlies in England and that was about it.  A few years into Wenger's tenure, he started taking his team to Austria, sequestering them for three weeks, and training in secret.  Then, the touring floodgates opened - MUFC went all over Asia, as did Chelsea, and teams like Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Sunderland started coming to the US.

Then someone had the great idea to organize a "tournament" around US-bound teams, and all the bigger European teams made the US a destination; this year's tourney features big clubs from all over Europe, and this year's MLS All-Star Game features 2013 Champions League winners Bayern Munich taking on an MLS all-star 11 in Portland.

Despite all that, and despite many, many vocal entreaties from the fan base, Arsenal have never put on a fanny pack, slung a camera around their neck, and headed to America to see what all the fuss was about. Until now.

Arsenal, of course, are playing a friendly against Thierry Henry and the Jordanaires on Saturday; before that, look for them in line for the Empire State Building, getting confused by the subway (really, people, it's not that hard!) and gawking at the Naked Cowboy just like every other first time visitor to NYC*. Arsene Wenger, for one, is excited:

Wenger expects a big reaction from the American public after they embraced the game so wholeheartedly during the World Cup.

"It is the first time since I [started to] go to World Cups that I've been stopped by so many American people," the manager told Arsenal Player.

So this week will sort of be 'MURCA WEEK on TSF; we're thrilled the club's coming to New York, sad that they have to go to Harrison NJ to play, and hopeful they have a good enough experience to want to do this again next year, in more than one city.

Later in the week we'll put up a meetup thread - TSF isn't having an "official" meetup, but enough TSF'ers are going that it'd be cool if some of you could get together and have a beer or a not-beer or whatever.

*they won't be doing any of these things