I harp a lot about how Arsenal, and every team of Arsenal’s level, are big businesses more than they are purely sports teams these days. I don’t say that damningly; it’s just a fact that Arsenal, and all the teams at and above where they are, are billion-or-more dollar industries that have all the hallmarks of a company that size. The imposing office, the bespoke everything, the detachment from reality that basically unlimited wealth brings - Arsenal have all that in spades. And again, that’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things work now.
But occasionally, Arsenal do something on what, to them, is an exceedingly small scale, but to the people that their gesture touches, it’s everything. The latest example of what I’m going to loudly and publicly call Arsenal Gonna Arsenal comes to us from upstate New York this summer. This is the first tweet in an amazing thread:
Arsenal's class is international.— Jacques Joseph (@tijacquot) November 26, 2017
I am a "soccer" coach in New York and last summer we hold our preseason camp at the Golden Goal Residence in Upstate New York. Golden Goal host many teams and organizations, including the Arsenal Academy Camp (Arsenal School USA).
If you don’t have Twitter, or can’t see these tweets for whatever reason, here’s the story: a guy who lives in upstate NY is a soccer coach at youth level (he doesn’t specify) who takes his kids to a residential camp for a week in the summer, to prepare for their season.
The week that this guy’s kids were there, Arsenal was holding one of its Arsenal School USA weeks there as well. Kids who go to Arsenal School, ranging in age from 7 to 15, all paid anywhere from $700-1300 for a week of coaching by Arsenal staff, which also gets them kit, meals, and all the other stuff that summer camp provides.
On the first day of this week, a group of underprivileged kids from the Bronx was also at this camp, and the leader of that group approached officials from the Arsenal camp to see if there was any way they could arrange for an afternoon, just a couple hours, of training with the Arsenal camp kids so that these kids could have a special day and some cool memories to take home.
Well, Arsenal did them one better. Several better, actually. Arsenal added these kids to the week-long camp, and gave them the exact same experience as the kids who could afford it - all without charging these kids anything at all. Training, kit, meals, accommodation - Arsenal covered it all. They were under no pressure to do so, there was no massive internet rally to make this happen; they just felt it was the right thing to do for these kids, so they did it. No press release, no TV coverage, nothin’. Just them giving these kids a whole bunch of great memories of a week they never would have dreamed of having otherwise.
It’s things like this that make me proud to be an Arsenal fan.