Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 40: Arsenal ... it's not just a football club, it's a tube stop
If it's Friday we must be back in London. Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the previous days. This is Day 40. We're still on the Piccadilly Line.
Here’s the truth. I know f@#k all about American football, less than zero about British footy. Better known as soccer here in the U.S. The only team names I know are Manchester United. Because David Beckham. Liverpool and SAnd I gather the last two are rivals? In America, soccer is still mostly popular as a sports alternative to t-ball when the kids are little, and football when they’re in high school, and then to be honest, it seems to mostly appeal to females. Hardly anyone except transplanted football fans from Europe and Latin America follow the game except at World Cup time. Then we’re all—me included—transfixed by all those men in their knee high sox dancing the ball down the field with their magical feet.
Arsenal Underground by Ross Ashmore
With Arsenal’s home stadium falling squarely on the Piccadilly line, today’s walk will take me from Kings Cross St. Pancras (where we left off last week) to the Arsenal station. The only underground station named after a football team!
But we can’t leave Kings Cross St. Pancrass without visiting the Harry Potter Shop located at platform 9 3/4. If you’re visiting with Potter people you’ll want to have your professional photograph taken at the replica of the trolley entering platform 9 3/4. On the downside, you're not allowed to snap your own photo. On the plus side you get to choose your house scarf and props. One more minus, there's a line. It’s long.
From there I’ll take a 2.5 mile walk to the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal makes its home. The team was relocated from much smaller digs in Highbury to their new home in 2010. Arsenal’s Emirates stadium is state of the art, with a translucent roof over the stands to protect the fans while the players still have to kick around without cover, whatever the weather.
The old stadium held almost 40,000 while the new Emirates stadium has a seating capacity of 60, 272. All for a mere £390 million or $512 million in US dollars. Turns out to have been an excellent investment, the team is making a ton of money. Besides being home to Arsenal—tributes to the team and their old home are everywhere—the stadium, like stadiums everywhere, is a popular concert venue. There’s a museum and true fans can purchase all kinds of Arsenal goodies. You don’t have to purchase Arsenal gear at the stadium of course, Arsenal jerseys etc are sold right outside the station.
You can even take a tour and I’ve got a short one for you here.
I can’t pretend to know who the players are or who’ll win the season. Is the “premiere league’’ the only league? I couldn’t pick out Laurent Koscielny from Olivier Giroud or Mesut Ozil but I do know they play for Arsenal and I know there’s a game tomorrow, Saturday 8/20. Arsenal vs Leicester City. I may even stick around to watch it.
How about you? Do you follow the game? Apparently more of you do than I was aware of. BBC America can tell you when, where and how.