First, why “Woolwich 1886?” Well, I wanted something that harkened back to the club’s origins, and it’s hard to get closer than the year and the London district in which the club got its start. The club’s name has changed a few times over the years, as has its location, but I like those roots and holding onto them. Sure, the name may have be as snappy as some of the other blogs out there, but I don’t mind. In fact, I like it that way. Besides, there are already legions of blogs with plays on the Arsenal/Gunner/Gooner names.

I’ve been an Arsenal fan for as long as I can remember. Details are foggy, but it was some time in 1981  when I found First Division highlights on late-night cable tv. I somehow managed to sustain my fandom despite having no reliable access to matches, fixtures, tables, or stats for nearly two decades. I started writing in February 2013, frustrated that we had only signed Nacho Monreal in response to Kieran Gibbs’s injury. It’s been a pleasant diversion from the frustrations of the day-job.

I’ve played soccer football since I was about five. Mostly through speed and determination, I played on a traveling team in college (yes, we had real jerseys and so on. No league, though. We went around playing various college and university teams and won more often than not). I was a box-to-box midfielder in my youth. However, in April 2013, I tore my ACL and MCL in, which has put a damper on things as far as that goes. I still find time for some rock-climbing, snowboarding, and triathlons.

I’ve been an English teacher in and around Chicago since 2000, thanks in large part to Jonathan Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal” and more recently Vonnegut and Orwell. I enjoy writing, I enjoy football, and I especially enjoy Arsenal. I hope someday to make a pilgrimage to see a match, and it’ll always sting a bit to know that I’ll never see one at Highbury. It’s on the agenda, I tell you that. If my ship ever does come in, I know where it’s taking me first.

Here, for no apparent reason, is a list of random favorites:

  • Music: Fugazi. Maybe Wild Flag.
  • Book: David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
  • Food: Sriracha (It has calories. It has vegetables in it. It is therefore food. The food on which it spread is merely a conveyance).
  • Gunner: Bergkamp, Brady, Saka.
  • Kit: probably 1969-78. Classic red, cannon, nothing else. Clean and clutter-free.
  • TV show: The Simpsons, seasons two through ten (or so). Breaking Bad. Family Guy. The Daily Show. Colbert Report.
  • Drink: coffee. Islay scotches like Laphroaig or Bowmore.

That should do it. I might embellish or expand some day.

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