Sunday 17 November 2013

Meet the Gooner Family INK special [Jordan & Channelle, 'Fresno']

Meet Jordan & Channelle, two members of the Gooner family who hosted me for one evening in Fresno. 'Where's Fresno?' you ask. Well, I can tell you: I don't really know, in fact, apparently nobody does. It's in California, and there are farms surrounding it. There are some buildings and some people, there are cars, some trees, roads, street lighting. There is a CVS Pharmacy. Where you can buy cigarettes and booze. Ah America.

Two completely talentless Gooners. And Me
However, there's also a tattoo parlour called 'Faithful & True', and a pub called 'Peeves'. This is where the fun stuff happens, and it happened to me. You see, the reason for the stopover in Fresno was to have a few pints (no change there) with Jordan and subject myself to some mild pain; I was there to get a tattoo.

Not just any tattoo, I was there to get my first ink, I was there to get a tattoo of the CANNON! Jordan runs the newly-formed Fresno Gooners supporters club, whilst his wife Channelle is a tattoo artist who has been stabbing people for a living for quite literally a week. Despite her obvious inexperience and questionable demeanour, I agreed to get a FREE tattoo from Channelle at Faithful & True.

The Cannon and everywhere I've been and going to (hopefully)

The result? Pictures like the one above don't do it justice, you need to see me in the flesh (yum!) but suffice to say Channelle did an amazing job and everybody, EVERYBODY that's seen the ink up close loves it. They love the design (thanks to Jordan for that, a man with many talents) and they love the fact that it looks like it's been done by a tattoo artist with more experience than Channelle. OK, full disclosure, Channelle has been tattooing people (or at least pig skin) for quite a while but has only been official for a week or two.

So, if you're thinking about getting an Arsenal tattoo and you live near Fresno (and you can find the place!) you must get in contact with these lovely people. Channelle's vision is to be the person who Gooners go to in order to get ink done, whether it's a simple Art Deco design or a blank canvas. They are a great creative team and of course they're yet another wonderful example of the Gooner Family.

Jordan Wiebe

Q. Why Arsenal?
The history, the class, the values, the way we develop young talent & play with a well-documented creative flair & panache (and I don't mean the ornamental tuft of feathers type, although Arteta may fit both definitions). I'm a fairly idealistic, imaginative person & the club seems to share some of the same values with the way they've been ahead of their time in so many different eras. For me, Arsenal was, and continues to be, a natural choice.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
Thierry Henry was on the cover of FIFA 2004, I didn't have a club to support, he was incredible & so I started following AFC nominally. Then in 2008, I moved to London to work with a charity for a year & became enmeshed in the culture of football and, specifically, Arsenal; watching matches at the pub became my default activity outside of work. Then, through a friend, I was able to go to a Premier League match against Wigan at the Emirates. Adebayor scored in the first half for a 1-0 victory and, when he did, the ensuing 2 minutes of celebration was all I needed to be hooked.

Q. Favourite Player?
For me, it's always been Henry. There's not much to say about him that hasn't already been said by folks. He was absolutely world-class for us and has continued to be the quintessential Gunner after he left with all of his involvement at the club in the past few years.

Q. Favourite current Player?
Jack. His connection and lengthy relationship with the club is well-documented, graduating through the academy and reserve ranks, and it's pretty apparent that he's going to fight as hard as anyone for the team every single match. He's obviously supremely talented, as evidenced by several notable performances (Barca in 2011 Champions League, Swansea in the FA Cup last year), and a great example of the positives Arsene's faith brings out in players. While it goes against my better judgement, I *want* to believe that Jack will be an AFC man the rest of his career; it may be naive but I think he could be one of those one-club footballers that shares a deep, unique bond with their club. He's got the potential to be an Arsenal legend.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
2-1 over Barcelona in 2011 Champions League. I still get goosebumps whenever I watch highlights back. And, to think: we did it with Djourou starting at the back.

Q.Where do you watch Arsenal in Fresno?
I started our local branch of Arsenal supporters, the Fresno Gooners, and we're lucky enough to have a great pub that serves as our host for matches called Peeve's Public House. We're a very new club, as we only started at the beginning of this season, and have had turnouts of 50+ at some matches. Peeve's has provided a great place to connect with Gooners that I hadn't previously been linked up with in our area.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
I can only say Emirates because I've never been to Highbury and wasn't really a supporter when we were playing there. My wife, who's also a proper Gooner, & I got to take a tour of the Emirates this past summer when we were over on holiday and it was easily the highlight of our trip. I really appreciated that the club has done a great job of integrating our history into the stadium.

Q. League Prediction?
I'd like to think that we've got a great shot at claiming the Premier League title this year with the way we've started; it's really dependent on whether Wenger buys cover for Giroud and how fit we are throughout the season. I'll say we get into a title race with City & Chelsea and end up 2nd.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch this season?
Giroud. I think once Ramsey comes back down to earth a bit, we'll learn just how integral Giroud is to our squad. Oli's improvement & adjustment to the Premier League and our style has been very evident so far and. His work-rate and link-up play has been phenomenal from the start; I think we'll see him add a bit more to his goal tally by the end of this season.