Arsenal Q&A: New York City’s Kurtis Powers

Kurtis Powers with Thierry Henry

Kurtis Powers with Thierry Henry - Credit: Archant

The Arsenal Q&A is back – this week we have the very excellent Kurtis Powers – New York City’s biggest Gooner. Read on for more, including a memorable day beating Spurs...

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Kurtis Powers, a creative director. I host/DJ a weekly soul radio broadcast here in Brooklyn called The Face Radio, we even broadcast on Back2BackFM in London, and more importantly, a supporter of the Arsenal. In 2007/08 myself and a mate began what is now known as Arsenal NYC.

How did you become an Arsenal fan?

America is a funny place for football. Well it was for a long time, until the near recent. We’ve family in London that support Arsenal and West Ham, and my dad was a fan of Liam Brady. You never saw the footie on TV until little bits in the 90s, and towards the end of the 90s we had more. I told myself I supported Arsenal from the early 90s even though I had little clue what the results were. Around the 98 World Cup, I was seeing a lot more Arsenal, and seeing the legend that is Dennis Bergkamp. At the time, I was convinced there wasn’t a cooler player on earth.

Arsene Wenger and Stan Kroenke. Discuss.

This is a tough one for me. I don’t get pulled too deeply into the polarized sides of this debate. For Wenger, I respect him greatly, and respect his decision to stay or go. I hope he/we see success at least one more time under his leadership, but I do honestly believe he’s no longer improving the club which is unfortunate based on his history and what he brought to the league when he arrived. I personally think he should’ve gone out on a high after winning the FA Cup again back in May. That said, I don’t agree with berating the man and hurling abuse at him from the stands and in social media. I also think its sad that as fans, the actual fighting that happens down to these differences in opinion.

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As for Kroenke, I don’t see what he’s done for the club.

Do you think social media has made the game better or worse for fans?

Well it certainly hasn’t made the game itself better. The only thing that makes the game better are the managers, players, and the support in the stands. Social media is a funny one, because its really left everyone so much more divided on everything, because people don’t have to have real human conversations anymore. They can spout off, and when someone disagrees, instead of actual discussion, abuse is thrown and “I’ll delete you/block you”. And because of this, I feel like its become toxic at times at the ground. Shame really. We’re all upset, sure, but I still want to go to the football and try to have a positive experience.

One thing you would change about the club?

One? Wow. I think for so long when Wenger first came, he revolutionized how we found talent, and I think we’re so far behind the standard now. That’s not to say that we haven’t brought in top talent over the last 10 years, it just seems our strategy in doing so and building up the club to be a top competitor in the league and Europe has fallen behind the others in England and certainly in Europe.

What makes you proud to be a Gooner?

I love this club, I really do. I love what we’ve always stood for. I love our integrity. I love our diversity. I love the supporters that I’ve met in person around the globe. I love our history. I’m hoping to get back to a place that we all feel those feelings again when we can sing “by far the greatest team” because we’re dominating England and Europe.

Next statue outside would be?

For me would have to be Robert Pires or Liam Brady.

First game?

Arsenal v Leicester, boxing day 1997. We won 2-1 that day.

Favourite game and why?

In recent times, I’d have to say Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona – Arshavin! For me, that stands out as my relative Michael Thomas moment. Sadly not a final, and the 2nd leg of a tie that was not so fortunate.

Worst game and why?

The Newcastle 4-4 draw stands out to me. Was humiliating at the time. We were up four at the half, and to implode in the second half was just awful. I try to not put too much stock in these crap matches. Though we’ve had our fair share to choose from!

Favourite player and why?

For me it would have to be Thierry Henry and that changed when he came here, and I got to meet him a few times. He’s such a legend, such a professional. Prior to that it was a toss between Ian Wright and Bergkamp.

Worst player and why?

For me it may be Denilson. I hated that he never passed forward. That’s not to say we haven’t had worse, but how he stuck around so long was shocking to me.

Pre-match routine?

I used to have them, not as much anymore. I am still slightly superstitious. I’ll wear the same things down to socks and trainers if it were what I was wearing the last time we beat a certain team.

When in London, I meet up with some of the same faces each time, usually at the Tollington. To this day, when I’ve sat with my mate Richard, we’ve never lost. This includes home and away matches, and the FA Cup Final. Its a good record to have. We sat separately last February when we lost to Watford. Won’t ever do that again.

Best thing about Highbury?

I was always mesmerized at how amazing it looked. Was like nothing else.

Best thing about Emirates?

Similarly, its a beauty, but I didn’t feel it until the “Arsenalization” process started a while back. Felt cold until the history was more on display, and the statues are a fantastic touch.

Fourth place trophy or Europa League – can’t say both

I’ll say Europa, since it is a trophy. Even Chelsea and United have celebrated that win. Winning trophies feels good. Plus it guarantees us Champions League. Seems like a win/win.

Favourite win over Spurs

Would have to be the first of the 5-2 wins. Was an amazing day. We were down 2-0, and for us, it was such an early kickoff. I remember it well. Dan Baldwin and his assistant had walked in the pub and we were expecting them. The look on their faces that we were 2-0 down was memorable. That said, it was about 10 minutes past eight in the morning here, and I put two shots of Powers whiskey in front of them, we drank, and within seconds, we started scoring. We drank hard that day, so much that Dan’s assistant was ill after not too long!

Prediction for the rest of the season

I try not to, but I’m hoping that after the way we played against Chelsea on the weekend this is our point in the season where we go on a run of good performances and results. I really like the new signings we got in the summer, and I could see us getting back into the top four. I see Liverpool struggling a bit, and its not because we’re Arsenal, but I see our old neighbors struggling as Wembley and not being at a real home is never easy for any club.

All time Arsenal XI

Seaman; Dixon, Cole, Vieira, Keown, Adams, Brady, Alexis, Wright, Bergkamp, Henry

For more on New York’s biggest Gooner follow @KurtisPowers @ArsenalNYC and visit

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