WTTGT Writer: Ralph Hewitt
I know what you’re thinking: “There’s only one Arsenal”. Actually, there are two. Arsenal de Sarandí, or El Arse as they are known in Sarandí, has become Argentina’s answer to the North London side.
The club was formed in January 1957 by brothers Héctor and Julio Humberto Grondona, inspired by London’s Arsenal. Sarandí have risen to the Argentinean Primera División and have stayed there since their introduction to the league in 2002.
Julio Grondona is the current President of the Argentine FA and is also a senior vice president of FIFA. He has openly stated that he voted for Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022.
He said: “Yes, I voted for Qatar, because a vote for the US would be like a vote for England, and that is not possible. But with the English bid I said, let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left.”
Well at least he was one of the few that voted on footballing terms, eh?
North London’s Argentine counterparts have also had a poor season. They are currently 16th in Argentina’s top division, winning four, losing seven and drawing six. With only two games of the season left, this will be seen as a hugely disappointing season considering they finished third last year.
Mauro Iván Obolo is El Arse’s (love that nickname) leading goalscorer this season with eight goals. The striker has scored 26 goals in 83 appearances for Arsenal. Obolo had a two year spell in Europe, with Swedish club AIK Fotboll scoring 24 in 74 appearances.
The club has not been nearly as successful as our beloved Arsenal, but have recently won two important trophies. A sign of things to come maybe?
Arsenal de Sarandí won the Copa Sudamericana in 2007 for the first time in their history. The Copa Sudamericana is South America’s second most prestigious club competition behind the Copa Libertadores.
Then in 2008 they beat Gamba Osaka 1-0 to win the Suruga Bank Championship.
Sarandí also won the Aficionados in 1962 and the Primera División C in 1964.
El Arse plays their home games at the Estadio Julio H. Grondona or “The Viaduct”.
The stadium has a capacity of 16,300 and was opened on the 7th August 2004.
When Sarandí gained promotion in 2002 their old concrete stadium was deemed unfit for the league. So for two seasons the team was forced to play their home games at Club Athlético Lanús and Racing Club de Avellaneda until their stadium was complete.
Arsenal Sarandí’s best ever player has to be Jorge Burruchaga, who of course scored Argentina’s winning goal against Germany in the 1986 World Cup final.
Burruchaga started his career with Arsenal in 1979 and managed the team from 2002-2005 and 2009-2010.