National Meet 2023 – Melbourne

AASC National Meet – Melbourne 2023

Hi there Gooners.

How quickly a year flies past when you are bouncing along with great form! It seems like only yesterday we were up on the Goldie at Surfers Paradise getting together for our annual National Meet. Sadly the weekend ended with an unfortunate bump as we just missed out on a Top 4 spot, not helped by the fact it was those Plonkers up the road who secured it!! Anyway, there’s no danger of us missing out again this Season so we are definitely going to be celebrating a successful Season whatever happens from here.

Last Meet the Queenslanders provided amazing weather…well for ducks that is, and thought it was hilarious to not tell us to pack snorkels! However we still enjoyed a fantastic long weekend up there! Massive thanks go out to the brilliant, David Illif for assisting with the organisation last year and providing us with local knowledge which helped the weekend run smoothly. Onya Gooner!

As agreed at the AGM, and as per our traditional State rotational strategy, this year’s National Meet will be hosted by Melbourne from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 May.

I’m sure you are all familiar with Melbourne’s reputation for fickle weather so don’t say you weren’t warned to pack accordingly, shorts, sunnies, thongs, jumpers, overcoats and Wellies!!

The local Melburnian Gooners Rod Jeremiah aka Aussie Gunnersaurus, Josh Calleja and Don ‘aving a Party Howard will be assisting with the fun Events and activities we have lined up for you to enjoy whilst catching up with fellow Gooners over the weekend. We’ll all have to wait and see whether we get any special guests joining us at some point in the proceedings.

For the recently joined Members here, the traditional National Meet has occurred every year since the Club originated back in 2007 when we achieved official status as an AFC Supporters Club. It has grown over the years, enabling us to get together to celebrate being Arsenal Fans, meet new Gooners and catch up with old Friends.

National Meet Weekend Activity Schedule

Friday 26th May
As per usual we kick the weekend off with the traditional Gooner Gathering Meet & Greet event.
As Gooners arrive from their various places of origin we will meet up at The Crafty Squire Hotel located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD for an informal welcome over finger food and a couple of refreshing drinks. During this event we’ll outline the specific arrangements for the Events to be held over the weekend. The Schedule below gives you with an idea of what’s to come.

Saturday 27th May
Our Big Day Out this year will take us first of all to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, better known as the ’G’. There we will go on a Museum Tour. The Museum hosts some amazing sporting memorabilia covering the ’56 Olympics, AFL, Football and music events held there. There is also a recently created special exhibition space as a tribute to the late, Shane Warne, which is, by all accounts, a must see.

Unfortunately, we are unable to undertake a Stadium Tour as on both days of our Meet, the stadium is hosting AFL Matches in the afternoons. However, if some Members are interested in taking a Stadium Tour, a provisional Tour booking has been made on behalf of the Club for 11am on Monday.

Our next Event in the early afternoon is a Micro-Brewery Tour at Bodriggy Brewery in Abbotsford. Melbourne’s Suburbs have become well-known over the years for establishing Breweries, especially in the Inner-North, where countless Bars and music venues abound. A tasting and Tour will have us nicely ‘refreshed’ washed down with some local music acts performing.

After time to yourselves we will gather again in the early evening for the AASC Annual Member Dinner event at The Crafty Squire. The Arsenal Trivia Event will follow the Dinner and the Rod & Don Show will, as usual get us all racking our brains and scratching our heads trying to retrieve obscure Arsenal knowledge. Spot prizes will be given out during the Event with the winning Team receiving a Team prize and all the bragging rights!

Sunday 28th May
Sunday kicks off with our usual first Event of the day, the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This is an Event that Arsenal FC expects us to run every year. Don’t tress, it takes place at the civilised time of 11am, enabling us to be able to actually speak and hopefully listen as well!

The AGM provides us with the opportunity to discuss the Supporters Club activities during the past year, review the Finances and explore new ideas to improve ourselves. In addition we formally debate and agree on new roles and personnel changes within the Club structure.

Following the AGM we will head onto a Barefoot Lawn Bowls event in St Kilda for the afternoon. Depending on numbers coming in from each State we may hold an Interstate Comp. It will be interesting to see who can bowl best with a few ‘refreshments’ consumed!

After a break for those keen to discover how well they can handle hot & spicy food, we will head out to an Indian Restaurant to refuel for our traditional Curry Night. This has become a firm favourite over the years, especially with the Ex-Pats. It can get messy so be prepared!!

Once we have had time to freshen up, we will head back to the Crafty for the Super Sunday Matchday and a screening of Arsenal v Wolves. Hopefully there will be no pressure on the match as we may, fingers crossed, have already secured much more than a Top 4 position! If not, there will be a lot of fingernail biting during the match, so grow them long, just in case!! Either way, let’s give Wolves a good thumping and celebrate the closing of the Season on a high note.

Next Steps to book your Gooner Marvellous Melbs Magic weekend
To book to join us we need to login using your Membership details and go to the Shop, where you can purchase a Meet Access Ticket for only $95. The Ticket will provide access to all Friday to Sunday events. The Events are in the main subsidised by the Club and included in the Ticket price. The exception being the Curry Dinner Event, which if attending is at your own expense. Unless advised at the functions your drinks at your own expense of course.

We urge you to book your place promptly and make your travel plans quickly to secure flight deals as sales are on now and prices will rise closer to May. Melbourne has a vast range of accommodation to suit all tastes. We do suggest you find a place central to the CBD as this will enable you to get to and from the Crafty easily.

For those who are unaware, Trams are free everywhere in the CBD area. For those staying on the perimeter of the City you will need to purchase a Myki Travel Card when you arrive (available from machines at the Stations) for approx. $6 and load a minimum of $10. This will enable you to use Trains, Buses and the Trams that travel outside of the CBD area to place such as Abbotsford, Richmond & St Kilda. You may need to ‘top up’ the Card as you go over the weekend.

Finally, we are looking forward to seeing as many of our Members as possible in Melbourne to enjoy catching up and share in the conclusion of a fabulous Season. See you all soon!

Cheers & COYG!
Tony Kendall
Arsenal Australia Supporters Club