I have thought long and hard over this transfer window and have really tried not to get the hump and overly slag off anyone, I have been very chilled. After a great start to the summer with two great buy’s in Alexis and Debuchy and one for the future Chambers it finally looked like this was the summer The Arsenal were set to unload the mountain of cash reserves and give the fans a team we could challenge with. But again despite assurances from our CEO and many rumblings about the powder being kept dry we are short of 3/4 players, yet again. This season has also seen not only a 3% ticket price hike, but also increases for other memberships, a TV revenue increase, £30mill a year off Puma, £30mill a year off Emirates and of course Champions League money which could raise to £30mill depending on success and this is on top of record gate receipts last season. The money has been there for a few years, but the money has REALLY been there this year. The number of world class strikers that have been sold is huge for one transfer window, we put in a panic buy for Welbeck. Any and every player I wish nothing but success at The Arsenal but striker wise we needed someone better than Giroud, not someone better than Sanogo, my nan (88) is better than Sanogo. Underwhelming.
So whose to blame…..
The Club –
Stan Kronke (majority shareholder) – Apart from buying shares has not put a single penny of his own money into the club. He has no emotional involvement in the success of the club or any of the other clubs he runs. 4th is good enough in his eyes.
Ivan Gazidis (CEO) – The King of Spin, he talks a good game but like Kronke he isn’t an Arsenal man. This is just another brand to put on his CV and TBH what has he done ? People say the Puma and Emirates deals but they are house deals, deals expected to be made and when you compare them to other top clubs they aint that great either.
Wenger (manager) – Firstly well done last season for winning the FACUP, trust me I went as nuts as everyone else did, But the new 3 year contract was a mistake, he should of gone out on a high. I know that half of what he says to the press is gamesmanship these days and he oddly is proud of comparing transfers to playing poker, the aim of poker is to take everyone’s money btw, the aim of a football club is to give away money to assemble a better squad. Everyone and there dog has known for years how to out wit Wenger on the pitch and everyone has known where we need to invest on the pitch yet due to either penny pinching or stubbornness we will again start on the back foot and we are yet again two injuries away from disaster. Keeping him as manager is sadly heart over head now.
Fan Groups –
Only The Arsenal fanbase would be so fractured that we would have 4 fan groups, each have their own agenda’s. Sadly some of them are more into it as they enjoy tea and biscuits with the club than what’s good for fan’s and the club in general. In the ideal world we would have one strong fans group who the club try to keep on side as appose to the other way around. A strong fans group gets things done, at the moment we don’t have that.
Redaction – I have had some dealings with REDAction over the years, the first being the gig at The Rocket in remembrance of of 10years since our Rocky passed, were I assisted the lads who later on went to form the BSM. RedAction will openly admit they have a hard job, the club see them as the cheerleaders and refuse to speak to them about anything other than atmosphere. They also admit there’s a certain amount of give and take and dulling down of ideas they have. There are unelected and work for free, but they get there perks and recently one of there leaders has taken over the role of Supporters Liaison officer at the club, not sure you would get that role if you were a pain in the clubs arse.
AISA – come on you know who these are ? surely ? They were set up initially to help the club fight off the NIMBY’s when the stadium move was going thro. The Club love them, perhaps even owe them a debt, but they do nothing for match going fans, unless you get caught short walking from Blackstock Road to the bowl and need a piss in there tea hut by the station. I believe they were behind “The Wonder Of You” the worst song I have ever heard in a football ground in my 28 years of match going. They defiantly approved the ABC Graded games giving us the highest match day ticket price and they often petition for things like money off per year of buying a Season Ticket. The board there are voted in, but its very much a closed group. There online presence is next to nothing, but as I said the club seems to value there opinion, mainly as they bend over and agree with the club. They do not work well with other supporters groups, infact at times have refused to lend there voice to ticket increases.
AST – Now the AST were set up for members of the now dead in the water Fanshare scheme to have a voice. Firstly Fanshare was a great idea, sadly its execution wasn’t so great, hence them now looking to sell the shares. Now I wont go into the £money side of why it failed, but basically due to the fee’s it cost to run the scheme (which has been paid for by the club) and lack of new shares it has to close, which has left some members very worried they are out of pocket. What the AST has done well is get to seats speaking to the club, invites to jolly ups and giving out information on the clubs financial state. They also put out a statement agreeing with ABC graded games but let’s face facts, if they can’t run their own scheme they shouldn’t be trusted with anything moneywise.
BSM – The newest and now the biggest fans group, as i said above the main leaders of this group first really worked together on the highly successful Rocky Remembered gig which raised £10,000 to good causes like GOSH (on the request of Rocky’s family) and The Willow Foundation, they now give any profits to the Ben Kinsella Trust. The BSM are the only fan group to get bodies on the streets and outside the ground when they protested against the previous 6% increase. Unlike AISA they have a great online presence and put the online boot in when it needs and have even helped an OAP get his silver membership back after he took a year out due to cancer treatment. I just wish they were more pro-active on the streets like the early days, nothing gets to the club more than embarrassing them into something, like the Billboard advert and thousands outside the ground asking what the fuck Ivan does and telling the club just where to place the price increase.
There are too many Ultra Wenger loyalists, these fans are a danger not only to themselves but also to others. Everyone knows a fan like this, they think Wenger walks on water and could turn Sanogo into Henry. They pre-order the clubs overpriced shirts (home away and cup) and have debates amongst other lemmings with whose name to put on the back. They openly admit they would cry if Wenger left and would happily pay every penny they earn in ticket prices so they can say “i was there” whilst taking selfies to prove it of course. Their favorite retort in any debate over Wenger or the club is if you don’t like it follow blah blah, this is mainly as they chose to Follow Arsenal, not born into it. On the flip side we have fans who slag off everything the club ever do, via any medium they can be it twitter, a blog or facebook. Nothing the club do is ever right, nothing is good enough but when it comes down to joining in for a bit of direct action they can constantly be found at some family do which keeps them away. talk the talk, walk the walk.
All of my internet life I have loved debate with other fans and with fans of The Arsenal, I enjoy it, I follow a broad spectrum on twitter and with the help of other admin we have a very active facebook page to which its not uncommon to have 100’s debating the point of the day. But talking between ourselves will not get the club to spend, reduce prices or implement safe standing and talking in four separate fan groups has only made things worse, divide and conquer, together stronger. If only we were like the German fans, where we owned a large chunk of the club, had one strong elected fans group and worked together then maybe we would have the board we want, a manager who will win at more or less any cost and fans that don’t take lumps out of each other daily online and in the stands at games. The lack of investment whilst prices have increased has gone on too long now, ask yourself what have you done to combat this ? and I will leave you with the words of Paul Merson ” These Fans pay top top money to watch The Arsenal, they deserve top players”.