“REDaction is a group of Arsenal fans with one simple aim: to improve the atmosphere at Arsenal games, and to give the best possible support to our team.”
That is the mission statement of Arsenal fan group REDaction, from their own website. But last night, that stopped becoming a supporters group. They stopped speaking for the fans. Their goal is no longer to help improve the atmosphere at Arsenal games.
Over the years, I have been a supporter of REDAction. They have worked, at times tirelessly, to try to improve the atmosphere and ‘match day experience’ at Arsenal. Volunteering their time, they have done a lot of good work alongside the club.
Often hamstrung by the actual fans, many of whom are more than happy to sit on their hands watching the game in silence, REDAction were behind the Block 6 singing (and standing) section when we moved to the bowl, and have been key in organising and implementing fan displays for some of our big Champions League nights – which often end up as the most atmospheric.
But they have also been well known to be in the pocket of the club, or certain board members at least, highlighted a few years back with their LOVE ARSENAL. HATE USMANOV banner. What the ownership of Arsenal FC has to do with the atmosphere at Arsenal games has never quite been explained.
They recently commissioned a couple of Alexis Sanchez banners.
Just banter they said when the originally got heavily criticised by fellow fans having posted up the designs. And rather than listen to the fans – which as a fan group is their duty – they went through with the cringeworthy, embarrassing banners. Against Burnley yesterday, both were out, loud and proud.
As expected, the fall out from this was negative. Many fans taking to social media to declare that REDaction did not speak for them. That the banners were an embarrassment. And frankly, REDaction should be ashamed of themselves. This led REDaction to release a statement later in the evening.
So what REDaction basically said is they do not care for the opinions of many of Arsenal’s oldest, most loyal fans.
Some might say these fans are stuck in the past, that they reminisce too much about football 3 decades ago, rather than live in the present and look forward to the future. I myself and been critical at times, and it is important for fans to realise that going to football in your 50s with kids and grandkids is going to be very different to going football as a care-free teenager in the 70s. Football has changed, but so has you.
Despite this, these fans who have followed the club over land and sea for decades are amongst the clubs most loyal. They are the ones who stuck with the club during tough times of the 70s and 80s. They are the ones who would still be going to Arsenal in the future if the club fell on hard times and got relegated to the Conference. They are the ones who would put a hand in their own pocket if the buckets went round the terraces to raise funds for the club.
A lot of the newer fans, and almost all of our foreign support – which the club seem to so proactively want to appease – will not hang around if it all go’s belly up. They have not invested decades of their lives, hundreds of thousands of pounds, relationships, marriages, livers, into Arsenal Football Club.
For a fans group like REDaction to be so dismissive of the fan base is an absolute disgrace. Basically says “if you don’t like it, you know where the exit is” is shocking behaviour. REDaction should now disband due to this. They are no longer a supporters group, but a small minority of fans doing things for their own interest.
To highlight further, when questioned on the matter last night, REDaction responded by declaring “We are 2 people”. So the group is no longer “dozen active organizers plus several hundred people who take part in our initiatives” but TWO people, with their own agenda, who are imposing their own views on what is considered fun or unacceptable on 60,000 other fans who go down The Arsenal.
How can they maintain the pretence that they are an Arsenal supporters group, when they admit they are only 2 people. They are clearly not representative of the fans, but just representative of themselves.
Back 14 years ago, REDaction were relevant. They fought the corner of the fans, but recently they have been left behind by other fans groups.
The BlackScarfMovement were heavily involved in the recent nationwide protests to reduce ticket prices at grounds. Lesser ticket prices will improve the atmosphere. REDaction barely uttered a word on it. The result was cheaper tickets for away fans. They have also been vocal when it comes to safe standing.
Today the Arsenal Supporters Trust will be meeting to discuss Safe Standing and how we can encourage the club to be at the forefront for the national push to get it introduced. REDaction have taken a back seat in what is arguably the most important aspect to improving atmosphere. Being able to stand with your mates.
So whilst the BSM and AST are actively campaigning and discussing ways to improve the atmosphere and accessibility for fans which will lead to cheaper tickets prices and safe standing, REDaction are commissioning cringeworthy banners, and using social media to attack some of Arsenal’s most loyal, long-standing fans.
On REDaction’s Twitter page, they pose a question in their Bio “Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”
Well if the problem is that in modern football, the ordinary fan is ignored, disregarded, abused, then REDaction are certainly not the solution.
REDaction have become part of the problem. They are no longer fit for purpose. It is time for the two people who run REDaction to step down. Disband.