Would you support Arsenal of Islington?

So on Tuesday, a couple of us went to watch the Arsenal U23s (feat. Debuchy and Jenkinson) play Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly. It was brilliant.

A crowd of just over 2,000. Some kids and families. And no tourists. No Chinese. No Arabs. No Americans. Just Arsenal and Orient fans. And it reminded us of how football should be. A local club for local fans.

Our minds then wandered to the future of football. The elastic between local fans and local clubs is already snapped. It will never come back. But how much worse will it get?

Straight away the discussion went to a European Super League. This is the next logical step.

40 of the continents premier ‘brands’. The classical big clubs, the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich. Plus the nouveau riche sides, the likes of Chelsea, PSG, Manchester City. Those who have bought themselves to a seat on the top table.

You would then have some smaller clubs and those big clubs from less dominant nations, the likes of Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Valencia, Feyenoord, PSV, Marseille, Glasgow Rangers.

They would want to ensure that the majority of Europe is represented, so the likes of Salzburg, BATE Borisov, Anderlecht, CSKA Sofia, Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague, FC Copenhagen, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Linfield, Rosenborg, Legia Warsaw, Wisła Kraków, Steaua București, Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Red Star Belgrade, Partizan Belgrade, Malmö FF, Basel, Galatasaray, Fenerbache and Dynamo Kyiv would all have a chance.

They then might look at some franchises. Having a Sheffield team, or a side from Nottingham, or from Rome, etc.

There would be no relegation / promotion and it would work in a similar way to the majority of American sports.

The 40 teams would be split into two conferences (or divisions of equal standing). They would play a full league campaign, alongside a European Cup knock out competition. At the end of the season, the top 4 in each league would enter a play off system to decide the Champions of Europe.

Like in America, the only way new teams could join is if an owner wishes to move his franchise to a new city, or one of the franchises go’s bust, and other sides (or cities) can bid to buy the franchise.

Underneath, but separate, to the European Super League would be the usual domestic leagues as they are now. There would be a break in the pyramid. Domestic champions would not flow into the European Super League. The top domestic league would be that clubs glass ceiling.

The plan by UEFA would be to monopolise all the money in just a few teams. But they would probably be wrong. Whilst the likes of Sky and other media outlets might support a European Super League in its early days, they will soon realise that a lot of people in England (and elsewhere on the continent) do not really care for European football. The dwindling Champions League figures highlights this.

I honestly think a European Super League would be bankrupt within 10 years as it just would not generate to TV audience to justify advertisers and sponsors to plunge in the billions they currently are. There would be more interest in the domestic leagues. But that is a side point.

So if Arsenal were entered into the European Super League, would you stick with them?

This would be the straw that breaks the camels back for me. I go home and away. I already do not do Champions League home games; although I do the odd Champions League away game.

I have no interest in watching Arsenal play every week against some European side, then to have a week off football as they play an away game in a fair flung corner of Europe which is just too expensive to go to.

So if an Arsenal of Islington (I joked maybe we should move to Woolwich and call ourselves Woolwich Arsenal) started up, near the bottom of the footballing pyramid, I would probably start to follow them. Home and away, up and down the country, to crap towns.

Tickets would be cheap, there would be few tourists fans, the side would be full of local lads who play for the shirt, not the wage packet.

My bet would be an Arsenal of Islington could get 10,000 on the regular. Maybe even more. This would give the club the natural finances to fly through the leagues and, within 10 years, be back at the top of the footballing pyramid in England.

I know a lot of people that would rather follow an Arsenal of Islington, rather than a Arsenal FC in a European Super League. A lot of the currently dissatisfied fans who no longer go would also come back out in support of an Arsenal of Islington.

So the question needs to be asked. If a European Super League saw Arsenal ‘promoted’ to just a franchise, would you sacrifice watching the best players in the world, to support a local club for local fans, starting out again.

Would you support an Arsenal of Islington?


35 thoughts on “Would you support Arsenal of Islington?

  1. Jonty Smyth

    No Arabs? No Chinese? No Americans? If you mean owners, you should probably say that, cos you’re sounding a wee bit racist


    1. keenosafc Post author

      I mean non-local fans. I do not care where you are from if you live in London / surrounding areas, but it is an undeniable fact that the globalisation of the game has killed it for local fans. As clubs chase the Yen, Dollar or Riyal, they have forgotten about the local fans. Travel firms sold 200 tickets to fans from China for Spurs away last season. How can this be correct?

      Add in the TV companies changing kick off times and the desire for a 39th game, it is clear that at the highest level, global fans are more important than local fans. And the European Super League will be for the global fans, not the local fans.

      Clubs need to stop pandering to foreign fans and treading over local fans to attract a wider global audience. when a club go’s bust and the bucket go’s round, it is the local fans who rise up in support. Leyton Orient is testament to that.


      1. Curtis Mayfield

        Keenos, I am usually a huge supporter of yours, but can’t agree here. It seems you are looking more for atmosphere (or perhaps faded glory) than football. All this other shit, foreign fans, money, super leagues, is just fucking noise. The game is the fucking game. Why are you watching other fans and not what is happening on the pitch with your mates?

        Football is for everyone, not just locals, bro. What is it you don’t like about “tourist fans”. They don’t look and act like you? There is only one way to enjoy a football match? If that’s the case, you’re the problem.

        You definitely should support your local team (NCFC for me, 2nd tier of American football, Swansea was here 2 weeks ago), but I fail to see how supporting a foreign club particularly when it is in the best league in the world bothers anyone? As a fan of a small market NHL club (Carolina Hurricanes), I struggle with LOCALS that support out of market teams. BUT I’d love to talk to Chinese or Europeans fans (not that there are any) that come to see my club play. What does it say about Arsenal (a club made up of foreign players, owners and coaches), that its local fans can’t tolerate a foreign fan?

        I also wonder why fans with this old school mentality don’t support teams in lower divisions like Orient? Your Islington idea (which will never happen) is just that, really. It seems like a more “authentic” experience for you local lads. But if you can’t imagine your life without going football and can’t stand to be around an Arab for two hours, you need to find somewhere else to go because it ain’t changing.

        American sports are run pretty well or they wouldn’t hold 4 of the top 5 slots in terms of revenue. PL is 4th and NHL 5th. The best comparison to your Super League in America is college NCAA football. There are a “Power 5” conferences with between 10-16 teams and a few outliers that make up the “super league”. It’s very similar to what you describe and is very exciting (for a relatively shit sport) because of how important the regular season becomes. Yes there are teams that are great every year (Alabama, Ohio St, USC, etc), but there are always teams that sneak in (Clemson last year). If you want it to go back to the 70s and 80s experience, I would think the Super League is what you would want because it would definitely de-emphasize the domestic competitions.

        I’d be happy to respond to this. Keep up the good work, Keenos.


      2. keenosafc Post author

        Think of it another way. As a NFL fan, you have the franchises. Now they are global teams supported, not only by people from the state they reside, but by sides around the world. They are global entities with little connection with local fans.

        Then underneath that, you have the collegiate system. At a local college game, you still might have 50-80,000 turn up, but they will all be locals, cheering on their local town side, cheering on locally born lads.

        I am sure there are many in America who prefer the local college system rather than the franchised global game of NFL.

        Your local college team is never going to up sticks and move states!

        For me, I am happy (not really happy, but you understand) for Arsenal to join the European Super League and become a franchise, if underneath that, a local team rises up that will mainly have a local following, and get to watch local lads, at a reasonable price.

        I have no issue with foreign fans, my issues are around football clubs (not just Arsenal) now targeting foreign fans rather than making sure their local fans are happy first.


      3. Curtis Mayfield

        Fantastic, thoughtful response, thanks.

        I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want a club to take care of it’s match going fans, but I don’t they should care where those fans come from. If it’s the 500 of 60,000 tickets going to a Chinese supporters group, I think that’s just selfish. What specific changes should a club make that will keep local fans appeased?

        College football players are rarely from the cities they play for, especially at the top programs where they recruit players nationally. There is no equivalent to the “home grown rule” the PL has, so Alabama can be filled with players from Florida and California. Players coming from the same state is more common at smaller schools, but that is like saying (and forgive my lack of UK geography here) someone from Birkenhead is local to Liverpool just because they are both from Merseyside. Most of the top flight colleges in America are from really shit small towns, so there really aren’t tons of locals to pull for. It’s also pretty clear Brits generally are way more into where they are from than us Yanks, though if you called me a Yankee, as a proud Southern man, we’d have a problem. I don’t care where a player is from once they put on the shirt. My boy’s favorite hockey player in a 19-year old from Finland, not some kid that looks and talks exactly like him, and I think that’s great.

        You make a great point here. You’re right, college teams aren’t going anywhere, and there are TONS of fans that only like NCAA football and not NFL. Both levels are attended quite well. All college players are considered amateurs and make literally NO MONEY AT ALL (like $0, seriously $0), so it is ALL about the shirt and the school. That part of it is pretty cool. That’s why I asked why a lot of you old school lads don’t go football in lower divisions. If the Super League and Royal Arsenal really happened, would you still support the Super League Arsenal and occasionally attend games? Or would you completely move on from them and stick to the lower league side?

        Myself, I go the other way, and here’s the reason. NCAA football is basically an under-22 league. That means the product (I loathe that term) on the field is inferior to the NFL. It’s minor league, second-tier, lower class. It’s the same reason I don’t bother with the MLS (that and I don’t have a local club … yet). The PL has the best players and the best product on the pitch. That’s what I want to see. The best. I don’t care how much money they make, or what time the game starts, or where the fans in the building come from, I just want to see the best play at the highest level against the best. The best players (and Arsenal, for fuck sake, it’s not like we’d be bottom feeders) would be in a Super League, so I would watch. But fuck I hate Real, Barca and Bayern and they would ruin a lot of fun, but the sharks are in every league that doesn’t artificially create parity (NFL).

        It’s also worth noting the “Power 5” conferences (SEC, PAC-10, ACC, BIG10, Big 12) are likely going to split from the NCAA to form their own super league. It will be interesting to see if they do it before UEFA does and what effect it has on the schools that are left out.

        Do you like our football at all? Do you understand it at any significant level? Just curious, since you don’t slam it as hard as some others do.


      4. gunnerbear

        Those foreign fans you disparage are exactly the ones that we need to keep the cash rolling in…..the ‘Day Trippers’ (for want of a better expression) are the ones who keep pouring the cash into the club when they use the club shop, buy food and drink, spend a fortune on match tickets and revel in the experience…..thus making others want to come to the games.


      5. gunnerbear

        Is a fan who, for example, travels down from Hull or Sheffield for every home game worth less than a ‘local fan’ in your eyes? Who is showing more commitment…the local lad who lives on the doorstep or those getting home at two in the morning after watching Arsenal at the Emirates lose narrowly to Milan in a CL game?


    2. Mitch

      I understand, a while back I was in Oslo and we had to knock off early as 4 of the Norwegians were flying out to see Arsenal play, having gladly paid a fortune for tickets, which loyal fans could not afford. Mind you, there was a bloke in Bergen I met who is a Stoke City season ticket holder, apparently they only got Midlands football highlights in Western Norway during the ’80s


  2. Shard

    Well, why wait for the Super League to start if you are so disenchanted with the modern football experience? Follow the example set by the ManU fans and set up the grassroots club you want, and bemoan that the modern Arsenal with all the tourist fans isn’t.


  3. Thomas Frederick Lambert

    Start up a team then? Sadly there’s not too many stadiums in Islington and the only real league is down Market road or up Holloway road, and even then they aren’t full size pitches.


    1. keenosafc Post author

      That is a problem we encountered in the pub. where would they play? AFC Wimbledon have had to move out to Kingston to get a pitch. I would not want us moving out of Islington (to Barnet, Borehamwood or Leyton)

      Could we use the American football pitch in Finsbury Park?


      1. Thomas Frederick Lambert

        It has been used for proper football before, but the lines and posts would have to be changed every game and the pitch itself would be dug up as hell if there was a game of snide football and a game of real football in the same week. Pretty sad state of affairs, I’ve been playing over in Kilburn and we have to trek around to Tooting and Hackney to get a game. I live just by the Angel so you can imagine how much I enjoyed that xD


      2. keenosafc Post author

        The bigger problem will be if the club grows and needs a bigger ground. A proper ground, that could hold 20,000. Wimbledon have got lucky with the dog stadium refurb. An Arsenal of Islington would have to move out completely to build another 20k stadium


      3. Billy White

        “snide football and a game of real football”

        You really don’t know shit. Learn something about a sport before you judge it, you small-minded fuck. I used to be like you. I hated soccer (yes, soccer, get the fuck over it if you are going to talk shit about something you clearly know shit about), but then I learned about it. Brits, particularly football fans, are so fucking close minded.

        And they switch fields (yes fileds, get the fuck over it) between soccer (yes, soccer, get the fuck over it) all the time with no problems. Shit, they switch between hockey rinks and basketball courts in 3 hours in arenas here. The fucking goalposts are built to collapsable you ignorant fuck.


      4. Thomas Frederick Lambert

        Love how you keep calling me ignorant but you’ve never been to Finsbury park have you? Of course not. To change the pitch over would be a huge task for a single Sunday league team to perform. And if we did start a new team (do you even context bro?) we would have to pay for someone to do it for us either before or after every single game. And also you keep swearing and getting angry, and thats fine you can choose to be that way if you like. But as a general rule of thumb if you invent something you can call it whatever you like. And I think there are only 3(?) countries in the entire world who do not call it football ( its a simple concept, you kick the ball with your foot) and only one country in the entire world plays american football professionally and calls it football even thought they throw the ball and use their hands. (Which is almost by definition ignorance). And even better the irony of you calling me ignorant whilst being ignorant yourself is really quite something. So why be angry and ignorant when you can just be quiet and mind your own business?


      5. Thomas Frederick Lambert

        Maybe you got confused I love football (yes proper football get over it) and discussing starting a new team. OP then asked about an American football pitch that has been set up in Finsbury Park (which is near the Emirates) and I was telling HIM (yes him and not you) how it would be difficult seeing as people play fake football (yes american football inst football at all its fake football get over it) that it would be difficult to use regularly


      6. Billy White

        My point (besides making you look completely stupid, which I did in spades) was changeovers happen all the time with little consequence. It is a small barrier of entry in your (never going to happen in a million years, anyway) scenario. Simple. I just solved your problem. I called you ignorant once because you thought moving a goal post would be a massive undertaking when school kids do it all the time here. As for the lines you just use two different colo(u)red paints, one for each sport. You don’t need to take all the paint off the field for your 5th tier soccer league. Moreover, the whole soccer/football argument is so silly and so tired. Do you throw in with your feet? Is there not a kicking game in American football? It’s such a wanker argument, like it’s impossible to like both sports because some people call them the same thing. Everybody knows what you are talking about (do you even context, bro). You English came up with the name soccer, and it’s what 100s of millions of people on a continent much larger than your little island call it, you really need to get over it. I love how you wankers think you own the sport. Like people haven’t kicked round balls around for 100s or 1000s of years. You’ve been barely relevant internationally since the 60s, and what % of your top domestic league is even from your little country? And fake football, huh? It’s the most profitable league in the world, son. The players are the biggest, strongest, fastest, toughest athletes in the world, kid. Talk about fake, is that what you call rolling around on the ground after a soft foul like they do in soccer? That is as fake as it gets, son. That doesn’t happen in American football, it’s not a game for soft men. Is the AFL fake, too? Do you even know what it is? You don’t know a thing about any of this, and I know as much as you do about soccer, easily. You aren’t going to win this argument with your ignorance.


      7. Thomas Frederick Lambert

        Why are so triggered? Who hurt you Billy? Why are you so angry? Did your father touch you Billy? Tell me please. You’ve again completely missed the entire point. And it’s a real show of your character that you came back again to respond with such anger and stupidity. I didn’t insult you or your cesspool country once, and here you are again flinging insults around and swearing and telling me I’ll never win an argument. You’re right, you can’t win against someone as blind ignorant as you are. Keep insulting my country in English and I’ll just sip my tea and laugh at the irony of it all. You need help Billy. You need to open your eyes and calm down. Maybe lay off the sugar for a bit?


      8. Billy White

        Oh Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, this is so much fun, I couldn’t be angry with you. I’m just going to sip my sweet iced tea and laugh and laugh while declaring it my self-proclaimed duty to point to all small-minded fans that there is no such thing as “proper football” and that the soccer/football argument in 2017 is tired. Hey, maybe I can expand a mind or two along the way. Just clearly not yours, you are obviously done with thinking for yourself.

        Where did I swear, son? And what point of yours did I miss? You literally made not one single point in your last argument, while I completely solved the changeover problem for your phony soccer team with 2 sentences. All you did was suggest that I was raped, like that’s an okay thing to joke about. You, on the other hand, seem so butt hurt over the soccer/football nomenclature you find it impossible to like both sports, on lingo alone. I have an open mind, son, so I am able to enjoy many things. Try learning something new, like another sport. Probably too much to ask, isn’t it.

        Come on, kid, the history between the US and UK argument? Seriously? That’s nearly as bad as the soccer argument, son. Are you going to try to insult me about the Boston Tea Party next? Or how about the other war we completely kicked your ass in (google it)? Oops, I sweared, you go football, but you can’t handle swear words? Fine then, I’ll lay in the dirt with you on the history arguments. You’re lucky you’re speaking English and sipping wanker tea, because if it wasn’t for my country you’d be speaking German right now. Ironic enough for you? Heard that one before? Me too. It’s almost as dumb as your “proper football” argument.

        Speaking of foreign languages, how’s this for my ignorance?

        Je pourrais insulter votre contry en français si vous voulez.

        How about this instead.

        Yo podría insultar a tu país en español si quieres.

        You have been owned savagely again, little boy. Try harder next time.


      9. Thomas Frederick Lambert

        ‘Would you support Arsenal of Islington?
        27 Replies
        So on Tuesday, a couple of us went to watch the Arsenal U23s (feat. Debuchy and Jenkinson) play Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly. It was brilliant.

        A crowd of just over 2,000. Some kids and families. And no tourists. No Chinese. No Arabs. No Americans. Just Arsenal and Orient fans. And it reminded us of how football should be. A local club for local fans.’

        Why are you even here? For real


      10. Billy White

        Haha, that’s your retort? Because I love AFC and reading this blog, knitwit. Or maybe the better answer is because it’s a public forum and I want to be here. Maybe I’m just here to wind you up (which has been quite easy, honeslty). How about you? Why are you here? Wait, nevermind, I don’t really care why you’re here.

        Honestly, I found the Super League conversation kind of interesting, as I did starting a new, smaller club. I was attempting to expand my mind, then I ran into you and your tired, stupid proper soccer/football argument that I’ve heard a thousand times. I thought, hey Bill, let’s expand some minds here. But I forgot about the typical englishman’s misplaced arrogance and entitlement, especially when it comes to soccer. Thwarted again, Tommy, I was thwarted again.

        You really just waved the white flag, son, with your ‘why are you here’ moaning. And once again, your arguments are rubbish. Really Tommy, I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I’ve come to feel sorry for you and your weak ass arguments. No wonder you don’t like American football, you’re nowhere near tough enough to handle an internet argument, much less a hard man’s sport.


  4. steve

    I used to go over Highbury from Essex road all home games and the res sometimes go over the O’s.
    shame football is going the way it is it’s a balloon waiting to bust and in a way hope it will


  5. Christopher Smith

    Unfortunately greed has taken over! There is too much money now being thrown about on transfer fees and wages, I used to go to Highbury in mid 50’s to early 60’s until I left Middlesex. It was much more enjoyable then than it is now! The game was not dominated by money in the same way as it is now. The leagues were much more open then as to who could win the league.


  6. Arthur in Islington

    You think TV audiences around the world would be more interested in domestic leagues with second-rate footballers than in a top-flight European league with the best in the world? I just can’t see that. Some locals like us would be possibly, but we’re peanuts compared to a global TV audience, as much as I hate to admit it.


    1. gunnerbear

      Might this be of interest…


      and this….


      If you bin off Promotion and Relegation, you build a stale league…and a league with no risk of relegation is a dead league (likewise promotion on non-sporting grounds kills a league as well e.g imagine finishing second in the Championship and then the Premier League deciding to pick the 5th placed team because the 5th placed team is seen as the ‘better’ commercial option….

      …..any sort of system like that would kill the ‘Championship and below’….after all why play if it doesn’t matter….



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