It is not unusual to read discriminative language on twitter. The social media network has been awash with abuse for years. I have been called an “overweight ginger midget” enough times to not let the abuse bother me.
I was however disappointed to read this morning that Arsenal an Arsenal fan group set up primarily to fight discrimination was themselves tweeting discriminative nonsense on twitter
The Arsenal LGBT Supporters Group, aka the Gay Gooners, have come out in attack against members of the Arsenal Away Scheme.
Now for those that do not know, the Arsenal Away Scheme is pretty much an away season ticket. It guarantees you a ticket for any away fixture – as long as the away allocation does not exceed the membership; at which point members are put in a ballot.
For Premier League games, the club automatically buys you a ticket for the game via direct debit. No having to remember when games are up for sale, no logging on and waiting in a queue. You are bought a ticket for every League away game, are unable to opt out or return a ticket to the club for games you are unable to make.
You also get priority for cup aways, Euro aways and cup finals. There are about 1,200 members.
As someone who go’s home and away, the Away Scheme makes life easy. Knowing that I am guaranteed a ticket, I can buy my rail tickets as soon as the fixture is announced, taking advantage of cheaper rail tickets.
Most of the time, I do not realise a game is up for sale until I receive the email from the club informing me that I have purchased a ticket.
Anyone with a Gold Membership (or a season ticket) can apply to to be on the Away Membership. There is a waiting list, which is about 2 seasons long. You can also write to the club asking them to sit you next to other away scheme members. Between me and my mates we have 4 in a row.
The away scheme makes sense, and it’s members are often the most loyal fans who go week in, week out. So why an Arsenal fans group would attack it is bemusing and why they would you use discriminative language is baffling.
According to the Gay Gooners, the Arsenal Away Scheme is full of “Old people” and that is a bad thing. Because all the old people are touts.
Imagine the outrage if I said a pub was “full of gay people and that is bad”. The Snowflakes would be up in arms demanding me to be hung, drawn and quartered.
For a start, just because you are old, does not mean you are a tout, or do not go to lots of games. It is actually the opposite.
At games, the away scheme members usually sit in the same area as the club have allocated the tickets to them at the same time. You get to recognise people. The same faces. Often standing next to the same ladies or geezers. There are hundreds of “old people” who you see at games every single away game. They talk about how many stadiums they have been too. How long it is since they have not missed a game. They are our core, loyal fan base. For an anti-discriminatory group to generalise and abuse people based on age is shocking.
Secondly, when I look around, it is not just old people in the away scheme section. There are plenty of young faces who go week in week out too.
I am 33. Whilst I might be an overweight, ginger midget, I certainly would not class myself as “old”. Of the four away scheme members in my group, I am the oldest, the youngest is 24. Two are over 30, 2 are under 30.
3 of use got our Arsenal Away Scheme memberships 4 seasons ago when we heard it had opened up for new applications. Due to the lack of success, people had stopped renewing and the waiting list had dwindled to nothing. We got 3 Away schemes.
A year later a friend applied to the scheme but was then told there was a waiting list. It took him one year to get one.
A few more mates applied last summer, they were told to expect to wait for two season.
The away scheme is certainly not filled with old people who “rarely go”.
As explained, we are automatically bought tickets for every single game, even if we can not go. We can not return these tickets to the club, so if we are unable to make a game, we have to sell tickets on ourselves.
Now I am not naive to think that there are no touts with away scheme memberships who sell there tickets on for a profit, but I’d say this is huge minority, probably barely 10.
Then there are fans who when selling there ticket, perhaps do overcharge other fans. This is wrong. But again, this will be the minority.
The vast majority who are unable to go to games sell for face value. You do not overcharge fellow Arsenal fans for Arsenal tickets.
I have sold a few in my time. Last weekend it was my fathers 60th birthday meaning that I could not go to Everton away. I sold my £26 ticket to the son of a friend who is currently studying at Manchester University for £26. I did not even ask him to pay for the postage!
I am also unable to make the Burnley game.. I have sold the £26 ticket to a lady who works out of my compabies Manchester office for £26. I did not even ask her to pay for the postage.
Whenever I can not make a game, I try to sell the ticket to friends, or friends of friends first. If I am unable to do this, I will stick it on Twitter face value. I have helped out about half a dozen people over the years when myself (or one of my mates) is unable to make a game. None of us have profited. I often go out of our way to meet the people I am selling too. Not too long ago I had to go to Hammersmith after work to meet the chap I was selling my face value ticket too.
It is disappointing that an Arsenal supporters group who fight against discrimination, abuse and for equality have decided to tweet discriminative abuse at older fans. You would think the Gay Gooners would know better than generalising a group of fans. I am not surprised, however, of the Gay Gooners attitude on this.
My previous dealings with them have been distasteful. They certainly feel an air of superiority. That they can say and do what they want because they are the Gay Gooners. They often shout that everyone should be treated equally, they rightly fight against homophobic abuse and demand everyone to be together on the issue, but then they tweet divisive, ageist abuse at older fans, and attack fans on the away scheme membership.
I do not expect the club to do anything about this. Nor will I be demanding them to do it. I am not a snowflake. The Gay Gooners will get all the abuse they deserve over these comments.
It is interesting in society that often those shouting loudest about anti-discrimination are those who discriminate against others the most. This is a perfect example of that.
For me there is no place in football for groups like the Gay Gooners. They want inclusivity but then exclude themselves by wanting to point out their sexuality at games. It is odd.
What is clear is that whoever runs the Arsenal LGBT Supporters twitter feed is a discriminative, abuse, chip on the shoulder bigot who need to realise that abusing people based on their age, or sex race or sexuality, is not acceptable.
What a horribly discriminative and misinformed supporters group the Arsenal LGBT Supporters (or at least their twitter feed) are.
There is no place in our game for discrimination. Unfortunately it seems our supporters groups set up to defend rights of minority groups are happy to discriminate against other groups.
Everyone remembers when the Ethnic Minority Rep demanded segregated areas in the stadium for men and women. He was there to protect the interest of ethnic minorities, but happy to discriminate against women.
All discrimination should be stamped out, no matter what it is.