Yesterday it was announced that Arsenal would be the focus of the next episode of Amazon’s “All or Nothing” series.
Arsenal announced the partnership by stating “You asked. We heard you.”
Let’s be honest. Hardly anyone asked.
In fact the majority of response to the announcement is negative. So Arsenal should stop pretending they are doing what the fans wanted.
So why have Arsenal agreed to be the next victims of All or Nothing?
Amazon reportedly paid Spurs around £10m for their 2020 series.
When you consider Arsenal have no European football next season, £10m is a huge sum. It will far outstrip any other sponsorship agreement bar Adidas and Emirates.
And it is not just the amount Amazon pay for the series that is financial important. It is the long term impact of the series.
Arsenal, like Tottenham and Manchester City before them, will hope that the “all access” show will attract a new wave of fans from the USA. That those that side of the pond will become hooked on the series and as a result end up a fan of the club.
Now Amazon do not release how many people watch stream their shows. However Spurs All or Nothing was in the top 0.4% of documentaries watched in the UK. In America it is in the top 50%.
Taking into account there is an air of negative surrounding Arsenal at the moment – both on and off the pitch – the club will probably be hoping to use the documentary to boast the “brand” around the world.
If Arsenal have a good season, win a trophy and finish top 4, a positive documentary will do wonders to boost the brand. In turn this will increase the amount of Arsenal fans globally as well as make us more attractive to sponsors.
Now if, like me, you think the globalisation of football has ruined the game for the local fan, this will all mean nothing to you.
Is someone who is currently a Chelsea fan deciding to support Arsenal due to a documentary really a fan? No. But the club do not care about that as long as they buy a shirt, follow the club on social media, etc.
We live in a world of REACH and IMPRESSIONS. And the more people that follow you on social media, interact with you; the more sponsors will pay to be associated with you.
And that is all what this is about. Money.
The other bit of Arsenal news from yesterday was the changing of the criteria for Cup finals.
Now to lay my cards on the table. I am a home season ticket holder. I was an away scheme member.
The club decided in a couple of weeks ago to scrap the away scheme.
Now whilst some people “celebrated” it; that decision will cause the likes of myself a headache.
The away scheme made things easy for away games. I would not have to think about when games were on sale, setting alarms, ensure I had access to a computer to buy tickets.
Myself and the 3 mates I sat with would automatically have our money taken from our account, tickets bought on our behalf next to each other, and two weeks before the game they would arrive in the post.
It made life very easy.
Now yes, some people did exploit the away scheme.
There were a few touts on it who never went to games and sold tickets on for huge profit. But these were in the minority.
For years AISA and the AST have been pushing the club to scrap the away scheme. And they have now got their way.
Both groups are supposed to be supporters clubs, but neither of them represented the views of those 1000 or so fans on the away scheme.
The attack on away scheme members by AISA and the AST has always felt like “we are not on the away scheme so will do everything we can to get it scrapped”.
But hey, as long as Tim Payton gets his seat on the board as the “fans representative” I am sure he does not care.
So then we have the change in semi final and final requirements.
The criteria for as long as I can remember has always been a mixture of being a season ticket holder and having away credits.
Basically, if you had 3 away credits and a gold membership, you were guaranteed a ticket for the final.
Away credits are awarded for going to away games in the last 2 years, as well as the current year. So basically you would have had to have gone to one away game a year for the last 3 years. Not exactly a hard task.
I have agreed for a long time that home games should also be taken into account.
Those that go to every home game should get priority over those that leave their seat empty or sell on the Ticket Exchange.
But I can not get behind the scrapping of the away credit criteria completely.
Surely a better solution would have been to combine away and home credits? So someone that goes to 19 away games a season and 10 home would have more priority over someone that goes 25 home games?
Again, it feels like an attack on away fans by AISA and AST.
Just because their members (or probably those running) do not go to away games, they have no time for them.
They do not want a criteria that is fair for all Arsenal fans. They want a criteria that gives themselves the best chance to get tickets.
And how long until the club move the goal posts a little and give you points for spending money in the club shop?
It is all just very disappointing from both the clubs and those supporters groups who pretend to be fighting a battle on behalf of the fans.
Maybe I am just being as equally selfish? But with the 3 decisions in the last couple of weeks, it just feels like the club is doing less and less in the interest of a fan that has travelled up and down the country following the club for over a decade.
As each year goes by, Arsenal becomes less and less “my club”.