Author Archives: keenosafc

German fans lead way in protest against fixtures moved for TV

German football fans stick up for themselves right.

I have recently spoken about how the globalisation of football has killed it for local fans.

As the Premier League and clubs within it began to chase ever increasing revenues, they neglected the local fans whilst building their global brands.

Ticket prices increased dramatically after the creation of the Premier League as clubs attracted more and more day trippers. People that would happily pay £100 to go to a single game, spend another £100 in the club shop, then go and visit Big Ben.

They got in bed with travel companies who sold “flight, hotel and ticket” packages to Americans, Chinese and anyone else that was happy paying above face value. Rumours circulated a couple of seasons ago that Arsenal had sold 150 tickets for Manchester United away to a travel company who then sold them to Chinese tourists – allowing them to jump ahead in the queue above fans who had spent years building up their credits.

You then have kick off times.

Games are now spread over a weekend so that TV companies can put on as many games as possible. They start on a Friday night, finish on a Monday night. The TV companies show little regard for whether match going fans can or can not get home. They are only concerned about maximising viewership for TV audiences in the UK and abroad.

The FA Cup was wrecked this weekend as the 8 games took place at 8 different times – with just one at 3pm Saturday.

We had Derby travelling to Brighton for a 12:30 kick off on Saturday, then Manchester United travelling to Chelsea for an evening kick off last night.

People talk about the magic of the FA Cup dying, but the FA are selling out to TV companies for money.

In April Newcastle travel down to London to face Arsenal on a Monday night. It will be their 3rd Monday night away game of the season.

The fact that the Premier League do not instruct TV companies to take match going fans travel into consideration when scheduling games shows that the TV money is more important to them then the fans that go. Remember, football is not a TV show, and without fans, football is nothing.

I do have to agree with Tim Stillman over at Arseblog when he says that whilst the globalisation of football has had negative implications, many local fans are complicate.

The foreign TV deal is huge – £3.2bn between 2016-2019, but the British TV out strips that over the same period – £5.14bn.

Local fans will happily moan online about fixtures being moved, but they will happily pay £80 for their Sky Sports subscription and watch Monday night football.

If it was them travelling away to Newcastle on a Monday night, they would be getting angry on Twitter. But when it is Newcastle travelling to Manchester United, they will sit in front of their TV with a curry and a few beers.

Whilst a lot of fans will complain about rising ticket prices, many others will pick and choose their game.

At Arsenal, Cat A fixtures sell out quicker than Cat C, despite them being 3 times. You have fans who will buy tickets for the big games (and moan about the price) but then not go to the smaller games. They pick and choose. And the higher demand will just encourage clubs to keep putting ticket prices up.

The problem is the majority of fans are happy to sit on their hands and not care.

Over in Germany, fans have constantly protested about Monday night games.

A four-year deal TV worth £4.07billion, which started in 2017-18 and included five Monday night matches a season.

Last night we saw Borussia Dortmund fans throwing tennis balls onto the pitch in one of many protests by fans across the country against the Monday night games.

These protests the German Football League to renegotiate the TV deal – with it now ending in 2020 – removing the Monday night games. Supporters’ groups have hailed it as a victory for fan power.

In England we have had some minor success.

The likes of Arsenal’s Blackscarf Movement joined supporters groups from other clubs in protests which led to a £30 cap on away tickets.

Fans across the country need to keep doing more, however. They need to remind clubs that it is the match going fans that are most important. That their clubs should be sticking up for them against the Premier League, against the TV companies.

Unfortunately until we see mass action from all clubs like we have seen in Germany, the Premier League and its member clubs will continue chasing revenue from around the globe regardless of the negative implications on match going fans.

How long until a European Super League is formed, with games held around the globe? That will truly be the death of clubs being the centre of their community, truly be the death of the game for local fans.

In other news this morning, Saido Berahino.

Has their been a bigger waste of talent then the Englishman – maybe Jermaine Pennant.

In an era where we are seeing young English players pushing themselves, moving abroad, taking moves abroad to play football, Berahino is a throw back to the Baby Bentley years of young players with poor attitudes getting too much money too young.

Last night Berahino was arrested at 3am in Central London.

“When officers arrived on scene a car was seen to drive away at speed,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.

“The car was stopped in Bedford Square and a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.”

Scotland Yard said Berahino told officers he had been the victim of a robbery in Great Russell Street.

“He alleged a group of males surrounded his car in Great Russell Street and attacked him, stealing his watch,” the force said.

In 2015 Tottenham had a £15million bid for Berahino rejected by WBA, who valued him at £25million. Spurs wanted him as competition for Harry Kane – who had just one season as Tottenham’s first choice striker under his belt.

At that point, both players were at a similar level. Both 22-years-old with one proper season in the Premier League under their belt. Berahino the more naturally gifted of the two.

Since then, Kane has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the best strikers in world football -scoring 124 goals from 2015 to now. Berhaino’s career has been a car crash with a move to Stoke and various arrests for drink driving. He has scored just 12 goals in 4-years.

Saido Berahino highlights a lot of what is wrong with the modern game. He has become a millionaire by not doing very much, and still has 3 years on a £70,000-a-yar deal. By the time his contract expires, he would have earned over £18million from a club who are struggling financially.

The sad thing is if Stoke City cancelled Berahino’s contract tomorrow, there will be queue of clubs happy to pick up his wages. He will end up retiring at 30-years-old having earned millions from football, whilst not really achieving anything or caring for any of the clubs or fans he is supposed to represent.

A bit like how nothing will change in football if fans do not get together, clubs should do the same. Blacklist people like Berahino. Do not give him another chance. Tell him his kind is no longer wanted in the game.

Anyway, that is today’s musings.

Keenos

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Guendouzi OUT, Rabiot, Nkunku + £42m IN

Matteo Guendouzi has been a fantastic signing.

Signed for just £7million last summer, it is easy to forget that he is just 18-year-old and had just 8 Ligue 1 appearances to his name.

The original plan would probably have been to use him at 6th choice central midfielder, behind Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey, Mo Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The World Cup and some injuries saw him got some early game time and he has not looked back.

His form has led to speculation that PSG are considering a bid this summer.

I have spoken before about how Liverpool have been able to build a title winning squad by buying low, selling high and reinvesting that in more players. Over the last 5 seasons, they have bought in over £200m more in player sales than Arsenal. This has enable them to sign Allisson, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

When you compare that to Arsenal who have lost about £200m in player sales over that period due to contracts and underselling players – think Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Wojech Szczesny & Serge Gnabry – it leads us to the situation which we are now in. Liverpool 2nd, Arsenal 5th.

I have blogged previously that Arsenal will need to take a risk. Perhaps sell Lucas Torreira for big money and reinvest that on 3 or 4 players.

£60million for Matteo Guendouzi is huge money for a player with half a good season, and Arsenal should seriously consider it.

PSG have previously had problems filling their “home-grown” quota for the Champions League.

With the mega rich oil-financed club recruiting the worlds best players, this has often been at the detriment over French talent.

This has led to PSG signing the likes of Lassana Diarra, Hatem Ben Arfa, Benjamin Stambouli and Yohan Cabaye in recent years.

Despite France being current World Champions, very few of the national teams top players came from PSG.

With Adrien Rabiot, Christopher Nkunku and Lassana Diarra set to leave them in the summer, they will be left with just 4 senior French players in their squad.

This means they will need to go out to the market and recruit French, which in return will see premium price tags put on French players akin to what happens in England with English players.

Guendouzi would be an ideal signing for PSG.

He is one of the best young midfielders in world football. PSG would be signing him knowing that he has the potential to become a first team regular at the highest level – and not just to make up the numbers like Diarra, Ben Arfa et al.

He would be the perfect replacement for Rabiot.

Not only is Guendouzi French, he is Parisian.

Born in Poissy, an outer suburb of France, Guendouzi joined the PSG academy at the age of 6. He left Paris to join Lorient’s academy in 2014.

PSG fans will be wondering why they let such a talent out of their door at 15-years-old.

With the premium PSG will pay on French players, Guendouzi’s potential, and him being Paris-born. a fee in the region of £60million would not be too far from the truth – remember they spent £144million signing another Paris born teenager – Kylian Mbappe.

So should Arsenal take it? My heart might say no but my head says yes.

Let us paint a kick picture.

Arsenal sell Guendouzi for £60million. We then recruit two of the French central midfielders that PSG are set to lose this summer – Rabiot and Nkunku.

Rabiot is available on a free this summer and is a better player than Guendouzi.

They are very similar in the way they play (and look), but with Rabiot being 4-years Guendouzi’s senior, he is the more polished player. Closer to the finished article.

Guendouzi has the potential to be better than Rabiot, but we would be trading a player with a handful of appearances for someone with well over 200.

In January, Arsenal were also heavily linked with Christopher Nkunku for £18 million.

Were we to secure both Rabiot and Nkunku we would be improving our first XI and signing a talented youngster for the future. We would also be £42million up on the deal.

Sou would making the deal make sense?

Keenos

 

Victory Grows Through Harmony – Does everyone need to remember the values of The Arsenal?

Someone recently said to me “Unai Emery is neglecting the clubs values.” I responded by asking “what are the clubs values.”

I thought it was a simple question, but the response was also predictable; “if you do not know the clubs values then can you really call yourself an Arsenal fan.”

The question was the rephrased as “which Arsenal values do you believe Emery is neglecting” and again the response came back as “as an Arsenal fan you should know,”

This went in circles 5 times until it hit me, the person making the original statement did not have a clue about Arsenal’s values; he just said it is a throwaway statement without knowing how he was going to justify it.

It then got me thinking; what are the clubs values? What are our principles and standard of behaviour?

I imagine the original Tweeter was talking about playing the Arsenal way.

The “Arsenal Way” is an awful statement. Something made up. Just like the “West Ham Way” or the “United Way”. It means nothing.

Some will argue that the Arsenal Way is how we play football. Free flowing, possession based, attacking football. But this is not the Arsenal Way. This is the way we played under Arsene Wenger for about half of his tenure under him.

The double of 1998 was built on defence rather than attack. Under George Graham it was “boring boring Arsenal”. Attacking football certainly is not one of the clubs values.

So I attempted to come up with some club principles, and felt that there was evidence of Arsenal values.

The first is in the club moto Victoria Concordia Crescit. I like many have it tattooed on myself. It stands for “Victory Grows Through Harmony”. The history on this can be found over on The Arsenal History Blog.

Victory growing through harmony. It is fairly self-explanatory. That we succeed in life by working together, working with each other, rather than working against each other.

Before Emery had even over seen a game, he participated in an interview where he highlighted he knows exactlywhat VCC means.

He spoke about how the club, the team, the media and the fans need to work together to get success. That the 4 were legs of a table. That without one leg, you may not succeed.

I imagine he used this analogy during the interview process, and it is a analogy we can all get behind.

The problem is many fans have forgotten about Victoria Concoardia Crescit. They have forgotten that victory grows through harmony.

It started under Arsene Wenger. Fans so willing to crate divisions, labelling themselves and labelling fans who disagree with them. There had never been such a huge division between many fans. We were certainly not working as one to hold up the table.

And that has continued this season.

Fans are constantly arguing with each other. Whether it be over Unai Emery, over Mesut Ozil, or over foreign supporters. It seems some just want to see an argue online all day, creating divisions. Extreme views fuelled by a desire for retweets and followers.

I am not talking about fans disagreeing or having a discussion with differing view points. I am talking about those fans who deliberately go out there and try and be divisive.

Also those fans who are quick to insult someone who has a different view to themselves.

Just because you disagree with me, does not give you a right to label me as a “paedophile” or an “overweight 50-year-old alcoholic wife beater”. Likewise it would not give me the right to say “your view doesn’t count because you are foreign”.

Victory Grows Through Harmony. Fans seems to have forgotten that.

The second club value was something that David Rocastle said.

Fans clearly forget who they are and who the represent.

They forget that on social media, when they have an Arsenal AVI or “Arsenal” in their bio that they are not only representing their views but also The Arsenal.

Recently we have seen a rise in the mainstream media writing “Arsenal fans react” articles. They pick and choose half a dozen extreme tweets in response to something that has happened and use this to create a representation of all Arsenal fans.

We also have the embarrassment of Arsenal Fan TV.

The media and fans of other clubs use them as a stick to beat us all. They act like the characters and actors on the YouTube channel are the voice of the fans. That they represent the fans. They do not.

Look at racist abuse.

When a player is racially abused by someone in the crowd, it is not just that fan who gets hammered, but the entire fan base. We have seen it with Chelsea, whose entire fan base has been labelled “racist” due to the behaviour of a few.

Whilst people will argue that their views represent themselves, and not the club they support, they should remember that when Tweeting or commenting under the guise of being an Arsenal fan, that they are representing the fan base.

Some Arsenal fans, with their abuse of the likes of Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have clearly forgotten who they are and what they represent,

“Play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back.”

Arsenal’s greatest ever player, greatest ever captain, Tony Adams uttered the above words. I feel some of our players have forgotten about that.

In an era of football when players can have a larger following than clubs. When fans support a player instead of a club – and will move their support when the player moves – some players have ended up chasing personal glory rather than team success.

Wenger said in his final year at the club that we will see more and more fans supporting players over clubs. It already happens in American supports, where fans (usually not local) follow Lebron James above the club he plays for.

They supported the Cavs because of him, then moved their support to Miami Heat, now support the Lakers. For them supporting the individual is more important than supporting the team.

Mesut Ozil (24m followers) has a lot of this type of fans. They supported him at Madrid, now support him at Arsenal (14m fans) and will follow him to PSG or China or wherever he plays next.

Ozil is a global superstar. I understand why he attracts many fans like this. But the problem is he, amongst others, tend to end up playing for themselves, playing the PR game for themselves, at the detriment of the club they lay for.

I go back to Emmanuel Frimpong. He became more interested in his social media status than playing for The Arsenal. He was last seen playing for a club in Cyprus.

Players need to remember that if they play for The Arsenal, if they perform for The Arsenal, then fans will remember them.

The likes of Ray Parlour and Dennis Bergkamp and two great examples of this.

Completely different amount of talents, but both are Arsenal legends. Both played for the badge on the front of the shirt, and the name on the back became legendary.

The final value comes from a Denis Bergkamp quote.

“When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.”

As a fan you should not be supporting a club for the trophies. Or because they are a “global brand” or due to a single player. You should be supporting them because you have found a place where you belong.

If Arsenal drop down the leagues, end up in the Conference, with XI local boys, no global superstars, you should still support the club.

It is the fans around you watching the game alongside you that makes the club, not the trophies or the players on the pitch.

If you only support the club due to the success, or just to the brand, or due to a player, you will soon disappear if it hits the fan. You are not really a supporter, not really a fan, if the only reason you support The Arsenal due to trophies or a player.

Personally, I think we can all become better fans, more respectful fans, and as a result a more successful club, if we remember the 4 values of the club:

Victoria Concordia Crescit

Remember who you are and what you represent

Play for the badge on the front, and they will remember the name of the back

Do not support your club due to trophies or players, but because you have found a place to belong

Have a nice Sunday

Keenos