More transparency needed for Gold Member voting

For years we have been petitioning the club for a more open and transparent process as to how they appoint members of the Fans Forum.

The lack fo fan input at high levels of the club was shown during the European Super League dibacle.

Not just with Arsenal, but with all 6 clubs involved, the decision to get involved in a closed shop European Super League was one made by the CEO’s and senior exectutives of clubs. all of whom only cared about the money it would generate.

The clubs might pretend that fans were “consultated and considered” with the decision but the truth is they were not.

For a long time, Arsenal have had a “fans forum” which is supposed to act as a sounding board. Theyu are supposedly consultated on most major decisions from the club – including ticket & membership prices, safe standing, ticket allocation for cup finals and “other projects with significant impact on fans”.

Whilst in theory the fans forum is a good thing, it his hidden behind clsoed doors, with non-disclosure agreements.

In the day of technoloigy, these is no reason these meetings can not be recording and streamed. Not necessarily live but at a later date once any information they do not wish to be shared has been redacted.

There has also always been lack of clarity as to who gets onto the fans forum.

Anyone has always been able to apply to be a fans representative (gold, silver, red, juniro Gunner, gay, ethinic minrotiy, female and disabled are just some of the groups repsented) but how those represenatives are chosen has not always been clear.

One of the things we called for was that applicants should be chosen by fellow fans, and not club members.

So we were delighted this week when the club announced that applications for the new Gold Member representative would go to a fans vote.

We were however surprised that the vote was on an “open page” on the clubs website.

When we were campaigning for this, what we wanted was for members to pick their representative.

So gold members pick the gold representative, silver the silver, red the red, purple (disabled) the purple, Junior Gunners pick the JG representative and so on.

In our minds, it was fairly simple.

The vote page should be in the members area of the clubs website, where you have to log on using your membership numbers. This would straight away restrict it to members only.

Then if you are a gold member, you will only see the gold members vote. When the silver member position comes available, only silver members will see the vote within their area.

This would lead to true fan representation.

Having it as an open vote seems to go against the spirit of the exercise, as fans would be able to vote on someone that does not represent them.

It would be like allowing voters to vote for a Member of Parliament in a different constituency to the one they are registered to vote in.

Our worry was that non-Arsenal fans could also infiltrate the vote.

So we approached the club to share our concerns in what seems to be a free-for-all voting system.

We asked the simple question:

“Why was there not a log in to vote?”

In response, the club have informed us that only the members votes will count.

We pushed further and asked how they would ensure only members votes would count but were told no need to you to know.

We deemed this unacceptable.

One of the biggest issues at the club in recent years has been the lack of transparency. The majority of gold member applications have raised this as a key issue. So to have been blocked from asking a simple question was disappointing.

So we are taking it further and this morning have Emailed Vinai Venkatesham.

What we have asked him is:

1) Are the club arranging and counting these votes or is it a 3rd party?

2) It seems anyone can vote on the website for the Gold rep, how are the club/3rd party filtering the votes so only Gold members votes are counted?

3) By which date are you planning on all reps being fan chosen by (silver, red, club level, etc)

4) Will the number of votes cast per candidate be published?

The club came back to us quickly answering the above questions as follows:

1) Are the club arranging and counting these votes or is it a 3rd party?

  • The Club will be arranging and counting the votes

2) It seems anyone can vote on the website for the Gold rep, how are the club/3rd party filtering the votes so only Gold members votes are counted?

  • All members votes will be validated and any non-members votes wil lbe discounted
  • 3) By which date are you planning on all reps being fan chosen by (silver, red, club level, etc)

  • The final group of ‘non-elected’ reps reach the end of their term at the end of 23/24 season, so for the beginning of the 24/25 season all reps will be elected by their peers
  • 4) Will the number of only gold members votes wil lbe counted for gold membersvotes cast per candidate be published?

  • The club will publish full results
  • Whilst we appreciate that the club came back to us swiftly, we still have many concerns such as:

    1. Why has the club not been transparent with the fact that only gold member votes will be counted
    2. Three years too long to have a full fan elected fans forum – every position should have been up for election

    The fact that the club are not being transparent with the process and waiting for 3 years before we have a fully elected fans forum shows that they still do not get it.

    This move was done to make the club appear more engaging with fans following the European Super League dibacle. but all it has done is raise more questions.

    Fan involvement with the club is a positive. But it has to be real fan involvement. Not just the club playing lip-service

    She Wore

    1-nil to The Arsenal…AGAIN

    Games against Burnley are never pretty.

    Every year since I can remember there has been a Premier League team that plays “anti-football”.

    From Bolton to Blackburn, Stoke City and now Burnley.

    Sides that play a physical game, often committing challenges that are let go by the referee. Their aim is to stop their opponents beating them by all means possible rather than winning a game themselves.

    They do not concede many, and score even less.

    Burnley rarely lose by more than a single goal, so it was not a surprise that the game finished 1-nil.

    They do not play the way they do due to necessity – plenty of teams with similar budgets play much better football. They play the way they do by choice.

    Sean Dyche is in the box with the likes of Tony Pullis and Sam Allardyce where losing 1-nil is considered a good result.

    And like with Pullis and Allardyce, Dyche is always quick to point to being mistreated by the officials to excuse a defeat.

    On Saturday Burnley we’re awarded a penalty. It was overturned by a combination of VAR and Anthony Taylor.

    The correct decision was made – Aaron Ramsdale got a huge chunk of the ball before the Burnley striker went over his out stretched foot.

    Dyche, in his post game comments, still managed to complain.

    He someone managed to make a point that even though he agreed the referee got it right, it was not as clear and obvious enough for VAR to intervene.

    I have no idea what medication Dyche is on but would advise the nurse up his dose.

    So it was a solid victory for us, won by a fantastic free kick by Martin Odergaard.

    Burnley offered very little and what they did offer – high balls into the box – Arsenal dealt with it well.

    Ramsdale was commanding in his box, claiming everything. Whilst Gabriel showed the monster of the defender he came became.

    A lot has been made about Ben White’s deficiencies in the air – something that was rarely mentioned when at Leeds United or Brighton – but he was never exposed. In fact it was with the ball at his foot that led to the error that saw Burnley awarded a penalty.

    2 wins from 2 since the international break. 2 clean sheets. Both 1-nil victories. We slowly build.

    Up next Wimbledon in the League Cup before Spurs next Sunday.

    Up The Arsenal.

    Keenos

    Too good for U23; not ready for the first team – Balogun needs a loan deal

    There is no debate that Folarin Balogun is too good for under 23 football.

    Another 2 goals for the Arsenal U23s against Chelsea has taken his tally in the Premier League 2 to 23 goals in 46 games.

    Balogun made his U23 debut back in the 2017/18 season. In 2019/20 he scored 10 goals in 15 U23 appearances. And than last season he added another 9 in 18 appearances.

    Having signed a new contract in the summer, it was expected he would progress to become a regular in Arsenal’s first team squad.

    Balogun started the first game of the season as a Covid hit team lost to Brentford. He came off the bench for the last 11 minutes against Chelsea in the Premier League but has not made the match day squad for any of the last 3 Premier League games.

    Ahead of him he has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacezatte, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.

    With 4 strikers ahead of him, and Arsenal not in Europe, Balogun will unlikely get a sniff of first team action this season.

    But he has outgrown the U23 scene, despite still being just 20.

    It was a probably a mistake not to loan him out for the season over the summer. Pick a Championship side in need of a striker where he would play week in week out. Like when Nketiah went to Leeds United.

    With Lacazette and Nketiah’s contracts set to expire next summer, Balogun will quickly go up the pecking order and will likely be 3rd choice striker behind Aubameyang and Martinelli.

    But for him to prove himself as worthy of being int he equation he needs to start playing regular men’s football.

    U23 football is no longer enough for Balogun. He has outgrown it.

    In January, Edu needs to find the correct team to move him onto for a 5 month loan deal. Then we can see what he is really made of.

    Keenos