Tag Archives: Sport

The Arsenal and Me – Ade’s Story

I grew up in Archway, the son of a Yorkshire man, whose love of cricket was almost as strong as his love of his family, so we weren’t a football family.

And to be honest, unlike most on here, I can’t really remember my first Arsenal game! But that’s why my Arsenal is a little different to others…………

So how did I end up a massive (arf) Gooner??? Well as luck would have it, one of my best friends at primary school happened to be Fred Streets daughter! So I was fortunate enough to start my addiction from amongst the player’s wives and the comfort of the players’ lounge, all comfy and cosseted from the real football world 

As I entered my teens I started to go to games, home and away, with my mates and this is where I found “my Arsenal”….

I could now  list all the games, finals, Highs and lows  etc etc etc  but I’m not going to, why?

Because my arsenal is more than the team, more than the trophies…….it’s the amazing, crazy, bizarre, unique people I have met in the past 35 years following AFC home and away…. The Bear, Maria and her cry, Baz with his kit, Mr Red Rolls Royce, the Mum and Daughter who I met at almost every way game I go to, Mr Beret, Bully, Big Martin, Micky B, The North Bank screamer, The internet freaks (my wife’s words not mine) the list could go on…..but you know what they all have in common???  Their love of ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB….Yes they may show it in very different ways, ways we don’t all like and approve of but they still support….they support THEIR CLUB…. THEIR WAY and that’s not wrong.

They are “MY ARSENAL”



Arsenal fan unfairly banned from attending games impacts local Charity

Fan X (as we will call him) pleaded guilty to a public order offence (threatening words & behaviour) mainly due to CCTV evidence, no complaints and no witnesses . It was just a row that got out of hand in a pub amongst acquaintances all Arsenal fans (not football related) 7 hours after a game and nearly 3 miles away from the ground.

The judge stated that Fan X did not deserve a football ban as it was clearly nothing to do with football and threw out that request by the police.The head of the Arsenal police intelligence team decided to take matters into her own hands and approached the club saying Fan X was a ‘danger to public safety’ and asked the club to impose a ban. He has never in 46 years of following The Arsenal been arrested inside a football ground. Fan X also has been banned from attending or organising any events inside our ground.

Fan X is the head of events for an Islington charity, they help keep local kids off the streets and try and give them a focus in life. The charity has held five Boxing shows at the Emirates Stadium over the last few years, all of which were great nights and went off without any trouble. They have even had some Arsenal players in attendance along with some big names in the world of boxing.

So a by product of this unjust ban is that the Islington based charity has had to find a new venue and is likely to lose out on some hard earned money to continue there great work for the local kids. Personally I am disgusted that a man a judge deemed safe to go into football grounds can get banned on the say so of one person and to ban a local charity which does so much great work for local kids will also suffer begs belief.

Fan X has currently got a legal challenge against this.


Don’t Let Club’s Get Away With Tesco Tactics

This week a BBC study revealed that football ticket prices among 164 clubs in the top 10 divisions have fallen by 2.4% over the past year. The sports minister Hugh Robertson welcomed the study as ‘good news’.

So is this finding something to celebrate? No, let’s get real – even a price reduction of 20% would be nowhere near satisfactory bringing back football as a game affordable for everyone and offering value for money. Malcolm X once said “If you get stabbed with a nine inch knife, and you pull that knife out by six inches, you should be wary of celebrating your progress.”

A 2.4% reduction in football ticket doesn’t even pull the knife out by an inch.

I’m an Arsenal supporter who stopped going after twenty years of being regular, because prices rose to a point that I couldn’t justify paying. It’s not just home games where fans of a club like Arsenal are hit hard. For every away game they’ll be charged grade A prices and expected to fork out somewhere in the region of £50; normally for games against teams who are categorised grade B or C when they travel to Arsenal. For away fans like these there has certainly been no 2.4% decrease in price, quite the opposite. But even if there was, big deal – you wouldn’t even be able to buy a pie in the stadium with the ‘saving’.

It’s vital to have a sense of history when discussing the issue of ticket pricing, in order to be aware of just how hard fans have been hit in the past twenty years. I’m not picking on Arsenal here because most clubs are guilty, but as they’re my team I’m 100% familiar with the rise in pricing so will use us as an example. In 1986 a seat in the East Stand Lower at Highbury for any game was £4.50 along with the option of standing in the terraces for around £3. In the space of just twenty years, that same seat went up to £39, which was way above the average growth in wages during that time, which did not even triple. In 1995 you could still get in to any game at Highbury for £10. From £3 to stand at any game in 1986, to £63 for the cheapest ticket at a grade A game is a breathtaking change and one that comes with massive consequences to maintaining a traditional fan base and atmosphere.

Reduction in football ticket pricing will typically be in line with the supermarket tactic of perceived cost reduction. In other words, hike up prices – then put them back down by a fraction and pretend the customer is making a saving. A perceived or flimsy price reduction is something we should be very wary of, and the FSF’s ‘Twenty is Plenty’ campaign should be used as a benchmark for fairness in ticket pricing. Twenty is most certainly plenty, especially when you consider the millions that Premier League clubs generate from television, advertising and merchandise. The team in the Premier League who finishes bottom will still be £60 million better off than they would have been a year earlier in the same position. Spin and false perception are simply not satisfactory and fans need to demand significant pricing reductions in order to see a return to the ‘People’s Game’.

Fan power is a weapon that is underestimated. This summer I attended a meeting with four other football fans in the offices of the Premier League, where we discussed ticket pricing with Richard Scudamore. Outside the building 300 angry fans from clubs all over the country were protesting and making their voices heard inside the building. From what I could see, the officials inside were a bit shaken up by what was going on outside in the street. They do not want any bad publicity to harm their corporate friendly product. Can you imagine if the percentage of protesting fans outside rose by the same figure as ticket pricing has in the last 20 years? If that were the case then the thousands of fans would really give the chaps in the Premier League offices something to worry about.

Matthew Bazell

Matthew Bazell is the author of Theatre of Silence: The Lost Soul of Football