The Fan Doth Protesteth Too Much…

GE

An away win and progress into the next round of the cup. What shall we do with the rest of the week? It’s as good a time as any for a protest. Not a good, old-fashioned march with placards but with our feet nonetheless. Organised electronically, of course.

The Premier League’s announcement yesterday of a price cap on away tickets was a small but important victory for supporters yesterday. The disappointment in it is that they failed to seize the opportunity to embrace the Twenty’s Plenty aim.

Arsenal went a step further. The club will provide an additional £4 discount, meaning that the top price that away supporters will pay as they follow Arsenal over land, sea and Leicester is £26. It’s a significant move on their part and appreciated, even if the money will barely scratch Arsenal’s funds.

It begs the question as to why they can’t reach reciprocal agreements with other clubs, charging those visiting The Emirates £26 if the same applies to Arsenal’s return fixture? There was a cabal of like-minded clubs who leaked their intention to follow this course of action recently so there is a willingness there.

Arsenal supporters are likely to gain more than most with this Premier League move. Ticket price structures are such that the matches are invariably Category A even if the corresponding fixture at The Emirates is C. A figure bandied around mentioned a saving of £370 over the course of a season which underlines the extent to which the cash cow has been milked previously.

This is the beginning of the process though. The aim of charging away supporters £20 per match should surely continue, not resting on its laurels at this starting point?

At the same time, Red Action have announced that they support a boycott of Sunday’s cup tie with Watford. It’s the only game this season, barring a miracle in Barcelona next week, where season ticket holders have the option of attending without wasting their money. The game isn’t covered by a cup-tie credit so it’s an optional extra.

There are plenty who disagree with that course of action. As with the banner being unfurled after a win, the strength of feeling behind the statement is that Red Action are the organisers of much of the fan participation at The Emirates.

I understand why they have chosen the course of action but suspect it is nothing more than an exercise in futility. Season ticket holders who ‘opt out’ will find their seats gleefully snatched up by other members who would otherwise struggle for tickets in such a crucial game. The aim for massed ranks of empty seats is unlikely to happen, certainly not to the extent of the recent Swansea match.

There is also the argument that an isolated incident which is how an individual game will be viewed by the club’s hierarchy, is that effective. Liverpool supporters leaving en masse on the 77th minute proved that with the right publicity, supporter protests can have a strong visual impact.

Some argue that it had a negative impact on the pitch with Liverpool dropping a two-goal lead late on. I wish people would make up their minds over whether the crowd impacts on players or not, even managers dispute whether they do.

The fundamental problem I have with the proposed action is that it’s on the vaguest of grounds. “If you are unhappy with how our club is being run” is not much of a focussed rallying call, lacking the specifics of ticket pricing or any other objective. Mentioning a “£36” saving on your season ticket renewal suggests to the casual reader that it is motivated by self-interest.

Yes, the club could be more fan-centric in its focus and if commercial revenues continue to rise, if broadcast income continues to become a bigger percentage of turnover, that might happen in the future but in the short-term, there will be a series of small ‘wins’ but what is given with one hand will be taken by the other.

Tying any boycott into the £3m Consultancy Fee is pointless; KSE will still take that money on a nod and wink from the board. No amount of empty seats is going to change that.

Unless the whole of football changes – as with the away ticket pricing – Arsenal are not likely to do anything which will fundamentally weaken them against rivals.

And I haven’t even begun on the manager yet…

’til Tomorrow.

123 thoughts on “The Fan Doth Protesteth Too Much…

  1. Bill says:

    Miami and C were the regulars who were campaigning for Aubameyang when he still played in France. They were spot on.

  2. C says:

    @Bill

    I get what your saying about Akpom and the stats do look damning but I think if playing regularly as the main man next season in the Championship.

  3. C says:

    What I wouldn’t give up for Aubameyang. Tall, rangy, pacey, quick, brilliant feet, brilliant movement and a clinical finisher. Its my perfect striker.

    Just think, Arsene didn’t sign him because we had Giroud.

  4. Bill says:

    C @ 7:52

    I doubt it but anything is possible.

    If you are grasping for an explanation which is not quite so damning perhaps he just needs more time and experience and mental maturity to develop the needed calm in front of goal. Great quarterbacks in American football often say it feels like the game slows down when they are playing well and they feel like there is more time to make decisions.

    It again shows just how deceptive the stats and performances of players at the academy level. Chuba was prolific in the U21 teams. Much as we hate Tony Pulis, he was probably right when he said that playing at that level does not adequately prepare most players for the next level.

  5. Bill says:

    C @ 7:55.

    I blame Dukey. He is the one who thought we should stick with Giroud. That is the downside of optimism. 😉

  6. C says:

    @Bill

    We have to remember that he is still young, not even 20 yet, so he is still learning that part, that bit of calm in front of goal. I don’t doubt he can get it and more to what you were saying about American QB’s, they also talk about how its with the more they play and the more they mature.

    We won’t know until next season but I would bet he will be better.

  7. C says:

    @Bill

    Hahaha, still won’t stop Dukey from being optimistic!

  8. C says:

    What about Low to replace Arsene? Its an interesting thought, my friend said he put down a bet on it.

  9. Bill says:

    C @ 8:16

    I agree and players mature at different times. I suspect the demeanor needed to be a clinical finisher can’t be taught. Birdkamp and I used to argue about this but scoring will never take of itself no matter how much creativity and technical skill a team has. It seems like the physical and mental attributes needed to be a consistent scorer are the single most difficult futbol skills to master. it’s also very difficult to develop your own scorers from scratch. No wonder that it costs so much to buy the good ones and it’s frustrating when we had chances but we miss players like Higuain or Aubemayang or Suarez. If you want to succeed, you can’t be paralyzed by the fear of making an occasional expensive mistake.

  10. C says:

    O and for people saying look at what Klopp is doing at Liverpool, commentator says they have 1 loss (in the CC Final) in their last 7 and they are ripping an experienced Manure back 4 to pieces and if not for De Gea would be up 4-0 at half.

  11. C says:

    @Bill

    Me and you still disagree. Yes scoring goals is difficult but creating those chances are just as difficult, its why teama park the bus daring players like Ozil to pick their lock which most can’t but we are lucky to have a couple players who can. Just need to find that consistency, but I do think creating goal scorers can be done but its a lack of patience from managers and supportera that ultimately do them in.

  12. C says:

    O and what a signing Firmino has been for Liverpool too, damn wish somebody at Arsenal would have listened to me, he could have been on the wing opposite Sanchez.

  13. Bill says:

    C

    I bet there is not a player in the history of world football who would not want to be a striker and score goals if he could master the skill. Even Ozil. I know that may be a bit of hyperbole but it’s probably pretty close to being accurate.

  14. C says:

    @Bill

    Not sure about that, some players just enjoy creating even from a young age, I think a more accurate statement would be all players want to score goals.

  15. Foetry says:

    Evening all. I think we missed out on Higuian, Suarez, Draxler but I don’t think we ever tried to have Aubameyang. When he was relatively cheap I think we still had RVP, Eduardo and other prospects from the academy.

    Bill in addition to techniques Bill, high scorers have that love for scoring goals and a high degree of selfishness & hunger which allow them to give it ago time ans time again and keep going. We have have had 2 clear examples of players in Hleb and Ozil who with all that exceptional package are/were just too obsessed by the pass that it almost comes across as a waste that they don’t shoot more often..

  16. Bill says:

    Foetry.

    True. Neither Hleb or Ozil has a scorers mentality. I would add Rosicky to that list. TR7 was someone who could score great goals but never scored very many goals. Hard to understand the mentality. . We had a more accomplished scorers in the Hleb Rosicky era then we do now. Arsene loves playing false wingers and Rosicky on the left and Hleb on the right we had 2 really good ones. The way our team is constructed right now we would be much better with more of a scoring threat at the #10 position but as you point out Ozil does not have the mentality.

  17. Bill says:

    I don’t think you have to be selfish to be a great scorer. I think Thierry Henry still holds the record for most assists in a PL season and he is arguably the best scorer in English football since the turn of the century. Suarez is also a great creator

  18. Foetry says:

    As for the club needing a new direction to join the European Elite clubs, I would agree that as a Club we have stagnated on the pitch in recent years. However, the frustration IMO comes from the fact that people were thinking that there was going to be a revolution in the Arsenal approach to buying players since 2014.

    I don’t think it will ever happen under the current ownership (even after Wenger). The fact that most of our rivals also renewed their sponsorship deals shortly (with far more increased revenue compared to ours) after we did means that ‘level playing field” that I keep hearing about is plain illusion. We need to do better on those marketing/sponsorship deals and unfortunately most of those cannot be improved to the level of some of our rivals without success on the pitch.

    I believe where we can make up some grounder is to get back to what we used to be good at – nice scouting and buying smart. Leicester, Stoke, West ham have all bought players recently who could have improved us and I am sure Arsenal was always going to be a more attractI’ve proposition if we were bidding against those clubs.

    By the way people tend to have the memory short, very much on these boards in the last 3 seasons Rodgers, Laudrup and Martinez have been mentioned as potential successors to Arsene. Brodgers apparently for his vision and philosophy and Roberto for his innovative ideas etc… on both occasions I think we were in trouble while Liverpool was flying as if they were going to walk the league while Everton was threatening to pip Arsenal for a top 4 finish..Arsene was being labelled as a has been back then by some fans.

    Anyway when it would come to replacing the man, those would be interesting time indeed and I hope:

    – The fans react to his departure with dignity
    – That Arsene leaves the club in a strong position on the pitch
    -That the new man settles in quickly with full backing from the board on the transfer market

  19. Foetry says:

    You are correct Bill. History shows that most of the high scoring forwards are/were great creators too. But how many times have we seen an opportunity wasted by Arsenal ans we went like ‘why didn’t he shoot from there’?

    I think we have had too many of those in recent years, and the fact that we are not very clinical can only compound our lack of efficiency in front of goal. Maybe it is because we are not very clinical that we are sometime trying too hard to find an opening?

  20. andy1886 says:

    Foetry, our interest in Aubameyang was from the 2012-13 season when he had a breakout year with St Etienne. At that time RvP had gone the previous summer, and Eduardo had been gone since 2010. Our actual strike options were Giroud, Walcott and Podolski. Walcott had been top scorer that season with 14 league goals, Giroud and Podolski got 11 each.

  21. Foetry says:

    Good morning.

    @ Andy.

    I said when Auba was ‘relatively cheap’ . When you say ‘our interest’ I guess you are talking about the club not the fans. Maybe we underestimated his potential at the time or maybe we overestimated the potential of the ones in the club already.

    But I am 100% convinced that no club in Europe would have signed him when he started developing if Arsene wanted him and had an acceptable bid (I am not sure his value was in excess of 20m at the time) to St Etienne on the table.

    Arsene has excellent relationship with pretty much all the clubs in France and I can only think of Lille where there was a bit of “un-Arsenal’ grief caused with the signing of that Korean forward who we almost never used. Apart from that I can only remember Arsene falling out with Nasri-s Mr 20% from the Agents network in the last 20 years.

    If the Boss wants you he gets you as long as the money on offer is “respectable” ☺

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