So, two protests in and so far it’s going well; no trouble bar a couple of cretins on Saturday, Police have been cooperative, we know the club are concerned and the numbers, despite the presumably club led media spin, have been healthy. If you want to say it’s ‘100 fans’ then feel free, but all you’re doing is making yourself look like a liar or a deliberate provocateur, either of which just helps our cause because it shows either contempt or concern, both of which show that it’s working.
Fan reaction has been interesting, especially that from those who also want change at the club. When the Bayern march was healthy and then we took another beating, more Social Media voices joined in, asking for us to do the same against Lincoln. “It’s a Saturday game, easier to get more fans there” you’re told. Now, whilst I do believe the numbers were at least comparable on Saturday v last Tuesday, I still feel more could have shown up.
For some, leaving the pub and missing a few pints seems too much of a sacrifice, strange when you consider that a lot of the pub chatter will be about the current situation. Maybe the need for alcoholic anesthetisation is too strong, something I can understand when watching some of our recent performances.
Others will have seen the Bayern march and the fact that at the end, when reaching the stadium, there was a lot of focus on the fact that AFTV were there, and filming of some usual suspects may have happened. With the fact that large swathes of our fanbase are AFTVOB or AFTVKB, it appears that some fans who want Wenger gone won’t participate if there is too much ‘attention seeking’ going on. I gave an interview to Robbie pre march last week and that seemed to be received well and it gained a lot of support and traction for our aims due to their massive audience. We then spoke before Lincoln with Robbie and one AFTV regular, who seems to divide opinion greatly, and agreed that there was no need for AFTV to do any interviews at the end of the march, when focus was required on the last section. They agreed and stuck to their word, for which we’re grateful.
Then there’s the furore about the “Killing Our Club” chant. Football fans singing a song that might not need to be taken literally! Wow, who’d have thought? Hyperbole much? This from some fans who sing about the “Yids”. Or running round N5 with their appendages out, showing their excess skin. Or that whichever current manager of Spurs has a mother earning money from lying on her back. Fergie touches boys, as does David Moyes. Mourinho being a ***t.
It’s a chant. It means he’s holding our club back. We’re stagnating under him. Suffering the same repeated failings and beatings on the pitch. You put that in to a chant which doesn’t exaggerate somewhat. “We’re all a bit peeved, we’re all a bit peeeeeeeeeved, Arsene Wenger, we’re all slightly miffed”. This is football. Despite the sanitisation of the game, some for the good, some not, it’s still the game of the people. You’ll get some songs that if you wish to take literally, may offend. If it does, maybe football isn’t for you. You’re offended by that? Believe you me, there could be a lot worse being sung and we are doing our best to keep things respectful.
Get your replica wall clock here
Now of course we have the plane. Yes, it appears a plane is booked to fly over The Hawthorns on Saturday for our game against WBA. I have my opinion of it and you are all entitled to yours obviously. Some will say it is cringe, but let’s not forget this is a club who worked with a fan group to produce an official in stadium banner about a player’s dogs. A player subsequently hung out to dry by the manager and media, and who looks more and more likely to leave this summer, so I hope they kept the receipt. This is how far it’s got. Some fans do not care that we took the mick out of United for doing the same for Moyes. We are at a point where “Desperate times call for desperate measures”. Pressure keeps to be applied continuously in order to make him realise that he is not wanted at the club and for the owner to realise he’s in for more protests if he keeps him on.
Then we get “why aren’t you protesting against Stan, Ivan and the board, they’re the real problem?” Well yes, they are part of the huge problem at the club, but we’re focusing on Wenger, because he is the one who works with the squad and controls every single aspect of it. He had £100m in the summer, on top of previous outlays, yet here we are again, hoping for spring resurgence and others to Spurs it all up. My main response to those saying this is that if we can persuade Arsene the grass is greener in Paris, his departure will seriously weaken Stan’s position, which could lead to him thinking sod this for a game of soldiers, I’ll take my humongous profit by selling up and some other poor sod can run this club.
I would also like to suggest you ask yourself where were you last April when all the fan groups organised #TimeForChange? This is just 10 months ago. We provided 7 points of concern and only 1 of them was about Wenger, the other 6 were all clearly aimed at the owner, the conspicuously absent CEO and the puppet board. All we asked, was for fans to hold up a respectful banner during the game against soon to be relegated Norwich.
What response did we get? Abuse, both verbal and physical. Fans suddenly finding something interesting on the floor to look at whilst sitting on their hands. And best of all, for the first time that whole season, a rendition of “One Arsene Wenger” from some fans. Yet, at half time, with the score at nil-nil, loads of fans got up and booed the performance, the players and the manager, with plenty of abuse aimed their way. If you did nothing but moan about that and ignored the chance to make the club aware of your opinion, but want to do it now, take a good look in the mirror.
I personally know loads of fans, in person, on Twitter and in WhatsApp groups, who firmly want change. Yet when they get the chance to actually do something about it, other more important things come up. Plenty on the 2 marches didn’t have a ticket for the game, yet traveled fair distances to stand up for what they think is best, for ALL Arsenal fans. But hundreds, maybe thousands who had tickets, can’t bring themselves to join in. Somehow it seems to be beneath them to do so.
You do realise that you haven’t got to be down the front of the march? You haven’t got to get yourself in photos or be standing next to any ‘fans’ you may not like that much. We’re not asking you to carry a banner. We are not asking you to sing, “Arsene Wenger, we want you to go”. There are plenty of us happy to do all the ‘dirty work’ for you.
What we are asking is for you to show up and be a number. Be another fan of The Arsenal that believes it’s time that Wenger left and wants the club to take note. March in the middle or at the back, be counted as attending, so that we can show the club and the media it isn’t just “100 fans”. You have an opinion. You seem very happy to give it on SM, or down the pub, or on WhatsApp, so what’s stopping you from joining us on a march?
He may well have already signed. He may still be thinking about it. He might walk away. But if you feel it’s time for #NoNewContract and #WengerOut, then every fan has the chance to back how they feel with some simple actions. Walk with us. Stand up and be counted.
The very talented @JECook96 has made a shirt film featuring some of those involved in the proetst movement and one who is not, that being me!
Editor’s Note – Thanks to Mark King (@MZK90) again for his 2nd update on the protest. Dave,