The #WeCareDoYou Campaign, (an ‘umbrella group’ representing a large swathe of Arsenal Supporter Groups and blogs, including Gunners Town) released an extremely successful statement in the summer addressing a number of concerns facing Arsenal fans. The statement received broad press coverage, and a petition supporting the statement received 100,000 signatures in a matter of days.
Since then – WCDY have mainly kept their counsel – despite a calamitous season and numerous problems on and off the pitch; they believe their mandate is to address the larger issues facing the Club, and not to micro-manage or comment on every new circus that comes to town.
However – after yet another disappointing performance on Saturday at an increasingly empty Emirates stadium, which loudly voiced its discontent at the status quo – it became apparent that to wait any longer would be negligent of their duty as a body representing 120,000 fellow Arsenal fans, and they have decided to break their silence.
Here is their latest statement:
In July we issued a statement from a number of key Arsenal groups outlining our concerns at the direction of our football club. A supporting petition was signed by over 100,000 individual Arsenal fans who not only felt a disconnect from the club but also had grave concerns about our future.
Since then we have been told to ‘get excited’ and to support the team. As Arsenal supporters we have done both.
There exist many issues raised in our first statement that remain unaddressed by the club. While these matters have not gone away, it is the overall alarming and desperate state of things on and off the pitch that need urgent action and take precedence amongst our concerns. Until the club and especially the senior management structure is running efficiently, effectively and ambitiously, then few other issues can or will be satisfactorily resolved.
The early optimism of summer, around what appeared to be good business and positive signings, has given way to renewed concerns about the club’s overall direction and the leadership of the owner. It feels like the club is rudderless and floating aimlessly, unsure of its destination.
It appears that reported unrest in the dressing room is affecting performances on the pitch and the board’s clearly stated target of a top four finish at season end looks in serious danger with barely a third of the season played.
We spoke about never feeling less valued and this has continued with an astounding lack of communication from the club. We understand it is the Arsenal way to deal with issues internally but the current communication vehicle – the drip feed and leaks to certain journalists – is unacceptable and unsatisfactory.
Communications on the whole have been dealt with poorly, and the tactics used only add to the confusion, uncertainty and unrest among the fanbase – which in turn is motivating Arsenal’s opponents, who can clearly see we’re in trouble.
As documented in our initial statement, Stan Kroenke made his ambitions for the club clear: “KSE’s ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League”.
We still see no evidence of this and current form would suggest that the club is moving ever further from these goals.
We raised previously the need for new and dynamic appointments at board level; people with Arsenal DNA are needed at this time more than ever. Sadly, the club’s reaction to this recommendation has been an unresponsive dismissal of it. Can we assume you are still satisfied that the right people are in the right positions, as Vinai Venkatesham suggested they were at July’s end of season supporters’ event? Again, the evidence so far this season implies an intrinsic lack of understanding, ambition, appetite and ability to take the club forward.
Following our statement in the summer, Josh Kroenke made an announcement implying that an ambitious KSE had arrived to save the day and secure the club’s future. The fact is that KSE acquired a controlling share of Arsenal in 2011 and had significant influence prior to that.
The last decade, notwithstanding the FA Cup wins, can legitimately be seen as lost years both on and off the field, when the team has not only stagnated but actually regressed. To date that is the legacy of the ‘Kroenke years’.
While the club’s away support continues to be magnificent, home crowds are starting to deplete and this situation will be further compounded by what will soon become a toxic atmosphere, if the current turmoil and lack of true leadership at the club continues to translate into poor performances on the pitch.
We want clear acknowledgement that the board recognises the issues faced by the club, and how severe these are for the future of The Arsenal. As supporters we want actual communication and measurable assurances from the board that actions are in place to address this seemingly inexorable slide.
As many great managers and players have said over the years, everyone involved with The Arsenal must:
“Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent”.
See the latest WCDY statement here. (Link opens in new window)
Sign the petition here, if you haven’t already. (Link opens in new window)
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