I gave some musings on Twitter yesterday about the respective fan groups who have called on everybody to unite under the ‘Time for Change’ header, so I thought i’d elaborate a little on some thoughts, as there’s very little else to talk about at the moment.
That’s what’s fundamentally fueling this initiative, isn’t it? The fact that we have very little left to actually talk about right now when it comes to Arsenal. Effectively out of all competitions, in-fighting amongst fans, an apathetic board and players who look like they have no clue in which direction the club is going.
At the West Brom game last week I saw two Arsenal fans facing up to one-another – backs to the pitch – arguing in an intense enough matter for stewards to start loitering around them. Eventually nothing happened, but it very nearly came to blows, at which somebody ion the middle of the two said “for f*cks sake guys, we’re all on the same team”.
Are we? Are we all on the same team really? Because you wouldn’t think it with the way some people talk to each other. I’ve always taken the view that no matter who you are, if you are an Arsenal fan, then you are my brother/sister. We can argue, we can disagree with one-another’s viewpoint, but we are all in this together.
That’s why I applaud the ‘Time for Change’ idea, because it is uniting different fan groups under a common message: We’re all a bit fed up of this now. Something has to give and we’re now at the stage in which a collective unity needs to be shown. I particularly like the approach RedAction are taking with this, because they are saying that whether you agree with their stance or not i.e. the board, the manager, the owner, something needs to change, you should bring along a banner to the stadium and give your voice. At first one Twitter I questioned whether or not banners like this would be in keeping with what RedAction stand for i.e. more atmosphere in the ground. That is their raison d’être after all. But if you read their statement they are calling on everyone to just give their voice. To be vocal. To have an opinion and to show that people power does mean something.
That is something I do agree with. We are football fans. We’re not customers loyal to a brand. Football is part of our fabric of being, it’s our passion and is not something that for most can be just switched off. So we should not be treated as customers. We should be treated as fans. The board, the owner, the manager, they are just custodians at the club. They are stewards presiding over a period of time. It is the fans that are the ever-present and that is why it is important that our voice is heard.
Will it make any difference? Will these fan groups manage to initiate enough interest from supporters to hold up the ‘Time for Change’ banners against Norwich? I have my doubts. Mobilising a large collective of people for one cause is a difficult thing to do. It’s far easier to stay with the status quo than it is to affect change. So I wonder how many of the ordinary match-day going fans would buy in to this initiative.
I’m also not sure how this will be received by the club. Not well, inevitably, so whilst there might even be a decent attempt at bringing fans together under this common banner, I suspect the club will be asking stewards to keep a vigilant eye out for anybody who is looking to bring any kind of banners inside the stadium. Let’s not forget that only specific banners are sanctioned by the club to be on display during match days. Some banners have been rejected for various reasons too numerous for me to go through (also I can’t remember all of them). So I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of stewards doing a little bit more detailed searches on people before they enter the stadium.
Ultimately,will it make a difference, though? Not with that man who owns our club. If you’re a regular reader of my ramblings, then you’ll know that I’ve not been a fan of Stan Kroenke for about three years, but the general consensus amongst all fans now appears to be that he is not good for the club. There were more songs on Sunday in the away end. But as You Are My Arsenal said on his timeline yesterday, the only thing Stan Kroenke cares about is commercial revenue, so unless fans are staying away, he won’t see a problem. As Michael also pointed out, this is a guy who moved an American Football team halfway across the country for revenue, so does anybody believe he will add anything positive to Arsenal? The guy is a parasite on the club. He has used his vast wealth to accumulate shares that have gone up in value, whilst taking out a dividend under a different name (‘management fees’).
Will this protest get through to him? Will it show the manager even more examples of how the fans are turning away from him? Will the board do anything at all if fans voice their discontent? I have my doubts, but as I’m sure each of the fan groups would say, we have to at least try something.