Well, the AST seem to have caused somewhat of a debate in the Arsenal universe with their poll, haven’t they? Of the poll they did of their members, which they have 1,000 and 424 responded, 80% of fans said they wanted Wenger gone. Which then led to the inevitable sensationalist headlines from the media claiming its what all Arsenal fans want. Which then led to the inevitable Twitter debates about why these types of polls aren’t representative, nor should the AST be used as a barometer or spokespeople for the entire fanbase.
Here’s then thing with some of this though: the AST have never purported to represent all fans. I am not a member but I know a few mates who are. The AST represent their members. If you want to be a member and join a supporters group, you are free to, or not too.
Secondly, it’s the media who are over-egging this survey and sensationalising it. The AST have merely published the results.
Thirdly, people who are then saying that it isn’t a representative sample because it’s only 424 people and the only way to get a better sample is to conduct a larger scale survey – and I have seen one or two on Twitter – need to actually do a bit of reading as to how ALL surveys are conducted. You know that YouGov poll that you might have seen on the news about a political topic of some kind? Chances are that only between 1,000 and 2,000 people were polled. Why? Because that’s a generally accepted way of getting a representative sample, without ploughing unnecessary £millions in to a survey that would then give you exactly the same result. So to those who are saying the survey isn’t a representative sample, I would say that actually you’re wrong. I think it is more of a representative sample of the Arsenal fanbase.
The AST don’t speak for everyone, but they have a broad cross section of fans and if you look at their historical surveys you see a clear sway of opinion throughout the years that they’ve been conducting their annual survey. The size of the Arsenal fanbase is smaller than many countries, so if national surveys can have 2,000 people conducted on a registered and accepted poll about national matters like in the UK, why can’t a smaller collective of people (Arsenal fans) have a smaller sample size as a result?
But enough of the surveys, how about real life, which is what I was thinking about as soon as I read the survey results. I speak to Arsenal fans online, offline, in the gym, at work, via text, WhatsApp, out running (I wear Arsenal shorts and have been stopped before for a chat) and everyone I speak to who is an Arsenal fan want Arsene gone. I am by no means suggesting that as any kind of scientific example of fan sentiment, but I know what I see and hear and in my life I see Arsenal fans in a majority who think it’s time for Arsene to move on.
I even have non-fans saying the same as well. My Chief Exec is a Baggies fan. He’s a right wind-up merchant too and regularly engages in a bit of friendly banter. After the West Brom game I went in to the office expecting to get pelters. When he caught my eye do you know what I got? Sympathy! Even he didn’t grind the knife in because even he was saying that surely it’s time for the once great man to step down.
That’s what has happened to us now folks. We are getting pity from fans. We are a laughing stock when it comes to an incompetent board and Arsene signing a new deal will be chuckled over by football fans across the country when it happens.
And the division between Arsenal fans on and offline will continue to grow. fighting online, fighting offline, all because of the decisions of one man. It really is a shame because I worshipped Arsene and when he’s gone i’ll probably need some memory erasing software to delete the end of his reign and only remember the glorious times. But right now there doesn’t seem anything glorious about Arsenal football club.
Catch y’all tomorrow for a pre-match preview.
Great article, again.
Sample size is not that important, though a smaller sample will have a larger error around it. What’s more important is that it is representative. Are they actually Arsenal fans? – one would hope so! – Are they season ticket holders? Does that matter?
What would be more interesting is to know how does this compare to previous surveys. In political polling there is a saying “the trend is your friend.” That is, the actual result might not be accurate, but so long as the error is repeated you can see how things are changing.
Incidentally, I know people that wanted Wenger out in 2009-10 (!) so I’m not sure that the views of fans should always be listened to. What’s more concerning is that the club have allowed this to drag on. They really should have had this sorted out one way or the other by now.
Some great points there Tom.