Today we are delighted to welcome our good friend Rob Woodfin to Gunners Town. This is Rob’s first blog and the Arsenal passion will jump out and bash you on the head like a sledge hammer……
Before I start writing about “what makes an Arsenal fan” it is important that I tell you a little about myself. I was born a Gooner back in 1981; I attended my first game at the age of 6 and was a Junior Gunner. I have had a season ticket for as long as I can remember and still do today in the North Bank block 10. I am a massive GOONER, that’s all you need to know.
Enough of me, let’s get to the subject in hand. I have chosen to write about this because on Twitter a lot of the time there are debates about “who loves Arsenal more”, “whose opinion carries more weight”, “I am more of a fan than you” etc etc.
As a global brand which Arsenal now is, it is normal that we are going to have fans in all parts of the world & the thing that annoys me is that some think that because they don’t live in England/UK they are not “real” fans or know less about our great club. I just find this utterly ridiculous. You have fans in Australia, Nigeria, India, America (sorry if not mentioned your country) that stay up till early/late hours watching our games – for me that is dedication, commitment and only something “real” fans would do. To suggest otherwise is ignorant and down right rude! These overseas fans have also set up podcasts, fan groups and you can see on youtube the clips where they meet up for games in their shirts to watch “The Arsenal”. Whether your fan at Home or Abroad you got the thumbs up from me.
Secondly “armchair” fans, I mean I don’t really care if they go to the ground or watch from their front room to be honest. A Gooner is a Gooner…right? Does it mean they know less about the club because they don’t attend matches? For me NO! I mean where do we all find information about the Arsenal? Arsenal.com, Google, archives, books, video’s, museum’s?
For me and sure for many, it was passed down from our dads and mums. I know my knowledge and passion comes from a family trait – we are all Gooners and that will continue to the next generation and the generation after that because I will and my sons/daughters will have been brought up “right” and keep Arsenal in the family. I think all fans are entitled to their opinion or view on things but at the end of the day those that attend, have season tickets, commit to the club, follow away from home (we have the best away support) are the core of our support. I can’t really afford my season ticket but every May/June I damn well make sure I have the dollar so I can. Does that mean I am a better fan? I’m not sure about that but it means I bloody love this football club and am willing to make sacrifices to make sure I am at the Emirates every other week.
The one thing I will add that I disagree with is those that knock the atmosphere but don’t attend games – for me attending games is a pleasure, is something that gets me through work, knowing I will be attending “the Arsenal” at the weekend. It is a treat but a treat that unfortunately not all can afford or commute to, but that does not mean they are less of a fan. Those of us that do go, well we truly are very lucky.
Thirdly I would like to focus on fan groups. The two main ones being the AST and BSM. Fan groups are common in every club, in every sport. The one thing that irritates me is that those that are at the head of this group’s think they are right the majority of the time. They think they are the “voice” of the fans. I think both the AST and BSM do a lot of great things but by being a member does that make you a better fan? Does knowing the clubs finances to the minor details, knowing about every sponsorship deal, every player’s wage, knowing the price of fish & chips make you a better fan? Does it mean you’re more of an Arsenal man/women?
Surely the main thing about being a fan is the success on the pitch? I don’t care who you are; winning football matches is what it is all about. Who has a good weekend when Arsenal lose? Of course off field activities such as sponsorships, wages are all important in terms of our club being stable financially and the last thing any of us want is for our club not to exist. But winning and that does not necessarily mean trophies but succeeding to the best of our ability is what is most important. Have we succeeded over past 8 years? That’s a debate for another time and that many have already had.
Funnily enough I have just joined the BSM (I disagreed at the beginning) because I like what they are trying to do within the ground – creating a better atmosphere and making the matchday experience more enjoyable. If you follow @highburyharold you know that the BSM are trying to work with the club on these areas & others.
So what does make an Arsenal fan? For me it is simple. You just have to support the club through “thick & thin”. By this I mean through the good and the bad. I saw a tweet from @flittsgooner that all tickets were now selling out now we are top the league. Coincidence? No, fans are fickle but true fans are not. I have never stopped attending the Emirates, as many others have not and I never boo at the ground. Yes I talk in the pub after or on twitter but never boo at the stadium – what’s the point? I don’t want glory hunters (we are not United), I want fans that are passionate about the club and who want the best for our great club. Believe me we have many great fans and our away support is the best in the land.
I hope this has all made sense and I hope all Gooners at home and abroad can unite behind this current Arsenal team and help drive them onto lifting our first trophy in a while.
Just remember this….we are the Arsenal, we are the best, we are the Arsenal so fuck all the rest……fuck em all, fuck em all…
A few questions to leave you with:
Do you have to own a season ticket to be regarded as a true fan?
Does booing make you a bad fan?
Thanks Rob and please feedback to Rob on here or via twitter and follow him @RobWoodfin1