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Concerned Gooners – The 7th March: To Protest or not to Protest, that is the question

So, why the protest?

“You’re all c.nts.” “Eff off and support Spurs.” “You’re negativity will upset the players.”

“Nothing will come of it anyway.” “I’m gonna smash your face in!”

Indeed, why protest!

Personally, as you can see from the above, I have nothing to gain from it, bar a load of abuse or a nice ‘virtual shiner’ from some keyboard warrior. I’m doing it because I believe that the best thing for Arsenal Football Club is to change manager, backroom staff and move forward under someone with a new vision for the team. I’m doing it because I feel it’s the best thing for the club, not just for me, but for the club we all love and for all Arsenal fans, yes, even Geoff.

I feel that our manager is well past his best and that he is now holding us back, whilst other clubs try to push on. He should have gone after winning (just about) the cup in 2014. He then had the ideal chance last season to go out in a blaze of glory; winning the title then launching a defence of it, something we haven’t managed since the 30’s. But he didn’t, apparently not due to his or his players failings, but because Halley’s Comet appeared from nowhere and the “once in a hundred years” shock title win went the way of Leicester City. This being a team who we beat home and away, which finished 14th the season before and now languishes in 19th having just sacked their manager.

Whether you believe the club are sounding out other managers or not, he still has a 2 year contract extension on his desk, which the owner wants him to sign. An owner who buys in to sports ‘franchises’ not for the glory of sporting success, but for the financial opportunities afforded. I am fully aware that an incredibly rich US businessman, sitting in his office or his ranch back home, will give zero f..ks for fan opinion. Sir Chips certainly doesn’t care, that can be seen from the disgraceful and disdainful way he treats shareholder fans at the AGM. Arsene? I’m of the opinion he could not care less for fans if he tried. He dismisses any criticism, whether you’ve managed zero games or not, or whether you’ve played at the top level or not. You’re either with him, or you’re dead to him.

Doesn’t care

So why bother protesting? Because the option is to just do nothing and I still cannot bring myself to care so little for the club, to just give in. Protests are bad publicity for the club. It will be talked about in the media and on SM. Add that to not winning trophies, this makes us less attractive to potential sponsors. It makes it harder for our superb Commercial Team (cough) to broker the best deal possible. Now, that actually is something that the owner may have to pull some hair out over (cough cough).

Some say Wenger will see sense and unless we pull a miracle out of the bag v Bayern, claw back a 13 point (WGIH*) deficit on Chelsea, or win the FA Cup, then he will walk. Bear in mind, for the cup it’s likely that the last 4 will contain City, Spurs and Utd or Chelsea. Hardly Wigan, Hull, Reading and Villa this time is it, so I’d suggest our chances of winning a trophy are slim. Top 4 is most definitely achievable, but with away games at Spurs, Liverpool, Stoke, Southampton and West Brom, along with Everton, Utd and City at home, we will need to rediscover our usual Spring resurgence to ensure it and hope others fall away.

Ivan – No power to hold Wenger accountable

But, in my opinion, and that’s all this is by the way, Arsene has a distinct lack of humility with regard his own ability. He has surrounded himself with yes men, so there is no-one to question his methods, even the Chief Executive hasn’t got the power base to hold him accountable. He is under no pressure to achieve any more than he has done for the last 5 seasons from the owner, as the financials are solid (bar commercial deals), share price high and TV money keeps on rolling in. He has no life outside of football, so will want to stay involved for as long as he can. He has ultimate power at Arsenal and will not get that anywhere else, so why take the risk. He could get a top job maybe, AC Milan possibly, PSG at best I’d say, purely on his reputation in France, but no Champion’s League win and his tenure there would be short lived. Let’s not forget, 8 million quid a year, plus bonuses, is not to be sniffed at. All this makes me think that if we just sit back and wait for him to decide, we’ll have to buckle up for another 2 years of the same old same old.

“But a march is so classless!” “The Board don’t care.” “No-one will turn up, just like last time.”

Had lots of people tell me this over last few days. So what do you suggest we do then? Write a strongly worded letter to Ivan? Call in to Adrian D’ohrham on Talksport and have a good moan up? Go on AFTV each week and rant the same rant? Go in the ground and shout abuse at Wenger? What’s the point in any of the above?

You’d get a sterile reply from the club thanking you for your interest in their affairs.

Talksport want that, so don’t feed the trolls.

Image result for fan tv arsenal

Watch AFTV if you want, but you could take any rant from Claude off there from over the last 3 seasons and struggle to spot the difference. (yes DT without cap when he was just a wannabe in background :))

It’s a matter of personal opinion whether Wenger deserves abuse; mine is that as much as I want him gone, I won’t do that to him, but there are plenty he has alienated to the point where they would happily do so.

Not one person has suggested a better option than a respectful, peaceful march from Highbury to the Emirates. Plenty have suggested doing nothing. What does that achieve? Wenger cannot manage forever. He will have to leave at some point, you do all realise that don’t you? Why are you so afraid of the change in manager; what is it that he is bringing to the club today, that a new manager couldn’t? You really think that at the very least, Klopp, Simeone, Pep, Conte, Allegri, Sampaoli or Jardim couldn’t get this current squad in the top 4 of the PL, out of the group stage of ECL and to the latter stages of the FA Cup?

You really think the biggest club South of Manchester, in the most exciting league in world football, in the greatest city in Europe, with a fantastic stadium (!), excellent facilities, a very good squad, and paying top whack, wouldn’t be a draw for the very best managers in world football?

A Massive club and a massive draw for a top coach

“Be careful what you wish for”.

You say Moyes, I say Conte, you say Van Gaal, I say Pep. We can play this game all night if you like. I can’t guarantee what success a new manager will bring. You can’t guarantee that he won’t. This is football, the game of billions, the beautiful game. Whatever will happen when change comes about will happen. But I’m bored of Arsenal as it stands.

The manager and players repeat the same mistakes, season after season. Boring.

The club wheels out a player on dotcom to say “we need to learn from this”, yet they don’t. Boring.

Players missing chunks of a season through injury. Boring.

“We were unprepared for their commitment”. Boring.

“We showed great mental strength to come back from 3 nil down at Bournemouth”. Boring.

Arsenal Fan TV rants. Boring.

Arsenal Twitter beef. Boring. (Yes, I do realise I am as guilty as anyone of this one).

Image result for boring

People claim that those of us wanting change are “entitled”. Yet you want him to sign on so we can stay in the top 4 (as if it’s some divine right!) and continue to qualify for a European competition we stand no chance of winning.

I know that a change of manager may mean a hard season or two. So what, we’re the Arsenal, we’ll be back and I’m prepared to put up with that.

Who’s the entitled fan?

I don’t think we can win the Quadruple every season. I have been watching the Arsenal for over 40 years, I know how the game works. But I do think that this club is not competing to anywhere near the level it should be. I just want to see an owner who wants to succeed on the pitch, not just the spreadsheet. I want a manager who will buy the right players, for the right positions, for the right tactics. Who will maximise every use of technology possible to help his players win. Who will do what is necessary to get the required results and to have players who look like they give a shit about actually winning things, and no, that doesn’t mean “running around a lot” or showing “Pashun”.

People moan about the lack of heart shown by the fans in the ground, how it’s a soulless, silent bowl half full of day trippers and corporates. Yet suggest showing some passion outside the ground, purely to try and obtain what you believe is good for the club and you’re a ‘nonce’. No one’s suggesting we burn his effigy, or bring your “I heart AW” t-shirt for a live Periscope torching. We’re saying enough is enough, time to bow out gracefully while you still can, thanks for the memories but a new contract is not merited. Hardly Tiananmen Square levels of rebellion is it.

People say don’t go to the game, don’t renew your season ticket, boycotts are the only way to hurt the club. Easy for a lot of those fans to say. Yes, there is a waiting list for STs, but not 15 years as some naïve souls would believe and every Summer there are plenty available to sublet on Twitter. Arsenal, as with Chelsea, is a huge name in the football tourist market. Spare tickets get bought up and resold to the day tripper. You take a look at how many new faces are around you at the Bayern game due to ST holders like me, sticking their seat on the exchange the night of the 5-1, only for it to be snapped up at 64 quid overnight. Strange that; “Who needs a ticket for tonight” will be plainly heard on the Hornsey Road on the 7th.

Empty seats tell a tale

I’d happily leave my seat empty for the Lincoln game, as I can afford to lose £26 to make a point and it’s not like the team should need a 12th man to win this game (no offence LCFC), but with 7k regularly not turning up anyway for home games would it be visible enough without a more coordinated effort.

Plenty of you believe change is needed, but won’t visibly express this, either through respect for Arsene, fear of reprisals or just good old fashioned British apathy at protesting about anything. Some who had a pop at me for holding up a “Time for Change” banner, couldn’t wait to boo the team at half time when it was nil-nil. Less than three games and 4 months later, when Liverpool went 4-1 up, these same fans were going mental, booing and abusing the players and their sainted manager.

Anyway, I didn’t organise this protest, I just happen to be a fan who believes it’s definitely worth going, if it can help in some way to bring about a change in management at the club and wants to encourage as many like-minded fans as possible to join our merry band.

How many will turn up? Who knows. There are plenty on SM who talk a good talk, but we’ll see if they can do the walk to match it.

Come along if you feel like we do. Stay away if you don’t . It’s pretty simple really.

At the end of the day, we are all Arsenal fans, just some of us don’t see things the way others do and want to try and bring about the change we feel benefits the club and all fans.

I wonder if they make tin hats out of Adamantium?

  • WGIH – With a game in hand 🙂

Our thanks to Mark King for a well articulated non-sensationalist piece.  You can follow and debate with Mark on Twitter @MZK90

If anyone wishes to write an article with the counter arguments Gunners Town is a platform that welcomes all views so get in touch.

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7 Responses to Concerned Gooners – The 7th March: To Protest or not to Protest, that is the question

  1. Damian February 26, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    Great article, my thoughts exactly.
    i would like to see Stan Kroenke’s quote from March 2016 on a banner:
    “If you want to win championships then you would never get involved”
    If the owner has expressed such sentiments, what hope is there?

  2. Omar El-kilany February 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Excellent read, and I am afraid I feel it’s 100% correct in my opinion (before people get pedantic) no another club in the world has this division within it’s fans base, this I am sorry to say is the course of the board & one person, this cannot carry on it will only destroy the club we All love.

    I would also like to say for a man whom keeps on persistent with his love for the club he shows no signs of it, if you love something so much you just wouldn’t allow this situation to happen, no thats not love he showing just ego & greed, sorry to say this but he’s blinded by his own power.

  3. Tamba Kamara February 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    Really I support the opinion of every body Wenger should leave the club before their will be any progress for Arsenal, or else we shall continue to face immolation all the time, the beat thing supporters in Europe should do is you people should not buy tickets at list for two games then we shall see the action of the board. From Sierra Leone

  4. Greg February 26, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    The problem with simply calling for the manager’s exit is that it ignores the fact that you still have the same owner and the same board. Why is Arsene Wenger still in the Arsenal job? It’s because the club’s management/board want him there. If he should decide not to sign the new contract, the same people who have kept him at Arsenal will be selecting a new manager. The “problem” is a systematic one, which will not likely change with a new manager So perhaps your focus should be at a change in club management. Getting rid of Wenger is only a sideshow.

    • Gunners1616 February 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

      @Greg. I do not agree with you. Aiming for the management would be a mistake because:

      1/ It will be totally useless. A billionnaire is not going to sell his shares because fans are unhappy. The club is worth billions.

      2/ The main problem is not the board, its Wenger. Few years ago, the board promised to invest big money after we moved to the new stadium. They did it ! Wenger had more than 100M available to spend every summer for the last 3 seasons and we spent more than 100M is 2 out of those three transfer windows. We do have a decent squad in quality and number but we doing worst than when we had no money at all (and we had to sell key players). That shows that Wenger is at fault. He is just a poor tactician and keep making the same mistake.

      With the same board and their yearly investment, we can achieve big things. What we need is a good manager. We have an amazing stadium, a big budget, a history, a huge fanbase. All we need is someone who has new ideas and who will be bring success.

      In summary, with the same board and a good coach we can significantly improve.

      Ok its also the fault of the board that Wenger is still here but you can’t get rid of a board and they alreadly invest enough money every year, which narrows our problem down to Wenger.

  5. Victor Thompson March 1, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Well said Greg. Just about everything I would say myself. The AKB brigade should wake up. Anyone who pays for an Arsenal season ticket would not protest easily or boycott matches without good cause. Even if you don`t agree with those who see Wenger as the problem, you must see that doing a “King Canute” and trying to hold back the tide is futile, as is the opposition to Brexit.

    It would be much better to join in and support the need for a new future for Arsenal. This protest is not going to go away and it damages the club to oppose it with each passing year of stagnation.

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