If you were in charge at Arsenal Football Club (Part 3)
Arteta is in charge.
Koulibaly has taught our defenders Senegalese. Meunier has shown the fans what a RB with skill can produce.
The new midfield is powerful, found a Santi replacement and replaced the looks of Xhaka with the looks and mobility of Ceballos.
Wilshere and AMN are a big part and will be rotated.
Fekir/Mahrez and Zaha are on fire because the competition is real.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ll need to read Part 1
And Part 2
- Roles for former players
As mentioned in Part 1, legends of the game can play a big role in attracting players.
Watch a ‘why did you come to our club’ interview with any player and most of them talk about wanting to play for…/supported as a boy because of…/I look up to…
Arsenal have so many former players that are true worldwide legends.
I always felt that Arsene didn’t give them important roles in the club as others may look to them more or give them his credit.
They are a threat to him.
He is happy to have them in Academy roles or train with the club at best.
Pires is practically begging to be involved. Hasn’t happened 🤔
I’d get Bergkamp, Henry, Gilberto, Pires, Seaman and Ian Wright on staff.
Ask them what role they would like.
General coaching staff, coach players in their position, fan liaison, ambassadorial role.
Wouldn’t have to necessarily be full time.
Could be as simple as helping with recruitment. They could visit potential targets, call/text them.
If I was Fekir (for example) and got a simple text from Thierry Henry asking if I’d consider Arsenal, I’d consider Arsenal.
We have to understand that
Arsenal Football Club are not a club of choice right now.
These legends need to be used as ‘difference makers.’
- The fans
It is really not hard to please a football fan.
We love then hate then love again. I think the word is ‘fickle.’ It’s a fair comment.
Arsenal Football Club needs to understand what the fans can do for them.
We could turn the library atmosphere 180, we could make the stadium an intimidating place for opponents, and we could pro-actively energize the players.
Right now, they don’t understand this or simply don’t care.
Each fan base is inherently different but still human and still a football fan.
You get the players to take off their headphones, spend 10 minutes before each game signing autographs/selfies etc…
The modern day athlete gives off a vibe of ‘insincerity.’
To be honest, fans are so desperate they’ll even take insincere!
What if you went to the game and talked to Wilshere for a couple of minutes?
What if after the game the players split up and went to the fans and listened to them for a couple of minutes.
I remember when it was going all pear shaped at Dortmund. Klopp told players to go listen to fans vent. They did. As you probably know, Dortmund have one of the highest attendances in Europe, their fans are proactive and noisy and well, all the above that I mentioned.
It’s really not hard.
I’m a Brit abroad. I’ve lived in Tennessee for 18 years.
The University of Tennessee college American Football team have a 103,000 capacity stadium. That’s for college kids’ 😳
How do they get 103,000 each home game?
Knoxville is an orange and white town. It’s huge here.
You know what though. They are smart at UT. They have developed traditions for the fans to enhance the experience and to make the fans feel they are a true part of the team.
Goes way beyond what our boys are instructed to do (‘the head nod and limp wave whilst listening to music and desperately trying to avoid stopping and engaging’ routine!
The Vol Walk…. the players, coaching staff, mascot etc.. Walk down Neyland Drive to the stadium before every home game and engage with the fans.
They have many other traditions too. Some wouldn’t work as they are too ‘Americanized’ for the English fan, but the fans GENUINELY feel a part of the team at UT.
What could we do?
Don’t want ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ but there’s an idea out there!
Here are some ideas…
- We have an Academy for the talented players. How about a ‘Junior Club’ for all players?
- Once a month a different group of AFC players coach kids
MEET THE PLAYERS
- Day before Emirates Cup all fans can meet the players on the field at the stadium.
THE ‘ARTETA SHOW’
- Now this is going to sound nuts!
- When I first came to the US I was amazed to see that the Head Coach of the UT College Football team had a Sunday morning show where he would breakdown the previous day’s game. In detail. It was another layer to the fan/club investment.
- I understand that the manager cannot reveal certain ideas but I think that should not stop a good idea.
- Adrian Clarke’s breakdown is very good. I’ve often wished Arsene would watch 😆How much cooler if the manager did it though!
BEAT THE GOALIE
- Before each home game they announce 5 seat numbers. They come to field and try to score on Cech.
- Might give Petr some confidence too 😉
- You think this is just for kids! I want to do this too!
- Every week a different group of 2 or 3 players take questions on FBL
- I was thinking of the old school town hall meeting with players originally. I still like this idea but need to think more on it.
- Got to have something just for the adults, right?
- Again, 3 or 4 players show up once a month and join ‘pub quiz teams’ pre-selected by random
- All questions are Arsenal related
- Would get players in relaxed environments
- Any and all events that can only be attended by a few could be streamed on FBL
- I would say that a player’s personal song is one of their favourite parts about their experience at a club.
- It’s what makes playing in England different and better for the players. They talk about ‘atmosphere’ in the PL. This is their #1 favourite part I’d say.
- So… fans gather pre-season either online or at a location and decide on songs for all the players. I really feel like this is like a drug injection of confidence for them
- How do you think Giroud feels when 60,000 sing his song? Hairs on end!
We all complain about Arsenal being slow starters in games.
Ask yourself if the fans are a) energized by the pre-game atmosphere and b) how much do they truly care about the players?
Imagine if this happened…
Week before the game you’ve met Lacazette and he actually engaged with you, saw players interacting on FBL at a fan event, went to game and saw players do ‘The Arsenal walk’ to the stadium, got in the stadium and knew there was a chance you could go on the hallowed turf and beat Cech and your kids don’t just like Arsenal they love Arsenal because they play for AFC Juniors in a full Arsenal kit!
You have now created an organic electric atmosphere from kick off because people will sing for you the more you care about them.
There are so many ideas of how to get a better experience for all.
Please share yours?
I’d also like to be greedy and add that we all want…
- a) Bayern Munich priced season tickets (sub £100 😳)
- b) Singing section
- c) Safe standing
- d) Real world priced food
- e) A new board and owner
- f) And for the person who thought it was a good idea to ever use ‘The Wonder of You’ as a way to energize the fans and players, needs to be put down.
I only ever felt semi-ok with that when I went to Stamford Bridge and heard their rinky dink Toon town ditty 😂
In closing, I wanted to add that there are many good things I’d wish to retain at AFC that Wenger has instituted…
Care for players as humans
Manager final say on transfers
Composure in press conferences
On the field, I love the composure in tight areas
And of course, the many great players, memories and trophies.
I just want Arsenal to stop worrying about minding the gap, and close the gap.
In all areas of the club.
Thanks for reading this trilogy!
Now all we need is for some of this fantasy to come true!
Anyone got Ivan’s email?