AN ARSENAL SUPPORTERS’ WHO’S WHO

Having attended the Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association pre-season “do” at a Holloway pub last night the blood is definitely pumping for the new season.
With an evening spent with those NICE people at AISA it struck me that all you citizens of the Gooner Nation out there may find a quick “who’s who” guide to the various organisations and groups that give voice and comfort to us Arsenal supporters. I’ve sometimes noticed that there’s not a complete understanding of “who does what”. So here goes, let’s start with the Granddad of all Arsenal supporters’ organisations:
ARSENAL FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS’ CLUB
The AFSC was formed in 1949. It’s legally and financially autonomous from the club itself and affiliated to the Football Supporters’ Federation. It elects its officers and committee at its annual general meeting held in the autumn each season. A number of Arsenal supporters’ clubs elsewhere in Britain and the world are closely associated with AFSC.
It owns premises including a well appointed bar at the corner of St Thomas’ Road and Gillespie Road, about half a mile from the ground, a reasonable stroll. The AFSC also runs coaches to away games for its members.
Membership costs £31 a year including a one-off £8 joining fee. Annual renewal is £23 a year. Membership for those living outside the United Kingdom is £36 and £26 thereafter. Junior membership is available at £12.
The AFSC also publishes Gunflash its own magazine which could be argued to be the longest established fanzine in the country. Its editor Barry Hatch will be known on site to many Gooners as the fan who wears a “half home, half away” strip.
AFSC also has access to an allocation of match tickets exclusively for its members.
Mary Goulding chairs AFSC and Barry Baker is its long-standing secretary. You can find out more about AFSC and how to join at its website:
ARSENAL INDEPENDENT SUPPORTERS’ ASSOCIATION
Formed in October 2000 at a meeting in a Highbury Corner pub/theatre just hours before THAT goal by Thierry Henry against Manchester United at the Clock End, AISA is not to be confused with the earlier Independent Arsenal Supporters’ Association which was set up in the early 1990s principally to voice opposition to the bond scheme used to part-finance the re-construction of the old North Bank. IAISA gradually fell into inactivity after a sustained burst of campaigning. AISA is also affiliated to the Football Supporters’ Federation along with AFSC.
AISA’s principal founding objectives were to provide Gooners with a voice on all issues affecting them from ticket prices and allocations to kick-off times to the new ground, then just a glint in the eye.
AISA campaigned long and hard in co-operation with the club to obtain the necessary planning permissions from Islington Council, the Mayor of London and the Government to build what has become our new home at Ashburton Grove.
AISA was also instrumental in setting up the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, contributing £1,000 and a lot of time to its establishment and launch. AISA meets regularly with club officials including chief executive Ivan Gazidis to discuss issues of concern to Gooners. AISA has also held a series of very successful gala dinners with former players as guests, the last of which in May this year celebrated the most exciting climax to a League season ever in England & Wales with our 2-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield to clinch the title on goals scored at the last gasp.
Its secretary is Paul Matz and chair is Tony Bernard-Grout. Membership costs £10 a year for UK residents and £15 a year for overseas residents. Unwaged annual membership is £5. Life membership will set you back £100.
ARSENAL SUPPORTERS’ TRUST
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust was launched in the summer of 2003, backed by start-up funds from AISA and Supporters Direct, the “trade association” for supporters’ trusts throughout Britain. It is registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as an industrial & provident society (a form of mutual co-operative company equally owned by all its members on a one member one vote basis) and is a member of Supporters Direct.
AST’s objective is to widen and deepen ownership of Arsenal by Gooners. It owns Arsenal Holdings shares in its own right and its members own about three percent of the voting shares in Arsenal in their own right. Membership is open to all Gooners, irrespective of whether they own their own shares in the club.
AST members mutually own the AST’s own Arsenal Holdings shares. The monthly meetings of the AST board of directors, held on the second Monday of each month in central London are open to all AST members to attend. The AST also organises an annual question & answer session with the Arsenal chief executive open to all AST members and a number of other events which have included a Christmas social in the Diamond Club at the Grove. AST board members also regularly meet with all Arsenal’s senior shareholders and board members as well as chief executive Ivan Gazidis. AST is currently working on launching an Arsenal sharesave scheme to allow Gooners to invest in Arsenal shares.
Membership costs £2 a month for those paying by standing order, £30 a year for those paying by cheque, credit card or debit card or £250 for life membership. Corporate/business membership is also available at £50 a year.
Amongst the leading members of its board of directors are Nigel Phillips, Glyn Taylor, Tim Payton, Jeffrey Freeman, Steve Cooper, Emma Shepherd and Mary Derrane.
REDaction
Got its start in life as the “Arsenal Atmosphere Group” and subsequently re-christened REDaction, this group does what it says on the tin, working to promote passion and atmosphere in support of the team from Gooners at home and away matches.
The organisation is an informal network and there’s no set membership fee. REDaction organises pre and post match drinks at a club owned by London Metropolitan University called The Rocket at 166-220 Holloway Rd, N7 8DB, a short walk from the ground. Thoroughly recommended for those who want to pump up the volume and get in the mood with a well-priced libation or two.
Provincial/Overseas Arsenal Supporters’ Clubs
For those who don’t reside in The Big Smoke, there’s a network of supporters’ clubs throughout the rest of Britain, Ireland and the world. They are financially and legally autonomous of the club itself but officially recognised by it. Many organise transport to games and have access to match tickets.
You can find a full list of all the officially recognised provincial and overseas supporters’ clubs at:
Fanzines/Fan Websites/Blogs/Messageboards/E-Mail Lists
Printed fanzines, an independent and sometimes critical voice for fans, grew up in the 1980s. A number of Arsenal fanzines have departed the scene in the intervening years, including Arsenal Echo Echo, One-Nil Down Two-One Up and An Imperfect Match. Still going strong are Gunflash, The Gooner, Highbury High and Up The Arse. All can be bought outside the ground on matchdays or on subscription.
Since the internet became part of everyday life through the last fifteen years there’s been an explosion of Arsenal fan websites, email lists, message-boards and  blogs, of which arsenalinsider.com is a leading example of course!
Doing a Google search will show you just how much variety there is out there.
So that’s it. Just a quick thumb-nail sketch.
On the park our injury list is mounting ahead of our opening game at Goodison tomorrow. Amongst those unavailable for selection are Johann Djourou, Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri, Tomáš Rosický and Lukasz Fabia?ski. Oh dear. Surely our injury curse must lift eventually?
Keep the faith!

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