Arsenal season tickets going spare...

Cesc Fabregas is staying. Joe Cole is coming. Mark Schwarzer too. Just another day in the transfer merry-go-round. But will these players, coming or not, staying put or not, play to a full stadium next season? Will there be embarrassing swathes of red seats captured on camera as Arsene Wenger’s men bid to end this hiedous trophy drought?
The reason I ask is that I have never had so many people call me to say they have a ‘spare season ticket’ or even ‘a pair’ from my reasonably extensive network of Arsenal contacts. Sure, every season you get the occasional offer and more often than not between us we find a home for the little bit of plastic that gets us in to the home of football.
But I have been shocked by just how many of my acquaintances have been on the blower since the season finished. A silverware-less season it has to be said. Are the fans so disgruntled with our lack of success that they have thrown in the towel? Are some supporters so enraged with AW’s stringent transfer policy that they no longer want to watch the Beautiful game as played out by our beautiful Gunners?
Of course, it can be argued that the club have a waiting list of potential season ticket holders who will fill the void and that this situation could be down to natural wastage. Indeed, a pal of mine who tried to strike a deal to renew two Club Level seats back in March was told, bluntly: ‘We don’t do deals…we have a waiting list.’ He stumped up his £7,000.
But I am worried it is the start of a trend. I asked the people I know who have chopped their STs in why they have done so. Two said they were cutting down because of AW’s dogmatic stance on the squad and they argued that they could pretty much pick up tickets from either a silver membership or from spares other may have when they wanted to go. One had moved to Scotland so, frankly, he doesn’t deserve a season ticket (joking before I get lynched by the Arsenal Jocks). One had joined some sort of unofficial protest at the way the club has taken things forward in terms of the new ground and a general dislike of so many aspects of the club they once loved: We want our Arsenal back, so the mantra goes. One was skint. fair enough. There are numerous others with similar stories.
These Gooners form a growing number of Arsenal attendees who regularly get their Gunners fix in the various and copious pubs around the area. Go to the 12 Pins at Finsbury Park on any given Saturday and it is mobbed. It is a similar state of affairs at other hostelries. “The atmosphere is better than the ground and it doesn’t cost £50 to get in,” is the general argument.
But, hey, we are straying into a whole different debate involving Prawn Sarnie Brigades etc etc and I have got work to do. Last season there was a lot of talk of how the club might take the capacity of the Emirates up to 80,000. This season that line of dialogue may find itself redundant. Like me if I don’t get on. And yes, I have renewed. Up the Gunners!

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