Arsenal fans are lost in swirl of negativity. Gone are the days of the Invincibles, long gone is the ‘Project Arsenal’ team filled with future stars. Arsenal fans now know the club is past the ‘scrimping years’. They want success, and they’ve waited long enough for it. Expectation is king, one wrong move and disaster strikes at the Emirates.
Arsenal Football Club moved from the packed-in, pressure cooker of Highbury Stadium to the glamorous Emirates Stadium. A side effect of the move is the match day fan-base has changed. Gone are the ‘Arsenal till we die’ attendees who have been priced out of tickets, they have since been replaced with the ‘day-trip’ Arsenal fans. Too quickly was the Emirates branded a library, as a result of the changes in the stands.
It’s a toxic scenario. On one side you have fair-weather fans on the inside providing little support to the team they’re watching and the vocal ‘old school fans’ on the outside squawking for managerial blood and bemoaning ticket prices. Too many column inches have been written on Arsenal’s ticket prices, mainly an annual subject for those without imagination.
The problem I wish to focus on is how easily poisoned by negative media the Arsenal fan base is. Long have Arsenal fans had to sit by and listen to ‘expert pundits’ talk about Arsenal’s flaws. Can you remember the last time you saw Ozil portrayed positively in the mainstream media? Have you watched a pre or post game analysis that hasn’t included a throwaway comment about the team’s character?
An example is the recent rise of Alex Iwobi. Has he received the same celebratory press that Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford? Where are the conversations praising Iwobi’s impact and output? They are happening, just not visible to those too lazy to move past Sky Sports and the BBC. Why is the minority taking the lead?
Unfortunately recently we’ve seen the rise of another strain of negative press, the internet-based FanTV. Week upon week, horrid caricatures of fans get in front of a camera – invited by a channel that doesn’t want debate, only drama.
These ‘fans’ who bray for blood after every bad result, are themselves the result of year upon year of negativity rammed down their throats by a media who are too lazy to look past ‘the Arsenal yearly cycle’ and project a positive image.
Add into that mixture, what I mentioned above about the financially ostracised fans and there is no visible end in sight.