From fighting in the stands to harassing their own YouTube fan channel, Arsenal fans behaviour was a joke over the weekend. Are they not overreacting a bit?
For over 20 years, Arsenal have finished in the Premier League’s top four. During that period, they’ve been Premier League winners on three occasions.
While many fans can be critical and suggest that the club are happy to “settle” for fourth place in recent years, in the grand scheme of things, the Gunners have not done too bad at all.
Bigger clubs have fallen before Arsenal. Let’s look at the 2015/16 season; Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all finished outside of the top four. Whilst Chelsea have immediately recovered, this was the Red Devils’ second finish outside of the top four in three seasons, and Liverpool’s 6th in the last seven seasons. So why are Arsenal fans behaving so erratically after one fall? Embarrassing.
Arsenal fans turning on Arsenal Fan TV was always going to happen. Making money off of your clubs failure angers! pic.twitter.com/GZhghQDtVT
— The Football Terrace (@TheFootballTerr) April 2, 2017
Is ArsenalFanTV really making money off their club’s failures? It’s easy to insinuate such intentions. Of course, the channel will put up better numbers as rival clubs and even fans internationally tune in to laugh at another team’s despair – but it’s all apart of football culture. The fan channel didn’t start up when Arsenal were failing, nor could they predict the Gunners’ demise. Should they just not film after a bad result? After a loss, fans will undoubtedly want to express their views even more.
The content provides a platform for fans to be heard, it gives them a voice in the football world. Whilst the channel has profited from recent bad results, it’s ignorant to suggest this was their main intention or plan all along. The channel has been running for over four years – the profits are a result of hardwork and an unforeseeable fall.
Liverpool fans are a strong example of how to react in a conflict between fans and board. Immediately after ticket information stated that tickets would be as high as £77 in some sections, fans planned a protest. Not everyone felt as passionate about it – the entire stadium didn’t leave, but fans didn’t target those who didn’t leave Anfield on the 77th minute.
The link between Arsenal today and Liverpool’s protest is important. As in almost every event, fans had differing opinions – not everyone was as outraged. Some felt that as the inflated ticket prices were only in some sections of Anfield, it wasn’t worth protesting about strongly – but they could still respect why other fans opted to walk out.
In relation to the Gunners fans, why can’t they respect each others views? It’s easy to see why fans may believe that Arsene Wenger’s time is up. He doesn’t look like he can take the club back to the top, they’ve struggled in challenging for the league title and the fans don’t feel the club can grow anymore.
In some respects, they are envious of some of the appointments of other clubs; Klopp to Liverpool, Guardiola to Manchester City, Conte to Chelsea and Mourinho to United. Given that all those teams are performing better than Arsenal right now, it’s easy to respect the view of fans who want a change.
The @Exploding_Heads want Leyton Orient fans to raise £100,000 for Arsenal
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 25, 2017
Equally, some fans assign more blame to the players. They may not have signed the striker everyone wanted, but the Gunners did make two signings who were expected to make a big impact in Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka. It hasn’t worked out for Wenger, but he isn’t the first manager to sign players who have failed to live up to expectation in their first season.
But whether you blame the manager or the players, the main reason why neutral supporters find it entertaining is due to the vast overreaction to one bad season. It’s not as easy to win the title anymore, the moment when Roman Ambramovich took over Chelsea was the beginning, the Sheikhs of Manchester City soon followed. Just like Liverpool and Manchester United have fallen since the early 2000s, it’s no surprise to see that Arsenal have too.
We know not all of the north London club’s fans are the same, but frequent fights in the stands at Arsenal games, paired with the ArsenalFanTV events after the game against the Citizens are just two scenarios which are ruining the reputation of one of England’s greatest clubs. The situation could be much worse.
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