Early Morning Thoughts And Arsene Wenger Misses The Fans.

Morning, folks.

There’s a preview of tonight’s fixture with AC Milan heading your way a little later on this afternoon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

In the meantime, as I’ve got a bit of time on my hands today, I figured I do a brief morning post – a pre-preview ramble, if you will.

The story that I came across when doing my morning perusing regarded the empty seats at the Emirates in recent months. It’s fair to say, that attendances have dropped quite considerably. I can recall a time when getting tickets for any Arsenal game was practically impossible and required sheer good fortune or sexually bribery (don’t ask). These days it feels like I could go whenever I want, irrespective of the size of the opponent.

I make no secret of the fact I don’t get to games very often. I do go when I can, but being a chef and living in the South West means that I don’t tend to get many weekends free, and when I do have the chance to see a game, it’s around £200 for the entire day, (Tickets, trains, food, drink). I love the feeling of being at the Emirates on match day- there is nothing better and it’s usually a great excuse for my friends and I to get together and shout.

But it is expensive and consumes an entire day to get down there and back – if you’ve ever dealt with GWR on a match day, you’ll know the sh*t-show of a service they offer can make things pretty damn stressful, too. Maybe it’s just the downturn in fortunes of the team, but the frequency with which we see empty seats at the Emirates looks to me like I’m not the only one who’s taken to preferring to avoid all the hassle involved.

Perhaps, you’ll say that doesn’t make a ‘true supporter’. Perhaps you’re right. I’d not dispute that there are certainly those that dedicate more of their money and time to Arsenal than I do, and those folks certainly could be described as more dedicated than I. I’d also argue that a true supporter stands by the team not matter what – through both the good and the bad. Some people choosing to not go to the stadium aren’t doing so to avoid all the hassle, their doing it simply because they don’t want to watch the team during bad periods.

Personally, I think the empty seats aren’t just for one single reason. You can’t put it solely down to the team, the manager or anything like that. People are choosing not to go for a variety of reasons. However, I would suggest that the primary reason is we aren’t as fun to watch as we used to be. There is an element of stagnation and predictability to our seasons that some people aren’t willing to spend their money on. And that needs to change and Arsene Wenger agrees:

“I feel that for 22 years I have played in front of sold-out stadiums and I am grateful…you don’t expect me to say I don’t want them to come back.

If there are one or two games and the stadium is not completely full we have to look at ourselves and get the fans behind us again. This club is massive and the support is huge. It is just down to our performances”

With the singing of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan, coupled with what promises to be an eventful summer in the transfer market, I’d hope we’ll go into next season with something to get excited about. Something needs to change to prevent any further malaise and a fresh injection in a few areas would work wonders. It’s good to see Arsene be honest in his assessment of the situation.

He may himself be part of the problem. I love him, but I’ve suggest on plenty of occasions his time at Arsenal is coming to an end.

So, folks – why not tell me what you’d do to entice fans back (within reason)? Do you think it’s as simple as a new manager, or do the problems go higher up as far as the Kroenke’s and the other members of our board who don’t appear to give a f*ck about anything on the pitch as long as the money is coming in?

Let me know in the comments below.

I’ll be back later.

Until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Soundtrack to this post: 

Massive Attack – ‘Lately’ 

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