Sunday, 12 February 2017

Arsenal Fan TV – Right or Wrong?

The subject of Arsenal Fan TV was all over ‘normal’ TV & social media last week.

Arsenal Fan TV is not new. I first noticed them outside of the Emirates 2 seasons ago but paid them no heed. Their website said they have been around since 2012.

I started to pay some attention last season when I believe it attracted more crowds. After some matches, I stayed behind and tried to reason with some of the principal characters in the hope that the engagement might reduce some of the vitriol they spewed on air.

Some of the people I engaged with off camera appeared reasonable but were soon back on the camera after the next setback mouthing off at the club and spewing the same line. I quickly concluded that this was all about the camera. It was all about grabbing attention.

A while ago, many traditional Arsenal fan groupings especially on Social Media were very critical of Arsenal Fan TV and ridiculed some of the things the owners did. They were offering overseas fans an interview for a fee, selling merchandise and taking them on a tour of the N5 area. I disagreed with their critics as I felt they were been bullied.

Many people are taught to aspire to find a way to turn their hobbies into an avenue to make money. I thought fair play to the owners of Arsenal Fan TV for achieving this.

However I think the commercial success and the hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers has left the owners / promoters of Arsenal Fan TV with an inflated sense of personal worth.

Unfortunately the club is also culpable as they have occasionally given them a platform through the club’s media channels and also by tolerating some of the after game rowdiness at the stadium premises.

It is sad that someone / some people who claim to love a club cannot obviously see the negative effects of this Fan TV platform. The platform is fanning the embers of hate towards the manager and the squad. Some of the well known & regular faces line up week after week taking pot shots at the manager and their next victim amongst the playing squad. One day, they are fan boys and posing with the Manager and the next day the manager is the granddad of Judas.

Yes, you are allowed to change your mind and opinion about anything but why is it that your opinion flip flops according to results and the Arsenal position on the league table? Did Arsene Wenger change his footballing philosophy from game to game or is it that you don’t understand football enough?

As far as I am concerned, the manager remains very popular amongst a majority of stadium going fans. The last time a cross section of myopic fan groups tried to protest against the manager, the silent majority burst out in simultaneous praise of the manager in The Emirates during a crucial match.

If Arsenal Fan TV promoters genuinely consider themselves as fans, they will modify their approach and back every single one of the club’s decisions and the club’s football manager and all playing personnel without exception. We should be fans first and our overriding aim should be to support the club. Trying to drum the manager out of the club is disgusting and there is no way a true fan will want to do something like this. The fact that we spend many thousands following the club and pursuing our passion is not enough to be vitriolic and unreasonable in our comments.  

In my opinion, Arsenal Fan TV has become a reality show. Every single one of the regular wants to be a social media celebrity. I wonder if the appearance of Heavy D on BIG BROTHER UK is the motivation for this. It is no longer anything to do with the club. "It is my opinion, it is my right, If you don’t like it you are an arselicking Arsene fan boy who supports Arsene FC" is the usual retort from those who oppose the Manager.

Fans having a voice is good. But what sort of voice are you having? There is a reason why most societies discourage hate speech because not all voices deserve to be heard.

I am 100% certain of one thing, if the promoters of Arsenal Fan TV don’t reform their offering, it will soon die a natural death. Big Brother UK was a very popular show when it started. In a short space of time, its followership has fallen off the cliff. It is fine if you are only after short term rewards but if you want to build a sustainable platform, it is time to revamp what you are offering. 

Are fans interested in tactical analysis? Responses to perceived referee bias? Improving matchday atmosphere inside the stadium? Improving access to tickets? Social side of following Arsenal FC? I bet they are. These are areas that could be of interest, not every time WengerOut or wishing some calamity on the club and the manager.

Personally, I think there is now a gap in the market for the Anti Arsenal Fan TV FAN TV. Let some of our other Arsenal Fans with large celebrity following launch a competitive product to show that the current version of Arsenal Fan TV does not represent us.

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