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The AST and Black Scarf Movement: speaking for Arsenal fans? No, not really.

By Tony Attwood

Intro: I had thought it was fairly clear that since this is Untold, the blog of which I am the publisher,  this article relates very much to my own personal viewpoint.  However one comment made below made me wonder if this was clear – so just to clarify – I am a committee member of AISA as I have declared within the article, but this, as with everything stated on Untold, is the opinion of the writer, not of any organisation, and in this case, not of AISA.

—————————————————–

Despite splashing out on Mesut Özil, Arsenal supporters’ groups have called for further significant investment over the next two transfer windows after the club’s financial results revealed they are still sitting on a large cash pile.

That comment recently appeared in the Guardian and it is typical of the comments that we have seen recently.  “Arsenal Supporters Groups…” have said this that and the other.

I’m a committee member of one Arsenal supporters’ group (Arsenal Independent Supporters Association) and I can be very certain that such comments have never come from AISA.

I’m also a member of The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, because I belong to the Fanshare scheme, and it does seem more and more that such critical commentaries do come from them.

Indeed so concerned did I become about one of their statements recently (at least as reported in the press and not contradicted by them on their web site) I emailed AST, stating that I was a member and asking on whose authority the statement was issued.   I got no reply.

So I’ve taken a new look at the AST web site.  It says that the AST is there to…

  • Promote the interests of supporters who own shares in Arsenal Football Club
  • Facilitate wider supporter involvement in the club
  • Facilitate and promote mutual supporter ownership of Arsenal

The site continues…

We have been established since 2003 and have made good progress in developing a working relationship with the club and raising the profile of financial and ownership issues. Membership has continued to grow and we now have more than 850 members, many of whom are individual shareholders in Arsenal. Approximately 4.5% of the club’s equity is owned by small shareholders like us. The AST also established Arsenal Fanshare, a scheme designed to allow more supporters a chance to own part of a share in Arsenal. Almost 2000 supporters are now members of Arsenal Fanshare.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust is run by its members. Every member is eligible to stand for election and to vote for candidates for the AST board which is accountable to you and your fellow AST members. The trust produces independently audited annual accounts,and provides regular updates to members through meetings, newsletters, emails and the website.

So this seems quite democratic.  And yet when it came to making critical comments about Mr Wenger and the club board, no one has consulted the membership.  It seems that it is an organisation whose board (having been elected) does what it likes without consultation.  A bit like the government I guess.

Which is fair enough, except that I’m a member of AST because I wanted to be inside the Fanshare scheme.  If I had known they were going to develop the current political and economic views they have, maybe I wouldn’t have joined.

Now there’s a third group: Black Scarf.   Here’s what they say:

In recent times, many Arsenal supporters have been feeling more and more alienated by the club they love. 

OK, that’s a clear statement.  I disagree – I don’t think “many” applies here, if we take “many” as meaning a “significant percentage of”.  But since no one has done a survey it is hard to know.  However they have stated their position very clearly, and so we know where they are coming from.  They continue…

We are not a group that moans and protests if our team doesn’t win trophies. Our focus isn’t what happens on the pitch, even though of course we’ll be upset when we lose a match, like any fan would. We don’t want a sugar daddy to ‘do a Chelsea or Man City’ at Arsenal. We are NOT a ‘Wenger Out’ group and we’ve never called for protests inside the ground; we’re about getting behind the team at every Arsenal match. 

Again that makes it all clear, and for that I am grateful.  The only bit I worry about is this.

We’ve now grown into the largest Arsenal supporters’ group and our membership continues to grow; 

Now that is interesting, because I’ve always thought AISA was the largest such group.   The problem is twofold.  First Black Scarf doesn’t publish any membership figure that I can find, and second Black Scarf have two types of membership – paid and unpaid.   Black Scarf openly recruits unpaid members – and of course if the unpaid members are included in their membership total that is going to boost the membership number considerably.

On the other hand you can’t join AISA as an unpaid member.  To be a member of AISA you need to pay your membership fee.   Then you get the regular colour booklet from the AISA Arsenal History Society (the bit I run), the chance to come to the AGM, a chance to become involved in putting supporters’ views and concerns to the club, and most years a rather interesting social event (the last couple have been in the House of Commons, and were really enjoyable).  Plus information on the various action AISA takes over policing, catering, problems with the ticketing system, ticket exchanges etc.

Now the problem with all this is that AISA very much does not become involved in arguments about what happens on the pitch, or who the club buys, so it is quite impossible for AISA to be part of the supporters’ groups who “have called for further significant investment over the next two transfer windows.”  My biggest contribution was to suggest the statues outside the stadium to Ivan Gazidis.

What the Guardian should have said (as far as I can tell) is that two of the smaller supporters groups (one of whom has not consulted its membership and the other of whom boosts its numbers by offering free membership) have called for more money to be spent by the club.

Here’s another statement from the Guardian.  “The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust believes Arsene Wenger should have up to £80m to spend over the next two transfer windows.”

Well, not quite.  They have not balloted members, and at least one member (me) joined to be part of Fanshare, not realising that I was going to be part of a “spend some fucking money” group.  Of course I could pull out of Fanshare, but actually I don’t want to.  I want to be in Fanshare but not the AST.

Of course the Guardian and other papers will continue with this anti-Wenger anti-Board stuff, claiming they are reporting the Arsenal supporters groups, and most readers won’t quite see what’s going on.

However if you are ever looking for an Arsenal supporters’ group that does not share the Guardian’s vision of Arsenal supporters, you could do worse than join AISA.  If nothing else you’ll be supporting Arsenal History Society.

But advertising AISA is not what I am trying to do.  I’m just saying, beware of what you read when it starts “Arsenal supporters’ groups…”

See also…

The books…

And…

 

58 comments to The AST and Black Scarf Movement: speaking for Arsenal fans? No, not really.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sir Thomas More: I am… reminded of something Wolsey once told me. That I should only ever tell the king what he ought to do, not what he could do; for if the lion knows his own strength, no man could control him.

  • Arthur Story

    This comment has been deleted as it contains an item which is libellous

  • elkieno

    I gonna sigh up now

  • rantetta

    Tell it, Tony.

    I’m so disappointed with the Guardian. How can I take anything they say seriously – having seen their anti Arsenal ness for all these years. Shame on you Grauniad. As for Payton and his mob – the less said the better. No, tell us more.

    In my mind I can still see that guy standing outside MY stadium, prattling to camera. Everything’s wrong/nobody listens/I represent everybody….. Bog off bitch!

    Wasn’t that after Stan K rose to speak to the massive – and stood there in silence for awhile. Classic.

  • Gareth Ley

    I have very similar feelings. I am also a member of AISA and AST and I’ve been really annoyed by statements apparently made on my behalf over the summer.I follow a fair few other Arsenal fans on Twitter and have been also been annoyed by comments made by Tim Payton in particular.He’s been very negative, almost hysterical(but not funny)at times. I’m sure the newspapers lap this sort of stuff up.

  • steve martin

    Interesting read. Though I’m sure you can be a fanshare member without being an AST member. The same happened to me, I was fanshare member, but not AST, the two are seperate. At least that’s my thinking, could be wrong. I am now both, also BSM and AISA.

  • Joseph Peterson

    This interests me because it smells of fear, and is inaccurate.

    Firstly, can you tell me where groupS have called in the press for significant investment? I am only aware of AST doing so. BSM have not stated this demand.

    AST work on behalf of its membership as does the BSM. You state that BSM (and indeed AST) do not publish membership figures, but does AISA? All I have ever seen is one laughable reference to “detailed discussions with over 10,000 fans” in one of AISA’s very infrequent updates on their website. It is the perception among many (look up the definition) of match going fans who talk on social media, that AISA is a fading group. A vanilla, brown nosing society too scared to challenge the club on anything.

    As for the questioning free membership, I have spoken recently with one of the BSM committee who confirmed that the split in their membership is around 50:50 and that both elements continue to grow at a rapid pace. I can understand why it grows too, as they are an active group not afraid to challenge, and who come up with valuable ideas that would benefit fans.

    I personally applaud the history work done by AISA but that’s the only value I see coming from that group. And well done in ONLY having paid members but can I please put a challenge to you and ask you to comment on a rumour I’ve heard from a reliable source, that AISA have around £40,000 in their bank account from membership fees and club donations? How is this being used to benefit supporters?

    AISA did some good work back in the day, but in my opinion it’s time the group was given an overhaul and simply work on the historical side only. Other stuff I see is already being looked after and of no additional value.

    Let’s see if this comment is published. I shan’t hold my breath.

  • Jez

    I support arsenal and don’t see the point in societies, associations and the like because it actually isn’t their business how arsenal is run. The only people tesco answer too is its shareholders and in the same way arsenal only have the same obligations.

    We as supporters and want arsenal to by Lionel messi and radimal falcao and beat every team 9-0 every game and win every competition known to man but a degree of realism needs to exercised. A business should never be interfered with by outsiders and although we fans all support the team that’s where our association ends. We don’t own the club or any part of it therefore we have no right to a say in how the business is run. As a ticket owner you have bought a right to cheer or boo the team for 90 minutes and then your involvement and right to show you pleasure or displeasure ends.

    I do see the point of arsenal historians though and love the historical facts of our team. It’s that we should stop moaning and get behind the team as support them whether we win trophies or not. Paying an extortionate amount for a ticket does not give you rights it is just a way to watch your team and if you are unhappy with that then don’t buy a ticket and watch it online or on TV instead which is far cheaper and although you can moan at sky for their extortionate prices instead.

  • jambug

    The inference from all the media is that, basically, almost ALL Arsenal fans are unhappy. No, unhappy is the wrong word. Disgusted? Maybe. Either way it’s the almost ALL inferance that pisses me off. Yes there are too many that get swept along on the anti Arsenal, Board, Wenger, band wagon but that’s hardly surpriseing considering the weight of negative propaganda forced down our throats each and every day in the media, but it’s still by no means ALL.

    There are many of us, as this very site attests to, that are fully behind what has been ACHIEVED these last 8 years. Do we ever here from them in the media?

    The Gaurdian, the Sun, Talkshite, Sky, they are all as bad as one and other.

  • dav301

    Disappointing to see an AISA committee member openly criticising other groups. I wonder aloud if the rest of the committee are in agreement?

  • Jez, I don’t fully agree. I am a member of AISA because it does a huge amount of good work behind the scenes.

    Take the cock up with tickets v Stoke. Something went wrong with the electronics and loads of people found their tickets didn’t work. So they had to queue to get replacement tickets. The queues were so long it took people ages to get in, and many missed quite a bit of the match.

    AISA is taking the matter up with Arsenal, and not only looking for compensation for those who were caught up in this, but also urging new systems so that there is a failsafe if this happens again.

    Or to take another issue. Almost every other Premier League club has a discount for season ticket holders over 65 – and so they should as most older supporters have given a lifetimes support, and now face lower incomes in retirement.

    To get such a discount Arsenal supporters have to move seats to the family section.

    This is wholly disrespectful to older supporters and out of tune with the rest of football, and I believe Arsenal will soon be changing its policy – as a result of a long running AISA campaign.

    To me, such behind the scenes stuff is important, and AISA is very necessary.

  • colario

    Tony.
    What I’ve just read in your post saddens me as it is not what I’ve come to expect from Arsenal.

    Please let us know the final out come of this. Thank you.

  • The Guardian and other media will only use the ammunition that AST and BSM provide. The question is why do they provide it so willingly? If self interest and self promotion would be the answers the follow up question would then have to be: For what purpose? Clearly not to support AFC. They can make their feelings known as members of their respective association directly to the clubs officers as AISA seems to do. The conclusion has to be that AST have become, and BSM probably always were, just parasitic associations living off the club.

  • Sam

    Don’t usually comment. But this is a very good article.

  • Robl

    Years ago journalists used to verify their sources…now all we have is hacks. Present company excepted.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Sir Anthony,

    If you listened to any decent podcast you would know that AISA is the least well thought of group, as the perception of it is that it does virtually nothing. Except write history booklets.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Do ‘they’ see what we see ? Another of those woods for the trees tale !

    Sherlock Holmes – Elementary Dear Watson

    Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.

    ” Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

    Watson replies, “I see millions of stars.”

    ” What does that tell you?”

    Watson ponders for a minute.” Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

    Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. ” Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And I bid you all goodnight with this tale of being too greedy
    for a ‘good’ thing and that all that glitters is not gold !
    Advice from the Medical Division of UA – READ THE FINE PRINT!

    Catch Me If You Can
    A man was ordered by his doctor to lose 75 lb. due to very serious health risks.

    As he wondered how in the heck he would ever do it, he ran across an ad in the local newspaper for a GUARANTEED WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM.

    “Guaranteed? Yeah right!” he thought to himself. But desperate, he calls them up and subscribes to the 3-day/10 pound weight loss program.

    The next day there’s a knock at his door, and when he answers, there stands before him…… a voluptuous, athletic, 19 year old young lady dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign round her neck. She introduces herself as a representative of the weight loss company. The sign reads, “If you can catch me, you can have me!”
    Without a second thought he takes off after her. A few miles later, huffing and puffing, he finally catches her but is too tired to have his way with her. After they are rested and she leaves, he thinks to himself, “I like the way this company does business!” The same girl shows up for the next two days and the same thing happens.

    The fourth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 10 lb. as promised. He calls the company and orders their 5- day/20 pound program. The next day there’s a knock at the door and there stands the most stunning, beautiful, sexy woman he has ever seen in his life, wearing nothing but Reebok running shoes and a sign around her neck that reads, “If you catch me, you can have me.” He’s out the door after her like a shot. This girl is in excellent shape and it takes him a very long while to catch her, but when he does, he is cramping and wheezing.
    For the next four days, the same routine happens and much to his delight, on the fifth day he weighs himself and found he has lost another 20 lb as promised.

    He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order the 7- day/50 pound program. “Are you sure?” asks the representative on the phone. “This is our most rigorous program.” “Absolutely,” he replies, “I haven’t felt this good in years!!!”
    The next day there’s a knock at the door and when he opens it he finds a muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads, “If I catch you,…. you’re mine.”

  • blacksheep63

    Dear lord Andrew Ryan

    ‘if you listen to podcasts’… if I read the Daily Mail I would think the country was overrun with tax dodging immigrant work shy loafers who wear burkas and want to kidnap my children and sell them into slavery or turn them into suicide bombers.
    Fortunately I have a brain and can think for myself.
    As Tony points out AISA represents Arsenal fans and campaigns to improve the match day experience and bring down prices so more people can watch the Arsenal. It does not merely produce history leaflets. But frankly IF that was all it did it would be a lot more use than a lot of negative moaning by self appointed ‘pundits’ on podcasts.

    So, as someone once said ‘think for yourself schumck’ and don’t believe everything you hear online

  • Dav, I thought it was fairly self-evident that I was writing on my own behalf on my own blog. But it is an important point so I will go back and make it quite clear at the top of the article.

  • Joseph not sure why you are not holding your breath – although I admit I tend only to check the comments once every hour or so.

    But Untold has a long history (if you take a look) of publishing comments that are contrary to the opinions put in articles. The only ones we stop are those which are utterly abusive or off topic. We’ve published several thousand articles and there are a lot to go back and check

  • blacksheep63

    Dav it may be a point but its a pedantic one. Tony authored the article under his name not as a member of any group per se. Surely more important to challenge the committee at AST who issue statements without consulting their membership, or doesn’t that bother you?

  • Andrew Ryan

    blacksheep,

    Obviously the cockney Sir Anthony went over your head.

    Not sure I’d have brought your obvious left wing politics into it, but each unto their own. If you think being a slavish Guardian reader makes you think for yourself then I genuinely pity you.

  • blacksheep63

    Obviously. I hadn’t realised you were a cockney, I was born in the Whittington hospital, not in hearing of bow bells so I can’t claim to be one me ol china, but can claim to be a locally born Arsenal fan.. But yes I know my slang, shame you feel the need to be abusive to someone who is merely expressing an opinion. To be honest its says more about you than it does about Tony.

    Not sure what being left wing has to do with anything but again, your assumptions are a little off. I’m just not a racist bigot but each to their own. And I don’t read newspapers although I will admit to having read the Grauniad in the past, along with the Telegraph and one or two others.

    I do read other blogs (notably Arseblog every day) he and the podcast don’t mention the fans groups with any regularity but are overwhelmingly supportive of the team, manager and club so I would imagine they would not dismiss AISA as irrelevant. But regardless of any of this, my point remains valid. You choose to believe what you like sir, but can you try to be civil?

  • Stevie E

    Sorry guys, completely off topic but this is a lovely write up on Aaron Ramsey, we’ll worth a read http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/sep/27/arsenal-aaron-ramsey-arsene-wenger?CMP=twt_gu
    Enjoy!

  • Sid

    Andrew Ryan

    You seem very angry abiout something? Was it todays headline about illegal immigrants stealing our women folk in the Daily Heil?

  • blacksheep63

    careful Sid he’ll accuse you of being a dangerous lefty…

  • Sid the Commie

    Who me, a lefty???

  • Andrew Ryan

    blacksheep

    Your attempts to stereotype people’s views are typical of this site. You raised the political slant not me.

    Really enjoyed your recent “informative” plumstead visit history article – packed with detail.

    Sid

    Another Guardian sheep? Again you are to be pitied.

  • Sid

    I too think the AST seem more interested in generating publicity for themselves. They seem completely driven by self interest at the expence of the club they purport to support.

    I am not against criticism of the manager, board, etc, but the way the AST and in particularly that obnoxious twonk Payton, is completely counter productive and is lapped up by the media as witnessed by the Guardian’s and other newspapers converage.

    They (he) think they are far more important and influential than they (he) really are.

    Too many have forgotten how to enjoy football or be supporters….

  • Sid

    Oh dear, you really arent having a good day are you Master Ryan?

    Wide of the mark assumptions is all you seem to have.

    I pity the fool!

  • Sid

    blacksheep

    Power ti the people!!!

  • Sid

    And as for that pathetic embarrassing BSM, the less said about them the better… Bunch of clueless arseholes and no mistaking.

    £2000 I spent with them and it still took me 7 goes before I passed my driving test…

  • Andrew Ryan

    Sid

    Having a very good day thank you.

    Don’t think your master is though on twitter.

  • blacksheep63

    No Andrew (thanks for the kind remark about the article btw..:) ) I didn’t raise the political slant, I used an analogy. Which was that if one takes one’s views from a biased source without thinking about it carefully one can be in danger of being misled. I used the Daily Mail but I could have used other examples – the DM is however, quite well known for its unsubstantiated scaremongering. You perhaps assumed I disliked the DM because of its politics or views – and dubbed be a lefty Guardian reader – while actually I dislike ALL papers for their inaccuracy and scheming.

    But I would suggest that in future you don’t start your comments with a personal insult directed at the writer of the piece, it does tend to annoy those of us that enjoy a proper, grown up debate.
    In the spirit of the Arsenal collective however, I would agree that there is no one way to support our club, and everyone has different viewpoints. After all we all want the same thing don’t we?
    peace

  • Andrew Ryan

    blacksheep,

    I too loathe all papers, but you can’t assume that if someone reads the DM they all think in one way. I personally find Guardian readers the worse for assumptions.

    If I had received a reply to stating repeatedly that on the history site Tony had got the birthday of Hapgood wrong, i would not have resorted to shock tactics.

  • Drew Gray

    You are right of course Andrew, and I don’t. As for the Hapgood mistake I will pass it on (if he hasn’t noted this comment already)

  • Sid

    I personally find Guardian readers the worse for assumptions
    ——————————-
    Ha! Priceless! If that was inentional then I salute you as a comedic genius! But judging by the fact your posts have been soooo darn miserbale and petty despite you having a very good day, apparently, then I seriously doubt you have ever said anything funny intentionally.

    Whooops, there I go assuming all over the place…

    BTW; Whose my leader? Er indoors?

  • Arthur Story I have had to remove your post as it is libellous. Arsenal has not given AISA a penny.

  • Unbelievable belief

    Tony
    I don’t expect Ivan will be inviting AST for a Christmas drink in the directors box this year.
    And they had been given privelages to set up a stand (like AIST have been too) at the annual shareholders meetings. I expect they will be getting the cold shoulder from now on.

    They have also been given credit for other groups work – who organised the cheap tickets for teens initiative?

  • Unbelievable belief

    Sid,
    Champagne socialists, or a socialist playing champagne football?
    I stopped buying the Manchester Guardian years ago.

  • Pat

    Interesting article Tony. Thanks for the link to AISA.

  • Gord

    @Tony, and others of FFP interest

    Sorry, OT.

    UEFA published a page 3 days ago, about the latest FFP document for 2013/2014. In that page, is a link to a 52 page (24 MB) PDF. There are lots of economic/accounting points in there, but overall to me it looks like an advertising brochure (see how good our product is). The name of it is License to Thrill.

    http://www.uefa.org/footballfirst/protectingthegame/financialfairplay/news/newsid=2000100.html

  • sukebe

    This is the perfect example on the power of money.

    Money will get you everything; title, power, lust, health, happiness, madness, etc.. etc… even love?

    What is lefty? What is.. “Righty?”

    Socialism, socialist *wage structure* is lefty?
    Why do you guys so afraid of it? Is it wrong?

    Capitalism, capitalist *money* is “Righty”?
    What makes “righty” right? Because it’s right?

  • Pete

    Following AST’s recent statement I commented on the Independent article that they should source comments from AISA as AST are not representative. Unfortunately, the Guardian did not allow comments on their equivalent article.

    Fortunately, Kroenke’s comments would seem to imply that he doesn’t take a blind bit of notice of AST’s self-important statements.

    Re AST, as it is a democratic organisation the obvious step to take is to put up an alternative slate of candidates at the next AGM (or if there is a lot of clear support even try to call an EGM). If I was a member (which I’m not – although am a member of AISA) I would be happy to propose Tony as a veru credible candidate. I can think of others for the slate too. Worst case, if the current incumbents remain in place, they may think twice about their actions going forward.

  • bjtgooner

    We can all associate the rather unpleasant Payton with the now self-discredited AST, but just who runs the rather shadowy BSM? Have the BSM an organising committee and do they provide minutes of their meetings and details of their finances – or are they not that organised?

  • Mahdain

    I really think its about time Arsenal Football Club gave the cold shoulder treatment to the AST to make them see just how irrelevant they are. It is filled with egotistical selfserving maniacs who hold themselves in high regard and think they are far more important than others just because they are blessed to be able to attend the matches on weekly basis. Their spokesman, the one and only famous halfwit Tim Payton is the worst of them all as he on number of occasions has called oversee fans muppets and dont deserve a say in how the club is run just because they live million of miles away.

  • Tony,
    It’s perfectly possible to be a Fanshare member without being an AST member. They are separate legal entities. You are not and never have been an AST member, so from that point of view you probably don’t need to trouble yourself unduly about what the AST does.
    However, we do make a point of responding to correspondence, so if you have a copy of the email you sent and can tell me the address you sent it to, I’ll see what happened.
    Regards,
    Phil.

  • bjtgooner

    @Mahdain

    Fully agree, well said.

  • don't feed the trolls!

    honestly!
    Can’t you spot the trolls in one post (or less)? Responding to them makes it hard to summon up the will to read through to the intelligent, or at least thoughtful, comments.

  • Stuart

    BSM are exactly as their acronym suggests : ‘Black Scarf Morons’ and the AST, I don’t know enough about. Generally I tend to be no part of these so called ‘voices of the people’ as they never take into account the views / opinions of others instead trying to gain support from others who are gullible enough to follow because they agree on 1 thing but it is usually to push their own agenda.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @mahdain,
    “number of occasions has called overseas fans muppets and dont deserve a say in how the club is run just because they live million of miles away.”

    Ignorant fool that he is, Even he doesnt have any say on what the club does. The club travels a million miles to reach the muppets who he thinks is not important.

    BUT I’ll have to thank him and his friends though. His/ASTs statement was just on time. I had (almost) decided to be a member…..

  • Jon

    Hi guys,

    Just a small note to thank you Tony, for pointing this out. I have been highly dissatisfied with the AST comments and Payton’s conduct and statements for a long while now and as an AST member, I am continuing to lose patience. I’m not quite sure why the management of the organisation feel the need to comment on club aspects outside of their remit and at times that are wholly inappropriate but considering they represent other people (such as myself), I think it’s only fair that they consult their membership before they start commenting negatively about the club in the media.

    At the next available opportunity, I certainly won’t be voting for the current AST management to be staying. They are failing to be balanced and they a failing to represent their members. And that’s not even starting to consider the fact that everything they say is WRONG, as evidenced by how stupid their recent comments have made the AST (as a whole) look, considering the teams form and league position. Astonishing.

  • Jon,
    Can you please explain what you mean by ‘everything they [the AST] say is WRONG’? What facts are wrong?
    Thanks.

  • GodWore10

    I feel exactly as you tony. I can’t – or don’t see the point of – resigning from AST because I’m a paid up life member. Also I do believe in their stated aims. A pity it’s been hijacked.

  • Jon

    Hello Phil

    At first I was a little worried about being able to provide a decent response to your question, thinking that I should have used the word “unhelpful” instead of “wrong”. I would have probably still used unhelpful but the first thing I came across:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/trust-worried-by-wenger-obsession-29510045.html

    Littered with things that are opinions, that anyone is entitled to have but you can argue are objectively wrong.

    Apparently Wenger’s “obsession” with youth players and policy has a detrimental effect of the first team. Well, I think that’s wrong because Gnabry, Wilshere, Ramsey, Szcesny, Gibbs…these are all first team players we have because of that policy. It’s also wrong in my opinion to say that it has had a particularly detrimental effect on player acquisitions. What’s had the effect on acquisitions has been the debt that the club has, which has been being paid down. If anything, youth policy has helped the club through a long tricky period.

    The landing of Ozil has pretty much been shown (by the payers own comments) to be down to Arsene Wenger being in place. We know that Wenger spoke to him in German and his ability to move quickly and organically must’ve been pivotal in convincing Ozil to come. Without Wenger having control, this probably would’ve been much harder to pull off. Just ask Man U about how difficult transfers are to close.

    There is also the statement that at time Payton is “critical of Wenger’s prudence” and I think it safe to assume this has been the case for more than just this statement. But this prudence is reason Arsenal were able to make this move in the first place. Remember 42.5mill GBP. That would not have been there, had we spent any more money than we have.

    “His apparent obsession with being a developmental manager is in danger of holding the club back.” This line is absolute bullshit and has now been shown to be so. Remember we’re NOT top of the table because of Ozil, his performance have been nice and he’s assisted a couple of times, but make no mistake: the reason we’re top of the table is because of Ramsey. RAMSEY. Apperently investing in players like Ramsey could hold the club back. Wasn’t true even after the loss to Villa. Wasn’t true, or correct, EVER.

    And finally there’s the fact that his position with the AST is all over this article, strongly suggesting that somehow this is MY view also.

    “The AST has issued a strongly worded statement outlining their belief that offering Wenger a new contract would be “inappropriate” and that any decision on extending his stay beyond 2014 should only be made after the transfer window closes.”

    This statement is wrong because Wenger has done a great job and offering a contract before the end of the transfer window would’ve been appropriate but its also wrong because THIS IS OUTSIDE THE AST REMIT!!!

    Sorry for the long answer, that wasn’t my intention but I think when it comes to supporting Arsenal, the AST executive are failing pretty dramatically at the moment and article like this one are just embarrassing.

    Cheers

  • @Swales68

    I am not a member of any Arsenal group but get fed up listening to the radio, reading newspapers and hearing from groups who say they are speaking on behalf of Arsenal fans. The silent majority as we are called, I and many others may be quiet when it comes to speaking to the media but not every Arsenal fan is that inclined to become friendly with Talksport etc . I watched the BSM jaunt around Arsenal against Swansea last season and to me it was like watching Arsenal away fans turning up at a game back in the early 80’s the older leaders surrounded by the young bucks singing and swearing because they could. One older gentleman rather unfortunately showed his displeasure at what they were doing and the abuse he recived from the few hundred (my estimate not that of the police, the BSM or the media) fans was disgusting.

    I think I am going to set up an anti group called Arsenals silent majority I will involve no fees to join, it will release nothing to the media nor it’s members about its aims. The only thing I ask my members is that they support Arsenal through think and thin. A few donts no banners, no strolls around the ground and no communication with the media.

  • Jon,
    Everything you’ve said is opinion. You might not agree with it, but it’s still all opinion.
    The newspaper article you linked to also mixes up the AST statement with Tim Payton’s off the cuff quotes, which is not particularly helpful.
    I don’t doubt that Arsene Wenger played the major role in persuading Ozil to sign, but that’s his job isn’t it? And don’t overlook the fact that the signing, on the last day of the window, was only possible because Gareth Bale went to Madrid. If that deal – that Tottenham deal – had broken down Arsenal would have attracted zero players (bar the two freebies) in the whole transfer window. Plan A failed (Higuain), Plans B and C failed (Suarez and Rooney), and goodness knows how many other plans before we got to Plan Ozil. That was not a transfer window that was handled well, whatever the outcome with Ozil and whatever happens this season.
    You talk about Ramsey and Arsene’s youth policy and attitude to spending, but these are all opinions, whether yours, Tim Payton’s or anyone else’s. You even say in your second paragraph ‘It’s also wrong in my opinion’ – which rather ruins your argument about facts. You have an opinion; most people who visit this site have similar opinions, because Tony Attwood has similar opinions – birds of a feather and all that. But there are many Arsenal fans, equally passionate about their club, who hold very different opinions. But they’re all opinions.
    I don’t turn up here particularly often (I was pointed here because of Tony’s inaccurate statements about AST and Fanshare membership) because I find it irritating that criticism of anyone at Arsenal – Board, Manager, tea lady – is totally outlawed, and is equated with being anti-Arsenal, which is a ridiculous and frankly childish attitude. Why should people be above criticism? Why should we not applaud when a good job is done but still point out where things could be better? Unless you strive for perfection, you’ll never achieve it. That last line is a fact. The rest of it is just my opinion.