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How Arsenal helped a Tottenham star, and our provision for the disabled

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By Tony Attwood
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A little while ago I experienced Arsenal’s facilities for the disabled first hand, and I must say I was amazed.   Amazed because one only ever hears negative things about Arsenal, and everything I found was good.   Good in the sense of the way carers go in for free, how the disabled have special discounts, how there are staff on hand all the time to help…   I was proud of my club.
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Then I received an email from ‘goonersince72’. who wrote to me with this comment…
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“Where are the good guys today?  Right here.
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I was reminded of this recently when I read the club paid the entire costs (something like 30 thousand pounds!) for Paul Gascoigne’s treatment for his latest lapse with alcohol.
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This is a man who put an absolute dagger into the hearts of the club and Arsenal supporters everywhere with a wonder free-kick goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final among other torments. What other club would do this for a player who famously starred for their biggest rival?
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This is the kind of club I choose to support and always will. So, I was thinking you might share this and other stories of  Arsenal’s generosity and heart you may know of with all the readers (incl. the aaa) who may not be familiar with this aspect of the club. Thanks for your time and all the terrific work you do.
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Now my thoughts, and those of ‘goonersince72’ come at a time when David Bernstein, the president of Level Playing Field (LPF), the disabled supporters’ campaign group, has said, “Disabled provision lags behind the work against other forms of discrimination and it has been very, very hard going to get the clubs to comply,  The clubs don’t do it because disabled provision costs money, and they raise the issue of having old grounds. But given the money at the top of the game now, this is indefensible.”

The argument put forwards is that although the Equality Act 2010, insists that clubs make provision, most clubs don’t.

When we come to the good guys, Swansea are mentioned as having provided more than they need to.  Swansea are indeed always mentioned.

Arsenal are not, however.  And the reason is that Arsenal only provide 96% of the recommended wheelchair places.  Now I know from experience of wheelchair bound friends and people who write to Untold, that there is not a shortage of spaces for people who want to see a game from a wheelchair, so that 4% doesn’t matter but it is enough to knock us off the list of “compliant” clubs.

But at the Emirates there is more than just spaces for the disabled to have perfect views of the games.  Space is available for disabled supporters to change, lifts all around the ground reserved for the disabled to get to the upper levels, and a lounge that can be used before the game.  There is a dedicated team that works with the disabled.  And believe me, I have seen them at work.  They are superb.

One can appreciate the problem at West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in that they are going to move, and they have been reluctant to spend money now on a stadium that will be abandoned shortly.  But just saying a stadium is old, shouldn’t be and legally isn’t a get out clause, any more than it was in terms of making stadia all seater following the legislation that stated that had to happen.

If stadia can be converted to all-seater, why can’t everyone have a decent provision for the disabled?

Queens Park Rangers ground is a bit of a ramshackle affair – I remember first going there when they were in the third division, and they have just 17% of the minimum recommended wheelchair places.  Their reason is the same as others.  “We are building a new stadium.”  “It’s just not practical”.

Chelsea not only have a low number but also wheelchair supporters can find that people stand in front of them – so the whole provision is pointless anyway.

Worse at Anfield, it is said by the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association that the rebuild of the old ground will not bring in many new seats at all for the disabled, leaving the provision at 45% of the requirement.  The promise is this will improve when the final part of the redevelopment takes place – but that is still a long way off.

But perhaps most annoying of all is Manchester United who use the wholly specious argument that the minimum numbers only apply to new stadiums.  That is quite untrue, as the LPF confirms.  Indeed in 1998 the Premier League, as part of the Football Task Force, agreed the figure should be applied to all existing grounds. Worse, Man U with all their millions of pounds coming in from marketing, refuse to sell season tickets to disabled supporters.  Total and absolute discrimination.

As Lord Holmes, disability commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission recently said, “This is the 23rd year of the Premier League yet the potential for disabled fans to access their clubs is shocking.  It is possible to have high levels of inclusion and accessibility, irrespective of having old grounds, and given the TV deal, it would be scandalous if football does not do more.

“We have had discussions with the Premier League and it is fair to say they are paying lip service to access for disabled people. As a result we are considering what steps to take. We have a number of powers, and if individuals bring a case to us we would consider it within our litigation strategy.”

Untold Arsenal

Arsenal.com find our article on the FA cup records worth noting

Arsenal and Wenger secure the all-time semi-finals records – the full story with all the semi-finals listed.

 

42 comments to How Arsenal helped a Tottenham star, and our provision for the disabled

  • Usama

    Wow our club paid for Gascogine’s entire rehab proccess !!!. To be honest I never heard it before anywhere else. Great work and great gesture by Arsenal.

    Its really strange to see that why didn’t Spurs or English FA helped him, and then we have Arsenal who have no connections with Gascogine (apart from being his old club’s rival team) helping him.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I would be curious to see what the missing 4% actually is.

    And, it is interesting that Arsene Wenger intervened personally to help out Paul Gascoigne. It is clear that M. Wenger has an appreciation for the greater picture and history of football in England and that at its core that means people. His comments recently about not knowing where his medals were and that he was more interested in the relationships that he has built attest to to this. Well done sir, you and AFC have done us proud.

  • Gord

    Thank you for writing this Tony.

    I had written about the 96% business here, but didn’t know if it only applied to places for watching.

    Congratulations to the English Women’s team at the Cyprus Cup. You beat us Canadians again in the final.

    Grumble, grumble.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony, I have intermittent problems with my back and knees and can second your experiences. When bad I need to use the lift to get to my seat in the upper tier and the staff who ‘drive’ it are invariably kind, polite and considerate, as are all of the regular stewards and gate staff.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Gord,

    I have a preview of the Ladies season nearly ready to go and was wondering about a short piece on the Cyprus Cup but haven’t actually watched any of the games. Any chance of you doing one?

  • Gord

    I haven’t seen any of the games myself Andrew. I do try to find the scores, because the Canadian womens team is better entertainment than the Mens. That we have lost 3 times to England in the finals is annoying.

    Unfortunately, the “story” this year, is the British Army yelling sexist comments at the Aussies, when they were playing England. The FFA (Australia) has decided not to invesigate, but both the FA and MoD are supposed to investigate. I looked around the FA site earlier today, there is nothing visible. I don’t know where to look at MoD.

    Maybe someone else at Untold has seen some of the games?

    Short of that, perhaps the two reporters from GirlsOnTheBall might be willing to write something? They were at the game, and could like report on the atmosphere, acceptance by local population, or good places to eat as well? 🙂

    > Rachel O’Sullivan and Sophie Downey, who cover women’s football for website girlsontheball.com,

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, sorry about your eye treatment. Get well soon.

    Reading espn re Paul Gascoigne, it seems it was

    a) pneumonia (£28,000)

    and

    (b) a hip replacement (£22,000)

    NOT for the reason you gave, Tony!

  • Va Cong

    hahahhahahaha Chelsea 12 men against 10 losers~!!!

  • goonersince72

    Mr. Atwood – Thanks Tony for writing this column. You are a man of integrity as anyone knows who follow Untold Arsenal. And I especially appreciate the information re the LPF. To NOTOVERTHEHILL, the deprivations of alcoholism leave one vulnerable to pneumonia among other ailments. Having said that, it’s relevant to point out that Gazza called an ARSENAL physio when he didn’t feel well. He turned to a club who’d help him. That’s the point Tony and I were making. That’s the kind of club we support. Here’s a link to the Daily Mail article:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2847000/Paul-Gascoigne-reveals-Arsene-Wenger-Arsenal-paid-50-000-England-legend-s-medical-care.html

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh my God. Wenger is a Saint! And Arsenal is a great club

  • john

    Sorry to be so far off-topic, but what a brilliant outcome at Chelsea tonight. Second time this week that cheats don’t succeed!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Tony and Goonersince72 for this article that made me feel warm around the inside and so immensely proud of my club.

  • Tactical Genius (playing at home against 10 men) 2 – 2 Paris St Germain!

  • WalterBroeckx

    And on to the subject of the disabled section.
    As I have witnessed myself when I visited the Emirates with my wife in her wheelchair I can testify that the people who do their job for the disables supporters are great. They are very kind, friendly, helpful, funny, they know how to deal with people who have a disability in a great way.

  • bjtgooner

    Good to see the diving, cheating, play acting thugs from Chelski coming unstuck!!

  • Al

    And Gary neville had the cheek to call all that Chelsea diving and cheating shrewd….

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    I wanna know how with an unlimited budget and all that high-priced talent and a so-called genius for a manager, Can a team playing at home with a man advantage for 90 minutes blow a lead twice and slink out of the champions league. I almost forgot that P.S.G. had more possession in spite of being a man short. If that were our club and manager doing that, The media would be talking the same old shit for weeks, The Arsenal team has no heart and lacks leadership and Wenger out. I wanna see if the media is gonna roast the little eye-gouger fucking balls over an open flame as they should. That little Portuguese shit-head is such poseur, He and his goddamn negative tactics suck the life juices out of the beautiful game. Case in point, Look what Bayern did with their man advantage.

  • jambug

    Nice to hear from you Bill.

    The infatuated Mrs Jambug has kindly volunteered to light the fire under the eye-gougers balls if you need some help.

    She’s just told me she thinks you have a lovely way with words.

    I told her to fuck off….I think I’m in there !!!

  • Rantetta

    Bill FM & Jambug. Loving your exchange.
    I didn’t even know they were playing tonight.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=805725656148178&set=p.805725656148178&type=1

  • Rantetta

    Wonderful article.

    Wonderful club.

  • Florian

    In a desert of selfishness, Arsenal is an oasis of morality.

  • Gord

    Jambug

    Just using words doesn’t always work. Are you in any way a “nerd” like me? What operating system are you running? What I am thinking of, is if you have some way to plot equations and see the image, maybe I can try that the next time. I know where lots of free software is (legitimately free, not stolen or copied contrary to copyright).

    The only thing wrong with Chelsea losing, is that it frees up time in their schedule for things like recovering from injuries.

  • Rich

    Sorry to ignore the content of a worthy article on a worthy subject, but I just gots to say it somewhere.

    If football was as serious a matter as our passion for it indicates, and crimes against it were taken as seriously as actual crimes, Neville has basically set himself up for a spell in commentator clink with his admission of his love of shrewdness, Mourinho meanwhile would be expecting a navy seal swat team in the night after his little confession at the end.

    He pretty much admitted his heartfelt admiration of all things cynical, voiced regret we disapprove of it here, while lying blatantly with his intimation he doesn’t indulge in it here thanks to his compliance with the moral laws of the land.

    The longer he is in the game the more copious evidence of him contradicting himself amasses. That is the problem when you act and lie on the scale he does.

    It completes a hell of a week for these kind of admissions. But unfortunately the best legal minds are occupied with slightly more serious business and it isn’t an actual crime to be a lying, cynical, hypocritical, mendacious, unsporting swine of a football manager. But at least football does accidentally produce something which looks like sweet delicious justice every now and then.

    The longer

    Get in!

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    Rich, I’ve been reading your comments here for a while now. All I can say is I enjoy your writing style immensely, Please keep up the commentary and keep fighting the good fight. The Untold Arsenal family needs more heavy hitters such as yourself.

  • Rantetta

    How to defend a corner

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B_2oYe2WQAEAym-.jpg:large

    Rich
    Yes, superb comment above, thanks.

    BFM
    Your comment above this is heartfelt and appropriate.
    However, I urge you to also continue in your usual frank style, when appropriate. (99.9%) tee hee.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I am not at all surprised at this story ,as the Arsenal have almost done the ‘right’ stuff . Well done the Gunners .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry , ….almost, always done …

  • Sammy The Snake

    I know you all understand football, so I want your opinion. Please think about it and answer at your leisure.
    What kind of a team parks the bus at home against 10 men for 120 minutes?
    A. A negative team
    B. An ugly team
    C. A team with no values
    D. A moneybag club with a hypocrite manager
    E. All of the above

  • Gord

    Sammy, it takes a specialist in failure to park the bus at home against 10 men, and lose.

  • Gord

    I would like to append.

    This is just so dumb. I think that tomorrow we should hear from Roman that Moaninho is sacked. I don’t care who is caretaker, heck give it to Holloway. Over the summer, I would like to see Sherwood approached to manage Chelsea.

  • ARSENAL 13

    hahahahahahahahah…..

    Out of the CL against a 10 man team. hhahahahahaahahhahahaha.

  • ARSENAL 13

    this week is getting better and better

    hahahahaahhahahahhaha

  • TommieGun

    Just doesn’t get any better.

    Unjustified red card, for PSGs best player. Red card for Thuggy Costa not called. Penalty for a non-handball.

    And out you go, you negative, crying, anti-football, racist douchebags.

    This is a resounding reply to all of the self appointed geniouses who condemn Arsenal for playing naive football, and ask us to take an example from the KGBs negative, cynical tactics.

    It’s not just that PSG won. It’s football in general. PSG in 10 men looked much better, much more fluent, adventerous and creative than the KGB. And they reaped their well deserved reward.

  • Al

    A moving article, and a good gesture from Arsenal and Wenger. Another reason why I love this great club.

  • TommieGun

    @ Sammy you forgot

    F. A team whose owner paid the refs a ton of cash.
    G. A team with racist disgusting supporters.

  • TommieGun

    @ Rich

    It’s called Karma, biyaaaatchhhh.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” Having faith does not mean having no difficulties , but having the strength to face them , knowing we are not alone .”
    Pope Francis .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And now back to the normal , mocking and generally piss taking program ….

    A married man’s prayer –

    Dear GOD ,
    You gave me my childhood ,
    you took it away.
    You gave me youth ,
    you took it away .
    You gave me a wife ….
    its been years now .
    Just reminding you…..

    ( This really brought tears to my eyes !)

  • Rich

    Bill, Thanks, and i’ve got no choice, it’s a compulsion.

    I say to myself I should give it a rest for a bit and there’s nothing new to say, then a Jose team or United play.

  • Va Cong

    Brickfields this ones for you:

    Difference between Oo and oO

    Two young guys appear in court after being arrested for smoking dope.
    The judge says, “You seem like nice young men, and I’d like to give you a second chance instead of jail time. I want you to go out this weekend and try to convince others of the evils
    of drug use. I’ll see you back in court next Monday.”
    On Monday, the judge asks the first guy, “How did you do over the weekend?”
    “Well, your honour, I persuaded 17 people to give up drugs forever.”
    “Seventeen people? That’s wonderful. How did you do it? ”
    “I used a diagram, your honour. I drew two circles like this:
    O o. Then I told them that the big circle is your brain before drugs and the small circle is your brain after drugs.”
    “That’s admirable,” says the judge. Then he turns to the second guy. “And how did you do, son?”
    “Well, your honour, I persuaded 156 people to give up drugs forever.”
    “Wow!” says the judge. “156 people! How did you manage to do that?”
    “Well, I used a similar diagram,” the guy says. I drew two circles like this: o O. Then I pointed to the little circle and said, “This is your asshole before prison……….”

  • Va Cong

    A little humour for us mature folks on 50 Shades of Graying. . .

    Back and forth . . . Back and forth . . .

    IIn and out . . . In and out . . .

    A little to the right . . . A little to the left . . .

    She could feel the sweat on her forehead. . .

    Between her breasts . . . And, trickling down the small of her back . . .

    She was getting near to the end. . .

    He was in ecstasy . . . with a huge smile on his face as his wife moved . . .

    Forward then backward. . . Forward then backward . . .

    Again . . . and, again . . .

    Her heart was pounding now . . . Her face was flushed . . .

    She moaned . . . softly at first, then began to groan louder . . .

    Finally . . . totally exhausted . . . she let out a piercing scream . . .

    She shouted:

    “OK, OK, you smug bastard, I can’t parallel park. You do it!

  • robl

    Only have good things to say about the disabled help at the Emirates, took my brother to the Ems cup when he was fighting cancer and they even let us park underneath.