Would Arsenal season ticket holders really not go to super league matches?



By Tony Attwood

There is an article in the Guardian today which runs, “The original Super League plan failed in April 2021 because supporters of the six English clubs that jumped ship simply would not tolerate the idea.”  Reuters ran a similar piece claiming fans hold power. 

As is typical of English football journalism virtually every newspaper and then most blogs followed the leader – there was a revolution going on and the clubs were forced to back down in the face of the pressure.

Indeed so torrential was the storm that before anyone could ask any questions all the clubs pulled out.   Since then, as you will know, the legal powers that be in Europe have said that Uefa has exceeded what it can legally do, and that it has no power to stop clubs running their own competitions in any way they like.

But the general feeling is that having been frightened by the force of the reaction from the fans, clubs will back off.   However let’s consider this a stage further.   Let’s imagine that a new club competition is formed along the lines of the one proposed initially.  What would the fans really do?

There are multiple articles around on Arsenal season ticket waiting lists – some quoting as low as two years, some five years and some longer.   There are multiple stories around on how long it takes for silver members to get allocated tickets for matches this season – I know of one person who has won a ticket in the ballot just twice this season so far, and others who have got over half of their requests.

So let’s just think for a moment.   Supposing Arsenal did something that was seemingly not liked by militant supporters and joined a revised Super League.   Two questions would then arise, and interestingly I have not seen much discussion of these points on the internet, and virtually nothing at all in the mainstream media.

First, would existing season ticket holders (many of whom like me have held season tickets for decades) give them up in protest?

Second, would those people who have been on the waiting list for years, reject what is probably going to be the only chance in the next decade of getting a season ticket?

Knowing that the people who sit around me in the stadium have, like me, been occupying their seat for a long long time, (quite a few since the Emirates opened, and like me had a season back in the days of Highbury) I wonder if when push came to shove they actually would decline their seat in protest against the change from the Premier League to a European Super League. I have my doubts.

Some would of course, and I know that the supporters club of which I am a member had long and detailed discussions with its members and with the club over the proposed change.

But still, in the end, would so many people really give up their season ticket, and so many more refuse to buy one when it was offered because Arsenal were moving from the Premier League to the Super League?

I not only have my doubts because I know that I would not want to stop watching Arsenal as a way of protesting but for two other reasons.  One is because I know that for many of my friends, supporting Arsenal in person is a fundamental part of their lives.   The other is because I haven’t seen any serious academic research on the issue which gives details of just how seriously and randomly the research was done.

And that is before I even contemplate the length of the season ticket waiting list and the length of the silver waiting list.

Now of course I might be wrong and maybe 25,000 people would give up their season tickets, and maybe 20,000 of these tickets would then be on sale to people on the waiting list.   Would they then all turn down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy tickets for a league that involved the top six or seven English clubs, Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and half a dozen or more clubs owned by the City Group?

Even if you are sure no one would buy these tickets, there still is a question: why has no serious research into this been published?  Could it be the usual journalistic arrogance that says, “I don’t have to ask, I know what people think?”   Or could it be because it doesn’t suit the message the media want to give?

3 Replies to “Would Arsenal season ticket holders really not go to super league matches?”

  1. one point to consider would be effect on season ticket cost for those that attend away matches. getting to Munich and Madrid not the same as Villa Park and Selhurst
    The club would definitely lose away supporter income, so would the home ST go up? Would they increase anyway due to supposed glamour of opponents, despite reduced games.
    I find the idea of the ESL despicable as is the new ECL format which is clearly designed to degrade national leagues.
    I am nearing the end of my life and have transferred my 3 ST to my sone, mainly due to health, so do not see myself as having to make these decision on renwal by the time this morass of greed has overtaken the joy of watching football. (which is currently degraded btw by the style of Arteta ball)
    But if it were me I would not be renewing

  2. I’m with Tony. There has been no research to substantiate media assumptions. (In fact it almost feels that they are merely a front for someone else’s agenda as well as protecting their own seat on the gravy train.)

    From my numerous conversations with fans of many clubs, few have actually expressed anti-ESL feelings and those that have mostly seem to regurgitate what they have hear/read in the media. In fact some of those I have spoken to would rather be rid of the “big six” so as some normality and fairness will finally return to league football in this country as well as many others. There just seems to be a massive majority here that does not have a voice because the media have, yet again, told us what we want because it’s what they want.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly like the idea of an exclusive group of clubs, particularly if it’s closed by way of no promotion and relegation. Having said that, I wholeheartedly approve of anything which reduces the power of FIFA/UEFA and the current trend of middle eastern states buying up several different clubs at the expense of the game. I don’t know what the answer is but I know that too much power currently lies in the hands of a few self-interested people.

    Would I stop supporting my club? No, I can’t!

  3. @ AL M,

    Having lived in the US, I’ve discovered american football and became a Green Bay Packers fan – the only club owned by it’s supporters.

    Thing is there are travelling fans accross the US. But they have fan clubs all accross the country and these fans attend away games massively. My bet is, as Arsenal are a global brand, supporters from around the world would have a far better probability at a better price to watch Arsenal in another european country. I would be in this situation. Arsenal has more fans accross the world then it has in Islington or London or even England.

    And finally, we would not be refereed by PGMOL anymore… and for this I’d be willing to accept a lot.

    So, yes, I can understand your perspective, but I believe it is not the only one.

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