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August 2021

What do we get from the Emirates?

By Tony Attwood

I started to wonder what Emirates Airlines had done for us, the fans, the people who turn up at the stadium for each match, after I read that Virgin Trains are becoming the main club sponsor of  Carlisle United.

Virgin (not my favourite rail line as it runs from Northampton to Euston and has the habit of being less reliable that the East Midlands service from Kettering to St Pancras) is offering season-ticket holders at Carlisle at 25% discount on advance bookings throughout the season.

I thought of Emirates Airlines when I read this, as when I’ve travelled to Australia to see my youngest daughter I have tried to book with Emirates, hoping to get a discount for being an Arsenal season ticket holder, and found the discount (if it was there at all) was trivial, and the interest of the airline in the fact that I had a season ticket negligible.

I wasn’t even asked to put my season ticket number in – I just had to say I was an Arsenal man to get an invisible discount.  Not very rewarding.

And that’s a shame really – a shame for those of us who support the club and a shame for Emirates in that they have spent all this money on the club, but can’t get such a tiny thought about how an Arsenal fan might feel, right.

But it strikes me that this notion could be taken further.  Virgin Trains want publicity from their association with Carlisle, but they want to be seen as giving something to the community and the club.

Arsenal’s sponsors do give something to the club – in fact they give a lot to the club, and some of the sponsors help the local community,  but they don’t actually give anything to me, personally.   Why, I wonder.

Indeed the only sponsor who has ever given me anything in return for my years and years of attendance and membership at Arsenal (and the tens of thousands of pounds I have spent on the club) was 02 who once called me up, said they quite enjoyed Untold, and invited two of us to attend a match in their box in club level.

This lack of a two-way relationship between sponsor and fan is something of a shame, because in recent years Arsenal themselves have tended to grow a bit closer to the fans with the fans’ forums, liaison with the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association and so forth.

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Of course Arsenal needs money to run the club, and pay the insane wages that players command these days.  But Arsenal’s sponsors also need our good will towards them as sponsors – they want us to buy their products.

I think maybe supporters have a little power here, in relation to the sponsors of the clubs.  In the past we’ve talked occasionally about the fact that some us put a little light into our grey lives by refraining from dealing with the products and services of the sponsors of some of our main rivals.   That obviously struck a note once as it caused outrage when I mentioned it on TalkSport – I think I inadvertently referred to one of their big advertisers.

But on the positive side it just seems to me that it would be good if sponsors somehow engaged more with some of the fans, rather than considering that their deal is with the club and the media.

All this started, I guess, because of a conversation the other day in which a friend said that the Arsenal was the longest constant in his life.   And I guess that is true for me too: I’m an only child and my parents are no longer with us, and my wives are now ex-.   I don’t live in a little box in sad isolation, as some commentators on Untold like to suggest, but in terms of longevity, Arsenal, my father’s club and my grandfather’s club, seems to stretch right  through my life.

Thus my affection for Arsenal pre-dates the birth of my daughters by many years – and indeed is just about the only link I now have with my childhood.  I haven’t lived in north London for a long old time, and I am no longer in contact with my friends from my childhood.

So yes, Arsenal is the longest running emotional tie in my life, and over the years I’ve been fortunate to have met a few of the people at the top, and even to influenced one or two things at the club (if you’ve read my ramblings on the club in the past you’ll probably guess I’m thinking of the statues).

But I think it would be nice if just occasionally they, or one of their sponsors, gave something back to me, not in return for all the money I’ve given Arsenal, but simply in return for my support.



21 comments to What do we get from the Emirates?

  • WalterBroeckx

    An interesting question. I always hope that Eurostar will become a major sponsor one day. After all from the Eurostar train station you get to Arsenal in only a few minutes with the underground. Arsenal are the closest club near to their station.

    So they should become a sponsor and offer a big reduction to any travelling Arsenal supporter. 😉
    One can hope….

  • Matt

    We dont get anything from the club so why would the sponsers do anything.

  • Macduff

    The only thing I would ask back from the club is that they would use most of the resources generated, in the first instance by the supporters, and in the second instance by the long distance fans, to strengthen the playing squad appropriately. The FACT that Arsenal FC have more cash reserves in the bank than the rest of the PL clubs put together (staggering fact) and are relying on a striker more interested in how well his hair looks than scoring and a 20 year old striker who has never scored a top flight goal in any country is shameful.

  • WalterBroeckx

    “zet die ploat af”

  • Macduff

    je leeft in het verleden oude man

  • WalterBroeckx

    Macduff, a nice one 🙂

    And sorry for those who didn’t understand my ‘Dutch joke’ (Antwerp joke in fact)
    I just wanted to point out that when there is an article that touches other things we don’t have to drag in the players, the manager, the tea lade, the cleaning lady or whoever we are not satisfied with.

    So if we would keep it to the subject and the subject in this article is what do we get in return from the sponsor from Arsenal it maybe could give us a debate on that.

    I think there are enough articles where you can moan about not buying this or that player, not firing this or that manager, not hiring this or that manager.

    For the people who don’t understand the words I wrote: ‘turn of that record’ was what I wrote in Flemish with an Antwerp tongue. A sentence that has been a bit of a hype in my country a few years ago after an election when a politician couldn’t start his winning speech because the DJ in the room didn’t stop the record when all the TV camera’s were pointed at the politician to start his speech.

    So we now use this sentence when we try to say that it has been said enough (and now being said at the wrong time/place/moment/….)

    So far the practical joke(s)

  • Macduff

    Walter, the author of the article talks about what he would like back from the club for the support he has given and money spent. So surely it is totally to the point to share what another supporter would like back. And its not like I am asking that they go into mad debt to compete with the oil clubs, just use the resources available. I could have included more transparency, cheaper tickets, wider seats, stewards that you wouldn’t begrudge urinating on if they were on fire.

    And for those of you saying we do not know what is available. Well we don’t exactly,but have a look at the publicly available accounts and get transcripts from the last 5 AGM’s. Either the money is available or the club we love has been continually lying to us for years.

  • WalterBroeckx

    As far as I knot ‘The Emirates’ is not the club but a sponsor.
    Your comment would be on topic if Tony had written: what do we get from Arsenal.

  • owens

    well I don’t av anything to a Nigerian based fan.. pls somebody should inform Wenger that we the fans who don’t gain directly from d club try to do so through dis online betting sites and as such he should know how he uses players in matches.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And at the start of the month I am very rich but if I would spend it then and there I would be out of money the next day. skip the very 😉

    The same for Arsenal. Having £125M on the bank is not the same as having it available to buy new players. This money also has to used to pay the stadium debt (+/- £20M) The wages of the players and staff. And as I also remember that one of the demands from the banks was that a certain amount of money would always be kept on the accounts as a guarantee for the loans.

    What is exactly available is guesswork.

    The new deals only bring more money from the upcoming summer.
    Of course we could have spend it already. But the problem for Arsenal is it can only be spend once.

    I think we know by now that if the right player is available for a non inflated price we will buy him. If his club lets him go of course.

  • Florian

    “Arsenal was the longest constant in his life”

    It’s striking that for many of us this is true. My relationships never lasted that long, for instance. And while that is a private matter, the length to which being a fan goes says something about the club’s stability and ability to keep the fans close. Even my favorite club from Romania lost out lately due to mismanagement and shady transactions, to the point where I stopped finding its principles overlap mine. In my position, on the US West Coast, I can’t expect to get anything more than the Red Level Membership package, for which I’m paying anyway, so for me the question is less materialistic than Tony’s point. Obviously I cannot expect Emirates Airlines to sponsor my flight from Seattle to London:) But for now, wearing a red and white scarf with an “official member” label on it in this part of the world is actually something quite rare, and that’s something I can be grateful for getting back from the Club.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Florian its true, as the years roll by its seems amazing(for me starting in 1977/78 culminating the the 78 final,an ironic taste of frustrations to come!), and to go through all the years. How is it for Nicky whos really seen events going back to the 30s?I thought that lot about what Tony had written today,and the perspective he was giving in the article above.

    Im really really proud to be related to one of the founders, and my Grandfather was a supporter(and worked at the Arsenal in Woolwich)and he had some brilliant stories about going to Highbury also in the 30s/40s,somewhere in in the family heirlooms is still a 1927 Cup Final ticket.
    I wished I’d had more of a chance to talk to him about those years before he died, although it was good to talk with him about the then current team.

    Its funny as you start to think about the relationship you have with the club the more stories come to mind.Im sure its the same for everyone.
    Its also fascinating how each of us has a separate relationship with the club, that never ends, even if you want to, at the worst moments, you cant walk away.Wenger or not Im in it to the end.(But I hope stays for a few seasons more, and he deserves it in my opinion, others disagree which is fair enough).
    I like Untold due to the ratio of fans who live outside the UK(like me) but still are as passionate and committed as anyone else.

  • Veeraraghavan Prasanna

    Emirates is more an airline that wishes to fly from Asian countries to Europe and North America or Far East and Australia. Their main market is not from UK or USA but to UK or USA so you are expecting a discount on Arsenal lines from the wrong destination.

    Most probably if at all someone in Emirates get to read your idea, they might try to do it with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc from where their bulk ticketing happens. Anyways Emirates really runs itself well these days so I really doubt they will think of really offering anything Arsenal centric.

  • Notoverthehill

    Sorry Tony and Walter for going OT, rather than OTT!

    My reply to a response, quoting the latest AST’s financial review, was somewhat garbled.

    -• Firstly, Arsenal received settlement of the property sales at Queensland Road reported in last year’s accounts. This generated over £20m in cash and leaves in excess of £60m sitting in the club’s property development subsidiary which we believe is all available to the football part of the business.-
    On the 31st May 2010 according to the Annual Financial Accounts, we were informed that the cumulative cash surplus from the property side of the business, amounted to some £5 millions.
    From the Arsenal Annual Financial Reports the Financial Reviews for 31st May 2011 to 31st May 2013, the cumulative cash surplus was £31.4 millions before tax. Tax will probably be about £8 millions, leaving some £28.5 millions including the -some £5 millions!
    IF, the AST had bothered to read the Financial Review for 31st May 2013, the Barratt payment was for some £27 millions, the final £20 millions has now been paid. The solicitor’s and estate agent’s fees have to be deducted, and eventually the tax due.
    According to the Chairman’s Report on the 30th November 2013, Half Yearly Report – NO Puma advance in the 2013/2014 Financial Report.

    To claim that £100 millions of the £120 millions Cash on hand was – available cash – for January 2014, is complete nonsense.

    Only 11 of the 28 home fixtures had been played, as at 30th November 2013. For the remaining 17 home fixtures, some £36 millions of Advance Ticket Sales, can only be drawn on, as and when the home matches are played.

    I do have ALL the available AST’s Financial Reviews, on file. I do not believe Nigel Phillips, had any part in that travesty of a financial review.

    The £140 millions refers to June 2014. No comment is needed, on the trolls, who quote that fiction as a fact.

    My sincere apologies to Tony and Walter.

    Mr Wenger, I salute you!

  • Sukebe

    Mcduff… Burrnnn…

    Please do read the whole article, comprehend, before you leave any negative comment (or any fabricated words from every media that you copied).

    It would make you look less… Well… Dumb…

    Seriously, mate.. C’mon…. I am sure you are actually a smart person behind all those negativity.

    Or perhaps this is the way you channels all your dark side?

    Well, all the greatest criminal, in real life or not have all this thing in common, they are super smart. That is why they become the “super villain”

  • OMGArsenal

    MacDuff….you read AND believe too many RedTops or other trash media about AFC’s financials. See Notoverthehill’s excellent dismemberment of the 120M sterling myth you got sucked into and then go back and put your brain in gear before writing such BS.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Emirates sponsor one of the major teams in each European top league… Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG, Hamburg, A/C Milan, and others. Can you imagine if they provided discounts for all the fans? And how would it work for frequent fliers?!
    Not gonne happen!

  • Florian


    Thanks for bringing light into that messy matter. Done with “spend the … money” once and for all.


    Actually, with such a large fan base, Emirates could easily morph into a “football fan’s airline” or something like that. Now, I’m not a marketing expert and I don’t have statistical data to determine how big of an impact this really is, but it would certainly be a competitive advantage in the eyes of many people, were it to be given the proper thinking.

  • Linz

    Considering the amount of free advertising sponsors receive when football fans walk around with their logo emblazoned on their chest,it would be appropriate if ST holders and red/silver/gold members were rewarded with some sort of discount when travelling on one of their airlines.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would love it if the sponsors fit a few of those airport scanners ( specially modified of course !) at the stadium to screen fans .
    Not only will they detect weapons , smoke bombs ,flares and other undesirable items , but these special machines could also scan the brains of the AAAA – to detect angst, stupidity (BEEB ! BEEB ! BEEB !), and early forms of Lemmings Disease !SPLOOSH !
    This will reduce the cost of the overall bill in cleaning up the mess and damage left by the AAAA .
    The money saved can be channeled to full fill their last wishes for new players , yes , we will finally , “SPEND SOME FUCKING MONEY!”

  • Amit Gooner Forever

    Hi Tony/Walter
    I like Untold for its balanced prospective on my favorite football club.

    To the point Arsenal is a way of life and its been one constant through all my strugglles glad to see so many gooners share this pont of view.

    I have supported Arsenal from a very Young age no matter wat happens this is my club for life i usually dont post on Untold because i am not as insightfull but i know what Class is and for me Arsenal is the Club With Class no amount of trophies can beat that

    Chesea and Man shitty are shit for all i care

    Arsenal Forever & Ever