Champions League Draw: Arsenal Belgium goes mad

By Walter Broeckx

As you may recall from an earlier post, a few months ago I was voted chairman of the Arsenal Belgium official supporters club.

Since then our new board has done an amazing job. We have used all the resources we had on social media and our own website to spread the word around about the supporters club.

One of the problems we face is that we also have a non official supporters-group.  We follow the guidelines from Arsenal that and so we ask for a membership fee. The others don’t.

We stand in the queue amongst the other supporters clubs to ask tickets while the other group has bought and borrowed all kinds of memberships and uses them to order tickets.

So we have to compete with a group that asks no membership fee and who can try to order tickets for any given match.

But because of the hard work from the board and a small social media campaign we did what nobody really expected. We doubled the membership of the official supporters club compared to previous years. Our target had been to have the same membership as in previous years. But for some reason the new board was able to do the unexpected.  From averaging around 40 paying members each season we counted 81 members on our first deadline day.

Of course all those 81 expect one thing: to be able to see an Arsenal match live in the stadium.  But as we only get some 25 tickets per match for a group visit you can see that even 3 group visits would not be enough to bring all our members one time to an Arsenal match. So we will be pressing Arsenal to try to be a bit cooperative in giving us tickets. Because if we cannot provide tickets for members who are willing to pay a membership fee they will go elsewhere and turn to unofficial groups or worse to ticket touts.

Yesterday I got the first good news around noon. We had been given a small number of tickets for the Burnley match. 14 lucky members will come over for this match.

Arsenal has let us know that since our FA cup win the request for tickets from supporters clubs has gone up dramatically. And so it is harder to distribute the tickets and keep every supporters club happy. Which is of course a bit of a bummer for our new board. We have engaged ourselves to try to get every member to the stadium but then it seems more difficult than ever.

So silently I was hoping for a good draw in the champions league. Qualifying was of course very important and then we were waiting for the draw. When Dortmund came out of the hat, (be it that the hat was a bowl), I already was a happy man. Dortmund is near Belgium and in the past we always got a number of tickets for this match. From the next bowl I was hoping for Ajax. But alas Ajax went to another group and Galatasaray is a bit far for our members.

But then came the moment of suspense. Anderlecht the Belgian champions were in pot 4. Would we get them? The tension was rising and rising and when Anderlecht came out of the hat I found myself sitting on the top of my chair. (A Dutch idiom that means that you are a bit excited). Would they be drawn in our group? And when I saw the paper unfolding I almost shouted it out: yes, yes, yes they were put in group D, our group.

As I was at work I couldn’t really jump up and down and dance around the room but in my head I did exactly that.

What followed was amazing. The mail box of the supporters club got a little overheated. My twitter account got all kinds of happy messages from people from Untold and the rest of the world.  My phone started ringing and all kind of messages came in. The whole Arsenal Belgium supporters club was buzzing. Get tickets, ask tickets, ask more tickets and then even more. The world and my phone went mad.

Of course I immediately mailed Arsenal to ask for tickets. Lots of tickets. When Arsenal visits a country I think it is normal that the supporters club of that country will get the lion share of tickets available for supporters clubs.

So now the wait is on. For the Dortmund match that comes first of course and then for the Anderlecht match.

Our members are hanging on my lips (in a way of speaking of course) and are waiting for the news on how many tickets we will get for this match. I confess I also am very excited about it and I am waiting impatiently to find out how many members we will be able to make happy for this match.  I remember the Standard match in the CL all too well a few years ago. Such matches are matches of life and death for the local supporters clubs.

So the board of the official supporters club in Belgium has gone mad from excitement. Our members went crazy after the draw. The whole Gooner community in Belgium is waiting for the word from Arsenal on how many tickets we will get for this match. Exciting times in front of us and hopefully we can make a lot of our members happy.

Arsenal, we are counting on you to make this happen!

The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

21 Replies to “Champions League Draw: Arsenal Belgium goes mad”

  1. I cant believe it Walter youre obsessed with other clubs and countries! 😉
    Are you going to the Dortmund game, I wil try to get to it…
    COYG!aha and Amen!

  2. Walter I have not yet read your article as the heading caught my attention. Be careful of that ‘English humour’. 🙂 ‘Belgium goes mad’ having left it like that you have given the comedians a field day for comments.

    Just read your last paragraph where you wrote. ‘Belgium has gone mad with excitement.’ If that was in the headline I don’t thionk anyone would think to add to it. I envey you though.

    When I lived in Liverpool there was no way I could get to be with my fellow Arsenal fans as tickets in Liverpool, were for Liverpool fans only . I had to be very subdued and keep my mouth firmly shut so as not to give away my Cockney accent.

    When I stood up for an Arsenal goal someone behind me called out ‘Sit down yer fool its them!’ In the whole stand I was the only one on my feet!

  3. This is not all true.

    I am vice-president of Arsenal Iceland. We have around 1.400 member who ALL pay membership fee.

    We do not have any membership cards, so we always apply for non-membership tickets.

    We are celebrating our 32 year anniversary in October.

    Contact me if you need help, what we do with the fee and so on.


  4. Walter thank you so much for a truly uplifting post. Having lived for the last 60+ years close enough to walk to the ground, albeit an hour’s walk and beyond my knees capability now, I get huge pleasure from your accounts of ‘Arsenal love’ from far, far away.

    Keep up the enthusiasm and the writing. Hopefully soon The Arsenal will be giving us all so much more to be proud of. Come on you Gunners!

  5. The question he has to answer in his mind is which course of action is most inherently risky. Relying on existing options, converting Alexis Sanchez Henry-style whilst depending on Theo Walcott’s fitness if something happens to the Chilean and beyond that Sanogo, Campbell or Podolski, deliberately listed in that order as an interpretation of managerial trust. Or does he bring in an outsider to augment that list, to release the pressure on Sanchez, alleviate the concerns about rushing Theo back; well you can guess what advantages are brought over the remaining trio.

  6. Hope the Belgian Gunners have a good ticket allocation and a great night out! I am very pleased for you Walter!

  7. Tickets are going to be gold dust,I have not heard such an appetite for an away game in the Cl for years. The factor can get on the eurostar for under £70 really.helped. I can think of at least 20 season ticket holders that have booked the train and hotel already, that will not be getting a ticket for this. I reckon you will need 25+ away credits.

  8. Nice read ,Walter , hope you all get your dream to watch the greatest team in the world .

  9. One for you Brickfields Gunners:

    A new phenomenon called
    We all know those cute little computer symbols called ’emoticons,’ where:

    🙂 means a smile and

    🙁 is a frown.

    Well, how about some ‘ARSICONS?’
    Here goes:

    (_!_) a regular arse

    (__!__) a fat arse

    (!) a tight arse

    (_*_) an arse hole

    {_!_} a swishy arse

    (_o_) an arse that’s been around

    (_x_) kiss my arse

    (_X_) leave my arse alone

    (_zzz_) a tired arse

    (_E=mc2_) a smart arse

    (_$_) Money coming out of his arse

    (_?_) Dumb Arse

  10. Walter, I am really happy for you and your fellow Arsenal Benelux boys. Hope each and everyone from your supporters club gets a ticket to see the Arsenal in person, Live, and up close. Hope you lucky bastards get more than just 81 ducats so the wives and offspring can attend. Lets turn those kids into Arsenal supporters while they’re still young. Enjoy the match and lets hope the Arsenal take 3 points back to North London. My bad, I just assumed that all of your club members were males. My apologies to the dues paying female members of Benelux Arsenal Supporters Club. Not very P.C. on my behalf.

  11. Walter……do season ticketholders get away tickets to the Anderlecht game and if so, and they don’t intend to use them, can you guys get first options on them?

  12. My God, Walter, I had to cross the whole America to see Arsenal playing, and you’re getting them to come right by your door. Makes me wish I had the power to teleport myself, or at least a private jet, which is probably easier to obtain. Oh well. Don’t forget to write 🙂

  13. @ Va Cong – methinks you’ve too much free time on your hands ! That said , I’m going to use it big time ! Ta !

  14. More ARSICONS !

    (_@_) – an uninitiated arse ?

    (_&_) – a knotted arse / Knickers in a twist arse.

    (_#_) – stitched up arse .

    (_^_) – An arse lift .

    (_+_) – A positive arse .

    (_-_) – A negative arse .

    (_?_) – A nosy arse .

    (_~_) – A dissed arse.

  15. Found myself smiling like a Goon at this entry.

    Hope you guys have fun.

    By the way, love Belgium and go to Brussels at least 3-4 times a year.

  16. The least the club could do is to get Arsenal Belgium’ s official supporter club the tickets based on the allocation they ask for. But I believe that Anderlecht’s stadium has reduced capacity for European games.

  17. Walter-
    Great post !
    I’m traveling to the Anderlecht game solo from the USA – Does your group have a meeting place / bar that fellow
    gooners can meet ?
    thanks !

  18. Dave,
    We have gone from excited to disappointed because of the small allocation for visiting supporters Arsenal only got a handful of tickets and decided to only give them to the regular away supporters and not one to a supportersclub or our club.

    We will look at the match in Antwerpen in the Kelly’s Irish Pub, De Keyserlei 27, Antwerpen. Some 100-150 metres from the Central train station in Antwerp.

    I will be the one wearing an Arsenal shirt with my name on the back and number 50.

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