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!
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t