by Bulldog Drummond
This was the most atrocious breakdown of stadium security at the Arsenal that I can remember.
We were told that there was a threat to the safety of Arsenal fans going to the match because of attempts by German fans to get into parts of the stadium they should not be in. As a result no tickets were being sold to Red Members, while Silver Members and Season Ticket holders were told to bring proof of identity and get to the ground extra early.
So we did – and for what purpose? None at all. The extra security, at least at my entrance, consisted of one of the security officials taking my membership card and tapping it on the entry point so the gate opened. As if I was not capable of doing what I regularly did, all by myself.
No one asked for my proof of identity. The regular perfunctory frisk happened but that was that. Oh yes, and the busker wasn’t allowed to perform under the railway arches.
And all this was for what?
The visiting supporters’ area was indeed empty. But in the club level at the south end there were hundreds of visiting supporters – perhaps thousands. And in the southern corner of the east stand upper, there were even more. Certainly the total number ran into thousands.
So those Arsenal supporters who had wanted to buy a ticket with their red membership had been refused entry for nothing. And the question arises, how did all these German fans get their tickets? Could it have been through the advertisements which appeared all over the internet? The advertisements that we told the club about in some detail in The Scandal of Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt Tickets
This was a truly shocking display by Arsenal’s ticket managers of gross incompetence. They must have known there were tickets being bought through these advertisements and they let it go ahead, making Arsenal fans suffer under the pretence that if any German fans entered the stadium there would be trouble. Knowing all the while that they were not going to refuse admission to the German fans but instead punish totally innocent loyal Arsenal fans.
Well if that is how you reward loyalty Arsenal, you deserve all you get.
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The fiasco of last night should not just be forgotten, because if it is, it shows that Arsenal now think that those of us silly enough to buy silver and gold memberships can be treated with contempt and disdain.
First, we should have an explanation of what the hell this was all about: this leaving of the visitors’ section empty while housing the German fans in the upper east and club level south areas.
Second, every one of those firms that were selling tickets should be reported to the police since they were clearly acting against public order instructions from the authorities, and thus by association the ticket resellers are guilty of endangering public order.
Third all Red Members deserve a most fulsome and detailed apology from the club, part of which should be the refunding of their membership fee in full for this year.
Fourth, all of us need a proper explanation of what was going on last night in terms of ticket arrangements, and how the tickets got into German hands.
Fifth, we should have an absolute promise from the club that sale of tickets to Arsenal members will never again be restricted in this way.
Sixth we should be told the details of all those who were to blame for this fiasco, and have it confirmed that they have all been removed from their positions within the club on the grounds of gross incompetence.
Arsenal is now a laughing stock and universally considered a soft touch when it comes to gaining entry. And all that is before we consider anything about how the team played in the second half.
Of course the Guardian reporter, Nick Ames, sitting in his free press box seat with double the space us mere mortals get, managed not to see what was going on, despite the perfect view that he must have had, writing instead simply that “Several hundred German supporters had found their way in”.
From that comment he tried to mislead the readership into thinking that the low number of attendees was due to absenteeism rather than the fact that the red members who normally buy up tickets with relish from these low cost games were banned.
But then these journalist johnnies in their privileged positions never were that good on detail.
In fact, while working out how to keep unwanted away supporters out maybe Arsenal could also get rid of the media as well for they sure as hell are not doing us any favours.