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WeCareDoYou: how has the carers campaign been doing?


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By Tony Attwood

I am not sure when WeCareDoYou launched its most recent missive attacking the Arsenal owners and board, but I have a date noted of 15 July 2019, which suggests to me it was then.

So taking that as being the case, at that time Arsenal had finished the season in a disappointing 5th, disappointing after the 19 consecutive years run in the Champions League – the second-longest run ever achieved by any club.  That sequence ended in May 2016 as we became runners’ up.

Season W D L
F A Pts Pos FA Cup Europe
2015/16 20 11 7 65 36 71 2nd QF R16 Champs Lge
2016/17 23 6 9 77 44 75 5th W R16 Champs Lge
2017/18 19 6 13 74 51 63 6th R3 SF Europa Lge
2018/19 21 7 10 73 51 70 5th R4 RU Europa Lge

Unfortunately there followed the runners’ up achievement, an increase in anti-Wenger rhetoric in the media, quickly taken up by some “fans”, and ultimately out came WeCareDoYou.  (Although it is worth noting that in coming 5th in 2017 we got four more points than in coming second in 2016).

Now it has always been my contention that letters of complaint of this nature can have any one of three outcomes: they can (rather self-evidently) make things better, make them worse, or leave them as they are.

And I was wondering what those organisations that signed the WeCareDoYou letter actually think has happened.  Have their efforts worked and made things better, have they made things worse, or have they had no effect?

It’s an important point I think because how you see the outcome will affect what you think should happen next.   For example, if you think that the WeCareDoYou letter has had a good effect you might argue for more of the same.  If you feel it has had no effect you could argue for more of the same (just one more push and it will make things better) or don’t do it again (it didn’t have any effect, so let’s do something else).   If you feel it has made things worse, then not doing it again would seem to be the key future policy.

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This season we are 10th with six wins with 18 games to go which by any measure is worse than before.

“As Arsenal fans we have watched with frustration as the team’s football performances have declined over the past decade. When Stan Kroenke began buying Arsenal shares the club had just competed in a first Champions League final. Twelve years on, Arsenal are about to play in the Europa League for the third year running.

“Off the pitch, fans have never felt more marginalised, less listened to or valued. This was sadly illustrated when Stan Kroenke forcibly bought out the last remaining supporter- shareholders without even a word of appreciation for their custodianship role in the club. It feels as though Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change.

“What all of us as signatories to this statement want to see is meaningful action by Stan Kroenke to reinvigorate our football club.”

The letter then goes on to set out what is wrong and what needs to be done (better leadership, new and dynamic appointments at board level, independently-minded directors, a more co-ordinated approach to buying players and paying wages, improving the atmosphere, reducing the “thousands of empty seats blighting almost every game”, fighting the ‘franchisation’ of European Football).

Those signing up included, Arseblog, Arsenal Armed Forces Supporters Club, Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Black Scarf Movement, Gooner Fanzine, Goonerholic, Gunnerblog, Gunners Town, Highbury Squad, Le Grove, REDACTION, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Suburban Gooners, You Are My Arsenal Blog, 7am Kick Off.

I always found the logic of the piece hard to understand (in my business experience not many people change their style and approach as a result of being criticised in public), and so I wasn’t too surprised to find that not much changed as a result of the letter.

But I guess some, if not all, of the signatories expected change as a result.  After all, if you don’t expect a campaign to work, what’s the point of doing it, other than for self-aggrandisement, and free publicity in the mass media?   True, they certainly got the latter, and I wonder if that was the point – or whether they actually thought they would have an impact.  If it was just for publicity that was rather cynical in my view – but of course it was their show, not mine.

Anyway, whatever their thoughts at the time, things have got worse, and as an outside observer (the Arsenal supporter organisations I am a member of didn’t sign up), I wonder what the next move by the groups that did sign up, will be.

I guess they could either

a) do the same sort of thing again

b) do nothing

c) try something different

The first option seems a bit of a chancy thing, because if the decline we have seen in Arsenal’s performance comes in part as a result of the WeCareDoYou campaign then more of the same could have more of the same result: more decline.

But could the WeCareDoYou initiative that was supported by all those blogs and organisations, have contributed to the current state of affairs?

It certainly is possible.  It is likely that some players are less inclined to come to a club where there is notable supporter discontent than to a club where there is unity.  And certainly that WeCareDoYou letter and the twitter campaign, plus the Wenger Out placards and banners might well have made a player with a choice of Arsenal or somewhere else, choose somewhere else.

And we do know that Kroenke does not like being attacked publicly and will do whatever it takes (even up to moving a club) if he doesn’t like what’s going on locally.

There is also the possibility that the campaign did lead to the club investing more in player transfers last summer than was originally intended, and although that is generally considered a good thing by the media (since it means news for no journalistic effort), it doesn’t always help clubs as the current chart of the biggest spenders last summer shows…

  • Manchester United £148m (currently 7th, last season 6th) DOWN
  • Aston Villa £144.5m (currently 17th, last season promoted) LOWER THAN EXPECTED
  • Arsenal £138m (currently 10th; last season 5th) DOWN
  • Manchester City £134.8m (currently 2nd, last season champions) DOWN
  • Everton £118.5m (currently 9th, last season 8th) DOWN
  • Tottenham Hots £101.5m (currently 5th, last season 4th) DOWN

So even if carried out, the aims of many of the supporters’ groups – to encourage greater spending and change managers – were actually likely to result in decline.  For changing managers also tends to cause upsets – at least in the early years.

The conclusion has to be that the WeCareDoYou movement has not had success.  It could be argued that it has no impact at all, or it could be argued that it has made things worse.   It is a thought that might be held in mind if the groups involved come up with any more schemes for influencing the club.

Alternatively, the organisations involved could, of course, apologize for their actions, but I suspect that is probably too much to ask.

11 comments to WeCareDoYou: how has the carers campaign been doing?

  • WalterBroeckx

    The Wenger out shouters proclaimed that we only had to remove Wenger to win the PL again. It was Wenger who was holding us back and nothing else. But after just 2 seasons we can only dream of having the great football and stability we had with him at the helm.
    Funny thing is that those simplistic “Wenger out and all would be great again” now denie to have ever said it. Now they pretend that they knew we would face harder times. No, they didn’t! They were wrong, now and then.

    A supporters organisation asked after seeing only 6 wins in 24 matches : what has happened to our Arsenal? Well for me the answer is simple: you haunted out the man who made the difference between being a club that we see today and the club we knew under Wenger.
    Yes, I still believe that if Wenger would be our manager we would be around 4th place that was no trophy but nowadays is.

    But having said that: I really do hope that Arteta is the man who can turn things around for our club. But he need to be given time. So expect nothing better for this and the next season. Let us hope the idiots give him the time to transform us again because if they get their way we will see the Arteta out shouts comming soon.

  • Nitram

    In the final analysis, as much as they will deny it, I believe the WeCareDoYou campaign, along with the planes, the banners, AFTV, the protests and all the other anti Arsenal/Wenger campaigns in general, were much more part of the problem, than they ever were part of the solution.

    Kroenke becoming the majority shareholder in April 2011 did not, despite claims to the contrary, induce a decline in the Clubs fortunes, in fact, quite the contrary.

    The following is our performance since that date:

    NB: Stan Kroenke increases stake to 63% on April 11th 2011.

    11-12 – 3rd – R5
    12-13 – 4th – R5
    13-14 – 4th – WON
    14-15 – 3rd – WON
    15-16 – 2nd – QF
    16-17 – 5th – WON

    Even:

    2015/16 20 11 7 65 36 71 2nd QF R16 Champs Lge

    to

    2016/17 23 6 9 77 44 75 5th W R16 Champs Lge

    Wasn’t really a decline.

    Average league finish 3.5 plus 3 FA CUP VICTORIES

    The reality is that from April 2011 onwards we actually improved, if only slightly, we did improve. Our average league position remained exactly the same as the previous 5 seasons but we started to at least win things, and by ‘things’ I mean 3 FA Cups.

    Kreonke also upped our annual net spend considerably from 2013/14 onwards.

    Then we have:

    2017/18 19 6 13 74 51 63 6th R3 SF Europa Lge

    This is in reality our first season of anything like what could be called a decline.

    Now the question is, does that decline mean that all of a sudden the owner doesn’t care?

    Did our loss of form mean Wenger and the players suddenly didn’t care?

    I find that very hard to believe.

    And to suggest, that somehow, by endlessly criticising the Club and Wenger, you do care, and anyone who disagrees doesn’t, is arrogant in the extreme.

    And what’s more, not only is it arrogant but it has turned out to be counter productive.

    With a media already so rabidly anti Arsenal, to have sections of our own fan base feeding their hatred, simply compounded the issue, making the entire atmosphere around the club toxic beyond belief.

    I go back to what I said at the start, in the final analysis I believe all the WeCareDoYou campaign did was make matters worse.

    As for the future, I’m with Walter. I think Arteta looks to be a wonderful prospect.

    Our transformation back to the lofty heights of a ‘not a trophy trophy’ top 4 finish has gone for this season, but is well within reach for next season.

    I think like most Gooners my hopes are pinned on a EL triumph, which given the clubs left in that particular tournament wont be easy, but is still within our grasp.

  • Gord

    OT: Clara and Football

    I seen earlier today, that the Man$ity match had been postponed due to Clara. It seems that the sold out Arsenal v Spuds womens game has also been postponed due to Clara.

    Clara has been busy.

  • Nitram

    Gord

    I only live in sleepy Surrey, but looking out of my rear window Clara is not a pretty sight.

  • Gord

    Is it Clara, or Ciara?

    Well, I hope no trees (or things like poles) come crashing down on your life. We’ve got wind here, but that is normal here (I live 5 miles downwind of a wind farm).

  • Nitram

    Actually it is Ciara and they are calling it the storm of the century with the most widespread weather warning ever, with nearly the entire Country under an amber weather warning from the met office.

    Suffice to say it’s pretty windy out there.

  • Deb

    “the Wenger out shouters proclaimed that we only had to remove Wenger to win the PL again. It was Wenger who was holding us back and nothing else”. Walter.

    You make the statement, attribute it to someone else, then spend the rest of your life fighting the person for the statement which was yours in the first place. Lol.

    Anyway I don’t remember “wecaredoyou” taking over management of the club, or donning shirts and playing for arsenal. So attributing arsenal’s current performance to the campaign is quite funny. Well I guess someone could say untold arsenal has been supporting the club, management and players since 2009, untold arsenal is responsible for us not winning the EPL since then. I could say I started supporting arsenal in 1997/98, I’m responsible for the double that season and everything afterwards.
    Maybe sack the manager and players and take responsibility for any and everything

  • Deb what actually makes me smile is your vision that you know what is going on in another person’s life, when you clearly don’t. You could indeed say that Untold is responsible for things within the club, but apart from the building of the statues, I am not sure it would be true.

    But the point is that clearly you have not grasped what the author thinks is being written about in an article while other people have. That may of course be the writer’s fault or it may be your fault, but either way that is the reality. Which raises the question, why do you feel this urge to keep writing in and pointing out our faults? You know it is not making any difference because Untold is not changing its position, and yet you go on and on writing in, arguing against us using (as it seems to me at least) wholly ludicrous points which are not the slightest bit convincing, and clearly are not changing our minds.
    So why do you keep on doing it? Why come onto a site that you clearly disagree with, and write replies that don’t influence those of us who write, on such a regular basis.
    Is it that you think we have some sort of influence? Is that why you do it over and over and over again presenting the same arguments and not actually changing our approach? Is it because you want to see how many emails you have to post in before I implement the clause about not publishing correspondence of a certain type? (That’s the 39th of yours that we have published, according to the software on the site, in case you wanted to know).

  • Lima

    @Tony, you can’t complain about criticism while ceaselessly criticizing others. Be brave enough to swallow your own medicine

  • Lima, what I try to do is provide criticism with evidence. The evidence is not repeated in each article as that would be boring for regular readers, but it is here on the site, and as often as possible gathered together in collected pieces like the 160 games series. I am sorry I have through my jottings not been able to explain to you what I am up to, but I do try, and I am pleased to say, some people do get it.

  • Lima

    @Tony, but Deb criticizes you with evidence. Just a few examples… He did an analysis of red and yellow cards issued to selected 7 clubs(the big 6 + Leicester) this season and the previous 5, challenged anybody to find evidence of bias. Nobody did, only Chris seemed bold enough to accept. The rest kept mute. He also showed with evidence That VAR had been so much more unfair to teams like Sheffield, wolves, Westham. This particular article provides no evidence, its totally based on your opinion on certain issues, yet someone cannot give a contrary opinion of your opinion? It’s a pity

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