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It looks like our protest against £14.95 a match was a success. Now what?

By Tony Attwood

The match against Leicester looked pretty dispiriting on Match of the Day, as it sounded on Arsenal TV, so those who broke the boycott and paid their £14.95 didn’t get much for the money.

But despite there being some protest breakers it looks like the protest might have been a success.   There are indeed reports in the media of the price coming down.  Some are saying £9.95, some £4.95.

Personally I wouldn’t take this up until it does get down to the £4.95 level, which would take it into the region of going to the pub and buying a pint.  Although I am not at all sure the price is the issue any more.  For this looks like it really might be the very first time in goodness knows how long that fans have made a real impact on the clubs at large.

Of course I know we have liaison with the clubs through the supporters’ associations and I value this.  As I have mentioned occasionally I am a member of the committee that runs Arsenal Independent Supporters Association (AISA) – the fans group that does not believe in publicly criticising the board and suggesting that directors are stealing money from the club.  Nor do we believe in breaking up or disrupting meetings held by the club for supporters, as some members of the rival supporters group seems to do.  We believe in dialogue.

But dialogue cannot happen when the clubs, or some clubs, get together and dictate to fans what can and what can’t be.  And that is what has happened with the £14.95 price tag.  As a result of our protest, it seems to be 1-0 to the supporters, for the first time in quite a while I think.

However we need to realise the danger of the various new approaches (of which there seems to be a new one every few days) to football as being pushed by Manchester United and Liverpool.  They have nothing to do with the good of football as a national institution.

Football has been part of our country’s culture for over 160 years and the sort of proposals that the  American billionaires are coming in with shows not only rampant self-interest but also no understanding of England’s sporting and cultural heritage.

(Indeed if you are interested there is an article on the AISA website published on yesterday about the origins of football, and Arsenal’s place in that evolution.  Just click on that link and scroll down to “26 October” to read it).

The problem we have is that the difference between the income of the Premier League clubs and the income of the Championship clubs is now so vast that Championship clubs will put themselves into ludicrous debt by taking the gamble of getting into the Premier League for just one year.

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Occasionally it works – as it has done with Aston Villa spending something like £300m net over two seasons to get back into the top league, but much of the time it leaves clubs in a dire position.  Indeed we have report after report of clubs spending one and a half times their income or even more on salaries alone, as they gamble everything on promotion.

This current situation does not make for a sustainable football pyramid.

Now I know some Arsenal fans don’t care much for the pyramid, especially as this season we have celebrated 100 years in the 1st division – the only club to have come anywhere near achieving that.  But just because Arsenal have done it that does not mean we should not care about the League.  (The story of our promotion, which sets aside all the myths and lies invented by rival clubs about what happened in 1919, with serious evidence, is published here.)

So what do we do about football and the wild and insane spending that some clubs indulge in, which goes way beyond their income?

The only workable solution I’ve seen is the salary cap – something that works seemingly quite well in all the main sports in America except Major League Baseball.

OK maybe there are other solutions – and if there are that’s fine.  My own personal concern is that we do not allow the American owners of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool take control of the Premier League and run it for their own benefit, maximising profits without any regard either for the heritage of the league or the long term well-being of smaller clubs.

Maybe I feel this way because although I’ve been an Arsenal supporter since childhood, following the family tradition, I’ve lived a lot of my life outside London and so on occasion, I have spent Saturday afternoon supporting the likes of Torquay United, Poole Town, Rusdhen and Diamonds, and now, Corby Town (which of course means I can at least go to games again, since the lower leagues are now open to spectators).

I really do believe we are right to protest about £14.95 a game, but I also think we should protest strongly against the attempts by Liverpool, Man U and other clubs to move us away from the traditions of football, as established in the 19th century and which have by and large kept the game afloat despite the best endeavours of the financial maniacs.

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How to save football

 

10 comments to It looks like our protest against £14.95 a match was a success. Now what?

  • Surely the next stage is for our team to produce football that has an entertainment value worth whatever the fee is they propose to charge.

  • Sally Pally

    Hi,
    It is a farce to be potentially paying ~£25/month for Sky Sports AND ~£25/month for BT Sports and then to have to fork out £14.95 because one of those two providers wasn’t originally going to show the match. It looks like they both agree. Hopefully, these games will become free if we have them. £50/month is still a lot and I don’t know many people who have both, if any. £5 might be reasonable if they do keep this silly system. But why not add the games to the normal package, instead of this monster which is Sky Box Office or whatever the BT equivalent is.

    As for the massive fallout, with the world and his wife saying how awful Arsenal are after losing to Leicester, it is just so much of the normal hysterical rubbish. Those of us who watched the match ‘one way or another’, surely noticed that we were superb. Leicester spent 65 minutes with 11 men behind the ball. Yes, we weren’t decisive enough in front of their goal but hell, we did scare the bejesus out of them almost constantly. It was one of those unfortunate results which happens from time to time. This team is excellent and I have no worries that results will come and we will do very well this season. We have a solid defense and certainly the players to give us extra penetration going forward. Leicester should be credited with keeping us out in a game where they had one sniff of goal and we were almost totally dominant. We didn’t play badly, they played very boringly (well) in the only way which they could have done to prevent an embarrassing score, if they’d have tried to attack.

  • Nitram

    Sally Pally

    Thank you so much for a touch of reality.

    I have to be honest and say I didn’t watch it live or even the highlights, but I did listen to Arsenal.com’s commentry and in that 1st half we completely and utterly outplayed them. We obviously had a perfectly legitimate goal chalked off by the corrupt PGMO, and were wasteful in front of goal. All that accepted, if we had gone in 3-0 at half time nobody could of denied the validity of that score line.

    Okay the 2nd half wasn’t as good but I believe their are some reasons for that:

    1) The high press. It’s exhausting. It will take us time to be able to maintain the intensity we managed in that first half for the whole game. It didn’t happen overnight for Liverpool either under Klopp. I remember in his early years one of Liverpools problems was often a second half dip in performance. I used to say if you can be in the match at half time with them you had a great chance of beating them because ‘their legs had gone’ as I used to say.

    Similarly Spurs under Poch. In fact Spurs drop off in performance was even more pronounced. Spurs used to be all over you from kick off but with them if you survived that initial 20/25 mins early mega high intensity your chances of turning them over increased enormously.

    This is still early days for us with this high intensity press, but as far as I can tell Sundays 1st half performance of it was the best we had achieved so far under Arteta, and should of reaped high rewards. We played very very well. The fact it didn’t reap the rewards it deserved was down to bad refereeing, wasteful finishing, and a bit of bad luck. It happens. The fact we tired in the 2nd half, given how I’ve seen it affect other teams, was of no surprise to me, and indeed I see it as nothing to be over concerned with. It took Klopp years to get it right.

    The difference is we just won’t be cut the latitude he was, either by the media or our own fans, as you can see by the utter over reaction of the media and of certain posters on untold.

    2) Heavy Legs were not the only reason though, you have to give some credit to Rogers. He addressed certain issues, and although not suddenly turning the game on it’s head he certainly got Liecster into the game.

    3) The loss of David luiz. His inch perfect long range passing down the flanks were causing Liecster all kinds of problems. Him going off was a big loss.

    4) And last but not least that pain in the backside Vardy comming off the bench was the last thing a tiring and by then slightly demoralised Arsenal wanted to see. But even then, I think I saw somewhere he touched the ball just 4 times the entire time he was on the pitch. But as we know to our cost he does what he does, and there is no doubt he does it very well. But lets get this right, they scored with their first, (possibly 2nd) shot on target. Leicester were not suddenly all over us, it was just a much more even 2nd half. But taking the game as a whole, a 3 – 1, 4 – 2 victory to us would of been a fair reflection of the match over all.

    In conclusion Sally, I have to say I agree with you when you say “This team is excellent and I have no worries that results will come and we will do very well this season. We have a solid defence and certainly the players to give us extra penetration going forward”.

    As for the ‘fall out’, well what can I say, same old same old. Arsenal lose and the World as we know it comes to an end. Utterly pathetic. Utterly predictable.

  • Menace

    The truth is ‘Arsenal woz robbed!’. The disallowed goal (probably an own goal if the boot touched it in)was not examined in detail by the PGMOL (Cheating Inc.) nor by the media.

    MOTD pundits say it was a goal as does Arteta but Mike Riley will not apologise and refund the loss of resultant earnings (lol).

  • Nitram

    And again for a bit of perspective I’m just going to show how we faired against Leicester compared to everyone else this season, to see if we really were as bad as everyone seems to be suggesting we were.

    These are all averages per match for the season so far.

    LEICESTER CITY

    Goals For = 2.1

    Goals Against = 1.3

    Shots = 9

    On Target = 4.5

    OPPOSITION

    Goals For = 1.3

    Goals Against = 2.1

    Shots = 12.5

    On Target = 4.1

    And for the ARSENAL v LEICESTER CITY match:

    ARSENAL

    Goals For = 0

    Goals Against = 1

    Shots = 12

    On Target = 4.5

    LEICESTER CITY

    Goals For = 1

    Goals Against = 0

    Shots = 6

    On Target = 2

    Just for a bit of added perspective MAN CITY V LEICESTER

    MAN CITY

    Goals For = 2

    Goals Against = 5

    Shots = 16

    On Target = 5

    LEICESTER CITY

    Goals For = 5

    Goals Against = 2

    Shots = 7

    On Target = 7

    What these statistics show is that Leicester are extremely efficient in front of goal. They don’t actually shoot that often but when they do they hit the target half the time, and what’s more they score from just under half of those. That is extremely efficient. Is that simply brilliant forwards, Vardy for example, or is that just a bit of luck, or a ‘purple patch’ for want of a better term ?

    But what I was really trying to see here was how did we compare with everyone else against Leicester. Were we really that bad?

    Well actually, as you can see, we performed to almost the exact level to which would of been expected. Offensively we achieved almost the exact average of shots and shots on target that they have faced all season.

    Defensively we outperformed the average, restricting Leicester to 2/3rds their normal shots and half their normal shots on target.

    The issue was goals. From our 12 shots 4 on target, we should of expected a return of 1.3 goals, which in reality equates to 1 possibly 2 goals, which is what we could and should of had, and had we not been robbed by the VAR and put away one of our other very good chances, that’s what we would of had.

    As for Liecster, they did exactly what they’ve been doing all season, and scored with half of their shots on target, which was of course was the 1 goal.

    So all in all, despite all the whinging and whining about how awful we were, this is simply not true. We performed very well against what is a pretty good, and very efficient Leicester side. The way we played, allied to the statistical evidence, suggests on the balance of play we should of had, in fact deserved a 2- 1 victory over them, and had we not been cheated by VAR I suggest that’s exactly what we would of had.

    NB:

    As you will of seen I put the statistics up of the Man City match just for a little more perspective. Now I don’t think anyone can argue that despite not playing at full tilt yet this season Man City are still a wonderful team, yet look what Leicester did to them, and Man City didn’t receive anything like the stick we are getting.

    And that is the point of all this.

    We played ok. We deserved to win. Liecster are no mugs. Yes they, like most sides this year, are up and down. They can be turned over. But equally they can give you a spanking. As it transpired we took a narrow defeat in a game we should of won. It happens for pity’s sake.

    But why oh why, when it comes to Arsenal cant everyone not just keep it all in perspective, rather than going in to this collective melt down that seems to happen every time we lose a football match? I just don’t get it.

  • Never mind Menace, it all evens up in the end.

    ………………………………….. sorry have started choking, seems to be something caught in my throat

  • I’ve just had another look at the BBC match report and statistics. All of the Leicester players receive ratings between 8.72 (Vardy) and 7.07 (Praet). All of the Arsenal players receive ratings between 4.4 (Tierney) and 2.86 (Mustafi). This is a truly remarkable distortion.

    I can’t see how Leicester’s worst-rated player – Praet (7.07) deserves his rating relative to Arsenal’s highest-rated player – Tierney (4.4).

    And people say that the media don’t have an anti-Arsenal agenda.

  • mick shelley

    The predictable has happened and Riley has appointed Mike Dean as ref against Man U at the weekend.
    He has apparently awarded more penalties to Man U than any other team he has refereed so we might as well give them the three points now!

  • Sally Pally

    Menace

    Some of us share a more patient view with regards to the occasional blip.
    ‘The truth is, Arsemal Waz robbed’. Exactly, we battered them and on another day, would have won comfortably, as you say. We definitely need that bit of luck back. We need more of our Irishmen and Irishwomen doing those things which bring luck, along with the rest of us.

    When will they refund the loss of earnings? Well, that’s a funny one because actually, maybe there are things that can be done. Like arresting Vardy for his brutal and deliberate assault on Mustafi the last time we played them. The look on his face as he left the boot up and then moved it towards Mustafi’s face will stick with me for a long time. He knew he had been very wicked and his face looked like it was preparing for a red and possibly long ban but then he realised he was going to get away with it and his sheepishness turned to indignation. When assaults like that happen, there is the option for a club to help a player to get justice. Isn’t there?
    And it is easy enough to use statistics to prove that Arsenal have a bum deal from referees and VAR. They can be forced to reimburse the loss of earnings, which is several hundred million over the last 13 years of corruption. Josh Kroenke has vast amounts of money. Maybe he should invest in some private investigation. I’m sure he will! 🙂 And while he’s about it, he can start to advertise Arsenal in Walmart, so as we double our already huge fan base!
    Lol!

  • Menace

    Sally Pally

    There is nothing one can do in the courts as the game is controlled by the FA and their wonderful PGMOL a select group of cheating morons that appoint officials to do the bidding of Satanic Riley both on field and off field behind the screens of VAR.

    The game is above the law as players can break opponents legs and get immediate International call ups.

    It is what it is. The beautifully corrupt game under a mist of racist selection.

    Blacks & ethnics can’t see properly so thay do not make officials or managers or coaches.

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