Here are some of the suggestions we've put to the club - initiatives we feel would benefit Arsenal fans.
We were actually in a meeting with Arsenal on the day they published news of a 6.5% increase in season ticket prices for 2011/12, and were told news was coming of a rise. We warned them of a backlash and rightly so; the club came in for a hammering from fans and media alike.
So while we welcomed the decision and announcement that the club would freeze season ticket prices for the 2012/13 season, we were disappointed that Club Level season ticket holders were hit with an increase of another 2% on already very expensive seats. And following that, Silver members didn't escape; they had another inflation-busting increase which meant in two years they'd seen the cost of their membership increase by 73%!
While Ivan Gazidis will always spin the fact that the club have only raised season ticket prices twice since we moved stadium, the fact remains that we are paying the highest prices in the country to watch our team. His spin always seems to miss out the rises applied elsewhere. We will always keep a close eye on the prices charged by Arsenal and will campaign to keep ticket prices frozen as we feel they've reached a (very high) ceiling.
Season ticket 'lite'
Arsenal is the only Premier League club to charge for a season ticket which includes (seven) cup games. While this has been the case for many years, the high ticket prices we're having to pay means that in the current economic climate many are either struggling to keep hold of their season ticket or reluctantly having to walk away because they can't afford it any more.
We would therefore like the club to introduce a two-tier season ticket; one which includes the seven cup credits, and one which covers league games only.
If someone with the current cheapest season ticket (£985) at Arsenal chose the 'lite' option they'd see the cost go down to around £720 - a price reduction of 25%.
We've received great support on this, with fans who'd much rather forego cup games if it meant being able to hang on to their season ticket.
Naturally, those paying for the full season ticket would get priority over 'lite' season ticket holders for major games such as cup finals. This initiative would also mean with season ticket holders giving up their seat for cup games, more tickets would become available to Silver and Red members; more chance for them to see Arsenal competing in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Season ticket repayment plan
We feel that the club should offer season ticket holders the option of a short-term repayment plan whereby the ticket can be paid for over three months (1 June, 1 July, 1 August). Naturally the club could add an administration fee to each payment for doing this, clawing back any threat of lost interest.
By keeping such a scheme short term, it would ensure that Arsenal has all season ticket funds before the new season starts. Of course any season ticket holder who has take this option and not paid in time would have his/her season ticket deactivated until such time that it has been fully paid.
The club will say that they have already offered similar schemes, however these have been through loans with other financial institutions, or credit cards. We feel this is irresponsible – the club shouldn’t be offering more ways of getting people into debt, considering the current financial climate. Keeping it simple and in-house is the key.
Downgrade / Upgrade renewal options
The club are generally reluctant to allow downgrading of season tickets, but we'd like them to formally offer this option – of course assuming there is a seat available in that price band. Options could be offered when renewing, giving season ticket holders the chance to:
- Renew your current membership/seat
- Upgrade to a better seat
- Downgrade your seat
Downgrade from Gold to Silver membership
If a season ticket holder gives up his/her season ticket, the club should give them the option of buying a Silver membership. Say a season ticket holder of over 20 years can no longer afford their seat... it is hugely unfair that the club doesn't recognise this loyalty and will only let them go to the back of the queue for match tickets (Red membership) if they cannot afford their season ticket any more.
Bring back the Clock End
We commended the club’s decision to finally name the stands, but would like this to move on a step further.
Since moving stadium, our fans have been split up around the ground and despite the ‘Red Section’ being allowed, the atmosphere inside the stadium is still poor.
We therefore suggest that the club allows season tickets in the lower tier of the Clock End, which would allow like-minded people to be able to sit together and create a great atmosphere. Of course cup considerations need to be taken into account but why not operate as we did at Highbury i.e. provide those season ticket holders with seats elsewhere, as and when the situation arises?
There is massive interest out there for a new Clock End to be formed, and by doing so, this would create a great deal of good feeling from fans towards the club. It would show the club really does care. Having a clock above the stand doesn’t make it the Clock End. Having fans there who want to recreate the old feeling of the Clock End most certainly does.
Move away fans to the upper tier
The position of away fans in the ground is something we would like to see changed.
At the moment, away support gets a prominent position in the lower tier, taking up thousands of the cheapest seats in the stadium. We would like the club to investigate the option of moving away support to the upper tier, bringing the following benefits: They would be out of sight of the TV cameras. It’s disheartening to see away fans standing, creating atmosphere etc. in prime view, while our ‘Red Section’ is tucked away in the opposite corner.They’d be further from the pitch, making it harder for them to generate loud support for their teamBy far the biggest benefit – it would provide thousands of cheaper seats for Arsenal fans
Yes there are many considerations to bear in mind… there would need to be work done on turnstile entry and exits, and there’s the safety issue of fans below. But if this is done by other clubs (Man United and Newcastle spring to mind) why can’t it be done here?
When we discussed this idea with the club we were told that this had been considered, but it was felt that it would cost a lot in the short term and provide hassle... and that the club "wasn't currently prepared to put up with short term pain for long term gain".
"The Wonder Of You"
We had an amazing amount of fans asking us if we could get the club to dump this 'anthem' that had been foisted upon us. Many (rightly) pointed out it had nothing to do with Arsenal and hated it being played when the team took to the pitch. We're pleased to say that the club took notice of this request.
"Good Old Arsenal"
After feedback from our followers, we requested that the club replace Elvis with ‘Good Old Arsenal’ as the teams take to the pitch. It was done for the 125th anniversary celebrations against Everton but we feel it should be a permanent fixture. We know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s as close to an Arsenal anthem as we’re ever likely to get. It keeps ties with our traditions and it’s a proper Arsenal song.
‘Shout the names back’
Another campaign which brought us success. The club saw fit to steal the idea from Bayern Munich (where it did work) and apply it at our home games (where it certainly didn't). Many fans found it cringeworthy to the extreeme, and the club finally agreed to get rid.
We held talks with the Safe Standing Roadshow and were prepared to arrange for them to visit the club and demonstrate how it works in Germany and how far the technology has advanced. Unfortunately the club weren't interested in this when we spoke to them about it, but given more and more clubs in England getting behind the idea, we feel Arsenal should investigate the possibility of installing this seating at Emirates Stadium.