5 November 2012
Last week we wrote to our members advising them of a walk we will be holding before our match with Swansea. We've since mentioned it on our social media profiles, and here is the full information.
We are calling for a gathering of BSM members and supporters on 1 December, before the Swansea match, to join us on a walk to ‘Bear Roundabout’ outside The Armoury.
The objectives of this walk are to heighten the Board’s awareness in the following areas:
We want Stan Kroenke’s commitment not to take money from the club.We want Peter Hill-Wood off the Board. He has become an embarrassment to the club and its supporters.We want Red & White Holdings to be offered a seat on the Board. Ivan Gazidis called for us to all come together and work in the same direction but how does this work when a 30% shareholder in the club doesn’t get to have a say? In what other large business would this blocking of a major shareholder happen?We want action from the club to stop poor allocation of our money. From wasting money on players we have to write off a year later, to handing out huge contracts to players who we can’t then sell on because nobody will match what we pay. It’s mismanagement and it’s the fans who get hit in the pocket because the club fails in other revenue generating areas such as commercial deals.
Finally, we want the club to deliver the initiatives we’ve previously put to them, which would greatly benefit match going fans. These include:
A ‘lite’ version of a season ticket with no cup creditsA short-term staged repayment scheme for season ticket renewalsThe ability for season ticket holders to downgrade to Silver membershipMove away fans to the upper tier, thereby providing cheaper seats for Arsenal fansIntroduce season tickets in the Clock End at Emirates; recreate the atmosphere of the famous old stand at Highbury and improve the Emirates atmosphere on matchdays.Introduce safe standing. This continues to be investigated by more and more clubs across the country but continues to be ignored by Arsenal.Cheaper tickets at Emirates Stadium. If you can afford to sit on £70m of cash in the bank, you don't need to charge fans the highest ticket prices in football.
On 1 December we will be meeting at 1.30pm outside Cannons public house on Blackstock Road (opposite The Gunners pub). The walk will start at 2pm and take us past our beloved Highbury and down to Emirates Stadium where we’ll end at ‘Bear Roundabout’.
It's time the Board listened to its core support and realised there are thousands of Arsenal fans unhappy with the way the club is being run, and the way the club is treating them. Change is needed for the good of Arsenal.
Feel free to join us on the day, it will be great to have you with us.
As an addition to this piece, we've had a few questions from people about the walk and about us as a group. Much of the information you'll need to know about the group can be found on the About Us page, but here we confirm a few points...
Is this walk because of some bad results?
No, absolutely not - it has been on the agenda for some time. Our recent results and poor performances are a coincidence and have heightened the feeling among supporters, but our focus isn't on results.
Do you have to be a member of the BSM to join the walk?
No, we invite all Arsenal fans who feel let down by the Board. If you're not a member of the BSM, still come along and by all means tell other fans to do the same.
Are you a 'Wenger Out' movement?
Again, absolutely not. While we may question some of the manager's decisions and the players he picks - like many other fans would - we're more concerned with how the Board is running the club. How the Board is mistreating its core support.
Why air our dirty linen in public? We'll become a laughing stock
In short, something needs to be said or nothing will happen.
Questioning the Board isn't something we should be doing, if the Board was doing its job which is to run a football club. Fact is our fans are being punished and their loyalty taken for granted. From the comments and reactions of Board members at the last couple of AGMs, they seem to feel that we should be grateful for the position we're in. To us, that goes to show that the Board knows little about football and about what's important to fans.
We've spoken to the club (as have other supporters groups) but we feel the Arsenal merely pays lip service and pretends to care - because for all the ideas and suggestions put to them from us and others, nothing ever seems to happen. Even the much-publicised ticketing review ended up with the club trying to pull the wool over the eyes of fans. Give with one hand take with the other, and then some.
Core support will continue to be ripped off and walk away, and the Board will continue to prioritise profit over success on the pitch. And while some fans may not like our frank and unequivocal approach, as a group we've always maintained that if something needs to be said, we'll say it. No pussy footing around to keep the club happy and ensure Ivan Gazidis comes out to feed us spin a couple of times a year. Our members and our followers have praised us for bringing a fresh approach as a supporters group and telling it straight. We do that because we feel strongly about this club; we've been there through thick and thin and want future generations to follow in our footsteps.
And as for fans of other clubs, they get enough enjoyment from seeing our decline on the pitch! We've actually had messages of support from many around the country, and offers of partnerships from other groups. They tell us that the same things are now happening at their clubs, with fans being taken for granted and forced out. So it's a much wider issue, with loyal support being pushed out in a dash for the pound note. Standing up for the matchgoing football fan is what we're doing.