At the time, we condemned the decision. Actually, we were so pissed off with it that we responded with a statement confirming our disgust, half an hour after Arsenal made their announcement. Did we need time to let the information sink in and consider a response? Absolutely not... this rise was pure and utter greed, an outrageous decision which will simply further punish matchgoing fans in the pocket.
Since then we've had a few pops from people bemoaning the fact that we've not arranged a protest or any other form of action. Yesterday we came in for some stick on an Arsenal Facebook page, because apparently we do nothing and apart from a couple of walks and the odd letter we suffer from a "lack of presence".
It was once stated at a meeting of BSM members that "at times of apparent inactivity, the BSM is ALWAYS active". In other words, we're never just sitting here doing bugger all - there are always plans and discussions taking place about how we could get a better deal for matchgoing Arsenal fans.
So just to clarify, here's a run-down of what the BSM have been up to since the end of last season...
5 June - announced our participation in a protest over ticket pricing
We'd been invited by our friends at Spirit of Shankly to join them and supporters of other clubs, in a march to Premier League headquarters. We invited Arsenal fans to come and join us.
19 June - ticket price protest and meeting with the Premier League
We were the Arsenal supporters' group there on the day, together with groups from other Premier League and Football League clubs. We met with Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore, with groups from Liverpool, Man United, Spurs, and the Football Supporters' Federation. At the meeting we reiterated the problems faced by fans, especially highlighting the pressures on fans following their team away from home. This tied in with the FSF's 'Twenty Is Plenty' campaign which we'd got on board with earlier in the year.
1 July - end of season survey results published
We published the results of our 2012-13 end of season survey. Over 3,400 members responded which at the time was (to our knowledge) the largest survey response of any Arsenal supporters' group. Nationwide coverage followed.
18 August - letter to Ivan Gazidis
We wrote to Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis expressing our "deep concern" over the apparent lack of activity at Arsenal that summer, despite his assurances in June that we would now be active in the market. This letter summed up the frustration of thousands of Arsenal fans, and got nationwide coverage in the press and on TV.
24 August - boat party on the Thames
Held a pre-Fulham party on the Thames for BSM members, which in turn raised £1,000 for the Ben Kinsella Trust. Some 200 people joined us on board and the event was such as success we've had untold calls since to organise another.
26 September - discounts for away fans
Announced that the Premier League put in place an initiative whereby all PL clubs had to put aside funds (from hugely increased TV revenue) to help away supporters. This followed campaigning by the BSM and supporters groups from other clubs, which resulted in our meeting with the Premier League. For Arsenal fans this means some £600,000 split across the next three seasons, put towards the cost of match tickets.
9 October - reciprocal away ticket pricing
Revealed that Newcastle were introducing a reciprocal pricing deal for away fans, and encouraged Arsenal to follow suit.
10 October - letter to Stan Kroenke
We teamed up with other Arsenal supporters' groups, and wrote to Stan Kroenke requesting that he fulfil his promise of meeting with these groups.
17 October - Arsenal AGM
We were present at the Arsenal AGM, and presented all attendees with a flyer which asked questions over whether our current Board was equipped to take us forward and make us a European 'Super Club'. The flyer made the national press within half an hour of the first copies being handed out.
29 October - League Cup atmosphere initiative
We'd already written to all BSM members asking them to buy tickets in blocks 17, 18 and 19 for the League Cup game with Chelsea. This was an attempt to get some atmosphere going inside the ground and the idea was praised by like-minded fans who were up for it... and then in came the stewards, which is another story.
20 November - survey on atmosphere at Emirates
We'd asked Arsenal fans to complete a short survey on atmosphere and safe standing, and here we published the results. Over 17,000 people took part; a huge response and by far the biggest we've ever seen from an Arsenal supporters survey. The results went nationwide and brought a lot of focus on the campaign for safe standing. Since then we've had contact from numerous supporters' groups of other clubs, asking to work with them on future campaigns for the benefit of fans.
27 November - heavy-handed stewarding
We'd had a fair few people contact us over issues with stewarding at Arsenal, so we asked all fans to get in touch if they'd encountered problems. This was so we could feed back to Arsenal and see where improvements could be made.
13 December - condemned Arsenal's price rise announcement
As mentioned already, we were straight out with our response. We absolutely disagree that it is needed, we think it's massively unfair on already hard-pressed fans, and it will make next to no difference to the club.
17 December - Arsenal's response over reciprocal pricing
We'd heard from Spirit of Shankly that they'd written to all Premier League clubs requesting that they put in place a reciprocal pricing deal for away fans. Arsenal had responded to this and we analysed the response, feeding back our comments on what we felt was in essence a letter filled with spin. This highlighted Arsenal's disinterest in offering fans anything above the money they'd been made to put aside by the Premier League.
So there you have it. Not done that much, have we? ;-)
It should be noted that the people who run the BSM (and indeed the other Arsenal supporters' groups) have day jobs and other commitments. We run the BSM through our love of the club and the fact they want all Arsenal fans to be respected by those running OUR Arsenal. We're not in it for ego - we don't go begging hundreds of people to retweet what we say in a desperate attempt to gain popularity. We're not in it for money either - anything we have left over our running costs goes to charity. Fact is we want the best for our fans and our club, and we're prepared to stand up and say it like it is; if there are things the club could do better we're not scared to say so.
Rest assured we are still working on future campaigns and you'll see more of the main Arsenal groups working together, as well as us campaigning with groups from other clubs. Greed is an issue that is spreading through football and those running our game are risking its long term future. But getting those running our clubs to sit up and take notice is no quick fix. It's not something you can rectify by storming the stadium with pitchforks and burning torches every week... a more considered approach is needed more often than not, and we're in this for the long term. After all, it's OUR game, and football without the fans is nothing.
So, if you're not happy with what we're doing, that's your choice. But before you moan that the BSM does nothing, you may want to find out the truth.
Up The Gunners