The fans are the soul of every club, so says the famous football mantra. Players come and go, managers the same, but the fans are the thread that holds the club together.
Through thick and thin, we won’t stop supporting our club, and it is up to every player who wears the jersey to repay that commitment and faith.
The sanctity of that relationship here at Arsenal though is in danger. Stan Kroenke and the board haven’t helped themselves with their lack of forward planning, in the way they conduct both transfer business and contract negotiations. Nor has Arsene Wenger, who arguably waited longer than he should have done to reveal his intention to stay.
On the other hand, there are also aspects of the club’s situation for fans to, if not be grateful for, at least acknowledge. We have won the FA Cup in three of the last five seasons, attracted some of the best players in Europe whilst playing some impressive football in the process. There are a lot of clubs, not dissimilar in stature, that have at times looked at that return with a hint of envy.
Some might question therefore, whether YouTube channel ArsenalFanTV is the fairest way for fans to air their grievances on the thornier issues. Whilst producer Robbie Lyle began with the intention of giving supporters a voice in football’s increasingly corporate modern era, it has transpired that the more extreme voices appear to gain the most attention and therefore profit.
Right-back Hector Bellerin, who was asked about ArsenalFanTV when speaking at the Oxford Union, was critical of the non club-affiliated fan channel.
Perhaps Bellerin went too far in implying that Robbie and others aren’t true fans, but he might have a point that the extreme nature of the criticism doesn’t always help our cause.
A club like Arsenal should be doing better and of course we have a right to be critical: we have not won the title in 14 years and in that sense, Arsene Wenger has things to answer for. However, what ArsenalFanTV do borders on unnecessary sensationalism.
We must never forget that we love Arsenal before anything else. Wenger is the club’s most successful manager: he is under pressure but he must not leave under a cloud. We all want the club to succeed, but the right approach must be made.
If we can show our support in good times, then we must also show it in trying circumstances.