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'Members Day' My Arse-nal

I attended members day the other day and for all intents and purposes I enjoyed myself. Being a fanatic, I would probably walk a hundred miles to see Dennis Bergkamp's jockstrap in a museum, so the chance to see the first team train represented an opportunity for me to see some of my heroes (and as a grown man I have some difficulty admitting that) in a different context than the normal match setting.

I sat and watched Wenger, Rice, Colbert et al put the squad through their paces and although my dad (not affiliated to any club, still hazy on the offside rule) remained slightly puzzled at what all the fuss was about, I was enthralled, after all, I am a fanatic. I didn't attend members day last year, but I had a fair idea of what would take place and I was not especially disappointed until I started listening to the wholly entertaining and indeed insightful Q & A session with Wilson, George and Nelson hosted by the jovial Matt Lucas. The 3 former players (although obviously seasoned after dinner speakers) spoke honestly and at times bluntly about the distance between the modern footballer and their fans. Particularly when you compare their era to the current one. Stories of Charlie taking the bus home with the supporters the night we won the league down the lane are almost enough to bring tears to my eyes with a sense of longing.

These are vastly different times, more professional you could certainly argue, but equally the distance between ourselves the fans and our club, which we at least regard as a form of extended family, has become gulf like. Yesterday was called members day, but apart from a two minute spell where the players kicked balls aimlessly into the crowd, we may as well not have been there. Okay I got to attend a training session and see some legends tell a few funnies all of which I thoroughly enjoyed, but Members Day? The day when the club shows me how much they appreciate my support and repays even a fraction of my loyalty.

I think not.

What do I want? Text messages from Cesc, post match hug from Kolo, Crimbo card from Arsene? Of course not. But some form of recognition that they are all lucky bastards that wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for the sheer passion and yes love that we pour onto them and our club. It was very refreshing to hear Bob Wilson speak up about the greed of Sky and of how money is effectively ruining football in the long term. I do not expect our club to be less professional, nor the players to be our best mates, but that gulf should not be so wide, at least one day of the year.

Rant over.




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The Journalist

Writer: GunnerBlood Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 8 2008

Time: 12:49PM

Your Comments

I agree, but unfortunately I don't (realistically) know what could happen. The only reward, apart from success on the pitch, for our continued support is financial. How, I don't know. Percentage of next years season ticket if you go to X amount of away matches! Feeling separated from the players is a football wide problem, not just an Arsenal one!
navydave
This is the best article I've read on what it means to be a fan today (at least of a top level club). Great job, although it did make me a little sad.
The Arsenist
Oi have some respect!, that two minute spell of players aimlessly kicking balls into the crowd was Eboues daily target practice session! Seriously though surely you knew what this was gonna be like? A sterile, going through the numbers, family based yawnathon.
nikolaijns
Whine!!!!!!!!!!!
ajwb
Oi ajwb! I am a football supporter, it's my job to whine! Thanks Arsenist by the way, glad u liked it.
GunnerBlood
Thanks Gunnerblood for a Brilliant article.Those days of players taking the bus with us fans will never return, can you imagine it, there would be no room for us fans on the bus as it would be full of the media! It's great harking back to the "good old days" and even better hearding some of the stories from the past. As for the Member Day, for some fans it's the one chance they may have of actual seeing the players live, as not everyone can afford the price of a ticket, or they get get the time off work to spend watching game.
hackneyval
Hm, sometimes it's best not to see your heroes (or people you admire) up close. Usually makes you depressed. Good rant, tho.
jaelle
Great article, I agree, arsenal football club are really turning their backs on the fans and instead turning to corporate sponsorship and money greed, you can see it with all these foreign players, I'm glad to finally find arsenal fans who agree with my assessment of your club, thank you for not being biased gunnerblood and navydave and the arsenist and nikolaijsomething and hackneyval and for agreeing that your club is rubbish
CartoCoys
Cartocoys - odds are these issues exist at whichever club you're affiliated to. Your post appears to be a poor wind up.
prits
There should be some kind of mechanism on Vital to disable these bottom half of the table grunts from posting on top 10 clubs' pages. How you can knock any other club after the way your utter joke of a club treated poor Muttley Jol?, the whole country knew, the whole tin pot stadium knew, only poor Muttley was in the dark as to his fate, yeah thats the proper way to run a club huh Cartman? Seeing that sick backstabbing little runt Levy smirking away in the stands made the whole footballing world sick to it's very core. THFC = a skidmark on the nations footballing grundies.
nikolaijns
I agree niko and I would like to clarify that my original post was not about how our club is run. In fact, it is flattering to hear so many genuine football people (most of whom are not in any way associated with us) describe Arsenal as a "Proper club", a club that consistently conducts itself in an ethical professional manner (not like some of our sleazy neighbours). My motivation for writing the piece had a lot more to do with the regrettable distance that has grown up between the players and their fans, but hey, once upon a time blah blah blah. Football has moved on and possibly dinosaurs like me must get used to it.
GunnerBlood
I think it's inevitable that football has gone that way, with players being paid enormous amounts of money and getting their every whim granted it's hardly surprising they aren't connected to the average fan.
monkeyg
 

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