Arsenal - Why are the Arsenal Supporters Trust still silent?
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Why are the Arsenal Supporters Trust still silent?

As the transfer market clock ticked down and the atmosphere among gooners ramped up to the extent that Arsenal fanbase blogosphere and social media sites became consumed with negative posts and articles cheerfully informed and then endorsed by the mainstream media the AST took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement 2 weeks before the window was to close and prior to the first leg of the CL qualifying round insisting that all discussions to extend Wenger's contract be suspended. Not that there was any danger of a new contract being agreed before the window ended.

'A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager's contract which ends in May 2014 should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team's performances in the weeks ahead.'

Notwithstanding that issuing such a negative statement prior to a series of important games could never be anything other than unsettling did they consider, especially given Ozil's claim that Wenger was an important draw for him, whether it might actually damage the club's ability to sign some players?

The justification for their conclusion was that Arsenal had not used all the resources available in previous windows to strengthen the team. Had they have used all their resources in previous windows there would have been fewer resources to spend in this window of course and indeed if they had used all available resources in this window any opportunities that might come up in the next transfer windows would, of necessity, be compromised by the lack of resources.

'Ambitious football clubs invest the money they receive from fans' we were told without acknowledging that the amount spent on transfers by Arsenal in the 3 seasons since Kroenke took full control in 2011 is as much as the total combined spend in the 8 previous seasons. Or that as investors in player budgets only City, Chelsea and ManU invest more domestically than Arsenal.

So what purpose did AST's pronouncement serve? The club had already demonstrated in the transfer windows over the last two seasons that it is willing and able to invest £50m+ and more in player transfers. Did they really imagine that their statement did anything more to make a worthwhile transfer happen? It fed the media circus surrounding the transfer window which Wenger was prompted to observe as conditioning the thinking of supporters - brainwashed was the word he chose - as just consumerism at any cost.

While previously they were able to express their opinions on the club directly with the club itself the AST mission statement now seems to have been modified to something along the lines of 'Look at me. I'm over here' without much idea of what role they should now play in supporting the club. They have become the nerdy schoolkid so desperate to be part of the negative gang that they have shaved off their hair and added a few tattoos seeking the accolade of earning a few ASBO's. In the process they succeed only in distancing themselves from taking any real part in helping the club to achieve its ambitions. They're in danger of becoming part of the problem and not part of the solution.

No doubt we can look forward to another pious public statement awarding points for the club's performance in this transfer window and letting us know whether they will allow contract extension discussions to continue.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday September 6 2013

Time: 11:51AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think there is an identity crisis amongst the AST. They were found wanting in my opinion during the summer and especially after the first game of the season. Things were not going well and pressure was put on the AST to pressurise the board and manager to make things happen in the current climate of open disenchantment. The AST then changed tact and appeared to be anti board/wenger because the masses at that time were also of that persuasion. Basically the AST didn't want to look put of touch and appeared more populist despite representing arsenal fans anyway. I think the AST have to ultimately do more to connect to the club and represent the fans which means listening to the fans not just when things are coming to a head such as the transfer window debacle. Leaving wengers contract on the other hand till the end of the season would be risky, maybe in January it could be reviewed based on results and ambition. A 1 or 2 year extension would seem appropriate.
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06/09/2013 12:51:00

AST's reaction to the Ozil signing was to ask why Arsenal didn't spend 50 million pounds on a striker as well, as if top strikers grow on trees and that the sellng clubs are contractually obliged to only sell to Arsenal. From being a positive force who worked as a bridge between shareholders and suporters, I'm afraid the AST has morphed into an organisation with a hyper sense of entitlement led by a publicity hungry spokesperson.
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06/09/2013 12:59:00

Good shout Delta, I think Twitter has given too many people a platform that they don't really deserve. The AST are useful from my perspective for providing some half decent analysis of things like the club's accounts. They are overly negative though and probably bowing down to the pressure from the fans & their members to be one of them. One comment that makes me chuckle from Wenger, bemoaning "rampant consumerism", errrr - have you been to the Emirates?!
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06/09/2013 13:14:00

That's a good point about consumerism shewore - a very good point indeed - a little different from the one Wenger made - but a pertinent observation all the same.
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06/09/2013 13:20:00

I share the same view Shewore et al that AST has fallen victim to the same homogenizing assumption besetting activist investors. From the 19th to the tail end of the 20th century it was not difficult for an organized support group to take the collective pulse of the fan base and make a credible case of speaking on behalf of the silent majority. With the unprecedented success of the EPL, the rise of the globalized profile of AFC, and information availability, the relationship between organized activism (as represented by AST) and managerial response is not the same. It is an established fact in all industries that when management is pressured to ‘behave’ in certain manner, organized activists engender diversion of resources and attention away from such groups (e.g., AST) into activities that tend to resist external pressures. Indeed, AFC is more likely to invite few selected ‘bloggers’ to show them around facilities and share tidbits about club affairs than sit down with well-intentioned but overly activist organized groups. The argument here is once considered as ‘insiders’ club management expects criticism to be handled in-house and often treat critical public pronouncements as airing of ‘dirty laundry’ that serves no constructive purpose. For individual fans raining insults at the club there is no cost to bear but for organized groups the payoff may not be worth the public stand.
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06/09/2013 13:33:00

AST can go ***** themselves
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06/09/2013 14:28:00

LOL, superb article Amos.
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06/09/2013 14:44:00

I'll tell em to take that statement and shove it down their throats. All we need is a lil more belief for the team and we will keep going. Ozil stated that the one important reason he signed was because of the faith expressed by Wenger in him. And we can agree that Wenger firmly believes in the lads. Its a shame such negative comments came from representatives of us fans. Great Article Amos.
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06/09/2013 17:04:00

On another note, if the reports about Levy being upset by our signing Ozil are true, then I must say that is rather bad sportsmanship by the Spuds. I dunno what partnership or agreement they had, but to say you wanted to block another team's move for a player or that Real Madrid shouldn't have sold to another team in your league is downright dirty. I hope its not true but if it is, then someone needs to give ol Danny a talking to. For crying out loud, the Bale deal was one thing and the Ozil thing was another. I don't see how selling to us betrays the partnership. I mean if they wanted Ozil they should have put in a bid for him. Just goes to show what people will do for gaining an advantage these days. TIS JUST A SPORT, A GAME, THAT'S ALL!!! We have fun but we play fair. That's what makes it fun. Grow Up Danny!
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06/09/2013 17:14:00

And all the talk about the Gunners killing the British game and not grooming British talent, the Spuds spent 107 mil pounds on 7 players and not one is British. But no the media won't see that. Instead they go on exalting the exploits of the Spuds and praising Levy's "acute business acumen" and then questioning why we should dole out 42 mil on the best midfielder in the universe over 3 seasons when the same Spuds received double that amount for a player who only exploded to the World scene over one season (no offense to him though). Sucks
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06/09/2013 17:21:00

The AST reminds me of a workers union. Founded on good morals with every best intention. Unfortunately like some unions the morals and good intentions it was founded become almost a second thought. When some people get into a position of power/influence, it becomes hard for them to take the clubs importance over their own self importance. All I keep hearing is "great signing but they really needed a striker and defender". Do these people actually think that wenger wasn't trying to sign either. I have massive respect for wenger sticking to his guns and not panic buying. It is quite obvious that from the beginning of the transfer window, wenger only had super signings on his agender. Unfortunaly super signings don't grow on trees, also clubs don't particularly want to sell their super players, as we found out to our frustration. We could have quite easily gone out and signed the players spurs did, as clubs are more willing to let players of the (less super quality) go, and especially if they are getting 25 or 30 million waved in their face. The players that wenger had in mind were on a different level to the players spurs were going after. Wenger didn't want to settle for a player to fill a gap. Personally I would rather sign just one exceptional world class player per window, then half a dozen decent players. I genuinely believe that wenger will be after a striker on the same level as Ozil come January or next summer. I'm sure there were strikers and DM made available to wenger this transfer window, but he wanted fillet and not rump.
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06/09/2013 19:49:00

gunnerman, why does it have to be one or the other - one world class player or 6 decent players? There can be a sensible mix to get the right squad balance. Arsenal are still learning to play at the top end of the transfer window. A signing like Ozil could have happened only at the last minute due to the timing of Bale, but the other areas should have been taken care of earlier. That will hopefully come with experience of our negotiators and lawyers.
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07/09/2013 09:47:00

It's a bit presumptuous to suggest that our negotiators and lawyers are not experienced in handling transfers. Ozil isn't the first time we've bought a player. By all accounts negotiations with Zenit for Arshavin weren't straightforward and even Nasri took some handling. The negotiating skills of Abramovich or Mansour are pretty basic. When every £1 you spend is still worth a £1 then your negotiators are likely to be experienced in genuine negotiations.
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07/09/2013 09:59:00

Prits, you seem to be forgetting that we didn't just sign Ozil. We also brought in a promising CF, a GK & defensive utility player to cover CM/DM/RB/LB. Yes we (and Wenger) would have wanted a top quality CF too, but don't you think that getting one of those will be a lot easier now that Ozil will be playing behind them?
No 10
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07/09/2013 23:38:00

Prits I'm not saying one or the other. In an ideal world one class signing and a few squad signings would be great, I'm saying I would rather one class signing then half a dozen journey men. And the point I was trying to make is that when we aim for that type of player with that type of fee, I will hazard a guess negotiating ain't going to be that straight forward. Especially when sugar daddy's are trying to gate crash the party (juan mata).
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09/09/2013 21:44:00

So true Gman! I don't know how reliable the stories are (probably not at all) but hearing Ozil was offered £200k pw to go to PSG, where he would most likely win a title easy as, but came to us to be part of a new project. That fills me with pride and encouragement!
No 10
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09/09/2013 22:54:00


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