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Why are the Arsenal Supporters Trust still silent?

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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Date:Friday September 6 2013
Time: 11:51AM


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.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
06/09/2013 13:33:00
AST can go ***** themselves
06/09/2013 14:28:00
LOL, superb article Amos.
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.
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!
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
06/09/2013 17:21:00
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