As I write, a select group of Gooners are at The Emirates, discussing how the club can accommodate fans wishes and bring the bond between fan and club even closer.
We know from select pictures on social media, that the exterior wraps on The Emirates are one of the topics of discussion, but what we want to know is –
What SHOULD be the priorities for the club to work on?
The stadium is looking a little tired, granted. The décor is a little faded, but the fact that 25 of the biggest names connected with The Arsenal are arm in arm around the ground was always a great idea. What ideas would improve that? And if they simply revitalise the current design, would there be any changes to the names on display?
Another change being discussed is the club crest – and which of the club badges do most fans identify with. The current one has never been popular and a change may well be on the cards.
Surely one of the most pertinent questions for the club to answer is making attendance more accessible. Ticket prices have always been steep, but now going to a game for most is more than a treat, it is an expense that has to be planned well in advance. If you’re attending with your children? Then you can triple your expense.
Then there is the quality and cost of beverages and food. Beer is flat and pastries are cold. Not only that, but they’re more expensive than your average service station fodder. It is not tenable.
There should perhaps be more events for fans to attend the training ground too. Seeing behind the scenes, speaking from a personal perspective, was such a special moment and something that no Gooner would ever forget. It strengthens the bond and if done correctly, would only benefit the club.
One other area to focus on would be more transparency and meetings from those in power. Vinai Venkatesham, Josh Kroenke and Silent Stan could perhaps go out on a limb a little more to appease what is a fiercely loyal fanbase. With more questions answered and soundbites from those up top, we would have a clearer idea of where the club is heading. A few sessions a season with the more recognised fan groups would certainly help matters and help with the growing animosity felt when results go awry.
With the club now run as a business – as needs be with the current model of European football – sponsorship deals take precedence, but without fans, the club doesn’t have an identity. The recent move to promote local companies with luminaries of the Arsenal world (the Chip Shop on Holloway Road with Aaron Ramsdale was a brilliant advert) is a step in the right direction and the work with The Arsenal Foundation needs to continue, but what makes The Arsenal is the history with the area and how the club conducts itself.
And that needs to be the priority. Hopefully the fans are ensuring that The Arsenal Way isn’t just a catchphrase and it runs throughout whatever the club decides to do in the future.
What changes would you want to see?