Tag Archives: grassroots

Dial Square FC – Keeping the fan connection alive

Arsenal are synonymous with tradition, class and upheld values that go back to the original days of the club.

We are a club that does things the right way and the way we operate is one of the reasons why many of us began to support Arsenal.

What happens when football itself threatens the fabric of your club though?

Many articles have been written about how the sport has transformed from a fan-centric endeavour into a multi-billion business. It has seen multiple owners buy into Premier League outfits and plunge into bottomless pockets to drag clubs toward glory.

It has also seen new owners purchase clubs simply as part of their portfolio.

Like a hunting trophy of sorts perched on their wall, the new owner buys the club for the lustre of owning the club.

Step forward Stan Kroenke and KSE Holdings.

Arsenal have gone from a fan-represented club to an enterprise that is singly owned, leaving fans with no voice in regards to how things are run. It is a sad state of affairs and is far removed from what has been the process since 1886.

And with the cash flowing around the game for all clubs to snatch at shamelessly, it leaves fans as a second thought. No longer is packing the stands a priority. What matters is results and keeping the brand alive. Pre-season tours abroad to enlarge the fanbase, merchandise, promote, rinse and repeat.

Clubs have realised they don’t need fans in the ground, they know enough people will pay to watch on tv. Not only are we seeing the death of clubs throughout the English football league, we are now seeing the slow demise of the football supporter as we know it. Football it seems, is about to change forever.

Arsenal now no longer resemble the club that the majority of us began to support – but that doesn’t mean we stop supporting.

We are all Gooners until we die, but being a fan is intrinsically linked with watching the game, feeling connected to the club, meeting friends and experiencing the matchday atmosphere. Whether that be the pub or the stands, you associate supporting your club with the connection you have.

Which is why Dial Square Football Club was born.

https://www.dialsquarefc.com/

Taken direct from the club’s mission statement, Dial Square FC declare;

We set up Dial Square as an alternative to The Arsenal, not a replacement. We want a club run by fans for the fans. We are committed to it being affordable and accessible to everyone. We are a grassroots football club with huge ambitions and with a passion to be the best we can. But, at the heart of our dream is to ensure the ownership of our club stays with the real investors, the supporters.
If any good is to come from this difficult time, it’s that greed in football will be exposed for what it is and non-league and lower league English football will come into its own. “

This year, the above club declared that it would burst into existence. It is formed by Gooners who have become disenchanted with how Arsenal Football Club is now run and how fans no longer have a voice in the running of the club.

The people who run Dial Square are all still Gooners and always will be, but DSFC exists for all Gooners who want to watch a game and watch a club that is run by supporters – for supporters.

The motto of the club is ‘Renascitur.’ In Latin, this means reborn. Dial Square is very much hewn from the fabric of Arsenal – and it is where the values of the club are being upheld.

The plan is for the club to rise through the leagues but do so in a way that keeps the fans – us – in the loop.

Isn’t that what we are used to?

Giving your support to Dial Square isn’t you shunning Arsenal – it is an opportunity to realign with what matters to you most.

Run by fans – for fans.

If you have had enough of modern football in its current form and want to be part of what we are doing and help us shape the future, please contact us via our website, or contact us at info@dialsquare.com

The Importance of the Cup and the Underdog

For the first time since 1904, a non-league club has upturned all expectations and reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup.

Lincoln City are the team which have destroyed the odds to stand on the precipice of a visit to Wembley, with a semi-final spot up for grabs when they took on Arsenal. The match had the media frothing, as visits to the modest home of the Imps served to highlight the contrast in stature between the two clubs – just as they had done after the Imps had beaten Burnley.

It wasn’t only Sincil Bank and its stripped back appeal which had so enamoured the press. It was the possibility, even the remotest, that this ragtag bunch of chancers could create history and make the bookies cry once more. The match at The Emirates did not allow the media to have the moment they so craved as Arsenal showed their superiority, but the match captured the imagination at least. 

You see, everyone loves an underdog. In sport though – and especially football – the underestimated who succeed are immediately and for eternity encased in footballing amber. These lesser-spotted instances of insurmountable odds being cast aside are used as references and reminders that magic still exists. As fans, we are constantly inflicted with slideshows of when David overcame Goliath.

Wrexham defeating Arsenal in 1992. Sutton dumping Coventry out of the Cup. Even heroic near-misses constantly utilised, cut and edited to fit into yet another footballing montage. A prime example would be when Stevenage Borough came agonisingly close to embarrassing Newcastle United.

The bigger the opponent who stands in the way of this fairytale being complete, the grander the plot. When Arsenal recently visited Galders Green Lane to take on Sutton United, the spotlight which shone on the occasion was bigger than a Premier League match. If the home team had done the unthinkable and snatched a result against the Gunners, there would have been several cases of spontaneous human combustion in the press room.

Sadly for the majority of neutral fans, it wasn’t to be. Arsenal won comfortably without truly kicking into gear. They had picked a strong side for the fixture and ample respect was shown. The artificial pitch was a great leveller for the hosts, but there was just enough in the Gunners’ first gear to canter over the line.

For an upset to occur, the settings have to be just right. A home draw is usually a mandatory requirement, and the shabbier the dressing room for the visiting primadonnas, the better. Then, you need a sprinkle of the Premier League manager underestimating their opponent. Mix in with a liberal dash of a weakened team and you have the perfect storm for which to concoct a devilish result.

Above all else, there will always be a smidgin of an opportunity when eleven men take on eleven men. A wicked bounce of the ball, a swirling wind, a few players who just aren’t at the races. Any small variable can help the underdog battle for the most unlikely of results.

The difference between a round progressed in the FA Cup can make all the difference to these clubs who ply their trade in non-league. With Sutton and Lincoln getting so far and the media attention that has been on them, the clubs coffers can afford to be loosened a little. Surviving just below the top four divisions is no picnic, so one hundred thousand pounds here or there is enough to ensure a club can plan for the future.

An epic run to the third round and a plum draw against a mighty enemy is what every player, manager and Chairman in the non-leagues dream of. Every season the chance arises, and with so many rounds in place before this stage, the chances of reaching this threshold and then drawing a desired team are nearly as long as defeating a Premiership team.

The oft-referenced  ‘magic’ of the Cup is revived each time a minnow manages to swim far enough upstream and then finds itself in the company of the big boys. Without these ties, then the divide between the have’s and the have-not’s would fracture the game as we know it. 

The FA Cup holds football together. We often lose sight of this as the heat and relentless nature of the Premier League and Europe blinker us all. The FA Cup needs to thrive in order for the majority of clubs outside the top-flight to survive.