I’ve returned from Vegas to a jubilant Arsenal, an Arsenal that finally beat United… an Arsenal that outplayed and outwitted a United brimming with confidence – a United that started with Hernandez and Rooney – arguably their best two strikers. It’s been typical Arsenal… draw, draw, draw, lose… and then when the title is lost, go and beat our biggest title rival. Great – thanks Arsenal… great victory, but a little bit more mental strength for the last couple of months and grinded out just a few more points… Okay, yes, I know, no point crying over spilt milk…
Barcelona & United Make It To The Final
Tuesday’s game was a decent affair – much better in my opinion than the first leg – and much more football being played. Again, like the first leg, I did feel sorry for Real Madrid. And from a neutral point of view, it was clear to see that the referee was favouring the home side. The whistle blew at every Barcelona dive – but when Real Madrid were actually fouled, play was waved on. And the disallowed goal was frankly ridiculous. As an Arsenal fan, I believe we were hard done by the referee when we played Barcelona. I think it’s there for all the world to see. Mourinho has been lambasted for his comments, but some of it had to be said. A little harsh with the Unicef comments, but in terms of referee favouritism, I think he hit the nail on the spot…!
And cheeky Alex Ferguson decided to rest most of his squad, I think he rested 9 players and still ended up beating Schalke 4-1. Annoying. And what’s more annoying is that I bet you anything that Messi gets injured for the final… Anyway, why on earth am I even talking about this?
Season Ticket Increase
The proposed season ticket price increase has now been pushed through and a whopping 6.5% on top of the highest season tickets in the Premiership already have not made for pleasant acceptance. It’s a big blow to supporters who have forked the most expensive prices (on average) for the last 6 seasons, without the transfer deals, and general expenditure that would be expected in regard to such prices.
The AST (Arsenal Supporters Trust) and the AISA (Arsenal Independent Supporters Association) have both been campaigning for maintaining season ticket prices. Both associations have been in regular contact with Ivan Gazidis, and they both received official responses from Arsenal.
Click on the image above to read the full reply by the CEO to AST… and they’ve replied with a public statement:
“The AST is very disappointed that Arsenal have rejected our call for ticket prices to be frozen. This decision will sadly see some loyal fans priced out of the Emirates. AST is pleased that Ivan Gazidis acknowledges the cost of attending football matches is pricing fans out of the game and welcomes his commitment to a complete review of Arsenal’s ticketing arrangements for season 2012/2013. The AST will contribute to this process and monitor the progress of this commitment. We will also feed in views from our annual membership survey and on the 13th June 2011 all AST members will have the chance to put their views directly to Ivan Gazidis at our end of season review meeting. Now that this decision has been made, Arsenal Supporters will expect to see the extra income raised invested in team strengthening. It would be shocking to see this money end up being extracted from the club by Stan Kroenke. The AST believes Kroenke should issue further reassurance to supporters ahead of them renewing their season tickets that this is the case”.
Watching Sky Sports News last night, it was interesting to see how many fans are genuinely upset – actually, are in disbelief at the ticket price rise. There are lot of individuals who will not be renewing their season tickets, and even the team at WOA are considering reducing the number of season tickets we use.
In a follow up to the exchange of words, Ivan Gazidis also stated:
‘I share your concerns that ordinary fans are being priced out of live football. This is bad for the continued health of the game and is driven primarily by escalating and ultimately unsustainable levels of spending on transfer fees and salaries.
And for me, this is the most disappointing part of it all… why? Because we the comments relate to transfer fees and salaries. Well, for a team that didn’t want to spend the extra £1m to get in an experienced goalkeeper last summer and for a team that has reduced it’s wage bill by removing the top earners such as Gallas, Henry, Vieira, etc etc, why on earth should or could that be used as an excuse for raising ticket prices? It simply doesn’t make sense and is very disappointing to hear such a line being used.
The worrying thing is considering the lack of experienced players and lack of major transfers, we have an alarmingly high wage bill – we’re talking about players like Abou Diaby earning £60,000 a week (that’s £3.1m a year), and fringe players like Bendtner and Chamakh on £50k a week (£2.55m) and even the youngsters (Gibbs, Kosicleny etc) are on wages of around £20 – £40k a week. That is why we have such a problem.
The way to resolve it is to reduce the non-playing staff – and by non-playing I don’t mean back room – I mean the long list of fringe players and youngsters on high wages who are simply not good enough. Denilson’s current contract is worth £8m over the next three years (I am led to believe), so that a massive amount of money for a player whom the gaffer doesn’t prefer and I know the majority of fans don’t either. The way is not to increase ticket prices. If Arsenal were winning trophies and had a modest wage bill and even had the desire to buy a proper player, then we may look upon the increase differently, but when our cheapest ticket is more expensive than Man United (ahem, who win trophies)’s most expensive ticket, then the decision to increase ticket prices will only cause a bridge between fans and the club.
It is very frustrating being an Arsenal fan.
Thanks to the WOA team!
Major thanks goes to Kieran Delaney for his double whammy this week, stepped in admirably. And another thanks to Totti, who had a double whammy at the end of last week, Royal Wedding style. You can follow Kieran and Totti on twitter, their aliases are @kieran_delaney and @tottz82 respectively!