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Hit, after hit, after hit. We just have to fight back 5

Posted on September 08, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Jack Wilshere has twice attempted to return to training, both times he has broken down. His next attempt at a return will be in three months time.

Thomas Vermaelen has had a tendon removed and will be absent for at least a month.

It seems that as soon as things start to look more positive for Arsenal, something else comes along to counter it, there is only one thing we can do and that is just to get on with it and come out the other side.

When was the last time we had a fully fit, on form core to our side? We didn’t for the duration of last season with the absence of Vermaelen, the season before that Cesc was plagued by injury problems despite being in unbelievable form, and before that? Well, someone was probably injured then, too.

I guess positivity could come from an unlikely source: Liverpool. Take it back 12 months and look at where they were, look at the feeling around that club now; positivity and excitement.

That said, come Saturday there will be a fair bit of excitement kicking around, I can’t wait to see the effect Arteta, Mertesacker and Santos are going to have – OK, it might take a while for them to bed in but new players always bring a bit of excitement. If Ramsey and Alex Chamberlain can reproduce their international form for us then there is every reason to be positive.

Come on Arsenal.

_ _ _

In my last blog I posted a link to an article of an interview with Tom Fox and Ivan Gazidis; I am skeptical of the job they are doing and their ‘five year plan’ – I appreciate that in business this kind of thing is the norm but Arsenal FC isn’t a normal business.

Where, I ask, is the money from the ticket price increases going? Is it really needed after making a quite substantial profit in the previous transfer window and also cutting the player wage bill quite substantially? Why punish the fans for the commercial ‘experts’ inability to generate revenue from their sector?

The incorporation of the ‘Arsenal Player’ into the membership (and subsequently higher prices) is a pretty aggressive move, almost force-feeding a new product to fans who would have been happy to continue paying the lower price for just the bog-standard membership.

I guess my point here is that I am very disappointed the fans are being bled for every penny they have, whilst progress through business partnerships has not been pursued with the vigour that many more commercially successful clubs have.

One of our biggest expenditures is the commercial department coming up with these money making ideas – Do they need to up their game?


Thoughts on Gazidis interview.. 31

Posted on September 03, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

I know I am not the only fan that is narked off with this little ego trip by Ivan Gazidis and Tom Fox – in a summer which we have made a big profit on players, we are also having to pay more for the privilage of watching them on the pitch. The price of an Arsenal membership also grew to incorporate the new ‘Arsenal Player’ – it looks like they are trying to make the membership more of a package that will interest more than just the fans who go to games.

What do you think to this interview? I look forward to reading your thoughts. There will be some more considered thoughts from me later on in the week.


Arsenal’s sneaky price rises rub salt in the wound 9

Posted on May 06, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Arsenal are probably the most expensive football club in the world to support – the ticket prices are understandably high, location, previous success and the quality of the stadium all mean that the tickets will certainly not be cheap. However, given the current economic climate, rising inflation (not reflected in paid wages) and the soaring costs of travel, a ticket price rise is far from welcome.

The thing is, people will pay that extra 6% for tickets, that isn’t a a problem for me personally, maybe it means I will just have one less beer in the pub before the game. Not such a big deal. After all, the club haven’t exactly put up prices every year and it has been some time since the prices were last altered.

You will have noticed that the club are releasing a new home kit for next season and yet another change of away kit – these will cost you in the region of £60 a go, once upon a time kits used to be redesigned every two years but not it is an almost annual event, again, just using the support as a cash cow.

The prices of beer and food in the stadium are obscene but if you are there and hungry, you can’t exactly pop out to the chip shop up the road at half time – fair play, people will pay the prices with gritted teeth but you still expect them to pay those prices after buying a new shirt, a higher price for their ticket and a higher price for their membership too?

Things are starting to get a little silly…

I logged onto my red membership renewal form online this morning and was a little surprised by the increase in price – just what do we get that is any different? It can’t be the new ‘Arsenal Player’ that is on offer because even the ‘lite’ version has shot up in price. Paying about 20% more for something I paid less for last season? Just what has warranted that price increase? If anyone at Arsenal is reading this, feel free to contact me and let me know because I really have no idea why the price of my Red membership should increase.

Silver members have had an even bigger increase in price. Is this to flush out the members who just hold onto the memberships in the hope of going to an Arsenal v Barcelona style glamour clash each season? If it is, it won’t work.

Quite frankly I am disgusted. There are fans out there who spend far more than me on the club – if I had the financial means and wasn’t still in further education I would probably fork out the cash because that is what blind faith does. It has got to the point where we are simply being used as cash cows to fill the coffers and make the balance sheet look even more tasty.

It is fully understood by me that the club is a business but it is starting to lose it’s roots – Arsenal Football Club is also an institution, the support is almost tribal but the working class fan base, and most loyal supporters – will one day get priced out. I think to an extent that has already started to happen.

The straw that broke the camels back for me was the fact there has been no explanation at all. If the club wants to put ticket prices up at least face the people who will have to fork out the cash and explain to them why they have to pay more to support their club at the ground every other week. Instead they just wait for everyone to see their renewal form and think again about signing it – after all, there is a waiting list, why should they care if 200 people can’t afford the price they set.. there are thousands on waiting lists.

As far as I am concerned we are paying the price for incompetence in negotiations for commercial deals – some of the deals the club is tied to are frankly disgraceful and as fans we shouldn’t be the ones the club turns to for that extra income. Go on a tour, that is fine, plug merchandise all you want – that is fine, hire the stadium out for glamour friendlies – that is fine. But push your own supporters away because that cannot afford to pay the price hikes? That is not fine.

Another thing worth bearing in mind is the rise in prices that took place in January. Yes, it was because of the VAT rate in the
UK changing but it still makes for yet another increase in a very short space of time. With the VAT and the interest on the credit cards UK account I needed to open to pay this new membership increase, it’s no wonder that fans get disillusioned and priced out.

I am one fan that will not be buying a new shirt this summer, I won’t buy anything inside the stadium, I won’t buy any extra merchandise, I won’t buy a programme (yes, the price of that has gone up too).

I will though pay my membership and the ticket prices. Others won’t, and there will be only one loser. That is you, Arsenal.


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