English Arsenal Fans Must Do More Than Protest Against Stan Kroenke

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Updated: February 6, 2016
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This piece, similar to my last Arsenal piece, is about much more than football. This is about fighting an institution that I am not certain the English Arsenal fans truly understand how to fight against. I am not English, I love the English, but I am an American. I cannot begin to understand what the football culture is like in England when it comes to supporting a club.

From across the Atlantic, it seems absolutely immense. But I am also able to see things from a different perspective that my English brethren may not.  Arsenal fans that are able to go to the matches are paying some outrageous ticket prices to watch the team play.

Amongst the highest, if not the highest ticket prices in England. And recently, Arsenal F.C. decided they were going to add an extra surcharge to season ticket holders. The club eventually backed off from that decision, and It may not have been a lot of money in hindsight, but it is these little drips that eventually lead to the dam overflowing. There is no sure-fire way to stop these sorts of things from happening.

But the only way to know for certain is to do your duty as fans and to stand-up to owner Stan Kroenke. And this is where I believe the English have the biggest problem.


Protesting And Boycotting Are Not The Same Thing….

The piece I wrote on Arsenal a few months back titled, “Arsenal’s Issues Are Deeper Than We Think” detailed why I believed the club would never be in a great position footballing wise under the Stan Kroenke regime. I wrote that piece in September of 2015, as of today, nothing has changed. In fact, what’s currently transpiring at Arsenal is just strengthening that piece more and more.

The fans are fed up, Arsenal are sitting 3rd in the EPL as I write this, and not only does the team look a bit out of sorts the past 5 games (barring the recent victory over AFC Bournemouth), but the club are taking more money out of supporters’ pockets. I said back in September that protest would not work to change anything.

The reason being is not because protests aren’t a good thing, it’s that they won’t work against an American owner like Kroenke.

Kroenke is an American like myself. In our country, protests work mostly for political endeavors; where the people here have to stand up for themselves against an oppressive power. Protests in America do not work for sports.

Well not often if ever anyway. The reason protests do not work against sports owners in the United States is because protesting wont stop the money from coming in.

And that’s the bottom line…literally and figuratively. In America, when us fans are fed up, we simply just stop showing up. Boycotting is what works best here.

Boycott’s coupled with protests and strikes are what get the job done. If we do not show up to games, not only does that look bad on television, but it looks even worse when the owners count the ticket, parking and concession stand revenue they’re missing out on. This is the best way for Arsenal fans to combat Stan Kroenke.

I’ve seen and read different posts online from English Gooners that want to show up late or leave early during a match as a show of protest.

I will be the first to tell you that in my opinion, that is doing absolutely nothing to help your cause. Staging a protest so that people across the world can see your collective frustration is a fine idea, but it won’t move Stan Kroenke.

And from the protests that Arsenal fans in England have already staged, it should already tell you these sorts of tactics have not bore fruit. Arsenal fans as a collective have to stop showing up to the matches. That is how you get Kroenke’s attention.

Paying high ticket prices and then not showing up makes you £50-100 pounds poorer, and makes Stan Kroenke $73-145 richer.

That’s all that he cares about. He can’t see your protest outside of the Emirates or at Piccadilly Circus from his mansions in Colorado or Los Angeles.

I doubt Kroenke even watches the games, so a protest involving leaving early or coming late will have to be information passed on to him. And if the head-man at the club is not directly moved by the protests, no one else matters.

Arsenal fans have to stop thinking that an American owner is going to have English sensibilities, because he is not. He hasn’t responded to the protests or banners or Internet hashtags before, and he certainly wont now. None of that matters to a man worth $6 billion dollars that resides on a different continent.

What he will notice is his income from Arsenal dwindling while a brand new 60 thousand-seat stadium is empty. That sends a message. It sends a message to the current players as well as potential future players around the world.

No star athlete wants to play in an empty arena. And no owner wants to lose match-day income of the kind Arsenal is generating. I am not suggesting that the London and England based Arsenal fans should stop supporting Arsenal. I support the club 100% from America.

On the contrary, I am suggesting that the fans stop supporting Kroenke’s bank account if they really want to see things at the club change.

A protest alone is not the way to go in my opinion.

Protesting and hitting money-bags where it hurts the most is the way to go. Stop using your hard-earned money to line the pockets of a billionaire who has shown no signs of caring about anything but making more money off this club.

You can blame Arsene Wenger, you can blame the Arsenal board, you can even blame Kroenke, but the only people who can truly effect change here are the ones who are shelling out top dollar for a team that has not won an English Premier League title in more than a decade. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

I hope the English Gooners reading this know I mean well, and I hope they understand that I feel your plight, and it is unfortunate that you amazing supporters have to protest in order for things to get done.

I think it is fantastic that the English Gooners are doing something to show their frustrations. Shows how much love and passion there is for this club.

But in my opinion, the opinion of an American sports fan on the outside looking in, the only way to make things better is to support the team as far away from the Emirates as possible.

Keep yourselves and your money away from the stadium. Then and only then do I believe things will start to change.

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  1. Vic

    February 7, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    It’s much easier said then done. Firstly, 40000+ season tickets are already pre paid, so not turning up to the game won’t affect the money already made off these tickets. Secondly, whilst it’s a nice idea that not turning up to the game will affect Stan, and maybe it will, the team will be the ones that suffer the most from it. In such a vital period of the season, it could prove hugely costly on the field. With that being said, I can’t see anywhere near enough people wanting to boycott a game, and even if large numbers decided they wouldn’t attend, plenty still would and plenty would be desperately trying to snap up those unused tickets.

  2. consolsbob

    February 7, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Thanks for that. I suspect that many of we English understand the nature of American capitalism and men like Kroenke. In truth we have plaenty of unpleasant men here who pursue wealth for it’s own sake. All detestable.

    What can be done in an age that really doesn’t care about anything but the bottom line. Most US fans that I debate with just see ‘soccer’ as another part of the entertainment ‘industry’. I have even seen Arsenal compared to Disneyworld as if one were somehow similar to the other.

    Sport is doomed.

    • Frantz Paul

      Frantz Paul

      February 7, 2016 at 9:58 PM

      Football is so much more than that. The English footballing culture is more a way of life than it is mere “entertainment.” I hope this is resolved. I really do. Kroenke needs to hear out the English fans and lower those damn ticket prices. The English deserve far better.

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