Wenger urges fans to protest before and after, not during


Arsene Wenger has urged fans of Leicester and Arsenal not to miss the first 5 minutes of Sunday’s game as they plan a protest against Sky’s decision to change the date of the game at short notice.

Fans of both sides have been left inconvenienced and out of pocket by the decision, and a Leicester fan group have followed the lead of Bayern Munich fans who staged a similar protest in the Champions League back in October.

They will be joined by many Arsenal fans who feel as if the television companies treat fans unfairly, and don’t give enough consideration when making changes. The Leicester game was not originally selected for coverage back in December, but as their run has continued what was supposed to be a Saturday 3pm game became a 12 noon Sunday kick-off, just 21 days notice and well after trains, planes, hotels and other arrangements had been made.

Speaking at his press conference today, Wenger said, “You want everybody there when the game starts. For me, the game is a joy and everyone has to be part of it. You can protest before and after, but during the game you want everyone to be there.

“It’s a moment of happiness in your life. Life is not every day fantastic – sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s difficult for many people. Football is a moment of happiness in your life, so don’t miss it.”

And in an ideal world protests before and after would make a difference, but we’ve seen far too often that they don’t. The only way for fans to really communicate how mistreated they feel is to do it in the full glare of the TV cameras – as Liverpool fans showed last weekend. And when you’re protesting specifically at the TV company, making their life difficult is only possible during live coverage.

And on the ticket price issue that has so exercised fans over the last week, Wenger said he believed English clubs face challenges that those in other leagues do not.

“I don’t think we are on the same level ground as foreign clubs,” he said. “For example, Bayern Munich paid one euro for their ground whereas we paid £128m for ours.

“In France they pay nothing at all for their stadium, nothing at all for their maintenance. We pay absolutely everything ourselves so we have to generate more revenue. It is true we get more television income, that is down to the audience and success but as well it is down to the pressure of the market to pay for players at a higher price.

“I looked at the comparisons. Our cheapest prices are cheaper than anywhere in London; our most expensive price is a fraction higher than the other clubs in London; our most common ticket price is lower than many places in England.”

Which may well be true, but being not being the worst doesn’t obscure the fact that ticket prices in general are such that fans are walking out of stadiums on the teams they love, and unless that’s addressed properly then the displeasure and disenchantment will remain.

For more, check out Tim Stillman’s column – Enough is Enough.

Listen to this week’s Arsecast, chatting tickets, protests and SPACE!


  1. Feel sorry for Wenger on this. Whatever he says publicly, I can’t believe that someone of his humble beginnings can really agree with the prices this board are imposing. All he can really do is try to placate the fans whose support he knows he needs in a big game like this.

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    • Why? What can’t he just tell the truth?

      I actually agree with him regarding stadiums and the unique history of English/British football. The fact that they’ve all been private enterprises that have historically built and maintained their own stadia unlike on the continent where the local government have often provided publicly funded facilities.

      But Arsene could often do with being a little more truthful and show more sympathy toward the paying fan, especially as last week he complained in an ill thought out statement regarding the cost of players going up due to the new TV deal

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    • Coming on the back of his comments about ticket prices being driven by the transfer market (yeah right), I have been disabused of any lingering illusions that Arsene Wenger is any sort of moral authority.

      The truly astonishing thing is that there is not even the slightest concession that fans are entitled to be pissed off – he just jumps straight into the ‘analysis’.

      I especially love how he passes off the one half-intelligent thing that PL clubs ever did – a joint TV rights deal – as some sort of ‘success’ that entitles them to milk all and sundry for all eternity.

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    • Don’t think he cares to be honest. After all, he says he believes in a socialist wage model but pays himself more than any of his players.

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  2. “It’s a moment of happiness in your life. Life is not every day fantastic – sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s difficult for many people. Football is a moment of happiness in your life, so don’t miss it.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Yeah the last 5 games made me so fucking happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • You’re funny plus what you said was true. We all rushed to arseblog news to complain after these games. I do like Wenger’s quote though. When I complain about increase I didn’t get, my boss says life is short so this comes handy.

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      • Sorry but this justifies my first comment out of subject:

        Diego Costa suffers broken nose during training.

        Please tell anybody who didn’t know, thanks.

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        • apparently he head butted John Terry for calling him a ”cheating cu*t” when he dived in a five-aside at the end of training …

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  3. I feel that Arsene has left himself down with these comments. He is one of the few who could make a difference by speaking out against the ticket price hikes, the club listen to him on these issues, and the wider footballing community take note when Wenger speaks out about something – just look at the doping remarks that he made, and how they were received.

    He makes some great points, but no one is asking that we drop the prices to the same level as in Germany or France. We just want ticket prices to be more in line with what the average supporter can afford, and an away tickets cap to encourage travelling support. There should still be enough left after that to cover costs, and even make a tidy profit.

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      • No, we don’t. Away ticket prices are always cheaper than the equivalent home game. I went to Tottenham away two years ago and it cost me about £50. Tottenham at home is around £80. I went to Newcastle away and it was £40. At home, that ticket goes for £60.

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  4. I genuinely don’t understand the issues with ticket prices. If you have a problem with it don’t go. Football clubs are not socialist entities. I had a season ticket, I can’t afford it because I have two small kids so I stopped going. I don’t feel like any less of a fan and I go when I can afford the odd ticket. I still watch every game and love it. If someone else has more disposable income and can afford to take my place, good for them, I am happy for them to experience it in my place. If I have more money available I will probably go to every game again. Football ultimately is entertainment and the premier league is a massive draw, it is about supply and demand and the demand is massive so prices understandably go up. If you can’t afford it, earn more or spend less on something else. People are entitled to complain about it and I respect their decision to do so, I just don’t agree with the uproar at the moment.

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    • The issue is that while you may have grown up going to Arsenal or at least at some point had a season ticket, it’s at the point now where unless something changes many young fans will be lucky to get to two games a season. What happens in 30 years when all the old boys have stopped going and we’ve lost an entire generation who’ve never fallen in love with seeing a football game live?

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      • So you don’t think the youngsters that go with their dads now will continue… I’m not so sure.
        I would like to see less season tickets and more tickets available on the day (like when I was a kid) but that’s not the direction any club (or business for that matter) is heading.

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        • In the old days may youngsters could attend the (admittedly messy stadia) games and stand for relatively cheap and there were hoards of them. There aren’t hoards of young people at the Emirates or any other Premier League stadium for that matter.
          That makes me sad 🙁

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      • I fell in love with the Arsenal 15 years before I ever saw them play in person (at which point I was no longer a kid). Many other people have as well, do you think even 5% of Arsenal fans around the globe have gone to games, much less as youngsters? We all enjoy whinging about TV broadcasters but to not acknowledge that the vast majority of Arsenal fans are completely dependent on their service rather than any box office isn’t really fair.

        I’m all for cheaper tickets for everyone, and the late scheduling changes are frankly ridiculous, but let’s stop pretending it’ll be the end of the world if people who can’t afford it go to a few less matches a year. To be honest I mostly prefer watching from home, the food and drinks are horrible and severely overpriced and you have to stand in way too many queues.

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        • As did I but I’d argue the lifeblood of any club is the local fans, irrespective of their financial contribution. Given the turnout for the cup parades perhaps I’m being pessimistic suggesting that it’s falling away, but it’s not the same as (I’d imagine as I’m only young myself) it used to be. The total disconnect from the players is a huge part of this, though clearly that’s not going to change either. Anyway it’s all very well me moaning but I’d still have bought a ticket to barca had the box office been more accommodating, just gotta accept the game is totally different to how it was even twenty years ago!

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      • * in the Emirates.

        Regardless Arsene’s kind recommendation to ‘protest before or after the game when nobody cares or watches’ is laughable.

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    • I agree. If you have a problem with the price of match day tickets, stop buying them. Continuing to buy them and complaining about them afterwards is illogical to me. Football is not a necessity, it would sure as shit suck, but you wouldn’t die from a lack of football. If a critical mass of consumers abandons a product, the supplier will be forced to react. Consumers who are unsatisfied with the product but continue to consume it are essentially appeased with a token gesture that may appear as “change” but really does little to change any existing issues. I agree that things should and need to change, but I think this method of protest won’t ever bear the kind of fruit it’s seeking.

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      • The focus on ticket prices by the media (arseblog included) seems fairly imbalanced, only one side of the argument ever seems to be presented when I listen to the radio or read articles about it. I am not having a pop at AB as it is fantastic and by it’s very nature it is entitled to be partisan I just think there are two sides to every argument. I don’t think kids will miss out on live football or Arsenal. I didn’t go until I was 12 and only then once or twice a season, that didn’t stop me falling in love with the club. The number of likes and dislikes of my previous comment was fairly even which would imply that actually only about half of fans care about ticket prices, I could well be wrong though!

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    • How does this comment above all others show that he has “lost touch”? Fair enough, he’s on 8mill a year so he might be out of touch with the working man. For me this comment represents one of the few reasons why I still love Wenger – the man eats sleeps and breathes football. He is passionate about the game and everything it represents, if anything this comment just shows how “in touch” he is with true football fans

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        • In my statement above I also said “he makes some great points” – the main one being that football can be a moment of happiness in your life.

          Not everything is black and white, sometimes a person can say good things and other times that same person can say some not so good things, even in the same press conference.

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    • Well, generally one goes to see a football match to be happy and enjoy themselves

      I guess those 60,000+ people on match day are all out of touch

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  5. Either way,Just smash the fucking foxes on sunday!!!!!!! A few months ago, no one envisaged a statement like ‘arsenal look to reel in leaders leicester city with 13 matches to go’

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  6. Coordinate some songs about how Sky Sports is shit, and then sing them loud enough to be heard on camera.

    Protest during the match, check.
    Piss the hell out of the tv company fat cats, check.

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    • We hate sky sports
      We fucking hate sky sports
      I just don’t think you understand
      They tell us when to play
      But we’re the ones who pay
      We hate fucking skyyyy sports

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  7. Football is dead. The business part is keeping it on life support. I’m not being over dramatic, we really are at a point in human history where things will change foundamantally not just incorporate or discard unwanted parts to stay relevant.
    goal line technology and players rights and the formation of rules and clubs are big chapters in the story football. And they tell of the influence “real life” had on the sport. All sound mind bogglingly simple and logical but they where fought tooth and nail at the time.
    no think of how the basics have stayed stable. Main ingredints players and spectators. It has kept those two….but for how much longer

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      • think of who is filling up prem games and ask is it the same type of people who make up the grass roots and fanatacal base. it looks like to me its gone or going the same way as most things that are commercilazied go. with no one buying it as soon as the next thing is on on sale. NFL, massive multiplayer interactve video games……..could be anything. but there will be something. always is.

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        • Kids have always had other things to distract them, more-so in the last 30 years. But we’ve moved to a larger stadium and still got a waiting list. I’m not saying spectators won’t eventually disappear but we’re many years from being anywhere close to that.

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        • It’s a mixture at Arsenal these days: still plenty of old school life long diehard fans downstairs, interspersed with football tourists who don’t seem to get it like we do. Interesting that when a seat comes up on the ticket exchange near me, it is more likely to be snapped up by an Asian tourist than an Islington resident. Even at £26 like Sunday’s game, is it easier to complain about TV companies than actually make the effort to come and see your team?

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  8. I don’t think football is dead, it’s as alive and passionate as ever, sure the prices have gone up and I can’t afford to go anymore, but that’s because I have different priorities now, when you’re in your twenties and single, happy days, but now with a missus and kids and house to pay for, football comes lower on the list, would I like to go every Saturday, yes of course. But let’s not forget what we are watching now is ten times better that most of the stuff I watched in the eighties and early nineties, and the thing that a lot of people forget is, even back then a lot of people couldn’t afford to go….so what, that’s life.

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  9. Wenger is being cute. The Emirates (let’s hope we call it Ashburton Grove soon) looks empty just before kickoff and it looks empty before the end of the game.
    If the fans are complaining and booing our own players it may be better that they protest during.
    Let’s hope the fans at the Emirates put up a good show.
    Up The Arsenal!

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    • Except the players are not the ones at fault here. Let’s direct the blame where it belongs, and support the team we love.

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  10. Wish Wenger would stick to football.
    Him justifying high ticket prices at the Emirates is one thing but seeming to justify it across the league is quite another.
    he is giving other fans one more reason to hate him and us.

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  11. Wage inflation and player value inflation were hugely accelerated by the likes of Chelsea and that was the time to act. Until FIFA put in a policy to curb that, nothing will change. I can’t see them ever doing it.

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  12. Also Arsene was asked and was just providing an answer. He didn’t create the situation and I don’t see how he can openly criticise the board who employ him. It’s a thorny issue and as such there was never going to be a response that pleases everyone.

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  13. I don’t want understand people criticising Wenger. He has to be diplomatic and not deviate from his job: keeping the team solidarity. This is a very sensitive topic and I think he has been fair not to tread these waters too much at such a crucial time in the season. He has a very delicate balance to maintain.

    That said, I’m not one to provide expert opinion on this as I’m a fan from outside the country. I understand the sentiments of the public there and am fully behind them. This bullshit has to stop and voices have to be heard. But as we know our manager, he’s never been one to inspire debate and sparks in recent times at least. He wouldn’t be able to express his unbiased opinion even if he wanted to.

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  14. Football like no other sport can give you extreme happiness and deep depression within the same 90 minutes.
    Sadly those 90 minutes are becoming less and less available to the working class fan on a regular basis. Arsene is missing the point on this one I’m afraid. And arsenal as a club is growing further and further away from its working class roots than any club in the premier league.
    In the short term it’s fine in the long term it’s not sustainable and as a club and a supposed premier league power house it won’t last.

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    • I’m embarrassed to say that I have a friend that’s a chavski fan.
      He says exactly the same about his team.

      What do you mean by ‘long term’?

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  15. Why can’t I pay more for a ticket that I want than someone else is prepared to pay for?

    Why should season tickets be locked in for life and available only to the individuals who hold them today?

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    • It has traditionally been better for the club to have the supporters money in advance, especially during the Pre-PL days and again during the new-stadium financing days, = season ticket.
      I suppose they could set up an e-bid system where you pay them a big wedge in the summer and then bid with that money for tickets, but you could end up spending all the money on a single ticket in that type of auction.

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  16. Hi armchair fan who comes in piece, In today’s money a majority of people could afford £20 a home ticket every two weeks so if they drop prices how does someone decide who will be the lucky 60,000 and who will be the unlucky 300,000 that doesn’t get affordable tickets to the best stadium in the capital of england

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    • I suppose they could introduce a rota type system whereby if you buy tickets you cannot buy tickets to the next two or three games after that so every member gets an open slot. Or, you state interest in certain fixtures at the start of the season and a randomiser allocates tickets (similar to the system for the 2012 Olympics) which people can either accept or refuse. If they refuse then the randomiser picks another name out of the people who expressed interest.
      Ideally, we’d have a 300,000 seater stadium but that’s never going to happen, so these are the only ways I can see that they could do this relatively “fairly”.

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  17. Sooner or later football will price itself out of the reach of most people.
    I had a season ticket for years and gave it up. I don’t miss it I realised that it became a habit. Once you stop going you realise that a Club like arsenal just take you for granted. Sure I love the club but the emerates is soulless. And the fact that the club wanted to charge fans for the barca game said it all. They retracted of course but still couldn’t admit they were wrong in what they done. Just that the fans didn’t understand it and that it should have been explained better.
    I’m not saying the club will die but full stadiums and any sort of atmosphere will disappear more than it has already. It will become a tv sport unless clubs wake up and realise they need many many more younger people to attend.

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    • If you’re right, then building the Emirates and crippling ourselves with debt, which we won’t be free of till 2032, wasn’t the brightest idea. These days the average Arsenal fan is more likely to be living in the States, Africa and the Far East than N1, N5 or N7, meaning stadiums, plus the once all-important match-day revenue, could going the way of the dinosaurs.

      There are comments on here which refer to fans as ‘consumers’, which says it all about what football is becoming – namely a global business with global consumers, supplying profits enough to provide a ranch three times the size of LA for an absentee foreign owner. In the distant past clubs were clubs in the old-fashioned sense of the word meaning a local association of supporters who, by definition, couldn’t switch clubs. Wenger is a child of the old days – hence his faith in the stadium to keep us financially competitive – which makes his attitude to the protest over prices really quite odd. Fans aren’t consumers buying entertainment, they’re supporters. Fans are the club and, unlike players, managers and chief-execs, they are signed up for life. Or they once were.

      Turn football into just another consumer luxury, therefore, and your revenue could soon be in trouble. For if what we’re being sold is entertainment – or, as Wenger puts it, happiness – then we’d be better off taking our credit cards to wherever the entertainment/happiness is in greatest supply. A car, a holiday, a season ticket at Barca or Bayern – all more pleasure-providing, I’d have thought, than a seat at the Emirates in recent years. Kroenke needs the stadium full. This means he either has to provide the most successful football in Europe – a tall order – or he has to keep it affordable for the local working-class fan. It’s local people who are filling the stadium, and only they are guaranteed to stay loyal. Why would a teenager in Taiwan or Cape Town buying stuff on the internet and with no connection to north London be brand-loyal for life?

      Besides, the thing about a full stadium is not just the match-day income it provides; the stadium atmosphere is a consumer product in its own right, something that keeps the global fan watching games on TV and buying the shirts. Liverpool’s owners seem to grasped this crucial point. Whether Kroenke will remains to be seen. Fans of US sports won’t be optimistic on this point, I’d guess.

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  18. Fuck that! Pieces of shite TV company is forcing me get up earlier than normal here in the states because the game now starts at 3:55AM PST. Fuck up my entire day! Please protest!!!

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  19. Great point Alex, and also just dropping prices wil not get younger fans in the stadium you would have to take tickets away from the older generation aswell

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  20. Maybe our fans are protesting every home game. Our stadium does appear to empty 10 minutes before every game finishes. Never understand that. Great support.

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  21. I really doubt that if Liverpool were in a title race where every point counted that those fans would have been so quick to walk out

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  22. the headline reminds me of something i used to say to my ex….”I don’t mind you protesting before and after, but please not during”

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  23. I do understand why he’s saying people shouldn’t protest but I disagree.
    Yes, it is something that we enjoy, but when we’re both not being considered by the TV companies and in danger of being completely priced out (and many already have been) of going to games then what else can fans do other than protest? A protest before or after will not be noticed because it most likely won’t receive much coverage. Doing it during, although obviously no one wants to feel they have to, is the only clear way of highlighting these problems. If the TV coverage which is at the route of the problem shows an empty stadium with no atmosphere it doesn’t translate well for them or the club does it.
    It clearly messed with the heads of the Liverpool side who were 2-0 up before the walk out last weekend so it might not be conducive to seeing a positive result on the pitch but it sends a clear message to the TV companies that we won’t be messed around with regards to match scheduling, as well as to the club that this is our club, our sport and we should be able to see it for a reasonable price.
    If the government won’t intervene then we have to.

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    • The TV companies won’t show the people walking out and won’t care anyway. Liverpool dropped two points because of what happened last weekend and I don’t want anyone doing that to our team, especially when they’re in a race for the title that I truly believe we can win. There has to be another way, either outside the ground before the match, but still be in your seats for kickoff. The atmosphere is sometimes pretty bad at the Emirates anyway. Call me crazy, but when I go to a match it’s because I love my team and I want them to do well, and I sing and shout and do everything to help them. The ticket price issue needs to be kept at a distance from the team because it could do a lot of harm, and as fans at the match we have a responsibility to our team and fellow fans who can’t be there to support the team first and foremost.

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