AST poll reveals unsurprising supporter disillusion

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The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has published the results of its second annual survey with the findings candidly reflecting the frustrations of another season without silverware at the Emirates.

The questionnaire, which covered a broad range of club policy issues from ownership structure to on-field playing philosophy, was sent to all of the Trust’s 850 members at the end of the season with 45% returning it before the allotted deadline.

For an organisation devoted to safeguarding supporter involvement in decision making at Arsenal, concerns about the manner in which Stan Kroenke intends to run the club following his takeover are noticeably reflected in the responses.

96% of AST members made clear they are keen to see the American improve his communication with fans while also wanting to see him outline his ambition for the club and the methods he intends to use to achieve them. 78% also felt that Kroenke Sports Enterprises should be more transparent in publicising how it raised the finance to purchase the club.

Having secured a 64% stake in the club Kroenke holds more than double the number of shares accumulated by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov. However, despite the latter reaching a 29% shareholding in Arsenal he has yet to be offered a place on the board of directors. Given the near duopoly in ownership, AST members were asked whether Usmanov’s Red and White Holdings should be given representation in the boardroom. 70% answered in the affirmative, a figure up a staggering 30% from last year.

In part this huge shift is likely to have been influenced by the AST’s desire to see plurality of ownership firmly established, although with 38% of members eager to see financial investment by the club’s two major shareholders it hints that the Russian’s increased popularity could be down to his huge wealth and the prospect of Arsene Wenger being able to use a handout to strengthen his squad.

Having not won a trophy since 2005, AST members were asked whether they would like to see the long-standing Arsenal fan and close confidante of Arsene Wenger, David Dein, reinstated to a football-related position at the Emirates.

David Dein
David Dein: popular with AST members

69% of respondents confirmed that they would like to see Dein back, although the 17% who rejected the idea did so citing the reasons behind his initial dismissal while also hinting that it was time for current CEO Ivan Gazidis to take on more responsibility in man managing Arsene Wenger’s affairs. Members were not polled on whether or not they would like someone other than Dein to be appointed to a similar position.

Supporter disappointment in the Arsenal squad’s failure to end the trophy drought also shines through in the results of the questionnaire.

In 2010 when asked to measure their approval of the recent success of Arsene Wenger’s side, 50% responded that they were satisfied, 29% slightly satisfied and 11% unsatisfied. After another collapse in the final third of the season including a last minute defeat in the Carling Cup final and a slip to fourth place in the Premier League only 22% felt satisfied at the end of the 2011 season, while 39% felt slightly satisfied. Most worryingly 37% of AST members made clear they were unsatisfied with performance on the pitch.

Asked if the board should reconsider its confidence in Wenger if the club fails to win any trophies next season, 42% stated ‘yes’ and 40% ‘no’. 18% of respondents ticked the ‘don’t know’ option indicating a tear between appreciating Arsene Wenger’s achievements at the club and a fear that he may not be able to restore the club to the top of the Premier League.

Looking ahead to the future, only 8% of respondents felt extremely optimistic about the future performance of the team on the pitch (down from 26% ahead of the 2010/11 season), 35 % remained optimistic, 26% unsure, 20% somewhat pessimistic and 11% pessimistic (up 10% from this time last year).

The full survey can be downloaded here.

Selected quotes

 

The two main shareholders should work together. Minority shareholders and Fanshare members should be retained and AFC could develop a model of ownership that other clubs would aspire to.

On balance, I would have preferred Red & White to take over as I believe Usmanov is an Arsenal supporter so his agenda may not be solely based on profit

Give Kroenke the benefit of the doubt. A ‘self-glorifying fan’ owner would not be desirable and he seems to have a good track record

The question is, if Red & White were on the Board would this be constructive? The signs are that the difference in approach might cause disharmony

Wenger needs to accept that he has taken on too much. Be brave and accept that help is needed

I am mystified by the players’ lack of motivation in the closing stages of the season when so much was within their grasp

I love Wenger’s football philosophy; it is truly magnificent and has given me great pleasure. My only criticism is that the team needs some experienced players, especially defensively

It’s difficult to criticise Wenger or his great record but he has not strengthened the team with key players. What is needed is the Board to include someone who understands football – someone like David Dein

I would like an explanation of the last 5-6 years of underperformance and whether there was money for big signings or not and how much the exit of Dein was a factor

I do not think Dein has some magic touch – he served the club well in his time but things have moved on now and Gazidis seems to fulfil much of his former role with considerable expertise

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LMG
LMG

I thought this was meant to be a site by Arsenal fans and not by sensational news seeking journalists. Love this site so far but I feel like you’ve failed to mention certain facts, like how 69% preferred AW’s philosophies over trophies. Felt like this started off with too much of a negative spin rather than just reporting the results of the survey.

arseblog
Admin

Sorry, the actual question was:

As in 2010, the survey asked respondents if they think that Arsène Wenger’s football philosophy takes too much precedence over the objective of winning trophies.

69% felt it did. That’s not the same as 69% prefering Wenger’s philosophy to winning trophies.

LMG
LMG

Oops, that’s what you get for reading too fast; completely misread it. Love your blog btw and sorry once again.

arseblog
Admin

No probs!

craig
craig

I think LMG misread the survey question, but that was a really poorly written survey, many of the questions had an obvious bias.

Three of the worst questions:
Do you think that Arsène Wenger’s football philosophy takes too much precedence over the objective of winning trophies?

Now that the club is under new ownership, should former Board member David Dein be invited to return to the club, in a football specific role, to support Arsène Wenger in delivering the club’s footballing objectives?

Do you think that if Arsenal does not win a trophy next season (which would be the seventh successive year without one) that the Board should conclude that Arsène Wenger has taken the club as far as he can?

That survey was written in order to get certain (usually negative) responses. Very disappointed in the AST.

xoxo
xoxo

not necessarily, will you disagree that these questions are on the mind of every single gooner right now?
these questions are extremely relevant to the situation, you may not like the answers but it’s not made up.

arseblog
Admin

I agree that some of the questions were a bit loaded.

I certainly think the idea of Wenger being given more assistance is a valid one, but providing Dein as the only option skews the result.

Yikes!
Yikes!

I would like an explanation as to why Arsenal were terrible in between and either side of the league achievements in 89 and 91.

Anybody who believes usmanov has the best interests of the club at heart must also hold that darren dein is not trying to engineer Cesc’s move to barcascumlona.

Say Usmanov is granted a seat on the board and by some miracle of serendipity elbows out Kroenke, the first sign of dissatisfaction appearing on the blogs with any sniff of influence Usmanov begins to exert will be met with correspondence from the barristers he has on retainer.

I’m not happy that Kroenke or Usmanov hold so many shares in the Club, but I don’t for one moment have any sympathy with the notion that David Dein possessed any motive other than financial gain from the sale of his shares to Usmanov. Fair enough. That he happened to be allowed to participate in R&W Holdings merely lent credence to the specious notion that his motivations were guided by his best intentions for the Club. How much input and direction does he retain in R&W, now? Sweet FA.

Jenkinson
Jenkinson

Usmanov is an unsavoury crook. Personally I am not so desperate for ‘Trophies’ that I want him having any influence in the club.
David Dein has proved to be unacceptable to the Arsenal Board, to Kroenke and eventually to Usmanov. If the AST are pushing for his return then they are what they sound like – fringe whingers.
Why on earth should fans be better informed? What on earth are they going to do with the information?

xoxo
xoxo

a bit sad that your lack of interest in the club’s affairs should prevent others from accessing information they want . . . a bit selfish isn’t it?

es
es

“Why on earth should fans be better informed?”

Obviously you’re serious, which is a shame. My answer would be that it’s better to have opinions based on relevant and attributable sources as opposed to crass hearsay and frantic speculation. But then maybe you work in the media.

Andy G
Andy G

well said Jenkinson!
so there is an increase in AST members who believe the Russian should have a place on the board!
So a few sounds quotes and an increase in shares and now the Man United supporting crook has the best interests of OUR club at heart.
Seriously how fucking stupid are some people, i would rather take the last six years than see that fat twat in our board room for 1 single cash manic day.

Jenkinson
Jenkinson

Can’t see that it is ‘selfish’ to believe that fans do not need more information.
What information do you want and what are you going to do with it?

Yes I am serious. The danger in fans having more information is that they will accidentally or deliberately misuse it to the club’s detriment. It is vital for example to keep transfer approaches as close to the chest as possible.

I don’t work in the media. I am a season-ticket holder of more than 30 years standing and I am a passionate supporter of the club.

P-MG
P-MG

Personally I feel that the AST should be more neutral in their questionnaires, a lot of that was very leading.

Why on earth was David Dein even mentioned, that is a pointless questio, considering the choices he made, the question should have related specifically to Gazidis and his role.

As for the Gobshite who wanted Usmanov because he thinks he was a fan? Madone! The guy clearly said from the start Arsenal was undervalued and he would be selling his shares for a profit in the future

arseblog
Admin

Also worth pointing out Usmanov has been paying over the odds for shares, thus wiping out more and more of the smaller shareholders.

Limpars Wand
Limpars Wand

Supportes clubs are for the type of people who write in to the bbc to complain about stuff. Just a bunch of old ninnies with too much time on their hands.

Completely irrelevant people.

P-MG
P-MG

They are important because they have been influential on pushing plural ownership, the most important aspect of the club, ahead of anything else.

Ticket prices should be their second focus, then boardroom relationship, commercial activity, then football.

I view their opinions about on the pitch activity only as relevant as the next group.

Viks
Viks

I think David Dein was the reason why a few players were let to leave for free and complete their contract about 2004-2008 thus loosing the club a lot of money…..as well as his mishandling of contracts like with Ashley Cole….So I don’t think it would be right to want him back,

P-MG
P-MG

Himself and his son have made a fortune off the back of weakening the club. They are a real gooners, when one isn’t staging a coup aswell as selling his shares for ridiculous sums, the son is transporting half the team away while earning his own fortune.

Such a selfless family, victory through harmony.

Gnasher
Gnasher

80% of me is impatient at no new signings

18% is trying to be more patient

2% still doesn’t know

arseblog
Admin

Agree with so many. Dein sold his shares to Usmanov, took his £75m, and while he’s still a fan that precludes him now from having a say in how the club is run or having any influence over things.

The idea that the return of Dein would return Arsene to his former glory is ludicrous anyway. I think we all know better than that anyway.

Paul
Paul

Any questions about the coaching staff?

Badaab
Badaab

While I really have no problems on the surface with KSE (he’s done well enough with all the sports clubs he owns here in Denver recently… they’re all competitive, and the Rapids even won the MLS last year), I believe he’s being cowed a little too much by the board, the manager, and the precedent they’ve set about the dealings. Should Kroenke, Usmanov, et al, decide to not interfere with Wenger for another term and we still win nothing, no signings are made, etc., then I think Wenger, Gazidis, etc., should be held accountable. If they’re not held accountable, then we can truly see the writing on the wall.
Right now, I’d compare us with the Liverpool of last summer. Players are lining up to get out, we’re all over the media every single day about how awful we are and how this player or that player is leaving, and then we have to sit through these ‘reassuring’ statements in the press by the manager. I hate to say it, but Wenger may be the next el Penguino. If he does nothing, allows the team to stagnate, and keeps acting delusional, then he’s gotta go. Kenny Daglish brought some life back to Liverpool, and although they’ve not yet made the return to the Champions League, things are more optimistic in their camp this year after the change. We may need the same type of spark. I just hope its done sooner rather than later if we see the cracks begin to appear.

Gary
Gary

I agree with other comments that you are putting an unneccessary negative spin on the AST survey. As other comments said, firstly the questions were biased. Secondly, it can be expected that unhappy people are more likely to respond to this kind of survey, and given the AST negative stance towards the club. At the end of the day, only about half of the respondents returned resonses on most questions which could be interpreted as reflecting negatively on the club. That is about 400 people out of how many millions of Arsenal fans worldwide? In no way can the sample be seen as representative of the average Arsenal fan. AST are trying to project themselves as being far more important than they really are.

arseblog
Admin

I don’t think we put a negative spin on it, the results themselves were quite negative.

And we did point out in the article that certain questions were loaded.

Mike Hennessy

Couldn’t agree more with Gary’s comments.

I am not a member of the AST. And I would rather they were not used as an exhaustive sample of the “fans” views. For my money, they are far too negative, almost to the point of you questioning whether they support the same team.

The AST should also review all their channels of communication. For example, it might be an idea if Tim Payton created a separate Twitter account, so the AST can have an information Twitter account, and he has his own, so his views don’t get blurred with the official AST line.

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