Wenger: We’re sold out, what’s the problem?

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Arsene Wenger says he’s not concerned by empty seats at the Emirates Stadium, and insists he doesn’t know why people think it’s a problem.

Attendances have been dwindling this season, and as the Gunners struggles in the league grew, fewer and fewer people turned up for games – despite having already paid for their tickets.

It was a subject brought up at the manager’s press conference on Thursday, and rather than acknowledge there is even an issue, Wenger said the fans were ‘solid’ and declared the team’s lack of competitiveness the major problem facing the club (the parallel between these two things couldn’t be more obvious, btw).

Asked if he was worried about the falling attendances, the Arsenal boss said, “It’s not a big concern because our crowd is very solid at the moment. Of course, we have played on some special days, we don’t go for the league.

“I believe we have a very faithful crowd, very faithful fans, who will always be there and support the club. When you look at the renewal numbers for next season, they are absolutely outstanding.”

He was questioned if he thought fans would return on the back of Europa League success, and the Frenchman said, “I don’t know. We are sold out in every single game so I don’t know where the problem is at the moment.

“If you feel like next season it will not be the case, then we’ll have to face it. But I believe if you look at our numbers and how much people want to renew tickets for next season, I don’t believe that we have a major problem.

“We have a major problem at the moment because we’re not in a position to win the league. That’s our biggest problem. The biggest problem is not the number of fans who are behind the team.”

Maybe it’s a case of the manager not wanting to cause any kind of upset ahead of the crucial game against Atletico on Thursday, but surely he – and the board – can see that this kind of concerted stay-away is unprecedented during his tenure at the club?

And if he can’t see where the problem is, when it’s staring at him from all sides of the stadium, then we should be even more worried.

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Alexed

Those ST renewals are due for weeks Arsene, which survey did you consult please?

Alexed

* aren’t. First comment posted for ages and it’s a typo!

Pedant

5 first comments in a row before this thread for me.

A record?

IamaGoober

Like I get that his back is up, as the scrutiny around his competency as Manager is at an all time high currently. But still, a man as smart as he is must realise how stupid he looks by saying something like that? Its blatantly obvious we aren’t getting people in to watch the team anymore. And its painfully obvious that our woeful domestic form is to blame, with everything being compounded by this gradual descent into a club that can no longer qualify for the Champions League in recent seasons. People aren’t just apathetic towards Arsenal, they’re just plain… Read more »

High gunner

“bored”.. im so ashamed of our fans, really. And I have felt this way for some time now.. the fans at the stadium almost never make a sound during games and wenger STILL defends that by saying its up to the team to get the fans on the teams back. No, its the other way around. ITS THE FUCKING FANS WITH THEIR VOICES THAT STRENGTHENS 11 PLAYERS SPIRITS AND MIND DURING A GAME. THIS happens in ALL other clubs i asure you, we are the only ones thats waiting for our team to wake the fans up.. what should other… Read more »

southpaw74

Dick

London Gooner

Sorry but have to disagree in part. Fans are bored. Bored of the side to side, short pass game, bored of watching average players, bored of no plan B, bored of the same old excuses coming from the club, bored of being told that times are changing and then seeing nothing really happen, bored of seeing our best and most ambitious players being sold to our rivals. Empty seats are a reflection of success. On the odd occasion I haven’t been able to go, I haven’t been able to exchange my ticket via the club because they haven’t sold out,… Read more »

IamaGoober

Listen my man.. I’ve got news for you; the other Premier League clubs are just as quiet at The Emirates. Especially the top half of the table. You might get more noise at somewhere like Palace or Newcastle, but all the other grounds; Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge, The Middle Eastlands.. etc.. they’re all the same, quiet as fuck. I know this from personal experience, normally most seasons I’ll do 30+ games home and away. I’ve been all over Europe watching Arsenal, and I’ve had 4/5 different season tickets all over the stadium. So I know what I’m talking about… Read more »

SB Still

It’s corporate speak that’s bitten Wenger too! Tickets are sold, club is raking in the ££, it doesn’t matter if people actually come and watch the games – is the message Wenger is conveying.

A football purist, whose primary aim for any football game his team plays is entertainment, doesn’t want to acknowledge that his team is not entertaining any more.

Gooooonnnnnnaaaaaaa

The problem is the club don’t consult fans like they used to back in the day, but a press conference is intended to add value to the club and try to give a positive image even when we’re in a crisis. As F***ed as that sounds, this question is a lose – lose situation for him, no matter what he says the media will twist his words and angle it at a way that’ll anger the fans. He may not be at his best in terms of his capabilities as head coach but the man is not an idiot, he’s… Read more »

Lorenzo

Where is he addressing them? BEIN?

Matt P

I love what he has done for Arsenal but is he really that smart?

PeteyB

Maybe it is. I’ve not doubt that you ask Blogs really nicely he will print a certificate which you could put on your wall for all your friend to see.

Yes, I meant ‘friend’, singular.
Am I being generous?

Canon Fodder

Club Level renewals started in March and ended two weeks ago. We are always asked to pay before everyone else even though the tickets are over £3k. We are warned with the threat that we will lose our seats and because of the demand, may never get in again.

Crash Fistfight

Are you allowed to move to a different area of the ground (i.e. not in Club Level)?

samb

Club level is one of the issues, late in and late out….owned by companies who pawn them off to clients or anyone to turn up if possible, and I’m sure a whole lot more tickets are like that around the ground too.

Pedant

Football is too much about money, not success.

PeteyB

FYI, it’s nothing personal, I ‘liked’ this comment.

renaissancerosicky

Fuck off! Hahahaha, new levels of tone deaf this. Wonder if it’s actually to not disrupt or if it’s actual blindness

Chippys chip

A bit of both i reckon….nah actually, alot more blindness.

antgoon

Well there you have it. That’s your basically F*** you from Arsene.

Homer

Reread the quote from AW. That’s not at all what he’s implying.

And he’s not wrong if there are enough requests for renewals for consistent sell outs.

Xxxrob

If he needs help seeing where the problem is maybe someone should fetch him a mirror.

afan

the man is deluded

Mpls

Actually anyone who expects a different answer is.

He knows damn well as anyone else that some seats are empty out of protest. He’s also dead on the nuts with the point that if we’re competing reasonably for the league this doesn’t happen no matter who’s at the helm.

Crash Fistfight

I wonder how proficient Arsene is at playing the fiddle.

DRB

I’m a season ticket holder and I’ve been Wenger out for the past 4/5 seasons. The decline has been inevitable. I didn’t mind when we played an exciting brand of football and weren’t winning trophies, but with sub standard players, predictable playing style, years of not competing for the title it’s not worth the train ticket. Wenger knows for the past 2 months you can’t put your tickets for sale on on the exchange as the games aren’t selling out. The internal struggle of whether to renew or not is usually overcome by it will be different next year or… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

We didn’t renew after having them for over 25 years. Haven’t missed going in the least.

DRB

After 8 years of being on the waiting list, I can’t quite let go. Until the last 2 seasons I’d travel to every game and it’s a whole day away. The fear of missing out on a new manager who would make us competitive again and challenge for the title.

Macca

Dunno what list you’re on mate but i got one after 3 years, had it for 5 then had enough paying 1200 a year to watch the same old shit (although the cup finals were fun) and decided not to renew 2 years ago.
Definitely the right decision, still get to go to matches, tickets are easy to get at the moment.

DRB

I’m on about having to wait around 8 years until I was able to purchase my season ticket.

Macca

Sorry, didn’t read your post correctly, would be interested to hear from anyone who was or is currently on the waiting list and how long it actually is.

John bull

This is how it should be … if for some reason you choose not to buy your season ticket , then it at least provides an opportunity for another Arsenal supporter who wants to part with his year’s season ticket price to get the opportunity to watch his team live …..that is how the market should work … supply and demand

thejw1

My view from the outside (a US Arsenal fan since ’05)– is that it’s really a necessity to get the exchange restrictions modernized. As supporters you’re still hamstrung by outdated rules that aren’t applicable to current circumstances. We used to have ‘blackout’ broadcast rules governing US football that were predicated on selling out 72-hours prior to game day. In a TV market as large as a metropolitan city? The teams were losing more revenue in advert sales than would be gained by selling those last hundreds or few thousand tickets. Now? All local pro games (all sports actually) are broadcast… Read more »

John bull

True Arsenal does have an appreciable global following with fans religiously watching every televised game …even if there are 1or 2 other PL teams with larger global following , in my experience Arsenal is among the world’s top 5-10 teams for global audience … so the club also needs to take those fans into consideration — many pay their red member fees annually and when the club goes on tour , the stadium is sold out …

Rob67

He will ‘spin’ from the thinnest of material. At one level, – his – I can understand it. But more and more, he sounds like a politician facing the exit signs and blithely refusing to acknowledge the attendant difficulties. There is a story today in the Telegraph, from Jeremy Wilson, who is very well connected at Arsenal and says that this in effect is Wenger’s final season and the Club are looking for a replacement. I do hope he is right. Because is Wenger carries this level of delusion forward into next season, competing with Burnley will be the least… Read more »

Atom

Unless the Emirates is full for the last few PL games I really think this is it for Wenger. Last year the club was in no position to move forward but with Sanhelli & Sven running recruitment a change is a real possibility. The empty seats I think are just too big of issue to be ignored – the club knows if Wenger returns the seats will be empty again next year and that causes major issues when trying to sign sponsor deals, etc.

John bull

Just as Arsenal players come from all parts of the world based on merit- imagine where the team would sit in the PL with no foreign players at all ….., Arsenal fans are all over the world … and as long as the season tickets sell and the global TV audiences want to watch , 10-15% of empty seats which have all been paid for —very very expensive form of protest by the way —-will not be a consideration for the business side of things in my opinion

Atom

John – do not underestimate the damage that will be done both to Arsenal the brand and Arsenal the football team by another year of retaining Wenger solely for sentimental and not sporting reasons. If we do not win the Europa League & Wenger remains it’s virtually a lock that this team will not make the CL next year either. There is no evidence one can point to the past 2 years that would suggest that Wenger has it in him to finish in an increasingly competitive top 4. At that point we would be talking about 3 consecutive years… Read more »

John bull

We have 2 critical games vs Atletico – this is where all focus should be …. these will determine the club’s plans for next year …..fans should all unite behind the club to make a positive difference in how we end this season …. 2 finals , one trophy and CL would constitute a successful season for ANY top team in the top leagues , even reaching 2 finals alone would constitute a good performance for most …. this is football , you can have a bad season or 2 or even 3 — ask Man U , Liverpool ,… Read more »

Rob67

“10-15% of empty seats which have all been paid for —very very expensive form of protest by the way —-will not be a consideration for the business side of things in my opinion” Firstly, it is not 10 – 15% of empty seats it is between a third and half empty in some instances. This will directly impact primary and secondary sponsors, particularly as Arsenal are looking for a new kit sponsorship deal. We already lag behind several others. Is this situation likely to bring forth top $ ? I very much doubt it. And Kronke – who can smell… Read more »

David C

Wenger should have said:
“We need to play better to earn back the fan’s love. we’ve underperformed this season and we hope to finish strong to earn back the loyalty we have enjoyed since moving to this stadium.”

It’s really that simple Wenger. I’m sure the board would have like this response better…

He surely has to go next season…

BigTA78

He clearly doesn’t have an answer for the dwindling attendances, so he’d rather stick his head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening

Ozenal

If I were in his position would probably say the same thing. Although he probably had this nightmare when we failed to sign a defender in January.

Yawnface

Isn’t that every January for the past few years?

Chrispy

I’ve renewed the last few years in the hope that each year is his last. I think once he goes, exciting times will be back and I don’t want to lose my seat. I’m not proud to say that I’ve been 3 times this season. I have a friends and friends of friends who I’ve offered my seats too and they don’t fancy going either. Sad times.

BW9

They are renewing because they expect a new manager next season…

89 was fine

Arsene we have a problem no!

Ya gooner

Deluded

Henry

That…is a wounded animal defending itself……..speaking without thinking first…..not a smart move

kaius

Whew… I need to stop reading these articles about Wenger. When he’s gone I want to remember him as Le Professeur, not as the oblivious 2nd rate spin-doctor this makes him sound like.

Homer

Reread the quotes.

Your post is all the spinning here. And FFS people, everyone of you above. Grow the hell up.

You telling me they’ll stay away on the home leg against Atletico? Hey its a choice they make, but that looks like a childish one. Supporters, indeed.

kaius

Luciano Spalletti was whistled by Roma fans towards the end of last year when they collapsed after playing some great football at the start of the season. He was asked about it after a game and said “it hurts me, but it’s our fans expressing their feelings to us, and they have the right to do it.”

This season Roma appointed a young, modern tactician in Di Francesco and right now they’re two games away from a Champions League Final.

But yeah you’re probably right, the real problem was Roma fans being childish.

Segun

Completely different circumstances. Wenger has been whistled, derided, banner-shamed and booed many times; he always ever conceded that the fans have a right to be mad because they paid to see better. He always said it is the team’s job to get the fans jumping. THIS (trying to push the media narrative that presently low fan attendance is as a result of anything other than the fact we aren’t playing for anything in the league) is nothing like Spalletti was questioned about. I am quite certain that Spalletti wasn’t about to play an important European semi-final when he faced the… Read more »

   kaius

What media narrative?

On this very thread you can read Arsenal season-ticket holders and fans who regularly go to games saying why they’ve chosen not to go, or not to renew their season tickets.

And who exactly is responsible for us not playing for anything in the league?

Segun

My point, precisely. Had we been competing for something in the league, the fans will be there. Same reason they will be there on Thursday night. The man “responsible” is STILL the manager and has responsibility for responding ‘appropriately’, to avoid distractions intended as we approach a crucial game for the club.

   kaius

You’re saying Wenger’s responses are an ‘appropriate’ PR strategy. I’m saying (using Spalletti as an example) there was a better, more honest way to respond. An Arsenal manager whose team is 30+ points off the top of the table (forget Europe – the League is our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY) touting season ticket renewals and saying “but we’re sold out” when TV cameras have shown as many as 15,000 fans are missing from the stadium? That’s not a good look. The man who coached the Invincibles is now giving us soulless corporate PR-speak. People are bored to death of this whole… Read more »

Segun

But we are sold out, indeed. That’s fact!

Anyway, he’s announced his departure at the end of the season now (another “PR-speak”, I’m sure you’d say, designed to bring the fans back, right?). So, hopefully, we are all happier now and can look forward to another great era.

Gooners & Roses

Classic Wenger ‘I didn’t see it’.

Never though he applied that on the fans as well.

Tragic.

Santori

The only way to send a message to the owner is season ticket renewals.

If we fail to reach 5th or even 6th and get tossed out of the europa, I expect we may see less renewals.

Maybe the ticket prices will come down then at least and the fish and chips will be cheaper.Maybe.

Macca

That statement is just plain stupid.

Faisal Narrage

“And if he can’t see where the problem is, when it’s staring at him from all sides of the stadium, then we should be even more worried.”

We’re talking about a man who can’t see that Chambers isn’t suited to play as a RB, let alone all the other players he regularly plays out of position.

There’s every chance he’s being genuine and doesn’t see it.

Segun

Just curious here. Would you rather our manager give in to the ‘true’ desire of the questioning media and lament how the club cannot depend on the fans and perhaps how it is hurting finances and portends a bleak future? Goodness! We are at a crucial period of the season with a European semi final in the horizon. The last thing I’d want of my manager is to give the players a reason to play dejectedly. Wenger has handled the media masterfully here; our internal strife (Wenger in or Out) is a “family” thing that may not be put out… Read more »

GoonerG

It’s even more embarrassing that people have already paid for those seats in advance yet still would rather throw money down the drain, than go!

Just watching

WoW! What a club!!!

Perry Stalsis

Of course he can see the problem and knows perfectly well that results and attendance are linked but he’s being diplomatic. He’s not going to throw anyone, fans or board under a bus. No need for this to be a beat up.

Gierjp

Hey I’ve been in the site for maybe 10 years and never really wanted to comment. I’ve read the comments – sure. I always like the opinions on players and tactics and how we got it wrong. Lately I can’t read the comments for any enjoyment. Your entertaining the same fatalistic bullshit will most certainly have me not reading the blog. We are Arsenal fans. Talk about the football or GTFO. That’s my piece.

Lorenzo

It’s almost senile the way he speaks. Like watching your favorite uncle lose his mind slowly. Pity the people who should put him in a home are looking for the same thing as he is

Matt P

Deluded or disingenious? Or both?