Sports are supposed to be fun. They are the ultimate escape from the banal existence of every day life. The moment they become just another part of that existence, consistently dragging the viewer down into pessimism and anger, is the moment one should scale back. There comes a point where the relentless negativity is unhealthy.
That is a general life tip. When dealing with the banterific Arsenal Football Club, there is even more reason to quit giving them as much attention. In this case, possibly more than any other instance, stepping back from the club is in line with the goals of many Arsenal fans.
Behind the scenes, Arsenal appear to be in shambles. It has been widely reported and speculated that Arsene Wenger was on his way to either a demotion or termination before the owner, Stan Kroenke, gave him a full reprieve, likely on the basis of the strong finish to last season. The FA Cup win seems more and more a Pyrrhic victory by the day. Competing leaks from journalists and ITKs alike flow forth, day by day, making the current White House seem tight-lipped. We may not know exactly what is going on, but we can deduce that the relationship is not well.
So, how can you, the everyday fan help change things? Step away. Don’t go to matches. Resist the urge to re-up on Arsenal kits every season. Unfollow the Arsenal twitter account and don’t go to their page.
Pundits comparing Kroenke’s handling of his American sports teams to Arsenal miss two key points: fan support and engagement, as well as on field success, really matter to the bottom line.
Arsenal will need to use fan support and engagement metrics in their negotiations for commercial deals. In an era where TV revenue has somewhat leveled the playing field, these commercial deals are the key difference between the elite clubs, the really good clubs, and everyone else. Many of Arsenal’s key endorsement deals are currently being negotiated or re-negotiated, particularly the apparel sponsorship currently held by Puma. A lack of fan interest and a lack of Champions League football is extremely important to those negotiations. This doesn’t even take into account the revenue lost by finishing lower in the table, being televised less, and missing out on regular Champions League income.
If you want to send a message to Kroenke, that’s a sure-fire way to get his attention.
On a slightly related note, if you’ll indulge me a second, I will not only be stepping away from Arsenal, I will also be (mostly) stepping away from The Short Fuse. Three years ago, I talked Thomas into letting me write about the Arsenal youth team for the site. I loved those initial posts, particularly the Youth Highlight GIF Roundups. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with all of you and am proud of some of my work, particularly the Premier League wage bill restrictions, which everyone else picked up on over half a year later. I still might make a guest appearance here and there, but my days of regular contribution to the site have come to a close, for now. This is my favorite Arsenal site on the interwebs, and I’ve been honored to be a small part of it.