To every Arsenal fan going to the preseason matches in the United States and the various activities the club has lined up to support their trip: raise hell. Get mad; get angry. Protest in your own way. Aim every single ounce of frustration this fan base has accumulated for the past four years towards anyone associated with the club. Let them know that, starting just days after returning from the offseason break, the pressure is on everyone to produce positive results in spite of management and organizational leadership incompetence. Fan resentment might not change anything in the short-term, but this club needs to feel pressure from fans that what has – and is currently – gone on with the way they operate is beyond acceptable.
You should have something that Arsenal has done by now in your pocket as you start to lean into your feelings, but in case you’ve been living under a rock and need a list to scour to find an instance of ineptitude from this sorry club, take a look below and find your favorite thing to rage against:
· Advanced metrics that objectively concluded Arsenal attacked and defended worse under Unai Emery than Arsene Wenger during the years that led to his resignation
· Blowing a top-four finish by securing seven out of a possible 21 points in the final 7 weeks of the season against the following opponents: Everton, Watford (playing defensive and passive against 10 men for 75 minutes), Crystal Palace, Wolves, Leicester City, Brighton, and Burnley
· Letting Aaron Ramsey walk on a free after reneging on a previously-agreed contract extension (he was thought of so poorly by Emery and the staff, and yet somehow attracted interest from the biggest clubs in Europe, and eventually signed with Juventus), only to go on and watch Ramsey conclusively be the most productive player in the squad last season
· Ostracizing Mesut Ozil to the point he played the worst season of his career and devaluing him as a future asset to capitalize on in the transfer market, thus now having to rely on him to recapture his form from three years ago, or else continue to pay him an eye-watering £350,000 per week while eating up a significant amount of wages allocated to the squad
· Seeing CEO Ivan Gazidis, after winning a power struggle that existed for years following his appointment, suddenly leave for AC Milan, and upending the organizational model he fought to create in order to segregate Wenger’s duties from the executives
· Having Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat suddenly leave after less than two years on the job, for literally nothing at all – he just wanted out of Arsenal
· Spending a grand total of £2 million in last January’s transfer window, which was the loan fee for an out-of-form Denis Suarez to play less than 100 total minutes and then leaving the country before the season was over
· Getting destroyed by Chelsea in the Europa League final - a competition the club prioritized over the league, as evidenced by trotting out a lineup full of reserves in the above-mentioned, must-win Palace and Brighton matches – thus failing to secure Champions League qualification, something Emery marketed himself as being able to do when he was appointed manager 14 months ago
· Club captain Laurent Koscielny, the longest-serving first-team squad member, refusing to travel to the United States with the club in a blatant attempt to have his contract cancelled so he can move back to France
· Nearly seven weeks into a crucial summer transfer window where funds are short and smart recruitment is needed, the only purchase Arsenal have made is a £6 million transfer for a Brazilian winger
· In desperate need of defender help this summer, the club has somehow managed to stall on signing their two targeted defenders – Kieran Tierney and William Saliba – while watching Napoli and fucking Tottenham swoop in to capitalize on Arsenal’s seemingly endless dysfunction
In all honesty, if any one of those happened on their own, red flags would be raised, concerns properly addressed, and the issue remediated through correctable actions. But all of those have occurred in the span of 12 months’ time. There aren’t words in the English language to demonstrate just how damaging the collective events have and will be to the club’s future.
And yet, the club is actively seeking your money on this tour. They blatantly have their hand out, waiting for you to shell out nearly $100 on a shiny, new adidas shirt, or to attend exclusive events where I’m presuming they’ll trot out past FA Cups as a way to demonstrate their ambition and level of success, and cling to your commitment to the club. Not to mention the minimum of $50 for a ticket to see a friendly played at half speed by a bunch of players still getting into shape.
Please understand that as they continue to implode through actions that were easily-avoidable, Arsenal view you and your emotional relationship to the club as entirely one-sided, and that they only see you as a cash machine in which they can suck money out of while failing to capitalize on their once-great brand.
So: get mad as hell. As cool as the new kits are, leave them on the clothes racks. Attend your own gatherings as fans, at your favorite bar or at your house with your friends or whatever, but leave the official gatherings alone and unpaid for. Venting online is a great way to consolidate and analyze how fans are feeling about the club, but showing them by actively ignoring their events and expressing your frustrations in person should have just as much impact. This club is sinking – fast – and the people in charge don’t care, because we as a whole continue to pump money into it.
It’s time to let everyone at Arsenal know that we can’t and won’t continue to let them ruin our club. We in the US rarely get that opportunity in person, but it’s here now, so let them hear your voice. Or the silence that is created without it.