What Has Wenger Ever Done For Us? (The AST Survey)

And Why Can’t John Cross Be More Like Darren Lewis?

So the latest Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) Survey is out. And John Cross has done a write-up on it in the Mirror. Why is it that when John Cross writes in the Mirror it’s so often focused on Arsenal’s internal problems? But when Darren Lewis posts in the Mirror it is so often about how Spurs may win the league next year (as he just posted yet again even when talking about the need to sell Luka modric.) Maybe it’s because of who they talk to at their respective club’s supporters groups. John Cross talks to  Tim Payton of the AST. Enough said?


Why should YOU care about the AST? Well, because the AST pretend to represent us. The Media act like they speak for us. They get to meet with the CEO of Arsenal FC to express OUR concerns and opinions. According to the AST:

The survey is the major independent review of Arsenal fans undertaken. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has welcomed the survey and circulated it for review within Arsenal and to the club’s Board members.

It represents an authoritative portrait of the views of Arsenal supporters in summer 2011.

No it Effing doesn’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will grant you that the new AST survey is better than last year’s though it still has problems but I think last year’s 2011 survey shows up most clearly the problems with the whole concept. I happened to read last year’s survey at the worst possible time ie during our early season slump. At the time it REALLY pissed me off. My favorite survey questions from 2011 were:

And here is the 1st page from the 2011 AST Survey Results:

Yes…382 replies.

And yet, here is one of the stated aims of the AST:

“Representing Arsenal fans to the media, football authorities and Government.”

In, other words, they  see themselves as having a grandiose role speaking for (all) Arsenal fans. In the next week or so they meet with the Chief executive of my club to express the fans opinions!

If the AST had been successful in having it’s recommendations to the Arsenal Board be implemented last year, then right now:

  1. Arsene Wenger would be sacked
  2. Alisher Usmanov would be on the board (Kroenke’s adversary)
  3. David Dein would be on the board (another Kroenke adversary)

Our beloved manager gone and a recipe for Civil War on the Board of The Arsenal Football club. No thanks, AST!

These recommendations would be implemented as if YOU had asked for them. I know I didn’t ask for them.

Bert and Ernie

John Cross and Tim Payton – an unholy Cabal. Oh, they may look harmless enough, but don’t be fooled.

Here are a couple of tweets from Bert and Ernie this week relating to Cross’s article on the latest AST survey.

Although the survey hasn’t been filled in yet, that didn’t stop John expressing the frustrations of many fans about many aspects of our club and its transfer policy. In the same week, Darren Lewis, for the same paper, waxes lyrical about how Spurs can win the title next year!

According to John, the AST represents a large number of fans. Actually, 382 individuals more like, according to the number who replied to their survey. I could match that in an afternoon on Twitter.


Here is an exclusive undercover extract into the workings of a recent AST meeting I infiltrated:

Tim Payton: “OK. So here is the plan…We’re getting in through the underground heating system here, up through into the main audience chamber here, and Wenger’s wife’s bedroom is here. Having grabbed his wife, we inform Wenger that she’s in our custody, and forthwith issue our demands.
– Any questions?
– What exactly are the demands?
– We’re giving Wenger two days to dismantle the entire apparatus of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, UEFA and FIFA’s worldwide bodies and if he doesn’t agree immediately, we execute his wife.
– Cut her head off?
– Cut all her bits off. Send them back on the hour, every hour. Show them we’re not to be trifled with.
– And of course, we point out that they bear full responsibility when we chop her up, and that we shall not submit to blackmail.
– No blackmail!
– They’ve bled us white, the bastards. They’ve taken everything we had. And not just from us supporters! From our fathers and from our fathers’ fathers who were supporters.
– And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
– Yeah.
– And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
– All right, don’t labour the point.
– And what has Wenger ever given us in return?
– Well, he did win us Premier League titles
– What?
– Premier League titles
– O yeah, granted, he did win us those
– Yeah, and FA Cup titles
– Granted, the FA Cups
– Exciting football.
– Yeah, Tim. Remember what we used to play like.
– Alright, I’ll grant you Premier League, FA Cup titles and exciting football are 3 things Wenger has given us.
– And world-wide recognition of the club for class, dignity and style, Tim.
– All-time great players like Henry, Vieira, Pires, Fabregas, van Persie…..
– A Champions League final to be proud of.
– And 15 unbroken years of Champions League qualification
– Yeah, Tim, only 2 other teams in Europe have achieved that
– Yeah, Wednesday night Football. That’s something we’d really miss, Tim.
– And, keeping us in the top 4 while financing a new stadium
– Alright, alright, apart from Premier League titles, FA Cup titles, exciting football, world-wide recognition of the club for class, dignity and style, all-time great players like Henry, Vieira, Pires, Fabregas, van Persie, a Champions League final, 15 unbroken years of Champions League qualification, and keeping us in the top 4 while financing a new stadium…What has Wenger ever done for us?
– The Emirates, Tim
– The Emirates?! Piss off!


The Brief of The AST
If the AST want to advocate for lower ticket prices, cheaper beer and burgers, and comfier seats. Go for it. Beyond that, I would recommend a large degree of humility on their areas of pronouncement.

The AST is a Tiny, Tiny Group
Let’s do some maths here. Hundreds of thousands of fans attend the Emirates each year. Millions wish they could. There are supporters’ clubs worldwide. A 2005 report by Granada Ventures, which at the time owned a 9.9% stake in the club, estimated Arsenal’s global fan-base at 27 million, the third largest in the world.[1]

Frequently, the majority opinion of the AST represents the views of 162 fans, approx. They represent less than 00.25% of the fans who will attend on match-day, tops. Worldwide they represent 00.0000% of the fans when rounded to 4 places of decimals. And they are not a representative, blind sample in that they selected themselves ie they joined the AST so by definition they are not like you or me. They share an agenda.

So, John Cross, henceforth, any time you interview Tim Payton/The AST, start by pointing out that they represent a tiny group of supporters, who can only speak  for themselves. Then have at it.

And Tim, feel free to correct John when he implies you speak for more than a couple of hundred supporters.

Still, John has done much better here than his performance during “Bin-bag Gate”. There, he magnified the opinion and resources of a group made up of 1 guy, a twitter account and a black bin-bag.

My personal opinion is that the vast majority of fans worldwide are and always have been supportive of Wenger.

Some of the survey questions the AST ask themselves are fine. They relate to ticket prices and fan concerns and their feeling of connection to the club. Proper concerns. Every good club needs some good supporters group, so knock yourselves out. Keep up the good work.

The AST believe they are knowledgeable enough to judge whether it is a good idea to put a Russian Oligarch on the board. You think he’s Mother Teresa rather than Vladimir Putin? Somehow, Russian Oligarch does not resonate with “Plays well with others.” Sure, sign us all up for a civil war and more discord in the Arsenal family. Instead, how about we focus Arsenal’s energies on the football field rather than the board room. And yet the AST in their wisdom voted by a large majority that Usmanov should be on the board. Why? Well, he did say he wanted to give Arsenal free money to buy players. Populist promises without follow through. Very Putinesque indeed

Here are a couple more gems from the John Cross Mirror Article:

“For the first time ever, Arsene Wenger’s position is being questioned by one of the most influential Arsenal supporters’ groups.”
– No, John, they did the same last year.
“…and, just like last year, I bet most Arsenal fans would like to conduct the AST survey on September 1.”
– No, John, most fans ie 99.99999% don’t get a say at the AST, we’re not members.

I like John Cross. I recognize that he’s a good guy who likes Arsenal and likes Arsene Wenger. But he’s fallen in with the wrong crowd. Please, John, strive to be more like Darren Lewis. There are a huge number of fans who are optimistic about our club and in particular our chances for next year.

And, I know I speak for many hundreds of thousands of supporters when I say that! So quote ME on that, John.


Watify Wio

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson has heard of the AST’s prowess in all things
football, and decides to take advantage of their expertise to help complete
his squad selection:

Trumpets: [Fanfare]

Roy Hodgson: Members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust! England is your

AST Members: [Laughter]

Roy Hodgson: To pwove our fwiendship it is customary at this time to watify a player fwom outside the squad.

AST Members: [Laughter]

Roy Hodgson: Whom would you have me watify?

Man: Watify Woger!

AST Members: Yeah! Watify Woger! Watify Woger! [Laughter]

Roy Hodgson: Vewy well, I shall watify Woger!

AST Members: Yeah!

Gary Neville: Sir, uh, we don’t have a Roger, sir.

Roy Hodgson: What?

Gary Neville: Uh, we don’t have anyone of that name, sir.

Roy Hodgson: Ah. We have no Woger!

Crowd: Awwww…

Man: But what about Woderick, then?

AST Members: Yeah! Watify Woderick! Watify Woderick!


Roy Hodgson: Gary Neville, why do they…titter so?

Gary Neville: Just some, ehm…Arsenal joke, sir.

Roy Hodgson: Are they…wagging me?

Gary Neville: Oh, no, sir!

Assistant: [Giggle]

Roy Hodgson: Vewy well, I shall watify Woderick!

AST Members: [Laughter]

Gary Neville: Sir, we don’t have a Roderick either.

Roy Hodgson: No Woger, no Woderick?

Gary Neville: Sorry, sir.

Roy Hodgson: Who is this Woderick to whom you refer?

Man: He is a stwiker!

AST Members: [Laughter]

Man II: And a winger!

AST Members: [Laughter]

Woman: And a goalie!

AST Members: No, no!

Roy Hodgson: He sounds a notorious player.

Gary Neville: We haven’t got him, sir.

Roy Hodgson: All wight! I will give you one more chance! This time I want to hear no Wuben, no Weginalds, no Wudolf  The Wed-nosed Weindeers or we shall watify no one!

Anton Ferdinand: Ratify Rio!

Man in AST Members: Oh, yeah, that’s a good one!

Another man in AST Members: Yeah.

AST Members: Watify Wio! Watify Wio! [Laughter]

Roy Hodgson: Vewy well! That’s it!

Gary Neville: Sir, we…we have got a Rio, sir.

Roy Hodgson: What?

Gary Neville: Ehm…you just dropped him from the squad, sir!

Roy Hodgson: Eh…ehm…wait! Wait! We do have a Wio. Well, go away and get him, straight away!

Gary Neville: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Roy Hodgson: Vewy well. I shall watify Wio!