Analysis of Arsenal fan channel AFTV – The origins were inspiring….

The origins of AFTV are inspiring. by Dan Smith

Robbie Lyle, seeing a gap in the market, stood in front of his brother, who would record him outside of stadiums getting fans feedback on what they had just seen.

It inspired a generation of fans to have the dream job, get paid to talk about Football.

Several people who took part in AFTV’s fan cams grew in popularity where they too were able to make a career out of running their own YouTube Channels.

Some shockingly have forgotten the hand that fed them, now clashing with the same platform responsible for anyone knowing who they are.

Robbie’s ethos was to give a voice to fans who normally wouldn’t get listened to.

He tried to present his baby as an alternative in modern media, with the likes of papers, radio stations and TV jealous of the rise of fan channels.

It’s offensive to those who studied for a degree in Journalism or media studies to suggest the people he were recording were the equivalent.

Robbie maintained that anyone was welcome to approach him and would get an equal chance to have their voices heard.

Yet certain personalities garnered higher views then others. There was the angry one …… the deluded one …….. The depressed one …., etc.

This contradicted the channels MO.

No longer was its supporters relatable to their peers but people playing characters.

Everyday men had gained popularity so turned the volume up, essentially becoming cartoon characters.

Viewers would click on specific talking heads to see just how loud the angry man would shout, just how annoyed the depressed man would get with the positive guy.

Playing an act became more important than the actual football.

While the host maintained that none of these men were on his pay roll, he branched off giving them their own shows and segments, to encourage them to act a certain way.

Other fan channels steered clear of this, and for good reason.

The concept made Robbie more money than he would have thought possible, but that growth became a problem. Unlike other fan channels, AFTV was now generating sponsors and advertising. Suddenly you couldn’t just say what you wanted and be as offensive as you wanted to. Not now that you had people paying the bills to answer to.

Morality became a question?

If your making cash off a man getting stressed over football, at which point do you get him help?

If you’re watching him gain weight, rubbing his temple and clearly in distress over something so trivial, do you get him support or give him a show where the whole concept is to get him wound up?

AFTV became too big to be smal,l but too small to be big.

Their creator wanted comparisons with other media but didn’t want to operate within the same structure.

Sky Sports would never have put someone with obvious depression in front of cameras for entertainment.

Five Live and Talk Sport expect callers to form an argument without the use of the C words or racial slurs.

It changed how youngsters viewed supporting their club.

A generation now thinking that whoever shouts the loudest or swears the most will get the most subscribers.

Mr Lyle’s biggest contradiction was that it was okay for his product to critique every aspect of Arsenal the business, but he then got extra sensitive when the likes of Talksport did the same to AFTV.

Yet he had to listen to those now paying thousands to sponsor and advertise with him.

Eventually the host was forced to remove those guilty of racial abuse, religious symbols, etc.

The same man who encouraged strangers to shout and swear was now essentially sacking them for it.

The man who made money off these personalities now needed them censored.

You sense AFTV have tried to rebrand itself, with hosts less character driven who now openly ‘work for Robbie’.

You don’t instinctively know their name based on their personality, and surely contractually none have branched off to create their own channel.

Robbie was smart enough to see his old business wasn’t sustainable.

It was garnering too much negativity which while in the short term would get more views, would stop the Channel from growing.

While never admitted publicly, Arsenal have distanced themselves from the channel on more than one occasion.

Amazon paid millions to have the Gunners part of their All or Nothing Series.

………ever wondered why other YouTubers featured but not our so-called number one fan channel?

For a while AFTV was on fire but long term its output wasn’t viable.

Eventually someone was going to get offended, someone was going to take things too far, shout too loud, etc.

It forced the product to be watered down. It won’t reach the levels it once reached but the business model now is more solid.

Controversy creates attention and when your growing, any attention is good attention.

AFTV are bigger then that now.

Whatever your opinions, it changed the game in how fans get their content.

It inspired many to talk about football, either as a career or just as a hobby.

One man had ambition and a strong work ethic and made something beautiful for himself…

I admire that.

Dan Smith


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  1. AFTV is not perfect but it is fit for purpose. Good fan coverage on matchdays, and they are all committed Arsenal supporters. Various viewpoints and attitudes towards the owners, and management, and built from small foundations. Well done Robbie.

  2. So their initial recipe to get attention and boosted on YouTube is having an army of guests with opposing views? Isn’t it similar to some football fan website?

    You guys have inspired me to gather an army of writers with opposing views and start my own football fan media. Once the media get popular due to the high traffic, I could always water down the toxicity

  3. I watched about 2 videos on the AFTV YouTube channel back in 2014 and that was about it for me.. The days of Claud vs Ty.
    Felt embarrassed, Made me cringe and it felt like i was about losing a brain cell each second.. I never want to be subjected to such mental / psychological torture.

  4. Having decided very early on, that this channel was not for me, I have never been involved.
    I recognise that all those who were involved, are / were supporters of our great club of course, but, as JA has proved many times, there are so many different ways to support our club.

    However, I did watch one segment the other day and couldn’t believe the foul and abusive language directed from one fan to another, simply because of their opposing views.
    For me, it was all an act, designed to promote the individual and had nothing whatsoever to do with The Arsenal.

    We had the scenes of Arsenal fans fighting each other at Goodison Park, over the toxicity around AFTV.

    Is it a generational thing I ask myself, as the tirade of foul language tumbled out of the mouth of this person?

    Imagine sitting /standing next to someone like this, with your wife, daughter and / or son!!!

    Sorry Robbie, I for one am pleased with the demise of this channel – but that’s just my personal opinion, as a person brought up to respect others.

  5. Another excellent piece DAN. I much appreciate the intellect you put into your article. To sum up, I d say better to have TRIED to give fans a voice and – even though AFTV became a parody of a fan site for most of its time – Robbie does seem to have learnt from some of the low IQ individuals who dominated it.

    I once met Claude, who sadly took his own life, at Arsenal Supporters Club and found him genuine, pleasant to me personally, though not a man you could or would wish to discuss life matters with, his intelligence level being limited.

    This begs the question does intelligence matter more than being a pleasant soul, when away from ones overriding passion.

    My view is that overall, intelligence IS of less importance than being a good person.

    But unlike Ad PAT in his odd admonishment to my post yesterday, in which I DID say humans have varying levels of intelligence – which is plainly factual, rather than being mere opinion -I do always try to find the more intelligent Gooners on here, to debate with. Sometimes I choose the wrong ones and I FREELY ADMIT THAT.

    Finally, I wish to suggest, not least to myself, that it is better to have tried, even when mistakes were made, though learnt from, than never to have tried at all.

    I hace always admired TRUE effort and an intention to do the best you can, even when it does not work out as you intended.
    Conversely, as in my tirades against Walcott, Ozil(especially Ozil) and Auba in his last two seasons, I cannot stand idlers and those who con a living out of others but who refuse to give back in 100% effort.

  6. If anything aftv is currently doing it’s best to tow the party line and not offend the powers that be. In terms of appraisal, the likes of Turkish, Stricto James and Kelechi once he is done with the clowning are often more incisive than anything that the professional pundits come up with. Mo until his expulsion was also an articulate voice. As a fan site you are always going to have your blinkered nut jobs, just look at this site. At the end of the day though, after reading the “proper” match reports it’s always good to go to aftv and see their interviews taken before the adrenaline dies down,while the passion is still running.

  7. I will never forget the abuse Arsene Wenger got, home and away from these fans created by AFTV. Such shameless, uneducated and immoral London scums who thinks so much of football fan proprietorship. I’m sure these same type of morons made McD offer breakfast menu so they can get fat and die faster while blaming everyone else.

  8. Mike Ram, small comfort but I’m sure Wegner copped much worse abuse by the home fans at Old Trafford. I came to aftv after the Wegner era, but if I recall correctly the most common abuse against Arsene Wegner was, ” He’s got to go”.

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