AFTV Can’t Have It Both Ways by Dan Smith
It was only a matter of time before Arsenal were going to stand up to AFTV. There are only so many years that you’re going to allow someone to stand outside your shop window shouting how rubbish you are.
I respect anyone who chases a dream and makes something beautiful out of it. One day a man had a vision about recording fans after games and it’s led to his own successful business, good for him. Yet as successful as they have been, they are a little corner shop compared to the institution which is Arsenal FC .
I always find it funny how worked up the channel get whenever it gets criticism, which the bigger you get is natural. Don’t get me wrong, the fact they are being mentioned in the tabloids is only good news for them, any press is good press, it’s only going to raise views this week. Yet they seem very protective of their image and don’t like to be questioned.
The contradiction being that their whole ethos is that they are allowed to ridicule the team, because they claim that’s their right as fans who have a freedom of speech.
Yet if they are allowed to openly talk about what’s wrong with Arsenal, then why can’t Arsenal say what they think is wrong with AFTV?
Like many of them expressed the view that Arsene Wenger was no good anymore, clearly there are players who have noticed a growing culture on social media which has made the Emirates toxic.
No one is saying they condone threats of violence or wishing cancer on babies, but they are influencing the next generation of fans that; if you pay for a ticket, you can say or do what you want.
Now if you want, you can mock the likes of Xakha for that. You could say it makes our players sensitive or weak, but they have a right to express how they feel as much as these supporters. Are they wrong?
I’m not going to say names, but if you watch the YouTube channel you know who’s become well known off the back off it. Apart from one guy who is well known for being ultra-positive, the rest, if you´re honest, get the most attention based on how negative, critical, angry and at times how abusive they are.
I noticed a trend in the last year where the host on AFTV now belittles those who don’t have the opinion of his more popular guests. Compare that to other fan channels. Other clubs have the equivalent, but do you notice how they manage to put across a point without having to swear, or make one person a scapegoat. Hence, they haven’t had the individual success of their Arsenal counterparts. Seriously they are probably famous enough to just make the cut for Celebrity Big Brother, if it ever comes back.
Aubameyang equally has a choice, he’s done nothing wrong, being polite to people telling him how good he is. The question I would ask is; what would Tony Adams do if there was a conflict of interest? He would put the dressing room first.
What about Viera? Imagine if he knew a Pires or Henry were being verbally abused and made it clear it was distressing them, to the point the club were offering counselling. Would he go and put his arm round those people? Reward them with shirts while his best mates are suffering?
The line that AFTV have put out is what’s wrong with fans and players having that relationship? In reality, watch the majority of their product and tell me where they are trying to build any relationships?
The fan in question, so dismayed that he’s been mentioned (he’s loving it really), that his last comment on Xhaka was to tell him to……off. That’s verbal abuse, however way you want to spin it. He wouldn’t say it to the persons face, he says it to get the biggest reaction on the day. Do you think when he gets to meet these players, he’s as critical?
These are guys who wanted to be known as holding up banners to get out the greatest manager in our history, then sprinted to have their photo with him when they had the chance. Did they tell Mr Wenger what they been saying about him? Of course not!
You can’t have Auba trying on one hand to be a leader, help improve his teammates confidence, telling him to ignore those online, then give the same person attention. There needs to be some distance/ professionalism and sorry but he’s being paid lots of money to do what’s best for Arsenal. If his employers believe what’s best is simply ignoring the channel, as it’s proving provocative to some, then that’s their right.
Could you imagine a Roy Keane having a photo with fans who were swearing at Beckham?
Or Carragher handing out shirts to those who were setting Gerrard’s shirt on fire.
Or Jon Terry interacting with fans who abused Lampard?
Leaders don’t run the dressing room that way, not when they are equally to blame for defeats.
It is no different in most workplaces. Some of you will work in a team environment where you, as a team, give service to a customer. Let say you work in a coffee shop and your mate on the till has just been sworn at, told he’s not good at his job because he gave the wrong change. You then go out to lunch with that customer. How does your mate feel?
Or you’re a sous-chef who sees the Chef is stressed about getting the food wrong, do you go out and have your photo with the customer who’s just told him he can’t cook? Is that the best for the team, which is who you’re a part of, therefore, your team?
So, Arsenal don’t like the work of AFTV who don’t like hearing that they are rubbish? AFTV wished all players liked their channel so we be this one big family?
If the players don’t like it, did they need to go public with this? Does anyone else see the irony?