The Kit Launch is Reflective of the current atmosphere at Arsenal by Alfie Culshaw
Frustration, irritation and perhaps even apathy are words you’d use to describe the atmosphere currently surrounding Arsenal Football Club. Fans are increasingly annoyed but also disinterested about the running of the club, the performances on the pitch and the transfer business, or lack of it, conducted so far this summer.
This was all sourly reflected in today’s big event, the Home Kit launch, which is supposedly set to ignite a spark in our incoming and outgoing business, or so that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves for reassurances over our sanity.
What was supposed to be a huge event, with mass turnout and jubilation at saying goodbye to the dour Puma and greeting the fresh Adidas, was ultimately underwhelming on this front. I arrived early, around 8-ish, expecting a widespread protest outside the stadium directed at our owner and huge numbers of fans queuing to get into the Armoury first to purchase their kits.
Instead, maybe a dozen or so fans stood in a straight line waiting to get into the store, with no sign of an uproar of ‘Kroenke Out’ banners. By about 9:15, I was already in the store and in another short queue waiting to splash £60 on our beautiful new strip. £60! Surely another reason for more fans to be marching around the stadium enraged. Yet, as I emerged from the store, all I was greeted with was a few kids kicking a ball around and a football freestyler, who appeared to have been employed by the Club as the event’s entertainer. There were many people sitting around, having already bought their kit, waiting for the club to lay something more on for them. It felt as though the launch and day which had had so much anticipation was already coming to a premature end.
We had to wait almost two hours before the next marquee moment of the day, a meet and greet with Ray Parlour, followed by another one, with David Seaman. Although this was a nice touch from the club, and provided a nice moment for me personally and probably several other fans, getting a picture with two old English blokes (and Arsenal Legends) it all felt a bit subdued. The low turnout, the embarrassment of the eventual protest which consisted of a fan with a megaphone and three others chanting ‘we want our Arsenal back’ and the megaphone guy claiming Kroenke had just spent $300 million on a yacht, all contributed to this. A nice day, but one that ultimately sought to emulate the current ambience at the club; an odd mixture of anger and bleak apathy.
In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure what I expected from a kit launch. Everyone had seen the kit, so there was only a certain level of hype Adidas and Arsenal could possibly create over revealing it. A new signing modelling it would’ve been nice but that’s too much to ask for from this owner these days. Let’s hope the club does more in the following weeks to reduce this horrendous feeling of apathy, which is essentially bordering on calamity for the club’s welfare.