Regulars on ArsenalFanTV have become stars of social media through their criticism of embattled manager, Arsene WengerYoutube - ArsenalFanTV

It’s Sunday afternoon. Brighton have just beaten Arsenal – inflicting the fourth consecutive defeat on the North London club. It’s only the second time in Arsène Wenger’s tenure as manager that his team have lost four in a row – but it is not so much the result that I am fascinated by but rather the reactions from the fans as I indulge in my guilty football pleasure – my weekly fix – of ArsenalFanTV.

The concept is simple: a presenter, a cameraman and an Arsenal fan. Whilst this may sound like the start of an oft-told joke, this format has proven to be extremely successful over the five years that the channel has been operating. It now has over 700,000 subscribers – a figure that has doubled over the past year.

They do what other media outlets rarely risk doing: delving into the opinions of the fans. It gives the fans a voice, enables them to be heard and creates a space for a different perspectives to the familiar voice of some bland pundits who have dropped off the pitch and straight into the studio seat. In this sense, the channel has successfully exploited a gap in the market.

Like with many videos/channels/series of this type, the channel has spawned various regular characters – each with their own personalities and distinctive traits. Whether it be Claude’s infamously strident rants, Ty’s consistent defence of Wenger or Troopz’s ‘fam-filled’ outbursts, there is an addictive and compelling nature to ArsenalFanTV which makes it inherently watchable.

The channel is not without its critics – on and off the pitch. It has certainly divided the Arsenal fan base but even Arsenal players have openly criticised the channel. Hector Bellerin made comments at the Oxford Union last month claiming that the channel’s success was fed off failure and that the fans who were featured could not, therefore, be real supporters. Gary Neville has also labelled the channel ‘embarrassing’.

In a way, Bellerin’s comments do make some sense - I, for one, only search out the videos when Arsenal lose so in this sense, the channel’s popularity is probably partly built off the desire of opposing fans to watch Arsenal supporters’ reactions when their team lose. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how much success the channel would be getting if Arsenal were not beginning to struggle or if Wenger’s tenure had come to an end. However, to question the loyalty or passion of the fans, as Bellerin did, is unfair. While some videos might be slightly unconvincing, there is genuine emotion and passion infused in the rants and frustrations of the regular fans.

“We need more outlets like ArsenalFanTV which generate pathways and outlets for the fans to be heard”

The other factor that many people appear to be overlooking is that the channel is, perhaps inadvertently, giving the club an added level of exposure which, in an era when football clubs are becoming increasingly business and brand-oriented, should not be discouraged. Additionally, whether you agree with the channel or not, it is clearly entertaining in some form otherwise it wouldn’t have received the coverage that is has. If it’s a format that works, then why shouldn’t it be encouraged?


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Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the channel represents more than simply an avenue for angry Arsenal fans to vent their frustrations. In fact, if football is to see necessary change, for example in relation to ticket prices, we need more outlets like ArsenalFanTV which generate pathways and outlets for the fans to be heard. It is a very direct way for the voice of the football fan to be heard and goes beyond the banners in the stands, the chants from the terraces or the random phone calls to a radio station. It places fans’ opinions (and anger) front and centre of news feeds, media streams and eventually (one would hope) club administrators. After all, if the players are seeing, or at least acknowledging it, then it must have some pervasive influence. If change on aspects such as ticket prices is sought, then such sentiment and similar channels need to be encouraged and promoted not ridiculed and demeaned

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