Commentary

Arsenal's spring of discontent

Liverpool fans showed their discontent with the club's ticket price increases by walking out of a Premier League game in February. Liverpool did a U-turn and rescinded most of the price increases.

Arsenal fans are showing their disapproval with the Gunners' current form by putting their season tickets for Thursday's game against West Brom up for resale. Will Arsenal respond and fire long-time manager Arsene Wenger?

More than 2,500 tickets were put up for sale on the club's ticket exchange, and it took the rare step of making several hundred tickets available for general sale.

That's an extraordinary development as Arsenal led all clubs in the world in match-day revenues with almost $146 million in 2015-16. It ranked seventh in average attendance behind only Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Schalke 04.

The Gunners were in first place in January but are now just fighting for a top four berth, hoping to keep their streak of 18 straight seasons in the Champions League alive. (One other streak appears to be over: For the first time in 20 years, Arsenal will likely finish behind North London rival Tottenham.)

Fans booed the Gunners after their 1-1 tie with Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday. Manchester United's 2-0 win over Palace on Wednesday cut Arsenal's lead over fifth-place United to one point. The Gunners, who have a game in hand, trail third-place Manchester City by one point heading into the rare Thursday match against 14th-place West Brom.

"Everybody is free to do what he wants with his season ticket," Wenger said on Wednesday. "we have to live with that. It's a Thursday night, that's unusual. It's just [after] a disappointing result at home. Maybe that plays a part as well. I don't know."

Disappointment is nothing new for Arsenal, which has not won the EPL championship since 2004 and hasn't finished in the top two since 2005, but Wenger is clinging to his job, which he's held for two decades. He acknowledged both the Arsenal's current troubles -- it's won only five of 14 EPL games since the start of the year -- and the criticism he's received.

"I want our fans to be happy," Wenger said. "And, of course, when they are not, it affects me. You do not want to play in a negative environment. And if we do, we can still perform.

"We are responsible for the performance of our team. It is true that at the moment it's not on a highlight. But we have to take a distance to that. And I hope in the next years Arsenal will always play in the top three, and hopefully people will not be disenchanted."

4 comments about "Arsenal's spring of discontent".
  1. Chris Wirth, April 20, 2016 at 10:16 p.m.

    Trophies, Arsene! Trophies! Specifically, the Prem, which you let slip through your fingers by pulling the same old cheapskate act in the transfer window. That's why fans are discontented, not for some isolated result. And, no, being in the top three is not good enough. For the last time, qualifying for the CL is not a trophy unless you are a mid-table club. Can he possibly be this out of touch, or is he being willfully obtuse?

  2. ROBERT BOND, April 21, 2016 at 9:26 a.m.

    hopefully not 5000-1 that he leaves before he dies........

  3. ROBERT BOND, April 22, 2016 at 9:06 a.m.

    but empty seats show no class.......sat through every game of my alma mater's CFB season that we did not win a single home game.....

  4. ROBERT BOND, April 22, 2016 at 11:15 a.m.

    apathy rampant among gooners.....

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