As AISA members will know we represent them at Arsenal’s regular fans Forum. This connects the club with the two main fans groups (AISA and AST) and other representatives (e.g. Red Action, Women, Platinum, Purple, over 60s, overseas, and youth).
This is how I met Jake Coare, newly elected Silver Members rep. Jake is a very active campaigner on behalf of the huge number of silver members he represents and they are very lucky to have him. Jake’s has undertaken some research, polling silver members on their thoughts about this season, and their lack of access to any real tangible benefits for coughing up £50-60 for their membership.
He has kindly agreed to let me share his research with our members.
Before I look in detail at his findings I want to share his direct message to supporters:
I would like to say thank you for the 772 Arsenal fans that chose to reply to this survey sadly some members said they were not silver members or did not want their information shared so were not counted in the data.
This survey was launched so I can gain an understanding on members views and feelings of membership for the 2020/21 season, this survey is in no way an attack on Arsenal Football club I understand and support Arsenal have had to make tough and difficult decisions everyone in the world of football and in the world have to make decisions on the go and in line with government decisions but as the silver members rep for Arsenal silver members on the fans forum I have to support and fight for the interests of silver members of Arsenal.
Thank you and I hope to have more information when it becomes available,
All the best
We haven’t been allowed back to watch football yet and, with the country about to back into another national lockdown it seems very unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon. Season ticket holders were asked some time ago to opt into a scheme that would allow them to watch some games at Emirates, and for many of us that means that money the club already had was used to make our ‘initial payment’. For those that opted out the money sits there ready for when we need to renew our STs next year.
But for very many Red and Silver members who renewed when the reminder from the club was sent out there is little or no clear message that they will get the chance to return to the ground. Many renewed by direct debit as well, so may not have even seen the notification. So despite paying £50-60 for membership the only benefit they’ve had is a 10% discount in the club shop.
This has left very many silvers very unhappy, as Jake’s survey shows.
A whopping 96% of those polled have or intend to renew their memberships, which shows the loyalty fans have to Arsenal FC, a loyalty we at AISA think deserves better.
Most (over 60%) reported that they were ‘unsatisfied’ with the communication of the situation they had received from the club. Fewer than 1% were ‘highly satisfied’, and most of the rest fell more towards unsatisfied than satisfied. Arsenal really ought to look at this because each and every one of those responses is from a paying Arsenal supporter, the club’s ‘customer base’.
When asked the crucial question…
In the event silver members are unable to attend games for the 2020/21 season which of these options would be fair to you as a member of the club?
…760 members gave the following replies:
12.9% wanted their money back, while just under 5% weren’t bothered. But the rest, 82%, want their membership carried over to the next season at no additional cost.
In effect this is what the club are doing with ST holders and Arsenal have communicated this early, clearly, and have acted properly. Sadly we feel they could be doing better by the Silver members all of whom are just as committed to their club as Gold members are.
This is reflected in the answers to Jake’s next question: How valued do you feel as a member of Arsenal FC?
Only 26.4% of replies (just over a quarter) fell into scale 6-10 (with 10 being highly valued), almost 20% felt very undervalued.
Arsenal must look at this and see what they can do about it. At the Fans Forum Mark Gonnella (as head of Communications) did acknowledge that the club could revisit the situation with silver memberships as the season unfolded, and we at AISA will continue to support Jake in arguing that they should.
If the pandemic and the closure of grounds has taught us anything it has taught us that football really is nothing without fans. COVID-19 is a global disease that may be with us for some time yet, but we will beat it. Football will return, fans will once again fill the Emirates.
Arsenal have been around since 1886, well over 130 years, and it has been a top club for much of that time because of the bond between the club and its supporters. We recognize that these are precarious times for any business, especially one that relies so heavily on 60,000 people passing through its doors on a regular basis. We want to help, as all Arsenal fans do. We understand difficult decisions will have to be made but we also think that the club needs to protect the investment it has made in its members.
For that reason AISA continues to ask that the club looks again at the silver membership issue and considers offering free or heavily reduced renewals for all of those that have paid up this summer.
Drew (AISA Chair)