You may have seen the “Football should be an ART” banner featured on Sky TV ahead of the game against Manchester United in January 2021 (and later on BBC 1’s Match of the Day).
What’s the story behind this banner and what has it to do with AISA?
The idea was cooked up by two AISA members: Drew Grey, now the chair of AISA, and Tony Attwood, who runs the AISA Arsenal History Society.
Together they approached Arsenal to find out the rules relating to stadium banners, of which a number had already been erected in the previous few years.
Having established that it might still be possible to add another banner to the growing collection, and having gained details of the technicalities from the club, Drew and Tony consulted a wide range of fans and held a vote among those interested, on various possible slogans and designs.
Arsene Wenger’s famous saying, “Football should be an art” was the preferred choice, and in close liaison with Arsenal, the banner was designed by Jennie Bradley. Crowdfunding through the Untold Arsenal website was used to finance the scheme and we were greatly assisted by Mark Brindle, the club’s Supporter Liaison Officer, in seeing this project through.
When the banner was erected by Arsenal we told that, “It should be there for at least a year,” but in fact it has remained there ever since and is now in its sixth year.
The design has been seen on television many times, but twice it is has had a particular focus.
The first was perhaps to be expected, for that was on 6 May 2018, the date of Mr Wenger’s final home match. The BBC opened Match of the Day (below) with a prolonged shot of the banner.
Much more of a surprise was the decision of Sky Sports to open their coverage of Arsenal v Manchester United on 30 January 2021 with another long held shot of the banner as the commentators looked back to past battles between the two clubs.
AISA would like to express its thanks to Mark Brindle and everyone at Arsenal who was involved in agreeing that we should be the only UK based group to have our banner in the ground, and for maintaining it there ever since.
With two major features on TV, we are now hoping our banner will stay in place for many more years to come.