173,000 empty seats: Here’s the problem and the solution

by & filed under News Review.

Man, I’ve woken up thinking it’s a Friday, not a Thursday. I had a picture of a goat ready and everything. What a shame.

Anyway, big news so far this morning is my mobile phone provider cut me off. The absolute buggers. Still, it’s ok, I can write way quicker at a desk than on a bus.

One of the main stories this morning centres around ACTUAL attendance figures. I think it was pretty clear last season that Arsenal weren’t always filling their pretty stadium.


For sure, they were. But the gaps around the ground are pretty apparent.

Here are the stats from A is for Arsenal.

* on average the actual attendance was 5,998 lower than that stated by the Club
* on average 6,550 seats were empty per game
* the worst attended match was Fenerbahce at 44,779, which was 15,559 lower than capacity and 11,492 below the official attendance
* the best attended game was Liverpool in the league at 57,341
* the real average attendance was 53,788 compared to 59,786 announced by the Club
* a total of 173,945 seats went unoccupied at home games last season

Some pretty alarming numbers there. If everyone bought a £8 salt beef bagel, which is entirely possible, that’d be an extra £1.3m. Ok, I know that we don’t get the catering figures. Where exactly do Arsenal make money in the stadium?

I missed about 3 games last year, I think? One was because I forgot my ticket. If everyone missed three games over a 29 game period, we’d have actually had more missing seats at 181,014. I guess when you put it like that, it’s not inconceivable that we’re in the situation we’re in.

Things Arsenal need to do…

Build an app through the magic of technology that allows you to share your ticket with other app holders, or allows you to sell you ticket back to the club at short notice.

Get this… you gain entry into the stadium in exactly the same way you gain entry to a plane with ticket systems like the one you have on an iPhone.

This, for me, solves it all.

I also think the idea of fuelling this ticketing idea works by giving people home credits for attending games. People bloody love rewards schemes. Arsenal should make this app the hub of all their digital activity. Retail outlets are gamifying their purchasing experience, maybe Arsenal could do something similar? Think of all the data they could accrue… imagine being able to buy your food in the stadium through NFC… no more massive cues because the guys at the tills can’t count. Imagine getting replays to your phone in the ground. Imagine being able to watch the highlights on your way home in your exclusive season ticket app. IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES IF ARSENAL HAD AN INTEGRATED DIGITAL APPROACH TO ECOMMERCE, TICKETING, MEDIA AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF.

Next level shiz, right there…

It’s clear there are probably a lot of people who just buy up the tickets so they have them for the big games with clients. This isn’t on. Arsenal need to weed out the people who buy tickets and don’t use them. There should be a clause that if you don’t use your ticket, you lose it. Bit draconian, but come on, this is a club that needs people in the ground… because the waiting list is so long.

Still, it has to be said, having a season ticket is not only expensive, it’s also a massive time drain. You simply can’t make all the games during the season. The problem is that when you can’t make the games, the club don’t give fans the tools to distribute their tickets properly. I sorted my pals ticket last season, the next game, I forgot mine in the flap to make sure I had his. It’s such a ball ache shifting someone else’s ticket, then there’s the added pain in the arse of potentially getting nicked selling it on… there has to be another way.

When firms like Viagogo are cool to sell third party tickets at horrendous markups, why can’t fans or clubs build a system that takes care of it. I’d rather give my seat back to the club knowing someone else could get it on the day.

Something for Arsenal to work on I guess… ultimately, if there were cheap last minute tickets on the door, the club could indoctrinate young fans into the Arsenal way (I’ve been watching Jesus Camp).

I’d jump into the affordability thing… but for me, it’s not about affordability, it’s about the convenience of shifting your ticket. If you can’t afford to go, don’t buy one.

Finally, before I go (I’m totally ignoring the Mbia stories), take a watch of this hilarious advert from Fox about too much sport killing marriages. I love American sport advertising.

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Did you say, Cavani?

by & filed under News Review.

So the rumour mill is going bloody crazy this morning, the exciting stuff is in the Telegraph. They’ve indicated we’re looking at Howedes, the German centre back along with Gustavo and Carvahlo. The article says Wenger will only add one more. A bit odd he’d has one more with interest across two positions.

Some of the other publications have mention all Kostas Manolas as the third choice centre back we’re looking at. He’s 23, played at the World Cup and would come in at under £3m which would make Wenger sense. To be honest, you probably want someone who would be fine fight for a place this season. I’m cool with that sort of cover. Ideally, Howedes would be my man. He’s a top, top defender who won the World Cup playing left back. That’s versatility if ever I saw it!

I like that we’re back in for Gustavo… I’d be surprised if we snared him, he plays for a mega rich club who are building for the future (Wolfsburg). So it’d be off if they let him go right now.

Giroud has been talking up the qualities of his new strike partner…

“It is always easy to play with this type of player. I think he will maybe need some more games to adapt his game to the Premier League but this is normal and he is a fantastic player.

“He has different qualities to me or Sanogo. He can bring his pace and technique into the centre of the park. Our Germans will join us. We will be stronger this year and get better and better.”

I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out. Giroud gives us a lot when we have pace, but he’s not top quality. He could lift it this season, prove us all wrong, but ultimately, when you’re slow, you have to pull some serious magic to make a difference at the highest level.

Still, we have options. Lots of them. Our front three are mostly interchangeable. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive fan of Sanogo and his potential, but he’s big and fast so he’ll get scraps… Joel Campbell has a lot of the raw ingredients you need with flashes of brilliance. The player I’m looking forward to seeing the most is Theo. His pace and sharp shooting will be a welcome addition.

United look good. All the noise about Diego Costa being a poor buy looks to be just that, noise. Liverpool look brutal. City don’t need to look good because they’ll come good because they have so much individual talent.

Before I leave you with something a bit weird, Kike Marin reckons we’re talking to Cavani. He was the only journo who had the Reus story when I was hinting about it and he was one of the first with Sanchez news as well.

Guy be connected… naaa what I’m saying fool?

Right, I was asked to write something for the Standard and they sent me some questions about Spurs by accident. I thought that was the twist.

Apparently not. I just wrote a load of stuff for nothing. So here it is…. for the bantz.

1) Who has been Tottenham’s best Signing (so far)?

Errr, have they signed anyone? No wait, that English kid who grew up in Portugal, or that Villarreal player? I have no idea. I think Spurs were told they weren’t allowed to sign players this year on account of how much they embarrassed their fans last year (you know, ‘we’re title contenders’ after spending £100m on dross).

2) Which player would you have liked them to have signed?

I’d have liked them to have picked up Nik Bendtner. Outside players, I was actually quite devastated they didn’t pick up Louis Van Gaal as their manager. I think he’d have been a disaster for Spurs following their last two managers. He’d have caused all sorts of friction for a club he’s ultimately bigger than. I think Pochettino is a good manager. He’ll work with what he has, nuture youth and the chances are, he’ll get far more out of his players than the last two managers have.

Then 2-3 sentences on with his overall views of how successful Tottenham’s transfer window has been.

I don’t think it’s been much of a window. Probably their biggest success has been keeping Vertonghen. Spurs strategy this summer has centred around foundation setting. They have the players, they’ve spent the money, now they need a manager who can make things work properly. I think they’re this seasons dark horses. No one is talking about Spurs and look, the dross I spoke about clearly isn’t dross. The dross last season was solely focused in the management department. The right manager could make Spurs a force for hitting that desirable Europa League spot.

3) Who will be their key player next season?

Hugo Lloris is Spurs best player by quite a margin, arguably, their only World Class player. He’ll be playing for a move to a proper club with Champions League football the season after, so he’ll be charged.

4) Who will breakthrough into the team next season?

No idea, don’t care.

5) Which player has something to prove?

Basically the raft of players they signed last season. Paulinho needs to show what he’s about, Capoue needs to prove himself like he did in France and Erik Lamela, so blessed with talent, needs to show what he’s all about.

6) Who is the weakest link?

There are so many players at Spurs who could be weak links. The weakest part about their whole set up is the mental fragility that is synonymous with the club. No manager has really managed to stop Spurs bottling it. Harry Redknapp came close, but still failed spectacularly in the end to topple Arsenal. Pochettino is a different breed of manager. Highly rated, smart, trustworthy and intelligent. He still has a major job on his hands. The likelihood is Spurs will still bottle it and this season, they could be a long way off Arsenal, because we’ve really kicked on to the next level.

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Strongest squad in 12 years?

by & filed under News Review.

Arsenal vs Bayern

Arsenal vs Bayern

Tony Adams has gone on the Arsenal offensive again, seems he’s desperate for attention of sorts… maybe it’s a new job, maybe it’s the precursor for his official Twitter launch. Who knows. What we can ascertain is that he’s not happy about TV5 leaving…

“I’m slightly saddened by the news Vermaelen’s leaving. I personally believe that you need three central defenders to win the championship.