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How has the rise of Arsenal Fan TV caused conflict at the club?
There was a time when reading the back pages or the odd fanzine would be seen as enough for fans but in an era of multimedia, social media and the like, there is an insatiable appetite for more and more content.
Arsenal Fan TV was started four years ago by Robbie Lyle and it has snowballed into a platform where audiences of 300,000 – 500,000 are not uncommon.
It gives fans a chance to air their views on all things to do with the Gunners both good and bad, meaning that supporters do not have to exclusively watch the stage-managed debates involving ex-players on Sky Sports or other mainstream channels for their fix of football banter.
As with any football club, opinion on all things Arsenal will always be divided and it is inevitable that there will be some heated debates involving passionate fans.
With what has transpired at the Emirates Stadium this term, it is not surprising that there has been conflict regarding Arsene Wenger’s future, and a glance at this site will give punters all they need to know about backing the club over the remainder of the campaign.
It does not take a YouTube channel for the club’s hierarchy to work out that all is not well and that many supporters want to see a change at the top, as cries of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ were clearly audible during Monday’s 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Fans venting their frustration on Arsenal Fan TV will only back that up but does it really cause any more conflict than there would already have been?
Discussing football on a Monday morning at work has been going on since the game was invented and will continue to happen with or without new media outlets popping up.
The difference with the new style of reporting is that it gives fans a chance to have their say straight after a match when passions are running high and it is no surprise that there has been so much negativity during a season of turmoil in north London.
But it has always been said that the game belongs to the supporters and so why shouldn’t they be able to express their feeling after parting with hard-earned cash to watch their heroes?
While it was never an intention to make ‘stars’ out of fans on the channel there are regular contributors to Arsenal Fan TV who can always be relied upon for a soundbite or two outside the Emirates.
One such ‘debate’ with a stalwart was witnessed by ex-England star and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who made it clear he was less-than-impressed with what he witnessed.
A studio interview between Lyle, another protagonist and Neville was set up where all concerned were given an opportunity to continue the discussion in a more controlled environment.
That shows just how the lesser lights can infiltrate the big boys and it may well be that more and more of these types of platforms emerge in the future.
A few have been started but failed to have the backing required to carry on but, love it or hate it, it seems as though Arsenal Fan TV is here to stay.