The ‘Black Scarf Movement’, friend or foe? by TN
Should we Gooner’s feel threatened by this group or should we embrace both them and their objectives?
I’ve heard said the BSM are a small minority, not representative of the majority of Arsenal fans, they’re only doing this for profit, they’re Arsenal anarchists, they should leave the club and go elsewhere etc etc.
So the question must be, who are these people, are they profit motivated, what are their true objectives ‘profit’ or an Arsenal where the board, manager, team and fans are as one.
The BSM, a non profit organisation, was formed in 2009, today they have between 2,500 and 3,000 paid up members. This may not appear large, numerically speaking, but the fact is that not everyone joins groups and actively takes part in protests etc, even if they feel very strongly about an issue e.g the UK population over the EU and UKIP membership.
Around 10% of the BSM membership is comprised from fans living outside the UK.
So who are the guys who run the BSM?
They are all Arsenal fans who voluntarily give their time, there are no paid employees, but more than that, depending upon your current view, they are ‘true’ Arsenal fans whose convictions have led them to set up a ‘protest group’, arrange campaigns, attend Arsenal’s AGM and, as a by product, raise money for Bob Wilson’s charity, ‘the Willow Foundation’.
Other revenues raised by the group go toward flyers, advertising, website, printing etc. There are no advertisements on the BSM website.
Even if you disagree with their views, you cannot help but admire these guys for both their dedication and commitment to their cause, can you?
One of the first BSM protest marches was against ‘ridiculous season ticket price rises’, price rises of 6.5%, this at a time of great austerity. If the BSM hadn’t protested, who would have? Or should everyone keep quiet and blindly pay anything that’s asked without question? Wouldn’t AFC and every football club around the world love that?
As an aside, there were just a few hundred on that march, so would anyone claim the remaining 56,000+ fans who didn’t attend were quite happy paying that price increase? Utter nonsense!
But if you think fans should pay prices without question, who do you expect to speak up for the future of Arsenal Football Club I.e. “Junior gunners” because it certainly isn’t going to be you, is it?
The BSM have been accused of spreading disinformation concerning the board, apparently the reason for that is they wish to promote discontent amongst fans.
Firstly, why would anyone want anarchy amongst the fans, what purpose would it serve?
Secondly, if anyone was spreading false rumours etc, with information so freely available on the Internet, these could very easily be disproved.
But these rumours most often relate to the current Arsenal board and shareholders ‘milking’ money from the club.
Personally I have neither seen nor heard any false information relating to the Arsenal board and shareholders originating from the BSM.
Nowhere have I seen the BSM promoting information stating the board or shareholders have taken either loans or dividends from the club.
But there can be no argument concerning the following:
Arsenal shareholders have accumulated wealth, to the tune of, £510 million since 2008 ie at today’s share price of £17,000 per share.
Kroenke, if he decided to sell his shares today would have made nearly £300 million profit!
Ivan Gazidis earns base salary of £2.5 million.
Although no dividends have been declared to date, the consensus expectation is that they will be forthcoming.
Equally since 2008, not a single board member nor shareholder has ‘put their hand in their pocket’ and put money into the club for team strengthening etc. I personally can find absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest otherwise.
If the BSM are being accused of stating any of the above, then they are simply stating facts, why would anyone try to stop that?
I also heard the BSM protests are a ‘waste of time’, are they?
All BSM protests thus far have been recorded on film and are available on the Internet for personal viewing, how can that be bad?
If being a ‘waste of time’ is simply correlated to numbers, well i’ve already covered that above and it really is a naive view of life.
Following the last protest march, at the Swansea game, 500 new members joined on the day and the demand for BSM merchandise soared, to such an extent, there is now a delay in getting it out.
Within the upper echelons of AFC, two issues proposed by the BSM are apparently now being considered, ‘reforming the Clock End with season tickets’ being one. Would this issue, plus others, be considered by AFC without the BSM? This alone would suggest the BSM protests are not a waste of time!
And what are the main goals of the BSM, I asked them that question directly. Their actual reply was:
“We want each and every fan who goes through that turnstile to have faith in each and every member of the team, management, board, owner etc. To know that when the club talk about “ambition” they ARE trying to win everything. Not to hear that there’s £70m in the bank and hearing / seeing our best players leave year on year. To have a club united on the field as well as off it. We want better for the fans, for the fans to be proud of the best club in the world which is what we are.”
What Arsenal fan doesn’t want the above?
I will finish by leaving you with two thoughts.
Firstly, what would need to happen over Arsenal before you decided to organise a group and campaign on the streets? Or would you leave it to the next bloke?
Secondly, are these guys of the BSM really out to cause discontent amongst the fans or should we embrace both them and their ideals with open arms?
If you want to know more information about BSM and there objectives, visit there website WhereHasOurArsenalGone.co.uk