Arsene Wenger says it’s down to him and the players to excite Arsenal fans during a period when attendances are at the lowest they’ve been for many years.
Despite the announcements of crowds in the high 50,000s*, it’s clear that far fewer people are in the stadium, with an estimated 30,000 of the 60,000+ capacity staying away from the recent league game with Manchester City.
As the Gunners prepare to face AC Milan in the Europa League Round of 16 second-leg this evening, the manager acknowledged the team’s role in winning back supporters.
“I have played in front of sold-out stadiums for 22 years and I am grateful,” he said.
“If there are one or two games and the stadium is not completely full, we have to look at ourselves and get the fans behind us again.”
While Aaron Ramsey, goalscorer in the San Siro, said he was hopeful the importance of tonight’s clash would see people turn out to back the team.
“Hopefully there won’t be so many empty seats,” he said, “But we’re just focused on trying to win a football game.
“Hopefully our performances on the pitch will encourage many to come back.”
Let’s hope that the excitement of tonight’s game helps with the attendance. We have the chance to get into a European quarter-final, and a good performance and result would go some way to reinvigorating fans.
* Arsenal’s announcement is not the number of people through the turnstiles, but the amount of tickets sold. However, there’s a lot to be read into the fact that so many people are choosing not to attend games they’ve actually paid for.