Arsene Wenger says he’s not concerned by empty seats at the Emirates Stadium, and insists he doesn’t know why people think it’s a problem.
Attendances have been dwindling this season, and as the Gunners struggles in the league grew, fewer and fewer people turned up for games – despite having already paid for their tickets.
It was a subject brought up at the manager’s press conference on Thursday, and rather than acknowledge there is even an issue, Wenger said the fans were ‘solid’ and declared the team’s lack of competitiveness the major problem facing the club (the parallel between these two things couldn’t be more obvious, btw).
Asked if he was worried about the falling attendances, the Arsenal boss said, “It’s not a big concern because our crowd is very solid at the moment. Of course, we have played on some special days, we don’t go for the league.
“I believe we have a very faithful crowd, very faithful fans, who will always be there and support the club. When you look at the renewal numbers for next season, they are absolutely outstanding.”
He was questioned if he thought fans would return on the back of Europa League success, and the Frenchman said, “I don’t know. We are sold out in every single game so I don’t know where the problem is at the moment.
“If you feel like next season it will not be the case, then we’ll have to face it. But I believe if you look at our numbers and how much people want to renew tickets for next season, I don’t believe that we have a major problem.
“We have a major problem at the moment because we’re not in a position to win the league. That’s our biggest problem. The biggest problem is not the number of fans who are behind the team.”
Maybe it’s a case of the manager not wanting to cause any kind of upset ahead of the crucial game against Atletico on Thursday, but surely he – and the board – can see that this kind of concerted stay-away is unprecedented during his tenure at the club?
And if he can’t see where the problem is, when it’s staring at him from all sides of the stadium, then we should be even more worried.