Arsenal have outlined plans to improve supporter engagement by launching an Arsenal Advisory Board (AAB) which is designed to give punters a greater say in how the club is run.
Made up of club officials and elected representatives from various supporter groups (see more below), it will meet twice a season to discuss a range of issues including the preservation of Arsenal’s culture and traditions, the expansion of the fanbase, the future direction of the game at home and abroad, community work, diversity and inclusion, the growth of Arsenal Women and the development of revenue to maximise investment in players.
The AAB’s terms of reference explain that it exists, “to provide a forum for representatives from the Club’s supporters’ groups and fanbase to meet with senior representatives from the Club and discuss relevant issues relating to the Club or football generally.”
The decision to found the AAB comes off the back of significant protests against the club’s ownership following their role in the shambolic European Super League project.
Arsenal were one of 12 clubs that signed up to the proposal in April only to renege on their commitment within 72 hours when it became apparent that there was no support for such a cack-handed reorganisation of the European game.
Wary of the reaction, three of the six English clubs involved have already hatched plans to try and quell supporter disquiet.
In May, Chelsea announced that there will be a supporter presence at the Club’s board meetings. Sp*rs confirmed they would appoint a supporter to their board as a non-executive member and Liverpool, much like Arsenal, have launched a Supporters Board.
In a statement released this evening, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust described the AAB plan as “very underwhelming” explaining that they “fail to match even the proposal made by other Premier League clubs.”
Stan and Josh Kroenke said: “We are 100 per cent committed to Arsenal for the long term and we want our fans to feel even closer to the club they love. The steps that are being taken here will ensure their voice is more central to the club’s decision making moving forward.”
Given fan voices have been largely ignored in recent years that’s not exactly promising much.
Which supporters groups will have elected officials on the AAB?
- The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST)
- The Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association (AISA)
- Gay Gooners
- Domestic and International Supporters’ Clubs
- Arsenal Disabled Supporters’ Association
- A Fans’ Forum representative for 18-24-year-old fans
Who will represent the club on the AAB?
- Josh Kroenke (ownership)
- Tim Lewis (board member)
- Vinai Venkatesham (Chief Executive)
- Mark Gonnella (Media, Communications & Community Affairs Director)
- Mark Brindle (Supporter Liaison Officer)
How often will the AAB meet?
Twice a season.
How will this differ to the existing Fans’ Forum committee?
The Fans’ Forum will continue to exist and will meet twice a year to discuss “more operational matters” including ticket pricing, membership pricing, safe standing, ticket touting and matchday attendance matters.