Last summer I received an incredible email – “Season Ticket Offer at Arsenal Football Club”. It had been more than seven years in the making. Time momentarily froze as I digested the words in front of me. Then came the rush of adrenaline as I fumbled around my flat in search of a phone. It is a memory that will remain with me forever. The timing though, as with most things in life, could not have been much worse. It was a fortnight before my wedding and my finances were in tatters. I envisaged all the home made lunches and tins of beans I would need to survive on in the coming months. I decided there and then that there was only one course of action – to take the plunge and purchase the ticket! Nine months have since passed, and what a great decision it has turned out to be! The opportunity to watch your boyhood team is something that many fans would chop an arm off for. I was therefore quite dumbfounded this week when a friend of mine announced that he intended to rent his ticket out for next season. The rationale behind his decision? “I don’t want to lose my season ticket, but I refuse to pay the current price without Champions League football to look forward to”….
Before you ask “is this guy a real fan?” or “has he fallen on hard times?” then think again. He is both a life-long fan and financially solvent. In my view, the decision he made reflects a much more widespread issue at the club; an on-going malaise which no-one seems capable of arresting. In a microcosm it is one example of the rampant pessimism permeating through the mindset of many Arsenal fans these days. I disagree strongly with such an outlook, and I am going to argue that not only is the decision of my friend (and no doubt many others at the club) a sad one, but that it is based on an unlikely premise – a season without Champions League football. It is irrational and counter to historical precedent to argue that Arsenal Football Club will finish this season outside the qualification zone for Europe’s elite competition….
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