Senior Arsenal official publicly admits empty seats at the Emirates is ‘disappointing’ – as thousands of fans fail to attend victory over Hull City
PUBLISHED: 15:41 12 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:50 12 February 2017
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Empty seats at the Emirates during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Hull City yesterday has highlighted supporter frustration – as a senior club official admitted the number of no-shows is ‘disappointing’.
Although Arsene Wenger’s men saw off Marco Silva’s battling Tigers team with a brace from Alexis Sanchez, seasoned observers estimated unused seats numbered between 5,000 to 10,000 – resentment grows at the club again being unable to mount a genuine title challenge despite having some of the most expensive ticket prices on the planet.
The absence of season ticket holders who fail to use their seats has been attributed to many factors including anger against the long-serving Wenger continuing as manager, the widely-held belief many corporations hold seats for ‘client entertainment’ but only use them for high profile matches – and even apathy.
The respected Gooner Fanzine has been providing an independent platform for the views of Arsenal fans for three decades.
Editor Kevin Whitcher explained: “Season ticket holders not turning up for matches they have paid for has become an all too regular phenomenon in recent seasons. “Unfortunately, a large number of the non-attendees do not go to the game because of apathy.
“Sadly some fans simply lose interest once they see the team’s title challenge habitually collapse.
“The club need to be more imaginative about how they address this issue.”
Yesterday’s early kick off on a bitterly cold day against lowly opposition – a week after a damaging 3-1 defeat to Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – has also been used as a reason why there were so many pockets of empty seats scattered around the ground yesterday, even with the club insisting the official attendance was 59,962, just 380 short of its current capacity of 60,342.
Arsenal Supporters Trust – whose goal is to widen supporter ownership, representation and influence at the club - insisted the true figure of no-show fans was even more than 10,000 saying: “The club needs to address this”, adding. “a significant number of season ticket holders now pick and choose the games they attend.
“Some of this is the driven by apathy and the sense the club has gone stale – but it also reflects changes in the fanbase.”
However Arsenal communications director Mark Gonnella tweeted last night: “It is always disappointing to see empty seats but [the 10,000 estimate] is way out.”
Arsenal now prepare to face Bayern Munich in Germany on Wednesday for the first leg of their crucial Champions League Round of 16 tie.
For comprehensive coverage of the match at the Allianz Arena read the Islington Gazette.