An Open Letter to Arsenal Media Relations

Dear Mr Mark Gonnella,
                                       speaking firstly as an Arsenal supporter, this season has been a myriad of missed opportunities. No one could have foreseen the whirlwind assault on the Premier League table that is Leicester City, but if potential had been fulfilled, it could have been our club that is looking down on our competitors, rather than the Foxes.

Interaction with the fans, especially in times of struggle, is of huge importance. A club with the stature of ours must maintain relations with fans, and with the plethora of different social media avenues available, it enables the people who value Arsenal above all to still feel a part of the club.

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Arsenal can boast of a gargantuan worldwide fanbase that represents every corner of the globe. The Arsenal website and their connected accounts on Facebook, Twitter et al give a great insight behind the curtain in regards to the inner sanctum of Arsenal, and the steady flow of images from training and the various events that take place are fantastic for fans.

There are elements that could be improved however. I have been enveloped in the social media cocoon since the inception of ‘Myspace,’ and the people I interact with on a daily basis through Twitter and Facebook – in regards to Arsenal – share the same views as the ones I am about to disclose. I do hope you will attempt to take these suggestions on board.

Returning to the topic of interaction, there have been a frequent amount of occasions when the official Arsenal Twitter account has posted material or ‘tweets,’ that have been ill-timed at best. At the crux of the matter is this: A genuine Arsenal fan must be at the helm of the clubs’ keyboard. An intrinsic affection for Arsenal has to be a prerequisite for a position where the chief responsibility is to generate rapport and interaction with the very people who follow every word that spills forth from the club?

The current incumbent of this exalted position does a fine job of posting some genuinely interesting material and the recent intertwining with EuropCar has been of a high standard ( kudos to the acting skills of Messrs Welbeck, Walcott and Cech ). It would be an advantage though, if the person who was behind all entries in regards to social media, shared an affinity with the very people they are seeking to connect with?

There is a massive list of people on Twitter that I converse with regularly, that would fit the bill for this position. Timing is everything, and these people have the firmest of grasps on how the land lies with the supporters. It is a divisive time in the Gooner camp, and a knowledgeable hand on the tiller would sail the media side of Arsenal into slightly safer waters?

To take a leaf from other Premier League outfits is not something that should be made a habit of, we are The Arsenal after all, but some of our opposition actively seek fans to fulfill the social media obligations, rather than outsource, as it were?

A fine example of this would be a recent event held at The Emirates, in connection with Europcar. A fine occasion it was, but a massive oversight was hiring a compere who did not share the excitement of the lucky fans who were present – as he was a Liverpool fan? There were people there – again, including my good self – that would have willingly picked up the mic and taken great pleasure in quizzing the former Arsenal player who was there to meet and greet us?

An Arsenal fan interacting with people who share the devotion toward the club generates harmony. When there are storm clouds on the horizon – much like at this present moment – a refreshingly honest – but still with the best interests of the club at heart – entry would go down far easier than the current concoction of hype and gloss?

In addition to this, a frustrating part of football in this current climate is the infatuation with transfers. Every day there are countless articles, links and images that sprout up with every swish your digit makes on your phone screen. Of course, it is undeniable that there is a surge of excitement every time you see a great player has been ‘linked’ with us – but out of the thousands of pieces that are available to read on this subject – there are precious few with their roots entrenched in the dirt of truth.

The Media Watch section – whilst the intentions may be honourable – is a blight on the landscape. It appears that the club message is of vindication in regards to spurious rumours, as opposed to what the supporters truly seek, which is only honesty. This section may well attract a huge number of clicks, but surely the integrity of the club renders this section moot? After all, Arsenal is a club that has always valued tradition and the ‘Arsenal Way.’ Continuing to promote lazy and asinine stories – written with a modicum of source material and aiming only for hyperbole – is surely not the best implementation of keeping fans in ‘the loop?’

I do hope you will take the time to read the ramblings of this fan. I have had many tweets on this very issue that share this mindset, and the face of Arsenal Football Club is a topic that must rank high on the agenda!

I look forward to hearing from you,

Dan Betts.

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