Dear Arsenal (Tom Fox!), Please don’t forget your cousins across the pond.

Dear Arsenal,

“How do I love thee?  Yet you spurn my amorous glances and love as if I carry about me a foul and unpleasant odor.”  Such is the opening line American supporters of Arsenal might write to Arsenal.  With the potential to have millions of fans in the US, yes millions, and the dollars that go along with them, Arsenal needs to do more to cultivate the support on this side of the Atlantic.  I’m talking to you Tom Fox.  And, I’ve got a few ideas and they all start with Arsenal America.

Arsenal supporters in the States have money and are groomed to be dedicated sports fans; it’s part of being American, we love sports.  $60 for a jersey? Ok. $5 for an iPhone app?  Not a problem.  $6/month for Arsenal TV Online, fine.  But don’t mistake our love for foolishness.  We know we’re getting the short-end of the stick here.  So I say this to Arsenal, help us help you.  The Supporters Clubs can’t do it alone, they need the Club’s help to make it worthwhile to join.

Full disclosure, I’m an Arsenal America member and know one of the officers.  He’s a great guy that does all he can.  So this isn’t an attack on Arsenal America at all.  It’s a call to the Club to help Arsenal America.  Basically, the Club needs to help Arsenal America build out it’s benefits for joining.

Here are four ideas.

  • Member Gear.  Once a member pays to officially join Arsenal American, they should receive some form of merchandise with the Club and supporters group’s regalia.  Right now we get a lamented card.  The Supporters Group can’t do this on their own.  I mean, we can do knock off t-shirts, but why isn’t there an official t-shirt through the Club? or a beanie, scarf, something?!  I know Europe is different, they have a variety of different types of supporter clubs, believe me, I’ve sat in the cheap seats with them.  But here in the US we don’t do that and we don’t get to go to games regularly and sit with fellow special support groups.  You can’t have a bunch of “Ultras” that have to watch the game in their mother’s basement, it just doesn’t work.
  • Permanent Discounts.  Shipping from England is expensive.  And this is necesary because we don’t get all the same gear they do in England.  Have you compared the Arsenal store for the Us with the UK?  Bleh.  Anyway, once a paid member, the member should have permanent discounts on select merchandise.  Forget the occasional discount offer sometimes given by Arsenal to Arsenal America members: certain items need to be discounted permanently.  Scarfs and jerseys are the most obvious.  This isn’t difficult.  Paid members get a login; once logged in, they have access to the Arsenal store and receive a discount after they purchase.
  • Create Arsenal America specific gear.  Nike, an American company, is our kit designer.  You’re telling me they can’t help design an Arsenal America t-shirt?  Spare me.  Niketown carries Arsenal gear already.  Throw in a few more Arsenal America type shirts and everybody wins.  Arsenal fans get cool gear local to our lovely little country; Arsenal will get more fans because they’ll love the American-centric gear; and, Nike gets to be cool.  Nothing crazy mind, a scarf and some t-shirts.  Something that lets us bleed the Red AND be American.
  • FIX ARSENAL TV FOR NORTH AMERICA.  Let us stream the games live.  I know licensing plays a role here and much of that is beyond Arsenal’s control, but Arsenal should take the lead in segmenting the American market to allow Arsenal to sign separate deals to stream games live to the US.  West Coast Gooners are particularly subject to the mistress of time zones.  Unfortunately, she’s jealous of my relationship with Arsenal and makes me pay for it.  Getting up to watch a 7AM game on a Saturday or Sunday after a night out before is brutal.  Even without a night out before it’s brutal.  Once, the Pundit and I just stayed up for 24 hours so that we wouldn’t have to go back to sleep and wake up in 2 hours to watch a match.  So please, let us watch the games live and LOSE the Microsoft DRM.  Bleh.

The Arsenal management has already done well by producing the iPhone app quickly.  And yes, we ALL have the application.  On the other hand, I don’t know of any American that has decided to enter the Arsenal website via the “American” entrance.  I mean, I’m sure some people do, but I have no idea why they do.  But more can, should and must be done.  And with an American, Tom Fox as head of Arsenal’s Global Marketing, I can’t rail against our island cousins for their pleasant, but sometimes myopic approach to globally branding anymore.

So there you have it Arsenal.  I’ve done all the hard lifting, I’m an idea guy.  But now you know what to do.

– the student

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3 Comments

  1. il c what i can do boys! il i fink ur absolutely right! i feel the arsenal dont do enuff in the states. id luv 2 go and c th on a pre season tour in america. i go and c them regular i was a at barca away last season. if u can get youtube out there check out jj on the mic barca away! brill day! shame about the result tho. but we had 5 1st teamers out that day and barca r a quality side. but il talk 2 my mates and try and get every1 chattin about it it. mayb even a movement goin. in arsene we trust! oh 2! oh 2 b! oh 2 b a gooner!

  2. i was down the pub, the other night, my mate said 2 me iv sin the new ian wright! i said 2 him, who could that b, he said 2 me, thierry henry,,,,,,,,thierry henry,,,,,,,,,, thierry henry,,,,

  3. its arsenal in barca jj on the mic. fantastic


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