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A placard produced by fans on the day

It was decided as soon as I heard Arsenal fans were going to demonstrate against the ESL- I ought, needed, had to turn up to register my feelings.  Given that I can get to the ground fairly easily it really wasn’t a sacrifice. My great grandfather whom I never met and my grandfather whom I did and who loved the Arsenal as Islington born and bred would both have wanted it. 

Coming out of Drayton Park station I was rather surprised to see police vans, 5 or 6 of them full with officers, parked up.   Why were they here?  This seemed to me to be something of a replica of the 70s and 80s style police provocation we were so used to. It smacked of a complete misunderstanding of the mood. Or a good way to get some overtime in. 

On walking past the imposing, Stalinist concrete installation art that is the “Arsenal” sign and over the Danny Fiszman bridge and you could already hear the noise.  Unmistakeably a football crowd – with those recognisable rhythmic expressions of support for our club, burned into our brains over so many years, ringing out loud and clear. On clearing the new Clock End, the vista over the Armoury Square became apparent.  And it brought back those memories of how things used to be pre-match before this evil virus took away our ability to inhabit our habitual place of worship.

And the first thing I noticed was the mix of fans.  Men, women, youngsters, old sweats, black, white and everything in between.  At one point there were even a couple of what the fanzine “One Nil Down…”, sadly long defunct, christened “The Brinkley-Smythes’ of Highbury N5”.   As with many of the recent wave of incomers to the area which has become gentrified out of all recognition from when I grew up there, they looked somewhat bemused by it all and as though they were there as part of an anthropological research study, but bless them anyway for turning up.

And the crowd was very good humoured.  United in its focus but, without the opportunity to get in to see the game there was a rather calmer, less testosterone-filled charge to the proceedings.  We all knew why we were there. It was to register our loathing of an ownership which had sought to sell out our dreams. The songs rang out. Adaptations of our familiar standards, but with the object of derision amended to include the ownership. Some suitably scatological.  All heartfelt and passionate.  More than that though, because it needed to be said that we love our club and that we were there not to bring fire down on the team. There were renditions of many songs dear to our hearts – Rocky was remembered very early in the proceedings. A fitting tribute. Banners and placards were there in abundance. All with a common message. Time to go, Mr Kroenke.

From Twitter. A brilliant photograph by AFC_GLEN

There were no speakers, which might have been nice but might also have been a rallying call for some of those with motives beyond the peaceful protest I’m glad to say we observed. Round about 7pm, with the police beginning to mass and thoughts of the ridiculous treatment of the women who marched in Clapham a few weeks ago and the, shall we say, over-zealous policing they experienced I decided it was time to leave. I had registered my protest. More than that, I had done my duty.

Back to my great grandfather and granddad – of course I have no way of knowing if they would have wanted me to attend, but that’s the story we tell ourselves.  We are connected to the club by bonds of time and family. The club is part of our own personal history. And that is something which the shameless acolytes of Mammon who own the club now recognise only in part. The part which will see us turn up, regardless of cost and time and buy overpriced tickets and over watered beer to be part of the experience and connect with something which is more than an architectural edifice, a part of our heritage.  Well, now they are beginning to understand the other side of that coin. We will tolerate a lot. But if you seek to interfere with our shared past, you do so at your peril.

The people have spoken. Long live the revolution!

A placard produced by fans on the day

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (!).

The owners may be disingenuous, the manager may still be finding his feet, the players may be accident-prone but we can still celebrate our history.

John Radford scores again! One of Arsenal’s greatest centre forwards. 54 apps, 18 goals.

23 Drinks to “Love Arsenal – Loathe Kroenke – The Revolution Will Be Televised!”

  1. 1
    Goonersince54 says:

    Good on you Clock end.
    You are part of the fabric of the Club, via your Heritage and bloodline.
    Same as me.
    We will get through this rebuild and rise again.

  2. 2
    Andri says:

    The placards remind me very much of the Wagner Ahht ones … .

  3. 3
    Bathgooner says:

    Great stuff CER!

    And well done everyone who went to register our disgust. Thousands of Gooners who were unable to join you were with you in spirit and share your anger.

    Kroenke out!

  4. 4
    ClockEndRider says:

    Very much my pleasure and privilege to be there and represent The Bar and it’s denizens worldwide

  5. 5
    Trev says:

    Great stuff, CER !

    Said with reason, a great connection to history and real passion for the club.

    The Kroenkes won’t understand a word of it !

  6. 6
    Countryman100 says:

    Fabulous, evocative account of the day when the Arsenal fans said enough is enough. Thank you so much for going, and for writing it up for the blog. Well done CER.

  7. 7
    Uplympian says:

    A very pertinent trip to the NHOF CER , it was a wonderfully evocative scene you described. The message from fans was very clear but I suspect Stan is too busy adding up his latest financials to take note of the gathering. With the trajectory the club is going under the Kroenke stewardship the asset value may eventually decrease enough to consider selling – there’s always hope however small.

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    Thanks on so many levels Firstly a superb piece of writing . Very evocative as C100 says .
    In a way you were representing us on the blog and in exactly the right spirit of protest fuelled by loyalty and tradition. I am grateful you were a proxy for so many of us .
    I don’t know about the other lads involved but I’ve been very affected by the work we have done around the Double . Talking to lads who were utterly committed to the club ( and still are) who played for glory and honour .
    It was all so different then but the spirit that we saw in celebration of the Double was around last night . A purer spirit not defiled by a mediocre sports entrepreneur and his charmless empire . You are so fucking loathed you can’t even begin to comprehend it

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good going, CER. As others have said, an evocative report. Thanks for going and for representing us far-flungs.

    Daniel Ek, the Swedish billionaire who co-founded Spotify, has tweeted that he would be ready to buy the club if Kroenke was a seller. At least, Ek is a fan.

  10. 10
    ClockEndRider says:

    Many thanks for the kind words. As you say, TTG, even if today’s footballing world is unrecognisable from that of yesteryear, this bar is still a home for those remember what was in many ways a more civilized time. Not that you guys could possibly have known it when you embarked on the double year celebrations, but the events you will present us with have taken on even more importance as means of remembering that time and those players as well as showing to the young’uns coming up that football, and especially our great club, doesn’t have to be run as it is at the moment.

  11. 11
    Uplympian says:

    Ned, that Spotify tweet – music to my ears 🙂

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    By Ek! We will have him !
    It’s amazing when you get people saying that only having a net worth of 4 billion isn’t enough to run a PL club .
    I thought Souness and Campbell were very unenlightening last night but I think Souness is right that Kroenke won’t sell

  13. 13
    Steve T says:

    Great stuff CER. Glad you managed to make it. Nice write up and insightful comments on current policing tactics. Always an interesting read.

    The last I heard the club was valued at £2.8 billion? A ridiculous sum of money. I love the idea of part ownership by the fans but at that value, I just don’t see how it happens. Regrettably, I also don’t see any of the Kroenke’s caring one bit about the fans. Even less about their opinion. I will be surprised if it even registered with Stanley in Denver. That is the sad state of it all.

    I don’t see the Kroenke’s selling up anytime soon. The club makes too much money and sadly, they care about nothing else.

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Brilliant, CER. You certainly made me feel as if I were there in the middle of it. Thank you. ❤️

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Kroenke has a track record of pushing through plans for his sports teams regardless of hostile public opinion, so I agree with those who doubt that he will sell up in response to the reaction to the ESL.

    The latest Forbes valuation of the club is $2.8 billion, or around £2 billion.


  16. 16
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks CER!
    It’s good to see the people are
    on the march. Be great to be
    shot of Stan.

  17. 17
    Osakamatt says:

    Joe strikes again. Dunno why
    Bruce keeps leaving him on the

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    BBC headline:

    European Super League: Clubs ‘cannot leave’, says Real Madrid president Florentino Perez

    Welcome to the Hotel California
    You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave

  19. 19
    Steve T says:


    Here’s a solution. All six English sides enter the super league. All six take all of the money and put it into a pot. They split the pot in half. Half goes to grass roots football. The other half gets divided up and given to the other prem league teams. Each English club then fields an under 18 team in every single game.

    I’m sure Perez wouid not have the slightest problem selling the TV rights for that?

    Just to add a bit of spice, all the English owners must register, and play in goal.

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    While I am very dubious about Daniel Ek having the money himself to be the owner we need , the Telegraph seem to feel the story has legs and suggest he might buy in a consortium. We need to beware of ABKs but the move to an owner who actually supports the club would be progress

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@18: The full Perez interview that the BBC story is based on is worth the read. He spoke to Diario as so it is in Spanish.


    Perez is clearly a man on a mission. In his mind, the breakaway 12 are just stepping back to reflect and regroup, before pressing on with their mission to save football and break UEFA’s monopoly. Hi Ho, Silver Lining…

    One slightly alarming thing Perez said, if true, is that UEFA is proposing lifting the Financial Fair Play limitations for owners ‘who show their love of the game’ by pumping funds into their clubs.

    I’ll let you decide on how many counts that excludes our owner.

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    Steve T@19: I like your thinking. But the owners should play in the outfield and make it mandatory for them to be in the team for a pre-season friendly with Clive’s Golders Green Ramblers. That would leave an indelible impression on them about fan power.

  23. 23
    scruzgooner says: