It’s not often a match serves as a something of sideshow for football fans but Everton’s visit to the Emirates tomorrow (Friday) will almost certainly take a back seat to more important matters.
The fact Arsenal are currently marooned in mid-table with not much to play for is a small part of that equation but, for the most part, the match will pale into insignificance because of the anti-ownership protest planned by disgruntled and disgusted fans.
The European Super League debacle needs no fresh introduction here; by now we are all familiar with the shambolic birth and death of a proposal that threatened to make our club an international pariah.
What comes now are the consequences of those actions and a chance at last for Arsenal fans to have their say on a truly lamentable chapter in our history as a club. While it’s difficult to say whether anyone at the club will take note, you can be sure the cameras will be rolling and those who attend will make themselves heard.
Quite what effect the protest will have on the players remains to be seen but I don’t expect it to be a positive one. Who would want to arrive for work amid a throng of placard-wielding, blood-baying football fans, after all? At this point, however, the importance of the message outweighs the value of a win. Three points against taking a stand for our club’s future? There’s no comparison.
It’s not the players’ fault, it’s not the manager’s fault but the message must be heard and it must be heard at all levels of the club. If that means the staff take that message back up the chain, or the players are left with no illusions as to how we value our club, then so be it.
Travelling into London at the end of a long week when the weather is nice and the weekend looms is a difficult ask for anyone, not least those who live and hour or two out of town but, if you can make it, every voice adds a little more significance to the message.
As fans, we have a certain amount of responsibility as custodians of the club, to ensure it reflects and respects its history, its foundations and its community. There’s no question that our owners drove a coach and horses through those principles this week and it’s our responsibility now to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
See you there!