This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
It can feel as though fans are becoming more of a consumer than an active participant in football, with television money dictating when games are played and supporters often feeling disconnected from the players.
However, Arsenal is one example of a club where fans still play an integral role in decision making and creative narratives, whether that is seen as a positive or negative thing.
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AFTV has become a central part of the way that Arsenal are seen in the modern-day, but this is much more than having a laugh at DT’s rants and Troopz’s use of slang.
The most recent sign that they are having an impact on the Arsenal dressing room comes from a report by The Athletic, in which it is suggested there is irritation around Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being appointed as captain due to his involvement with the fan channel.
The 30-year-old has liked some of their contentious content, which includes opinions that Unai Emery is a puppet and Granit Xhaka should be sold.
While a player interacting with these fans can help them build up a narrative – especially when it is the man becoming captain – Arsenal fans have shown they are very capable of doing this on their own.
The biggest indication of this has to be the Wenger Out campaign, in which they put an intense amount of pressure on the Frenchman until he eventually left the club in 2018.
It was a movement that became relentless in nature once it got going and there has been an implication that this is what eventually pushed him out of the door, as there was vocal condemnation of him during a loss against Brighton & Hove Albion, which was followed by more Wenger-related tweets than in the previous 12 months, as reported by The Express.
He is not alone in being potentially being pushed out of the club though, as Granit Xhaka is likely to be walking beside him, albeit reluctantly after being stripped of the captaincy.
The Switzerland international has seen his Arsenal career go downhill since reacting to being booed off the pitch against Crystal Palace, to the point where it is now difficult to envisage him staying at the club for long, a point that has been accentuated by RSI reporting that he could be set to head for AC Milan.
There are arguably few clubs in England whose fans come close to dictating the narrative at their club in the way puppet master Arsenal fans do.