Sports on Screen: Arsenal fan TV
In the past few years, many facets of football media in particular has headed online. While the audience for Match of the Day is still huge, viewers no longer feel the need to tune in at 10.30pm on Saturday night to watch it. Instead, weekly highlights are viewed on demand, along with daily videos direct from the clubs themselves.
YouTube has become a treasure trove of football-related content, free and on demand.
One of the most popular of these channels isn’t one that comes from the club in an official capacity but was created by fans. Predictably, perhaps, it’s called Arsenal Fan TV, and is by far the most popular independent fan channel in the world.
AFTV, as it is abbreviated to, holds court with short interviews post-game with some of The Gunners’ biggest fans, such as the long-suffering host Robbie, ultra-positive headphone-wearing Ty, foul-mouthed rageaholic DT, Arsenal’s fan fam from the streets Troopz and moody old-timer Claude, though both the latter two of that selection no longer appear on the channel.
Two years ago, this was the level of vitriol aimed at the team after a Capital One Cup Final capitulation.
At its most popular, AFTV was one of the driving forces behind the end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure and staged marches on the Emirates Stadium in an attempt to force the most successful manager Arsenal have ever had from their club.
With ‘Wenger Out’ placards produced with glee, the channel has met with players such as Jack Wilshere and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, held round table discussions with Gary Neville and are surely on the verge of having questions asked during Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament.
Each week, the rants of DT get hundreds of thousands of views, and Arsenal’s fanbase as a whole can be seen in one form or another. The point is, however, that any club’s fans can see themselves reflected in the Arsenal fans who gather each week to slate, praise or slander their team/manager/chairman/mascot/tube station.
Football fans are notoriously fickle creatures, perhaps more so than any other fans in sport, and every club has a supporter who rages every week at the supposed ineptitudes of the team he supports. Everyone knows a ‘Peter Positive’, and a moany old man, and all the other characters represented on AFTV.
Arsenal have lost five of their last seven games at the time of going to press, and a year into Mikel Arteta’s career as The Gunners’ manager’s tenure in North London, AFTV fans are already calling for the Spaniard’s head.
Unmissable when Arsenal lose, Arsenal Fan TV will surely run and run, for at least as long as it takes them to win the Premier League again.
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