The Beginning Of The End?

We’ve done all we can. But my Dad and I will not be able to go to Arsenal’s biggest game of the season which takes place this weekend.

Despite the fact that we both have season tickets in the Upper Tier of the North Bank, the fact that the match has been moved to midday on Sunday by Sky TV means that we can’t use them and will not be in attendance. Let me explain.

My dad is partially sighted and I go to the games as his helper – I commentate for him. I do have my own ticket but (quite rightly) the rules of the tickets we have state that the helper cannot go to the game without the main ticket owner. So without him, I can’t go.

Since retiring a few years ago, Dad has moved to Norwich to be nearer family and obviously can’t drive to games, so he regularly gets the train to London and back, despite the endless engineering works that that line is subject to.

This particular game was, until 3 weeks ago, scheduled to be played on Saturday at 3pm. Dad’s train was booked and, along with the rest of the fans with tickets to the match, plans were made. But when Sky realised that this particular season, Arsenal v Leicester might be worth televising, they held off and they held off, before deciding to move it with only 21 days notice.

There is no way he can get a train that arrives early enough for him to be at the ground in time for kick off and he can’t, as he sometimes does, stay with me or my brother the night before, due to personal reasons. A hotel is going to cost in excess of £100 and presents it’s own problems due to his eyesight and so a man who has been a regular at Arsenal since 1953 and his son who has been going since 1982 can’t go to a match that they’ve already paid for.

To make matters worse, neither of us have Sky and so cannot even watch it on TV. Two long term season ticket holders, having to listen to their team’s biggest home game of the season on the radio because they literally cannot find a way of getting to the stadium for the time which the TV company has decided it will start at.

In truth, this could be the beginning of the end for our patronage of Arsenal Football Club. We’ve regularly discussed how distanced we feel from what’s happening on and off the pitch at the club in the last few years and quite a few of our contemporaries have given up in that time for various reasons and it feels very much like we’ll be next.

Good luck to Arsenal for the future, but everyone has their limit and it feels like we’re very close to ours now.