Verm The Warrior, Tour 2012 And Thoughts On Membership
Arsenal’s Tour 2012 gets underway in a couple of days but there’s still no confirmation as to which players will make the plane to Malaysia on Saturday.
An announcement should be forthcoming today. It might shed light on the future of Robin Van Persie and in fact of Theo Walcott as well – non-inclusion would surely mean one or both have no future at the Emirates. On the other hand, being named in the travelling party does not provide the opposite answer – it merely prolongs the speculation for at least another two weeks.
In preparation for the trip, Arsenal.com yesterday released a video of Thomas Vermaelen as a Chinese warrior. Inspired by banners made by Hangzhou supporters on last summer’s trip, the short clip features Arsenal’s captain-to-be as a Kung Fu warrior. The Belgian looks like he’s sorted out some of the flat-footedness associated with his performances at the end of last season. Or were they using a double for the video? Regardless of his footwork, he does cut a mean figure – hopefully he’s picked up a move or two to dispatch opposing strikers.
From a commercial point of view, it’s a good way to generate enthusiasm for the tour. Arsenal has a huge supporter base around the world and the second Far East trip in two years is proof of the club’s acknowledgement of the potential of these emerging markets. Season ticket holders continue to be the most important supporter base for football clubs and matchday revenues still contribute massively to the coffers, but the global appeal of the sport and the immense commercial opportunities of the Arsenal brand around the world should not be underestimated.
Especially if Arsenal are to continue with the self-sufficient business model, it becomes even more vital to extend our reach and popularity across the globe. Compared to other clubs, the Gunners are arriving late to the party but at least there is movement in the right direction now. The cancellation of the Nigerian leg of the tour has been partly compensated by the announcement that four Arsenal stars will travel to the country to take part in promotional events – a sure sign that the Gunners are committed to connect with fans in this Arsenal-crazy part of Africa.
A few days ago, AnandArsenal, a long-time supporter of this blog posed a question on Twitter – how many non-UK based fans take the club’s annual membership? As the main benefit seems to be access to tickets, do supporters based abroad bother with signing up?
As an overseas fan who’s held a red membership for the past four years, I suggest you get it if you haven’t done so already. Membership comes with access to Arsenal Player which carries match videos, interviews and analysis while the pack includes other Gunners’ goodies. The monthly magazine carries high-quality content and is worth the slightly pricey premium. And of course, if you happen to visit sunny warm England and want to catch a game at the Emirates, you would have access to tickets for home games.
As part of the Gooner family, we savour the victories and gloat over conquests. In recent years, we moan about lack of silverware and inability to compete financially with sugar-daddy clubs. Most of these issues are beyond our control. Signing up for annual membership is though – it’s a way to connect with Arsenal and make our own small contribution to the club’s cause.
What are your views? Please post your comments.