Arsenal–The First English Internet Club? For Better or Worse? It Leaves Me Thinking About Getting a


WengerWincing (3)

Arsenal, at least here in the US, is disappearing behind a(nother) pay-wall, leaving my television and heading onto the internet.   If I want to watch this weekend’s 3 O’clock game at Newcastle I need to pay $49 to my TV/internet provider.  (It’s been this way for several seasons, you know, for the mid-table clubs, who don’t get the, other, made-for-TV time slots.)  As such, the experience of following my football club is becoming more like it is for my fellow Gooners in England–except, that I’m some 6000 miles away from the stadium and the lack of television coverage gives little (extra) incentive to get myself inside the Emirates.

Of course, I already pay a hefty monthly amount for my DirectTV package (including the cheeky extra $5 for some Spanish language sports channels that get me A LOT more footy.)  What’s $50 more?  Well, at today’s exchange rate it’s about 38 pound 50.  The pound hasn’t quite gotten back to its pre-Brexit levels it seems.

Still, as they as for more and more I think it’s time to jettison my television plan completely–which is something I’ve stuck with, mostly because the company is now merged with AT&T, our cell phone carrier.  In fact, up here in these mountains the former telephone monopoly (it used to be call “Ma Bell,”) is currently a distant 2nd best in terms of coverage.  For backcountry adventure, which can turn dangerous (injury, equipment failure, avalanche…) getting onto the Verizon network could be seen as a safety protocol–and worth whatever extra expense and hassle it takes to make the switch.

I’m also hoping to travel more and more and getting used to watching my football on the small screen (or plugging it in by way of HDMI cable to a bigger one) is probably the way forward.  Help me out here.  Surely, there are a few Gooners (most all of them, maybe) who have this figured out better than I.  So, I beg of you…

Help me cut the cord…

For these past dozen years–that’s how long it’s been since my family and I stayed at 17 Highbury Terrace and I fell for the Arsenal–I’ve felt that I’ve had a slight (very slight) edge over some Gooners in all the extra matches I could watch (live) on television.  And, you’ve got to watch them as they happen, in my opinion.  Trying to dissect the latest bad result/poor performance after the fact is No. Fun. At. All.

In reality, any real “fun” (or maybe a deeper pleasure) comes in being part of something bigger than myself, building “community” with the club, and, most notably, other supporters.  That last word might also use some quotation marks, I fear.  Instant reaction–typically comprising over-the-top and virulent, if not downright hateful BLAME–seems the way.  Blame the player (who gave the ball away, missed the shot or tackle), or better yet, blame the manager.   When that manager (seemingly) had his job for life, it got even deeper, the blame went even deeper.  What an irony that the art form of Wenger-blame perhaps reached its peak on a website called Arsenal Fan TV.

It’s not all bad, of course, there are many Arsenal sites approaching things more rationally and doing yoeman’s work in slogging through all the elements affecting our club’s consistently more and more dispiriting results.  Indeed, the results HAVE slipped, but even if they hadn’t, I wonder about the spirit of the reaction to them.  In many respects, I believe, the medium is the message.

Has the internet killed Arsenal?  Or at least taken A LOT of the joy out of it?

I think, perhaps, it has… For me at least.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll always have affection for the club and for the time and energy I’ve given to it.  And, I must say, the internet and early Arsenal sites REALLY helped me understand the game and the issues around the club.  And Highbury (the neighborhood)?…  Wow.  My time there was incredible and I hope to get back, even if I know that dropping in for a few days or a week (and a game or two at the stadium) will never compare to the longer and far more innocent time I spent there in 2006.

But, now what?…

It’s an interlull (a word, I think, that was invented on the biggest and maybe the best or at least most consistent of all the Arsenal blogs, Arseblog).  What is to discuss?  TA wrote a post about the line-up for our first Europa League match, against a club surely only the tiniest fraction of Gooners had ever heard of?  In the comments there’s been a small discussion of the broader squad and maybe more about a former player and his problems with cabbies.  The most recent comment is a cut and paste about UEFA looking into broadening their competitions to include more clubs, and, of course, to make more money.  There’s hardly been a mention of our players playing for their national teams.

To me, that makes sense.  Club football is sooooo much better than the International game even if the recent world cup in Russia didn’t seem as corrupt (rigged) as I worried it might have been.  Eliminate most of the favorites (and some of the dive-iest teams, helped, perhaps, by the first major use of video review by the referees) and the low level of quality in the football gives way to almost pleasant stories of Davids vs Goliaths (Modrics vs Girouds?)… Hell, football almost came home–by way of a repeated length-of-the-pitch kicks from the keeper or a penalty given for a pull down at a set-piece.  El Corte Ingles is not just a store in Spain.  Tell me why, please my dear English friends, throwing beer over oneself is seen as a good time?…

So, if international football is poor (or weird or certainly corrupt, in my view) then what do I do if the club football is (perhaps) even MORE rigged?  Oil and Gas billionaires are spending to compete with the “national” clubs (Catalunyans vs Castellanos in Spain, Bavarians in Germany).  And, there are even some American owners getting in the game (by buying the biggest English clubs).  The handful of clubs able to win the biggest competitions, maybe, has grown.  Are we part of that club?  Better ask Stan…

He’s off with his cows, I fear, but that’s how it goes.  I need to get with my puppy (and my people) and try and enjoy my surroundings before they’re drowned by rising sea levels or smoke from forest fires.  Going local seems the antidote if they only want more money for me to get with my (global) community…and that community seems increasingly mean-spirited and blameful.  Who needs it?

See the source image

Me, probably, so it’s, as always, likely just a “separation,” not a divorce.  I should say this before I go.  This site has been great (for me).  I wonder, however, if my bad attitude doesn’t drive folks away.  If so, I apologize.  If TA keeps it going I’m sure I’ll be like this guy…

So, that’s my plan, but I’m open to advice about how to be a better and happier Arsenal supporter.  Help me with my “plan.”  Get me a link (for some free streaming, maybe) or otherwise help me around the pay-wall.  Otherwise, please enjoy the upcoming match at Newcastle.  Who will watch it live?  Is Match of the Day (or highlights from the good enough?  Teach me, share your wisdom, give me the perspective that gets YOU through as an Arsenal supporter…

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace


28 thoughts on “Arsenal–The First English Internet Club? For Better or Worse? It Leaves Me Thinking About Getting a

  • Thank you Seventeenho for your honest thoughts and feelings about our team, football in general and maybe also about your feelings about life in general. 🙂

    As a club we are in a good position. Not owned by an oil or gas magnet but by somebody who has a working model that makes us competitive and yet play fairly. So it is about getting good manager(s) and getting the best out of the squad and the available budget. And that is what football is all about. I don’t want to be the richest club like MC and spend so much that silverware starts streaming in. There needs to be an element of fairness and equal competition and I reckon we still have that in the PL, even though we could see a dominance by Pep-Ci-ty over the next few years.

    It feels weird without Wenger and Emery’s midfield-less approach to our formation and style of football is not helping. I reckon we look and feel vulnerable but maybe we just are going through hard but inevitable change right now…. and change is not easy for those like you and me who are nearer to 100 years than 1 years of age. 🙂

    Key, with football, Arsenal and life in general, is to focus on the micro: our next game, the football itself, give the new manager a chance to embed his philosophy, enjoy every good goal, don’t worry about the results, etc etc. Whatever happens to the game of football, it remains a game of 22 legs playing against 22 legs with a ball on the pitch and a goal on either side of the pitch. F*ck the big picture, the Trumps, Putins, Brexshits, BJ etc etc – Real meaningful life is around you and with those eleven red and white Gunners on the pitch.

  • 17HT–
    When’s your DirectTV / AT&T contract up?
    Ditch AT&T cellular. You’re right about the phone coverage (and as a safety concern too). Been on Verizon forEVER. Works anywhere I’ve been (will be testing a Verizon Jetpack MiFi hotspot in Belize later this year.) Are you stuck with Cox Cable as the other conventional choice where you are? Comcast here. Our contract expired 2 months back– and we just got price-jacked– so I’ve done extensive looks at alternatives recently. DirectTV with AT&T internet was a wash for us cost-wise– and I’d have to go from 100-150mbps– down to 50mbps to switch. Collusion without recourse IMO. Looked at Sling TV and really like what I saw– but Mrs jw1 must have a DVR. With a sh^t-ton hours of storage. Without my going full-on-geek to create a system… then answer for it when it doesn’t act right? No. Unh-uh.

    After haggling with AT&T for about 90-minutes via chat? Then for another hour with Comcast? We re-upped with Comcast for 2 years. (Did get our monthly $$ back to what it had been previously.)

    So HT, if you don’t pony-up the $49– and still want to see the whole match? You can. Just won’t be live. Generally within a 1-2 hours afterward. Been doing it here (see below) for about a year. Mostly for Europa League. Not a bad feed. Sometimes requires a browser refresh (F5 key)– but it will restart where you left off.

    But then? You miss the timeliness of chatting online about the match– in real-time. That’s the tradeoff I suppose. Though I end up watching all Arsenal non-TV matches this way– and am used to being 5 or 6 hours behind GMT.

    Will say this though. Having a capable PC connected via HDMI to a 65-inch screen– is perfect for other content like Amazon or Netflix. Dynamic for 2-player ‘couch mode’ PC video games as well. (And makes it easier for old people to read restaurant menus online!)


  • 17, I just realized a couple hours ago, as I was setting my dvr for Saturday, Arsenal is the odd man out this weekend. This is the first time this season that we won’t be on free tv. I’m struggling with how to deal with it. I’ll have to ask around for advice, but really don’t like paying for something I’ll so rarely use. I would prefer a pay per match structure. I know they don’t care, but I think they would make much more because I think many people are in our situation, and don’t want to buy a mostly unused season pass.
    People here, I think it might have been you, have warned us this was coming, and I see that whole tournaments are in espn + which is subscription.

    I guess there’s not much we can do but adjust as best as possible. As the NBC system works for this season, I think we will be on free tv about 80% of the time. Between the early morning, and early afternoon games on Saturday, and a good number of Sunday matches because of Europa works in our favor too. The crowded time slot bothers me though, because I think they are showing Chelsea for free, instead of us, and I know we have a much bigger following worldwide. Or maybe I’m just biased. They have had much more trophy success over the past few years, I guess.

    To TA’s point about money. I was ok with finances in the game as far as things were just a few years ago, when we became competitive for 40, 50 million dollar stars, even though the gluttonous clubs could almost double that on rare occasions. But when nation states (instead of just rich guys) went crazy for Neymar, it had a knock on effect so Barcelona spent that money like drunken sailors on a mediocre, maybe slightly better, player like Coutinho, that led to idiots Liverpool paying obscene amounts for defenders and keepers.This will make more and more “have nots” around the world. It wasn’t perfect as it was, but now it will be much harder to compete. I guess it was inevitable, but that was the turning point for me.

  • Well said. It’s all a bit unfortunate but such is capitalism. I’m not sure it’s necessarily the internet that ruined Arsenal as much as it is a simple matter of time and perception. Just think: in a few years from now we’ll look back at the current (perceivingly flawed) set up and appreciate just how good we had it.

    As for a remedy— I would suggest looking into FuboTV or (as jw suggested) Sling. Where it becomes particularly interesting is when you have multiple viewers split the cost of a shared account..

    Otherwise just check out r/soccerstreams. Some of those streamers have been doing God’s work for years now.

  • Hey fellas, thanks for the replies… TA chose the photos (and went a bit heavy, IMO) on the Wenger images. Does that guy really love Arsenal, sitting around on the club’s payroll like he’s doing?… I’ll try to fix the photo of the Arsenal Fan-TV, I didn’t mean to include the whole article about the missing, er, pundit…

    Yeah, missing the occasional game or watching it on a delay or watching Arsenal TV (which I get–in English–through the Spanish language sports channels) won’t kill me, (and will probably actually help me live longer…) but it’s not quite the same… I did (kinda) enjoy doing those game-day-chats, except, of course, for having to talk people down off their roofs/ledges when results weren’t quite acceptable.

    Frankly, I believe we’re in for A LOT more of that, although, with the old manager gone, the goal posts have shifted (or should I say dropped?)… Most of the smart people are giving Emery two seasons to get us back into the CL, a position that was Not. Good. Enough. for AW, an irony he must appreciate each time that 200,000 pounds just shows up in his account each week… Alas the free ride (for him) ends on May 30. We continue to pay, what with guys like Ozil, Xhaka, Mustafi, (insert your most hated Wenger recruit…) still not only on the books, but also on the pitch… 😮

    I remember, “What’s the point of qualifying for a tournament you cannot win?” (The money, I guess, is Kroenke’s answer…) For sure those (Euro) tournaments need to change, and, back in 2006, I really thought they would. Does anybody else remember David Dein as head of a group of clubs (the G-14 was it?) that was surely working towards a REAL Euro league. (There’s something Wenger might at least discuss in his next interview from beside the swimming pool…)
    Economic crisis, nationalist movements, led by klepto-politicians (and their friends with football teams), and we are where we are…

    So, yes, small picture is the one to look at…maybe on my laptop. Are there any (free) streaming services that are at all reliable? On that note thanks for all the specifics there, JW. We’ve got Spectrum cable and I think the last time I thought about switching (a couple of years back…) they might not have had the NBCSN in HD… Things are probably better in that regard. The big DVR DirectTV offers is pretty nice, however… Ugh. Too many details for me to figure out…

    But that’s where dennis lives (or is it the devil?…) You give fine advice, TA. Focus on the matches, enjoy the good moments, etc., etc… That’s why you’re the (fearless?) leader here…

    Enjoy, and thanks again…

  • Posted before seeing your Frozen (long time, cheers for reading, etc., etc.) Thanks for the advice. Slowly but surely I’ll start checking that stuff out…

  • Frozen, HT–
    I’d looked at FuboTV prior to the World Cup– until I realized that Fox wasn’t going to screw everyone by putting half the matches on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). As you say Frozen– the cost wouldn’t feel prohibitive split two or several ways.

    Recall back in the mid-00s (early days of sports-blogging) with a group of regulars on our local newspaper’s website– about the ‘future’ of PPV. It was a scary thing to most back then– to consider paying for content. I’d predicted that eventually all content would be served ‘cafeteria-style’ by selecting ‘only’ what we’d like delivered for a nominal fee. That was 15 years ago. We’re still paying ‘entree prices’ for what should be served-by-the-slice. For us, Amazon is closest to a ‘great deal’. I pay $119 per year– to have about half of all goods I buy annually– delivered in 2-days for free. Then I get all sorts of content (music, video, (some) spoken books) as a bonus for free– on demand.

    *** (Couple of cash-saver tips (probably ‘US only’). I do use Walmart and another very good online retailer ‘Jet’ to price-check (vs Amazon)– and buy when a deal is sweeter. Both offer free shipping over $35. Particularly like Jet. Larger the buy in quantities of an item– the lower the price drops. Also– add ‘Honey’ to your Chrome browser as an extension. It’s an automatic coupon widget that pops-up when applicable to give you lowest prices on many types of goods and services. Probably saved $200 this year using Honey. Who doesn’t like free money?). ***

    Anyway– back on-topic– I’m going to try to locate a live feed for ARS vs NEW on Saturday morning before gametime. I’ll post it here if I’m confident about the ‘cleanliness’ of the feed.


  • Wow.. it is the same as in Singapore. Per month i pay about US$50 and get to watch all the games available on pay-tv. Singapore switched to this since 10-oddish years ago, and we are cool with the price.

    It is hard to get a good and clear streaming on live TV, and the piracy act here meant that there are lots of websites that people used to watch for free were banned.

    Over here, we can watch TV on the telly and on the go, meaning in the comfort of your sofa or on your phone, depending on where you are. The mobile app was launched a few years ago due to the need for watching shows on the commute. And yes. We are always on the go.

    Looking forward to the end of the Interlull. It is getting a bit lully if you ask me.

  • 17tino, isn’t there a bar or pub that shows the games?
    Kick off times could be an issue on the West Coast of course, but if it was me I’d check that out.
    It has the added bonus of getting you out of the house. 😉

    If Sky or BT did a match by match pay per view then I’d do that, depending on the price.
    But they don’t, so I listen to the radio.

  • In Nigeria there is a satellite tv provider (Dstv) that shows all the 380 premier league.matches. The majority of them are shown live. All Arsenal matches are live including FA and Europa games. The package costs about US$30 per month.

  • Kev–
    The two pubs local to me here in Houston will likely be open (at 9am CDT) for PL fans– but am unsure they’ll subscribe simply to accommodate fans of Arsenal.

    17HT might be hard-pressed to find one open in Tahoe at 7am PDT.
    (Then requiring purchase of many(!) espressos to inspire them to subscribe for what is not likely to be many(?) Gooners in attendance.)


  • Yeah JW, I did wonder if kick off times were an issue on the West Coast, why not Google, Arsenal Supporters clubs in the USA or something similar to see if they can can help with venues for games?

    In the UK, there’s plenty of pubs that show the games, you can even see them in betting shops on occasions, but of course, the kick off times aren’t a problem.

  • PE, that seems like a pretty good deal even if I know nothing of the cost of things in Nigeria. I like the “all-inclusive” element…

    Kev, you are absolutely right…about me needing to get out of the house a bit more… 🙂

    For a dozen years I’ve put off (overly) enthusiastic (would-be) ski-partners (from the flat-lands) who wanted me to show them around on the weekends… Sorry, got to watch my Arsenal… Maybe it’s time to get back out on the snow (if there’s gonna be any this year) ahead of (or even with some of) the riff-raff…

    When I’m down in the Bay Area it’s fun to jet across (from the ancestral home in Berkeley) to the North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco to meet up with the Bay Area Gooners, who watch Arsenal games at a bar called Maggie McGarry’s. No traffic at that time of day, and, for the Sunday matches, you don’t have to feed the parking meters(!)…

    The last time I did that I talked to the founder of the club and he gave me a business card (since thrown away) because he was trying to do some sort of promotion work helping bars/restaurants bring in Soccer (football) fans. In other words, folks watching the game in this manner seems a growth business.

    Betting shops are (actually, maybe) an option–here in Tahoe–for me to get to a screen with the games that have gone behind the paywall, even at the nutty hour. Across the border in Nevada (about 9 miles away–and where gambling has been legal forever…) are a cluster of casinos (open round the clock) which might have televisions that carry the games. I can think, however, of nothing more depressing, than trying to see the games in that setting… This series of photos (ignore the 2nd image, that’s Reno…) makes them look pretty nice. Hanging out at the bar with the all night gamblers (now out of money) = not so much…

    A more likely solution would be for me to try and partner up with a “Brew-pub” nearer my house (I think there are now at least five on the California side of town…) that would let me bring in an espresso machine, open their bar early and do my thing. Maybe if I was 30 years younger… All I know is that I love that business model… In Spain they have signs that say Cafeteria-Cerveceria. Coffee in the morning, beer in the afternoon/evening, with noon coming whenever the customer prefers…

    Truth be told, the easiest thing to do is to just suck it up (and quiet down about it…) and pay the $49.99 extra for the season. That would end up being probably around $5-10 per Arsenal match (they’re also starting to hide games with the Sunday 4pm kick-offs…) over the course of the season. The money isn’t really the issue. As always, it’s the principal that matters… As consumers, mustn’t we draw the line somewhere?…

    And, on the principle (the thing I’m really hinting about)… What’s the point of slavishly following a club that seems destined to bounce around the relegation zone (from CL to EL) and will only likely top the PL table if they win a game or two (and score enough goals) at the beginning of the season? The one thing they can’t take away is our place at the top of the alphabet… Everything else, however, seems for sale… 😦

  • So, then, HT?
    You’re not going to afford Arsenal the same hope-beyond-hope– that you surely must be sweating
    now for your beloved Oakland A’s (versus my front-running Houston Astros; and likely the New York Yankees)?

    Aren’t the parallels just about perfect for you to relate?
    No one gave the A’s any chance whatsoever at season’s start. Yet, here they are teetering on the precipice of a still-long-shot at an American League or World Series championship.

    Alas, there are no playoffs in the PL — eh?


  • Hey J-Dub… Sorry, I don’t follow the baseball… Certainly I did when I was a kid (three-peat in the early 70s) and then again when I (got free tickets and) saw a lot of the daytime weekday games. That was during the big steroid era (late 80s) and the team had some good success with players like Canseco and McGwire, peaking maybe in that Bay Bridge Series, marred only by the earthquake and collapse of the actual bridge.

    I guess there’s always the chance that money-ball can pay off–and I certainly respect the approach. (And, I’m STILL waiting for your post about how Arsenal are executing their plan…) At least we’ve got the modern (read: sterile) stadium. For the A’s, without a new ball-park (and with the Warriors and the Raiders leaving the “Coliseum Complex,” as it is known, I wonder. I believe the City would have to float a bond (to buy out the County, maybe?…) before they could redevelop the properly or maybe there are other issues. IF the A’s were to make the playoffs, I’d be almost as eager to watch/listen to the games for this sort of info as I would for the games themselves… Again, Sorry… Back in August, we hosted a cousin-in-law from the Boston area… He’s pretty keen on those Red Sox…

    …which made me tell him that–if he’s got any interest in the footy (he’d watched a bit of the World Cup…)–then he ought to start looking at that Liverpool team given their more ambitious ownership. (And the much higher quality of the club game…) Frankly, I’ll probably get up early on Saturday to watch Spurs-Liverpool…

    The (truly sad) truth is that I believe I’ve lost my interest in wanting to support Arsenal in order to be part of “something bigger than myself,” as they say. Too much time on the internet with my “fellow” Gooners (not the core of folks still BK-ing…) has left me wondering–see the title–if Arsenal aren’t the first internet team, you know, a place for people to go when they want to either toot their own horn…or make themselves feel better at somebody else’s expense. I do understand having a moan with your mates, but I don’t I get the urge to go really ugly on the internet. (Try going outside, for example…) Does a person (actually) feel better if they can blame Wenger/Bellerin/Ozil/choose your favorite poison player/manager?… I know I don’t, and it’s Sisyphean labor (Sisyphus-esque labour?…) to try and convince folks that the blame-game is a loser…

    I’m not (quite) there yet, so maybe if I listen to the match (available on the, I’m pretty sure) and we lose/draw (which I fully expect, I hate to say…) then I’ll at least know who/what that pair of watchers (and their e-mail buddies sending in their own talking points) are pointing the finger at…

    Good times…

  • Ivan Gazidis off to Milan… Hmmm… Seems like a bit of a power vacuum… Maybe it’s time for a Kroenke (Josh, I’d bet…) loosen some purse strings… He’s maybe not the Crown Prince of an oil monarchy, but he’s (probably) our best bet…

    OK, off to count my values… 🙂

  • PE, I would put that DSTV package in Nigeria, which shows all 38 games, at more like $50. Still a good deal, all considered.

    Hi fellas. Nice to know everyone’s getting on well, looking forward to the game(s) this weekend.

  • US dollars vs Canadian?… Maybe… ^^

    I guess I should wait for the preview… But maybe it’s better to bury me and my bad attitude… 🙂 😦

    I predict the same (exact) group that won in Cardiff…

    Bel. Musti. Sokr. Nacho.
    Xhaka. Guendouzi.
    Ozil. Ramsey, Auba

    Bench: Leno, Licht, Holding, Elneny. Torreira, Mkhi, Welbs

    Result = 2-1 (Home team listed first…)

  • Eris …. that’s the premium package. I referred to the compact package. Both good deals.

  • 17ht, my calculation was based on USD, Lol.

    I also think Emery will go with the same starting team at Cardiff but wish he will drop Auba and start with Mkhitaryan for this one. It is a Newcastle side with a manager who has vowed to change their approach in their previous games for a more offensive one, against Arsenal. We would need tenacious players and can not afford two strikers upfront. One has to be on the bench.

    PE, I get it now. I have never been able to tell the difference(s); just know I have PVR box and they insist on N18,000 ($50). Now, I shall enquirer about the Compact to see how it sits with me, since you suggest it has the same offerings.

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