Fans

Fans' Forum Voting | Over 60s Members

Arsenal crest on Emirates Stadium

Please find below applications submitted for the Over 60s Members' representative on the Fans’ Forum. Once you have read the applications, please submit your response in the form at the bottom of the page.

Andrew Spence- Wolrich

Skills and Experience
- I have managed in the Transport environment for 40 years and worked at all levels. I have developed the art of engagement and communication, running Driver Works Councils and team meetings, condensing a very wide range of views and opinions into what is important, and agreeing ways to move forward. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, understanding the real issues, the critical areas from the noise and chatter.
- I understand that life is sometimes about compromise, understanding constraints and finding optimal solutions that don’t always please everybody, but you can get everyone onboard through honesty, transparency and timely and clear communication of the debate and the decisions. It is important to focus on the important issues and not let them go until you have found a resolution.
- I am also used to dealing with Senior Blue Chip Directors and Managers and used to presenting clear arguments, debating the issues and getting a decision.
These skills will stand me in good stead representing the 60+ group and discussing the issues with the Arsenal Board to agree change. 

Key Issues
I think the 60+ group will have concerns about access and facilities depending upon their mobility, age, and general health. So, some flexibility and general understanding to accommodate ‘special circumstances’ is important. We have been following the club for a long time, and seen much change of ownership and management, and feel it is ‘our club’. We need to have a voice, be listened to, and lend our wisdom and experience to the debate.

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Barry Baker

Skills and Experience
I have been an Arsenal supporter for 71 years and Hon Secretary of the Supporters’ Club since 1966, 55 years.

Key Issues
It would be a good opportunity to voice my views, as a passionate Arsenal supporter.

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Gary Long

Skills and Experience
- I work for St John's Ambulance which is a caring charity and I represent the East of England on our national staff forum. I am experienced in putting our members at SJA points over in all things I am requested to do so. I use my people skills I have acquired over the years to represent them at all levels. I would use this experience to listen to the AFC Over 60’s members and point their concerns and points over in the same professional way I do now to the club I have loved for over 55 years.

Key Issues
- Stairs (we are getting old) and the Upper Tier has lots of stairs.
- An Over 60’s members group would be a nice idea if not already running where we can have a legend from our time and a social event rolled into one.
- Safety: do we feel safe getting to the ground and while in the ground?

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Goran Nilsson

Skills and Experience
- I am an Arsenal fan since 1971 and was a regular at Highbury and now at Emirates Stadium since many years. I have a passion for Arsenal and follow the Men's first team, the Women's team, U23 and U18. I have an extensive fan experience. Professionally I have worked for 40 years in retail, mostly in senior positions where the focus has been on how to constantly improve customer service, both face to face and digitally.
- If I am successful in my application to be an Arsenal Fan Representative I will use my own fan experience, actively listen to the views of many fans and use my leadership experience in influencing the club to meet the needs of the many fans.

Key issues
- Membership prices and what is included
- How to improve the Emirates experience
- Ticketing
- The communication between the club and its supporters

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John Shea

Skills and Experience
- Like many supporters in my age bracket, I have had the good fortune to have been attending games since the 1960s.  My first experiences of seeing actual Silverware were at Highbury in 1970 for the Fairs Cup and at Wembley the following year for our first Double.
- I was one of the original (Bondholder) season ticket holders when the ‘new’ North Bank stand was opened at Highbury.
- My career has largely been in accountancy and finance, and for many years this work was within the theatre sector which provided me with experience of ticketing and box office operations.
- I therefore think that, in addition to my love for the history and traditions of the Club, I could also bring some relevant business experience that may be useful at the Forum table.

Key Issues
In my opinion, supporters over the age of sixty are generally interested in all of the same issues that are important to all of the other groups.  They may however, be in a position to provide extra insight to some debates purely as a result of their maturity and experience.

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Nigel Payne MBE

Skills and Experience
- Management, understanding of forums and how they should work.
- Massive history with the Club – first match 1953. Season tickets since the 70’s.
- Member of The AST and previously the Fanshare scheme.
- Patience and understanding

Key Issues
- I believe the club make life as hard as for the “older” supporter.
- Pretty much everything has to be on line (with very few exceptions).
- The customer service team have a laissez-faire attitude much of the time and I would want to discuss with the Club their priorities for the older supporter. For example there should be a special turnstile for over 70’s. I know there are entrances for disabled patrons, which I sometimes ask if I can use, but if this was made available to non wheel chaired older people it would be such a bonus.

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Richard Stubbs

Skills and Experience
Attending since 1963, and virtually every game since 1965, except for lockdown, I was the subject in ‘Living with a Legend’, Arsenal vs Spurs, 27/09/2014 programme because Reg Lewis was my (step) Father. I was brought up with ‘The Arsenal’ values. I moved from Schoolboys Enclosure to North Bank – indeed Tom Watt in ‘The End’ quoted me liberally in his book, to Clock End, to East Stand in both Highbury and the Emirates – entering just beneath Reg! The 14/03/2021 programme, again vs Spurs I was the ‘My Arsenal’ subject and ‘89’, by Amy Lawrence included my contribution.
I have paid my dues!, and have a reasonable understanding of ‘being an Arsenal supporter’, from losing away to Blackburn in the 3rd round, 1966 to the many league and cup victories.
I have attended many Q&As at The Emirates, with my contributions respected by both The Arsenal hierarchy and the audience. I am a retired teacher, London comprehensives all my life,  ran football teams, indeed I also set up the school’s debating club and we got to many National Finals and represented London in Paris. Since retirement I have volunteered weekly tours in the National Maritime Museum and since Covid many Volunteering roles. Throughout the London Olympics I was an anti-doping chaperone. My son, Lewis is an Arsenal S/T holder, AST member and also keeps me very clear as regards his age groups(25) feelings.

Key Issues
Building ‘Our Arsenal’ Together:
- Connection   
- Experience
- Identity
- Involvement/Inclusion

‘The Arsenal’ represents Class, Tradition, Humility in Victory, Dignity in Defeat and Progressive Values. Fan's Forum must be both a supportive and questioning group. All want success for The Club; an institution respected around the world for The Arsenal Way of doing things.

Regarding pricing, membership, safe standing, the match day experience, fans loyalty/ cup final tickets and maximising attendance I feel strongly that the fundamental match day experience for all is The Result, which should include a deep sense of involvement. Too often there seems to be a sense of football being similar to the theatre; quiet, comfy viewing ending with a measure of applause. This and huge costs are keeping many, especially the young, away. I often wonder whether the 14 year old me would have bothered / been able, to attend and thus lead to a life long fundamental relationship and key identity in my life… would I have simply watched the tv? Membership creates a sense of connection, however for the cost it must be more than simply a ‘pack’. Safe Standing is a must for The Emirates. Too much seems to be Corporate based rather than the ‘ordinary’ supporter. Too little directed to the younger supporter, with the potential consequences for the future; disastrous. Whilst acknowledging worldwide online support and working ever harder to increase it,, the actual attender, especially to away games must be fully rewarded for the loyalty, effort, time and money that they are giving to the club. This is quiet easy in a digital world. I say ‘attender’, not exchanger. For many the experience includes a pre/potential post drink and a chat. The stadium should be fuller, the local pubs quieter. Why isn’t it? Arsenal’s role in the community is good but should be increased to being The Community Club. Charlton, near where I live seems to be involved in every area of life, especially the less fortunate. Most of all, there needs to be more connection between owners, players and fans. Everything is becoming fragmented.

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Tim Price

Skills and Experience
An Arsenal supporter for over 50 years and a season ticket holder for over 20 years. Worked in events industry both as a police officer (a former football liaison officer at another London football club) and now working in the events industry as a consultant. I have a broad depth of knowledge both in crowd dynamics and in safety issues. Passionate about our club and the way forward both on and off the field and wanting to improve the atmosphere and match day experience for everyone but particularly the over 60’s.

Key Issues
- Mobility issues for elderly. OAP discounts.
- Many supporters that are over 60 have, including myself, followed the club for over 50 years. A graded loyalty scheme would be an incentive as well as a reward.
- More entertainment both pre and post match to enhance the experience; make it more of a day out (for every age) and relieve the crowd congestion particularly post match.
- As a season ticket holder that now lives 100’s of miles away sometimes last minute things happen that I can’t attend and therefore too late to sell or exchange tickets. Therefore a way of contacting the club so that they re-allocate or give to a charity my tickets to fill the seats and enhance the match atmosphere would be beneficial.

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Keith Henderson

Skills and Experience
- I was a senior compliance manager for Royal Mail, which included acting as Chair of an Industry Forum for 7 years. This experience has given me good negotiating, presenting and listening skills.
- I have supported Arsenal for over 60 years, holding home and away season tickets. I have a good knowledge of the club history and am a keen collector of memorabilia.
- Arsenal is in my blood. I know what Arsenal means to all supporters, particularly the over 60’s. I will do anything I can to help our fans to help the club get back to our rightful place at the top of the Premier League.

Key Issues
- Affordability – Can all season ticket holders over the age of 65 receive a senior citizen discount
- Away Travel – I would campaign for Arsenal to better subsidise away travel providing options for hotels where appropriate after evening games. Many lower league clubs provide free travel to long distance games……why not us?
- Away scheme ticketing – the changes that have been made to the away scheme are not helpful especially to supporters clubs who have a large number of members in the over-60s age group. I believe there should have been better consultation.
- Technology – although I appreciate we all need to keep up with technology, we must keep in mind there are many of us oldies who do not have access to, or do not want to access social media forums.

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Dr Robert Zwi

Skills and Experience
- I engage well with people through being respectful but can be firm and outspoken on important issues and am therefore a strong negotiator
- As a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the NHS for over 25 years, I have worked with a diverse range of young people and families and can usually find a way of talking about things that can sometimes be very difficult to discuss openly.
- As someone experienced in working in the psychological world, I am struck by how under-used coordinated psychological fan activity is, both in boosting our players and pressurising opponents. There is a lot more that can be done to coordinate this support.
- I have experience in campaigning, representing colleagues and in negotiation. I was an active anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa and on moving to the UK, became a junior-doctor representative, consultant representative and Department of Health advisor. All of these roles require strong campaigning and negotiation skills.
- I am a team player and would welcome the opportunity to work with others to enhance the relationship between the Arsenal fan-base and our club and players.
- I am, by nature, an optimist and believe that we can get back to the fantastic days of The Invincibles under Arsene Wenger. To do this, we need to work together and find ways to support our team, to benefit both the team and fans.

Key Issues
- Big TV money has made football clubs and club management complacent and less dependent on fans (financially).
- Clubs have neglected their support base and issues related to club supporters views and needs.
- Arsenal Ticket prices are the highest in the Premier League. This needs to be addressed and brought into line with other clubs, especially since the stadium build debts have been paid off. There needs to be more transparency on this and other issues.
- Arsenal supporters need a stronger voice through increased representation, at board level.
- The Covid-19 experience of empty stadiums has shown how much players benefit from playing in front of a stadium packed with supporters. We are a crucial part of the psychological support to our team and pressure on our opponents.

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Richard Gray

Skills and Experience
I have been a supporter for over 50yrs. North Bank Season Ticket Holder at Highbury. Worked as a searching steward & part of a response team for 10yrs since Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial. Now once again a North Bank Season Ticket Holder. I believe I have always had a good rapport with everyone associated with the club, but uniquely because having worked for the club, I understand both sides.

Key Issues
Not having a true voice within most Arsenal supporters groups. Not being heard above the likes of AFTV.

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Terry Laffar

Key Issues
- I felt that the elder supporter is often overlooked for a voice on issues surrounding fans Arsenal Football Club. The majority of the supporters are the youth of today who often appear to be more vocal on issues regarding the team and its selection without considering the matchday experience for all Arsenal supporters. I know as I was once one of these supporters many years ago. As an older fan I have raised two sons as Junior Gunners enjoying games both at Highbury and the Emirates to enjoying matches sitting in the Clock End with my sons for the last 14 years.
- I feel that as an elder supporter that matchdays should also be a family experience where we can attend matches also with grandchildren as well as our own children that have grown into adult fans. Maybe there should also be a Family Zone for Junior Gunners to be with their families.
- More seating should be provided for all fans behind the stands where the refreshment areas are situated. Although space is limited within the lower tier there is spaces available on the upper tier for fixed seating, benches could be made available for not just the elderly, but for all fans.

 

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