While Arsenal continues to find consistency on the pitch following their ominous start to the season, amongst the club’s supporters, the atmosphere remains volatile.
The Gunners cruised to a 0-2 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Magalhaes ensured they maintained their nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
However, while supporters revelled with joy at Arsenal’s emphatic victory, the club’s match-going fans continued to proclaim their discontent towards Arsenal Fan TV – the club’s unofficially largest fan content creator.
AFTV – a Youtube channel with over a million subscribers – has been regarded as a “divisive” community by many, since its rise to popularity across media platforms.
The channel – founded and headed by former BBC reggae radio host Robbie Lyle – has been condemned for its polemic nature, with many criticizing the fan channel for its “polarising” platform and tendency to force “agendas” whilst blurring the lines between constructive criticism and unwarranted abuse.
At the King Power on Saturday, Arsenal fans continued to pressurize the fan channel with anti-AFTV chants such as, “AFTV get out of our club”, and labelling those associated with the platform as “… not real supporters”.
During the game, Robbie Lyle – in attendance – was hounded by the majority of the club’s match fans as they verbally expressed their discontent towards his platform. Anti-AFTV slogans echoed throughout the visiting end on Saturday, as Lyle was pictured sporting a gleaming smile amidst the hostile away support.
While those connected to fan media culture continue to defend their community based on the freedom of opinion and diverse views, a majority of match-going fans have unflinchingly stood by their disregard for the channel.
AFTV, whose presenters and guests are not unfamiliar with being hounded, provoked, and assaulted by their very own fan base since their rise within fan media, are unlikely to back down anytime soon. With Arsenal in red-hot form, it remains to be seen if the movement to disassociate the channel with the club gains momentum going into the remainder of the season.