ArsenalFanTV: Car-crash TV as Gunners fall apart again
Disappointed fans find a place to vent their anger as YouTube channel chronicles club's latest catastrophe
Arsenal's annual meltdown carries all the fascination of a slow motion car crash and nowhere is the action more visceral than on ArsenalFanTV, a YouTube channel largely given over to the spectacular, spittle-flecked rantings of wild-eyed fans incandescent at the latest catastrophe to befall their club.
The channel was set up in 2012 and describes itself as "a platform for ordinary Arsenal fans who had no voice at their beloved club". Since then it has attracted more than 350,000 subscribers, spawned a host of imitators and made a minor star of its founder Robbie Lyle and his cast of regular characters, who he interviews before and after matches.
So popular is the channel that it now has access to players. Earlier this week Sky Sport pundit Gary Neville made an appearance. He agreed to be interviewed after publicly criticising fans who had unfurled a banner calling for Arsene Wenger to be sacked and after referring to the "embarrassing" fans who express their opinions on the channel.
His appearance illustrates the influence and popularity that ArsenalFanTV and other channels of that kind now have.
"Showing the importance of fans, who are the most neglected part of the game, is what we're about," Lyle told the Daily Telegraph last year. "I wanted a platform where the supporters could talk about a game. You hear from pundits, ex-players, sometimes people who haven't even been to the game and I would sometimes think 'that doesn't sound like the game I went to' so it was borne out of that – creating a platform where ordinary people, no matter who they are as long as they are a fan and have an opinion on the game, can have their say."
But The Guardian says that "questions remain over whether fan channels are viable businesses or just the occasional source of viral content". Attempts to monetise similar channels at other clubs have had had mixed success.
What is undeniable is that the channel does produce epic moments for fans of any stripe, whether they agree with the sentiment or just enjoy watching emotional football fans losing their rag. It has also spawned several footballing meme's including the "net spend" man and an epic meltdown from supporter Claude.
The latest, extremely explicit, rant to go viral came unsurprisingly in the wake of the 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich courtesy of fan 'Troopz' who declared, not for the first time, that Wenger should leave.