“What should a supporters group do?” “More of this!!” An audience with Mark Pougatch

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Tony Attwood reflects on AISA’s latest Zoom event for members.

Taking part in the recent Zoom event arranged by Arsenal Independent Supporters Association with broadcast journalist Mark Pougatch two things struck me. First that this is exactly what AISA should be doing.  Second, can we do some more?

There’s no doubt that being in the same room as a highly knowledgeable football man or woman is interesting.  When it is a conventional type of meeting you meet fellow supporters, and (in my case at least) get to drink a glass of wine that someone else has paid for.

But living outside London as I do, I tend to miss certain events, not least because of work commitments and the time involved in getting to the capital.  I’ve no idea how many people there were from far afield for Mr Pougatch’s Q&A about Arsenal, but I am sure there were others like me for whom it would have been a considerable journey if being physically present was the only option available.

And I have to say, from my perspective as a person who had no responsibility for any of the technology it worked a dream.  Click a button, log in, and watch the show.

As you would expect of a leading football journalist, Mark Pougatch is bright, articulate, and highly knowledgeable.  And all this came across because the technology worked perfectly.

So I would hope we can do more events like this, not so that we abandon the personal meetings totally, but so that AISA can engage with members (like me) who live a fair old distance from the ground.

And I feel that this is important, because a key part of our work is to represent supporters from all over the country. AISA does have very good communications with the club – and this will be a real way to expand that.

I particularly remember our AGM with Joe Montemurro, the manager of Arsenal Women’s team – he really put himself out to be with us, getting straight off the plane having returned from a Women’s Champions League game, and travelling hot foot to our meeting in Islington.  It was a brilliant evening, and if we had been able to share it on Zoom many more members of AISA would have been able to experience his drive, energy and enthusiasm.

And it also strikes me that we might also be able to use Zoom to expand this direct contact between the club’s senior executives and fans.  Of course I don’t know what they will say, because we haven’t asked, but as a result of this session with Mark Pougatch I think this is worth putting this to the Arsenal hierarchy.

If you were part of the AISA Zoom session with Mr Pougatch I do hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  If not, please do look out for future events of this type, because as a committee member from out of town, I am going to be encouraging AISA to run further such sessions.

And if (rather like me before the lock down) you are not 100% au fait with what Zoom is and how it works, believe me, if you have a laptop or desktop computer and a reasonable internet connection, it’s a doddle.  You don’t need anything more – you just click on the link about five minutes before the meeting starts, and you are in.

I do hope you’ll be able to join us next time around.

Tony Attwood

AISA Committee member with responsibility for the Arsenal History Society

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