Protest planned by glum Gunners fans

LONDON • Unhappy Arsenal fans are planning to protest against the club's stagnation during the Premier League game against Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening, by raising banners in the 12th and 78th minute as a nod to the 12 years that have passed since their most recent league title.

The supporter groups, Black Scarf Movement, RedAction and the Arsenal Supporters Trust are calling on fans to raise placards reading: "Time for change. Arsenal is stale - fresh approach needed."

The protest will not focus solely on increasing calls for Arsene Wenger to be removed. Supporters are also calling on the club's majority owner, Stan Kroenke - described by RedAction as "an absentee owner who takes money from the club" - to take action.

RedAction added: "We have a manager who won't use the resources available to him to strengthen a squad which everybody can see needs investment. Throw in some of the highest ticket prices in world football and all of the groundhog seasons, where it's clear that the fans' ambitions are not matched by those in charge.

"Fans are fighting each other over what exactly is wrong and who is to blame - but it's clear that we are in a rut, and that something needs to change."

In a separate statement, Black Scarf Movement said: "Whether it's the manager, whether Stan Kroenke has to go and whether the board needs shaking up and reminding that we're a football club, change is needed at Arsenal, a fresh approach to bring some excitement back to this great club of ours."

While they described the Norwich fixture as a "pretty meaningless end-of-season kickabout", Arsenal have not yet guaranteed a top-four finish with three games to play.

The Gunners have won only four of their past 13 games in all competitions and fifth-placed Manchester United are five points behind with a game in hand.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Protest planned by glum Gunners fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe