A group of Arsenal fans from Hong Kong has revealed the need for Arsene Wenger to be shown more respect was behind their decision to pay for a banner in support of the Gunners manager.
The supporters arranged for the pro-Wenger banner to be flown over The Hawthorns during Arsenal's match against West Brom on Saturday and have released a statement to explain their decision.
Speculation has been rife over who was behind the banner since Saturday's game with false reports across social media claiming that a company linked to Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick was behind it.
However, it's understood that those rumours are completely false and the statement sent to Goal from the 'Gooners20' group reveals their actions have been built on respect for the under-fire Gunners boss and will respect whatever final decision he takes on his future.
We are Gooners20. Started by 20 Arsenal-supporting fans who always believe that respect is a core virtue. We arranged an ‘In Arsène we trust #RespectAW’ aerial banner over the Hawthorns on 18th March 2017 Arsenal v West Brom. To clear up any possible confusion that our aerial banner may have caused to the public by false rumours, we are writing this letter to explain our actions and the intention behind them.
People today are enjoying the convenience of the Internet and its easy information flow without questioning what they perceive while reporters are writing fiction on sports pages. We have learned that there is a circulating rumour that Sir Chips Keswick and Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd were behind the pro-Mr. Wenger banner. The rumour is completely false. The banner was designed and paid for by us whereas Arsenal Football Club and its affiliates have never been involved.
Biased media outlets make up stories and stir up our fan base. A small group of irrational and disrespectful people who claim to be Arsenal supporters have recently been causing embarrassment and harm to our club, the manager and fans around the world. The actions and abuses from the small group of disrespectful radicals are intolerable as what they have been doing clearly do not represent the majority of Gooners. To defend our club, the manager and fans who truly love the club, we decided to answer to the abusive manners. The banner was our answer. We planned and implemented the whole action from scratch to finish within two days. This is how easily and quickly a decision can be made when it comes to defending the club that we support, the man that we respect and the cannon that we love.
The flying ‘In Arsène we trust #RespectAW’ banner was a spontaneous movement from us without any organisational affiliation to Arsenal Football Club in response to the agenda-driven biased act which involved an insulting banner being flown during the West Bromwich game financed by a crowdsourcing campaign supported by small group of irrational and disrespectful people. In contrary to the disrespectful banner, our ‘In Arsène we trust #RespectAW’ banner flew over the Hawthorns was a mark of respect for the glorious moments Mr. Wenger delivered to our beloved Arsenal Football Club. Respect, together with unconditional support, are what we have always been giving to our beloved club.
The two banners that flew over the Hawthorns were labelled a ‘banner war’. It has never been a war. We have never wanted to fight anyone, not even those who do not share the same values or opinions with us. We did not try to stop anyone from flying their own banners or speaking up.
We are making this little extra effort to let Mr. Wenger know that we will always have your back. It is always more important for us to get behind the team rather than getting into a nonsensical fight with those who cannot endure hard times with the club or easily get stirred up by media outlets who have an agenda against the club or the manager. As much as we want Mr. Wenger to stay at Arsenal for more seasons to come, we also understand that it is Mr. Wenger and the club’s decision to make. And we would respect whatever decision is made mutually by the club and the manager.
It has never been our intention to stop anyone from expressing opinions. We only want more respect for the manager on and off the pitch. Respect Mr. Wenger. Respect each other, including people who do not share the same values with us.
We apologise for any inconvenience or trouble caused to Arsenal Football Club, Sir Chips Keswick and Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd.