AFTV

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AFTV
Arsenal Fan TV intro.png
YouTube information
Channel
Years active2012–present
GenreSports
Subscribers892,000+
Total views550 million+
NetworkDigitalDynastyMedia
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2014
Subscriber and view counts updated as of 06 January 2019.

AFTV (formerly known as ArsenalFanTV) is an association football YouTube channel and website directed at Arsenal supporters. Based in England, the channel started in 2012.[1] Their channel includes fan interviews, previews and reviews of Arsenal matches. They have interviewed past and current players including Olivier Giroud, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. The channel's creator and presenter is Robbie Lyle, who in 2013 won the Football Blogging Awards for Best Male Football Blog.[2]

History[edit]

The account was created on YouTube in October 2012, and was founded by former BBC reggae radio host Robbie Lyle.[3] Lyle had worked as a surveyor before quitting his job to work on ArsenalFanTV full-time. He created the channel with his cameraman 'Tal' who had also quit his job to pursue a career on YouTube.[4]

ArsenalFanTV film their interviews outside the Emirates Stadium after Arsenal's home games

Their first fan interviews were after Arsenal's 5–2 win against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.[4] When asked by Vice on why he created the channel Lyle said "we've all had enough of the so-called pundits, most of whom aren't even at the games. So I started my own channel to hear from the real fans, with real opinions. That was my aim with the site".[4] ArsenalFanTV pioneered the concept of supporters led TV or "Fan TV" which has led to other club supporters creating similar channels on YouTube [5]

Since its creation, the channel has continued to provide viewers with fan interviews and content about Arsenal on social media. But its rise in the YouTube community can be due to many viral videos it has posted from fan interviews. The channel has posted interviews of many angry rants from Arsenal supporters directed at the club's ownership. Many of these fan interviews include Chris Hudson's rant after the loss to Aston Villa in 2013 and Troopz in 2017 following Arsenal's 5–1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.[6] This has led to increased views and popularity for the channel. They have also included a weekly podcast called 'All Guns Blazing' which features Robbie Lyle and Mr DT.

The rise of the channel has been helped by viral videos it has posted from fan interviews, with fans venting their frustration at the club following defeats. Much of the anger from supporters on the channel was directed towards former manager Arsène Wenger, who many believed should have resigned following his long tenure at the London-based club, especially during the 2016-17 season where there was a divide between Arsenal fans, with a minority being 'Wenger In' and a majority being 'Wenger Out'[7]There has also been criticism towards major shareholder Stan Kroenke who a majority of Arsenal fans believe he should sell his shares to the next major shareholder Alisher Usmanov, following claims of his lack of desire towards the club, and comments made by Kroenke himself stating that he 'didn't buy Arsenal stakes to win trophies'.[8] This was referenced on BT Sport by the former England international Rio Ferdinand when he mentioned the frustration of Arsenal supporters with Wenger on ArsenalFanTV in 2016.[9] ArsenalFanTV have since created another channel "AFTV Young Gunz" aimed at younger Arsenal fans and created their own football team "AFTV FC" composed of viewers and regulars on the channel.

In April 2018, Channel 4 broadcast a new late night football show called The Real Football Fan Show hosted by AFTV presenter Robbie Lyle and features many of the regulars from the YouTube channel. It premiered on 20 April 2018.[10]

Characters[edit]

Although the channel interviews a variety of Arsenal supporters after every game, there are a few supporters who are regularly interviewed by Robbie Lyle and are well known by many of the channel's viewers. These include:

  • Claudio "Claude" Callegari: an outspoken critic of Arsène Wenger. He is famous for his saying "it's time to go" with regard to Arsène Wenger.[11]
  • Ty"Taiwo": he, unlike Claude, is seen as very optimistic and is well known for his support of Wenger. Ty has constantly defended Wenger despite facing growing opposition from supporters.[12]
  • Liam "Mr DT" Goodenough: a vocal critic of Wenger, DT is also known for his angry rants whenever Arsenal lose and has been responsible for putting many 'Wenger Out' banners at Arsenal matches. He has his own channel with over 177,000 subscribers.[13]
  • Ross "Troopz" Smith: another vocal critic of Wenger, Troopz is famous for his use of London slang words such as 'blud' and 'fam'. He is also famous for his catchphrase "Back Again!", calling people Ham Rolls and has his own YouTube channel with over 78,000 subscribers.[14]
  • Moh Haider: is an Arsenal supporter who appears regularly on AFTV and is known for mentioning Arsenal’s net spend in comparison with other clubs whether positively or negatively.
  • Colin "Heavy D" Newell: unlike the other channel regulars, he rose to fame due to being a regular on Storage Hunters UK. Heavy D is more loud and enthusiastic about Arsenal in his interviews.[15]
  • Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger received strong criticism from supporters on ArsenalFanTV
    Bully: A regular well known for his nose ring, hence the name 'Bully', as well as his frequent criticism of the referees and the Arsenal Hierarchy.
  • Dr. Kelechi Anyikude:[16] Originally from Nigeria, Kelechi is well known for singing at the start of his interviews.
  • Lee Judges: A lifelong Arsenal supporter, Lee has given several passionate rants about the demise of Arsenal under Wenger.[17] Judges also present a regular segment on the channel entitled The Judge where he answers questions sent in by the fans in the style of a judge.

Controversies[edit]

The channel has received many criticisms. Lawrence Tallis, the creative director of Big Balls Films (which launched Copa90), questioned whether many viewers were watching the channel for analysis of Arsenal or for the entertainment.[5] Similarly, former Manchester United player and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville criticised Arsenal fans who appeared on the channel for being too harsh on Wenger. "I was watching Arsenal fans slating and slanging into him, and I thought, 'he doesn't deserve that'".[18] ArsenalFanTV later extended an invitation for Neville to discuss his comments on the channel, which he accepted.[19] After Arsenal's 2–2 draw against Manchester City in April 2017, many Arsenal supporters attempted to attack Robbie as well as other regulars such as Claude.[11] There had been tensions between pro-Wenger and anti-Wenger supporters in the stadium which led to fights during the game between Arsenal fans. One man shouted "ArsenalFanTV won't be happening today", indicating that although it was unclear why the attacks happen, many fans were unhappy with the content the channel had been producing.[20] In a video days later, Lyle addressed the issue and stated that he spoke to the fans who tried to attack and they had apologised.[21]

In that same month, the channel came under criticism for a video they posted in association with The Sun newspaper. The video featured Robbie and regulars DT and Ty, and it received backlash from many football fans, especially Liverpool supporters, who had boycotted The Sun due to controversial information on the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which killed 96 Liverpool fans, which included allegations of Liverpool urinating on Police Officers and pickpocketing from dying supporters. Liverpool had recently banned the newspaper from attending press conferences and Everton also followed, following an article posted about Ross Barkley, which they had compared him to a gorilla which was considered offensive due to his grandfather's Nigerian heritage.[22] In response to the criticism, Lyle appeared on the Ball Street YouTube channel and apologised to the people of Liverpool for offence that was taken, and has promised to not work with the tabloid in the future, and the video has since been deleted from the channel.[23]

Following Arsenal's 2–0 defeat to Tottenham in April 2017, Lyle was escorted out of White Hart Lane with police protection after being abused by many Tottenham fans, and was unable to film ArsenalFanTV after that match. In a video afterwards, Lyle stated that much of the abuse he received was racist and was not something he experienced for years. Tottenham Hotspur condemned any racial abuse and was working with the Metropolitan Police on the issue.[24]

In February 2018, at a scheduled talk at Oxford Union, Arsenal defender Héctor Bellerín criticised the channel stating that it's wrong for people to consider themselves to be fans while having their success built off of the team's failures[25], as well as claiming that some fans were 'hustling' in order to make money from the channel. This prompted Lyle to respond in defense retorting that ArsenalFan TV exists not as a way to profit off of failure but as a platform for any and all fans of the club to freely voice their opinions, support or even frustrations towards their club without feeling that their opinion is less important[26].

In August 2018, ArsenalFanTV were forced to change their name to AFTV following discussions with Arsenal regarding the channel breaching Arsenal's copyright by using the term "Arsenal" without authorisation which had a negative effect on the club.[27] Some media outlets claimed Arsenal had issued a cease and desist letter against ArsenalFanTV, however they confirmed this was not true.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The stars of the Premier League". Africa Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Football Blogging Awards". Football blogging Awards. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Robbie Lyle interview". SBC. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet the People Behind the Vox Pops on Arsenal Fan TV". Vice. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b "ArsenalFanTV and the case against Arsene Wenger". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  6. ^ "ArsenalFanTV is must watch after Bayern Munich humiliation". Balls.ie. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  7. ^ Law, Matt (31 March 2017). "Seventy-eight per cent of Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger to leave". Retrieved 29 September 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Kroenke: I didn't buy Arsenal stake to win trophies". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Rio Ferdinand refers to angry Claude from ArsenalFanTV during Spurs game". 101greatgoals.com.
  10. ^ "ArsenalFanTV heading to Channel 4 in new late-night show". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b Sean Gibson (3 April 2017). "Arsenal Fan TV attacked by fellow supporters while trying to film after Manchester City match". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  12. ^ MacInnes, Paul (23 November 2015). "Fan TV: revolution or just a vehicle for venting attention-grabbing fury?". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  13. ^ Shashi (12 March 2016). "Arsenal fan behind 'Arsene Wenger out' banner speaks out". Faceoffootball.com. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  14. ^ Greenberg, Alex (24 March 2017). "WATCH: Saluting our Troopz, An ode to an Arsenal Fan TV legend". SB Nation. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Arsenal news: Emirates steward actually told fan he was being too loud during Bournemouth clash". Metro. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Gooner celebrates completing his PhD by graduating in Arsenal shirt". Metro. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Arsenal Fan TV star urges Wenger to walk immediately after Palace loss". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  18. ^ Jack de Menezes. "Gary Neville in war of words with 'embarrassing' Arsenal fans after criticising ArsenalFanTV". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Gary Neville Interview".
  20. ^ "Arsenal Fan TV supporters attacked after Manchester City draw". Daily Express. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Robbie Lyle fighting aftermath". YouTube. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Sun prints apology to Ross Barkley". 22 April 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  23. ^ "WATCH: Arsenal Fan TV apologise to Liverpool fans for working with the Sun | JOE.co.uk". JOE.co.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Arsenal fan racially abused at Spurs". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Hector Bellerin explains why Arsenal Fan TV is 'so wrong'". Metro. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  26. ^ ArsenalFanTV (16 February 2018), Robbie Reacts To Hector Bellerin's Oxford Union Comments on AFTV, retrieved 1 March 2018
  27. ^ a b "Arsenal Fan TV forced into rebrand after talks with Gunners". Retrieved 29 September 2018.