AFTV: Arsenal fan channel and Robbie Lyle criticism is unfair

AFTV divides opinion among Arsenal and regular football fans. Some appreciate the platform that has been created to give fans a voice and express opinions about the game. How it has created iconic personalities that are popular on social media and now even around the world. However others despise it and how it ‘profits from the club’s failure’. They believe the personalities on the channel are supposedly doing it all for views with deliberately controversial opinions and explosive exaggerated rants. Which side are you on?

AFTV Robbie Lyle

There has always been questions and criticism of AFTV, formerly known as Arsenal Fan TV. As is the case with any YouTube channel or form of media. However, the last few weeks have seen waves of backlash but also support for the world’s largest football fan channel. This all sparked from Robbie’s interview on TalkSport with Simon Jordan and Jim White. Both sides made some valid points alongside some dubious ones. However, Robbie, AFTV and football fan media came out better than the ‘mainstream’, in my opinion.

TalkSport – The hypocrites

I find it ridiculous how a radio station like TalkSport is able to criticise AFTV for profiting off struggles when they do the exact same thing. Their entire business has the EXACT same model as AFTV: Maximising earnings when a team loses. Exhibit A: The fan call in concept they are notorious for. Callers call in to give their opinion on the game or an incident just gone by. The viewer’s reaction is often reactionary and emotional in the heat of the moment, often after losing, hence rationality as well as logic goes at the window. They then post it on their social channels (like they should) and it goes viral. No surprises there.

Controversy and rants get clicks, which BOTH TalkSport and AFTV know. The only difference between them is the platforms and mediums. YouTube vs mainstream radio. I have no issue with either TalkSport or AFTV doing it, they have to maximise revenue and engagement, it’s their job. We have to do it with some titles in our articles, that’s just how it works.

AFTV Robbie and TalkSport Simon Jordan

But for TalkSport to paint themselves as the ‘good guys’ when they are also guilty of this so called ‘profiting’ off poor results is hypocrisy of the highest order. This is manipulation by a platform that knows it has to attack a channel that is significantly larger in popularity, scale and viewership in order to remain relevant. Don’t even get me started on Adrian Durham, the controversy king. Mainstream media like radio and TV is stagnant with the emergence of platforms like YouTube taking over. Envy is the root of this entire saga between TalkSport and AFTV.

Robbie himself explained his argument well on a video HERE as well as multiple other videos on the channel.

AFTV – Some criticism justified?

As for AFTV, I can understand why there is criticism of a new form of media that performs better when the team loses. There is an inverse relationship between team performance and views, that’s just how the internet works. It’s the same thing as TalkSport. When a team plays poorly and loses, the fans are angry, rant and likely to be more controversial with their opinions. This generates more clicks and views from rival fans, alongside the core supporters of the club, because it’s more entertaining for the neutral. Simple concept.

It’s also a coincidence that AFTV began in around 2012 and Arsenal have only been on the decline since then, which has led to astronomical growth in popularity of the channel. So when a legendary ex-Arsenal player like Ray Parlour comes out and criticises AFTV calling them ‘Arsenal Fail TV’, when he HIMSELF has been on the channel before multiple times, the level of hypocrisy is infruiating.

AFTV interview with Ray Parlour

There are cases of fans going on AFTV simply to get on camera for views or ‘clout’ with absolutely ludicrous opinions that even the angriest fan wouldn’t think of. Like this one for example. In those cases, I completely agree with the criticism. Even if Robbie doesn’t know the person will say something THAT controversial, he can choose not to upload it. However, we’re unaware of how many interviews his team take compared to how many they upload. They may take double the interviews that they upload, with half of them not making the cut because they go too far. Alternatively, they may not make the cut if they lack entertainment value. That’s a question only Robbie can answer, which he probably should address.

AFTV Regulars

But criticism of channel regulars is completely unjustified in my honest opinion. The likes of DT, Troopz and Claude can’ t control the results on the pitch or how well certain players play. They only gives their thoughts immediately after the game to get an honest, raw insight into what they saw over 90 minutes. Sometimes, this may come across as too far, irrational, exaggerated, harsh, etc. But that’s the beauty of football, we can all have different opinions to each and argue about them. That’s what makes sport so good, there are so many different angles to look at something.

AFTV interview with regular DT

Moreover, the people that go on AFTV aren’t multimillionaires. They pay their hard earned money to watch their team play week in week out in whatever weather, whatever country, whatever time of year. Like it or not, they are the definition of hard core fans. At the very least, they deserve to have an opinion on the game. Why people look down on them is beyond me. Considering some of the pundits employed in mainstream corporations like Sky and BT Sport, the channel regulars, in fact, most fans make valid points.

Just because they aren’t ‘media trained’, don’t wear suits or speak in a certain manner, that doesn’t automatically make their opinion invalid or have basis. It’s disgraceful how channels like AFTV, the United Stand, Redmen TV, etc aren’t given the respect or credit they deserve because of how new and different they are to what the general public are used to. What makes it funnier is the likes of Sky Sports interviewing and talking about AFTV on their live shows because they know it will get clicks. The media that used to belittle fan led media arguably needs it to get views. How rich is that?

Respect ‘Don Robbie’

As for people slating Robbie Lyle and abusing him after the game today, stop buying into the nonsense of the mainstream narrative. What’s wrong with the fact the man has created a profitable and successful company in an industry he’s emotionally invested in? In fact, Robbie should be celebrated and given credit.

Robbie Lyle with Troopz and Alexandre Lacazette

He has pioneered fan led media, given fans from all parts of the world a voice and disrupted an industry that has been dominated by the mainstream. If you don’t like AFTV, don’t watch it. By talking about it and criticising it, people are too stupid to realise your helping AFTV. Even more people know about them now and are coming to out to support them. Don Robbie has the football world on strings and I LOVE to see it.

A slightly different article to what we normally do, but I thought it was fair we addressed a large issue currently circling around social media.

For more articles on the beautiful game, follow us on Twitter @TasteofFtbl

4 Comments

  1. To be fair mate, I think it’s more the people going on the show and their shit views giving other fans and poor reputation that’s the issue rather than not watching it resolving the issue

    • Agreed mate, there is this generalisation and picture painted of Arsenal fans because of the main personalities on AFTV. Robbie probably needs to change the format or ease the main delusional personalities out.

  2. Just discovered this blog. Been a football fan for years and prefer pieces like these over three worded tweets any day. Appreciate everyone involved. Keep up the good work. All the best.

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