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Everything Gunners Firing in the One Place
Member Name: Goonerette89
Date: 04/09/12, updated on 04/09/12 (33 review reads)
Advantages: Simple, clear, everything is there you need.
Disadvantages: Some of the international sites slightly out of date and the video player costs.
I have been on this a lot lately and in fairness, there is nothing that I Google more than 'Arsenal' - everyday. Official football websites are not like other things whereby you can compare them to their rivals because there is no real reason a non-Arsenal fan would spend much time on here, nor would many of our fans spend much time on anyone else's website. I have been on a couple of other club's websites but very rarely. Football websites have one duty really: to serve their fans.
Sometimes you have to go through a commercialised page to enter the site, usually advertising the kit or something.
When you do enter the main page you'll find arsenal.com is set out in the team colours of red and white as one would expect, with the logo and a big banner across the top with the club's name, in its modern design. There are plenty of options along the top and down the left side, too many to state here but they include latest (official) news, the team, tickets, fixtures, the usually successful ladies team, history, youth teams, the stadium, charity work, coaching staff, loanees, hospitality, podcasts, even wallpapers.
They've touched on their global fan base as there are choices to enter one of their international sister sites: Japan, Korea, China or America - just click on the respective flag at the top of the page. Obviously there are in their respective languages but in design, they all differ from one another. The Japanese site is in more of that maroon colour that the old Arsenal played in and that they wore in tribute during their final Highbury season. At the moment it seems out-of-date with a picture of the recently departed Robin van Persie on it along with some of his then teammates and centering around the summer's Asia tour, which of course was in pre-season. The Korean one is certainly up-to-date though, with a picture of Lukas Podolski and a report of the weekend win away at Anfield. Having gone on the Korean website, there is another option which isn't shown on the club's main website and that is a Thai website - again, available via clicking on the Thai flag. However having clicked on it, my screen was completely blank so I've no idea if that's me or the Thai website has its own problems. Someone tell them we've scored now ;)
The American website is set in the same design as the main one but with less clutter, and the token stars and stripes. There is also a section on the MLS's Colorado Rapids, with whom Arsenal partner and link with. They've also cleverly included a drop down on English football, including a quick run down on each of the teams and their ground, local rivals and shirt colours: "Based in West London, the Blues are currently enjoying the most successful era in their history, thanks in no small part to the riches of Russian owner Roman Abramovich." Wink, wink. There is also a long list of Arsenal supporters clubs, bars and pubs across the United States of America.
Back to the main website and everything is included that you need to know about the club's stature, history, current team and how to make it easier to follow them, from traveling to tickets to safety (their updates during a few European games is particularly crucial). There are bits and bobs taken from the official magazine such as player interviews.
The main page also consists of the latest news, usually with a large photograph and headline across the centre and several other news stories underneath. If you want to be sure what is reported is true and official, then the official club website is of course the first port of call. When Arsenal made several signings last summer during the final hours of the summer transfer window, this website crashed due to the fans' enthusiasm.
There is always a match report after every game and yes, they can be slightly biased. If the opposing team should have had a penalty but didn't get it, let's face it, they won't exactly hang around and debate it, but they do report such incidents, in fairness. Sometimes they hint at a slight agenda such as this season some fans may have noticed when two of our players departed the site left them a quick good luck and thank you message but it differed slightly. On the one to Robin van Persie they wished him well but didn't exactly thank him, whereas Alex Song received a thank you. :O
They also give you the chance to vote the man of the match as well as goal and player of the season and so on. Everything is there: every reserve match, every under-19s score, every signing and so on. There's a lot of focus on the youth, ladies and something Arsenal do well is their charity and community work which has dedicated pages here.
Their ladies coverage is impressive and whether there is another club which supports its women's side better, I'm not sure. If you click on the drop down option under 'ladies', you get a whole twenty options. Very good in a part of the world where the women's game is only just taking off. This gives you the latest scores, the team, the history and so on. I can understand why the Arsenal Ladies have been so influential and successful over the years with such support.
My favourite part is 'history' which gives you the option to read about certain segments in the club's past, which can be really underappreciated compared to other English clubs - from the day they began in south London through to my personal favourite era in the 1930s to the '70s and so on. There's a really impressive and simple timeline to indicate when the club did what and won what. There are pages dedicated just to certain iconic moments, such as the league win in Liverpool in 1989 - I was two months old!
There are photographs and interviews and it's all tastefully done - what'd you expect? ;)
They have a database with every player in the club's history on there; where else would we know about Jack Ashton's fifteen appearances in 1900? It is great to see pictures of the likes of Alex James and Ted Drake in their '30s gear - these were the Bergkamp or Podolski of their day, after all. They were stars. I know, I know, I probably don't belong in civilised society with all the other girls but truly, I could have a field day on here. This is basically an Arsenal Football Club treasure trove. Whatever era is your favourite or whatever era you enjoy recapping from your youth, you are sure to find plenty of detail on the website.
They haven't left the old Highbury / Arsenal Stadium behind either with plenty on that as well as their 50 top moments, players and goals in the club's history.
They also take a keen interest in the media / social networking side of things as our players are quite into that. This website broadcasts our players every twenty first century Tweet - I suppose they know that, right? It seems a long way from a black & white Ted Drake and his baggy shorts and comb-over, anyway. If you register with the website you can also receive the manager's email - no, nothing personal. He just talks about the recent game and so on. Arsenal will send you newsletters as well, but the one good thing don't do is spam you. They're regular but not annoyingly so.
Other than that the rest of the website is made up of commercial partners and advertising, whether it be the new kit or subscribing to their online video player. Fly Emirates, Lucozade, Carlsberg, EA Sports, Indeset, some big names at the bottom of the screen there, just to remind you all that 'football is now a business and not just a sport.' Like everything, really. Seeing Citroen's name just reminds of that terrible advert featuring some of our players dancing with ballerinas.
To the right of the screen is the Arsenal Player - now this is the catch, and this is what annoys me. Many fans pay over the odds to watch a game or own a season ticket at the Emirates Stadium - in fact that is an understatement. We are one of the best supported clubs around the world, hence the extra international websites - presumably this means that fans from the USA to Nigeria to Japan buy merchandising and shirts. In fact, they do buy these things. People go into the club's shop, The Armoury and buy things. I have done. They have rich and famous sponsors such as those listed above. They get plenty of money. Yet to watch about 80% of the website's video content you have to pay. Some videos are free and usually pretty short but good: such as their mini package of the highlights of the latest game - but this is only about three minutes' worth. Interviews with players and the manager costs either a £1.50 one off payment to have a day's access to the content or an annual pass which costs... £36. I can understand why you have to pay to listen to the commentary or watch the match but why they won't make the interviews free is pure stinginess. That said many of them turn up on YouTube anyway. What you get on the Player is pretty good and often never takes itself too seriously. They did a really wonderful series (admittedly free) called Fans from Afar in which they spoke with some international fans from a different nation each time: Denmark, Russia, Bahrain, Brazil, USA, Australia, Uganda and so on. It's still available on the website though.
There's a search bar at the top of the page as well which I can confirm is very handy, it gives you the latest news or articles regarding your particular search.
One other thing, and this is one more extra website to accompany this main one is one of my favourite things on here: Junior Gunners. Technically you are on the same website when you click on this link but its bright, fun pink and purple background make it seem like an entirely different site since the rest of the pages keep the same red and white colour scheme as the main page. Firstly you'll notice a lovely animated picture of our mascot Gunnersaurus sitting at the top of the page and some of the font, is in a childish uppercase yellow and white. There are competitions, games and a chance to get to know the kids' heroes and so on and it's written in a simpler style. So call me a seven year old but you can print off big pictures of the club's badge, players and mascot to print off and colour in. Exciting! It's just sweet. (Some of this does need updating though as it too has pictures of ex players).
There you go, that's my guide to the excellent Arsenal website. There are newspapers and other sites such as goal.com to get news but you have to put up with warring fans and gossip, so this is a lot more tasteful. Of course if you're not a fan then it'll be no use to you, it's not written in an original or creative way that would keep the attention of a non-fan. It might not be a lot at first, just a check of the latest news but click a few links on this website and any Arsenal fan might find that the next time they check their clock, they were supposed to have left the office two hours ago! This is the only place to go to find everything Arsenal.
Summary: A near perfect official football club website.