Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin was recently invited to speak at the Oxford Union. A prestigious debating society, the Oxford Union has previously welcomed high-profile people such as Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Diego Maradona. In the interview, Bellerin discussed a plethora of topics ranging from his personal life as a footballer to the Catalan independence. While the 47-minute long discussion covers a variety of topics (see video in its entirety below), the main topic of conversation seems to be what the defender had to say about the YouTube channel ArsenalFanTV.
The channel mainly focuses on post-match reactions and interviews of certain regular fans of the north London club. Although there are a few relatively positive people on the show, AFTV is mostly known for its loud and outlandish rants about certain players, and most prominently, manager Arsene Wenger.
Around the 33-minute mark of the Oxford Union interview, a member from the crowd asks Bellerin what he makes of ArsenalFanTV and whether or not anyone from the team watches the show. Laughter from the crowd ensues, and then the 22-year-old Spain international questioned whether the YouTube crew are real fans of the team. “I don’t think there are [Arsenal] players that actually go on the internet to watch ArsenalFanTV,” claimed Bellerin.
“It’s so wrong for someone who claims to be a fan and their success is fed off of a failure. How can that be a fan? I think they’re just people hustling, trying to make money their way, which everyone is entitled to do. But for us players, it doesn’t affect us. If people want to have fun with it, then have fun. For us, when you grow, you just realize what is important to you to listen to and what not to take.
“If a coach comes to me and tells me that I’ve done something bad or wrong, I’m going to take that advice,” continued the Arsenal defender. “If someone from ArsenalFanTV says this guy needs to do this or that, I’m not going to listen to him. They’re entitled to their opinion and the way they want to do it. If people find it funny, then go watch it.”
Bellerin’s assertion that ArsenalFanTV’s success “is fed off of a failure” is certainly a strong statement; however, he is not wrong. Although the channel is successful and will receive views (or hits) in the five or six figures no matter what, they undoubtedly get more attention and views when Arsenal lose games.
DT, perhaps the channel’s most well-known and most-watched “fan,” sees his views more than double after an Arsenal loss when he is included in an ArsenalFanTV video. In fact, following the last five Arsenal victories, DT has averaged about 351,000 YouTube views per video in which he was interviewed. This is compared to averaging around 780,000 views over the club’s last five losses. That is a 429,000 average increase in clicks when the Gunners actually lose a match.
Furthermore, ArsenalFanTV has been the rival fans go-to channel on YouTube directly after an Arsenal loss to see the misery and negativity from DT and his pals. Premier League players have even proclaimed to watch ArsenalFanTV following a defeat for the north London club.
Bellerin did, however, clearly state that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on these matters. The defender came off as very well-spoken, especially for a young man whose first language is not English. While everyone is entitled to their (informed) opinion, it is certainly a shame that some people with a large following tend to thrive off of negativity. Fans, sometimes referred to as supporters, should do just that, and support the team through thick and thin.