Arsenal Offer Free Tickets After Man United Humiliation
There is at least one positive for Arsenal supporters reeling from the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United: the club has promised to give free tickets to those who attended the humiliation at Old Trafford.
Around 3,000 fans made the 400-mile round trip to Manchester on Sunday, only to see the team suffer their heaviest defeat since 1896. Arsenal will now write to those supporters, offering to cover the cost of a ticket at a future Premier League away game, reports Guardian.co.uk.
A club statement said: "Sunday's result was obviously disappointing for everyone connected with the club. Our travelling fans were magnificent throughout and we want to recognise their fantastic support. We will be writing to them shortly with the details."
It is not the first time a football club has taken such action. Wigan players clubbed together to refund the costs of fans who travelled to Tottenham to see their team humbled 9-1 in 2009, while in the same year the German side, Energie Cottbus reimbursed supporters after a 4-0 defeat at Schalke, a performance the club described as "pitiful".
In addition to the financial compensation, Arsène Wenger also issued an apology to Arsenal fans, as the manager faces up to the most testing days of his 15 years at the club.
"The fans do not want to see their team like that," he said. "We can only apologise and come back in our strength and desire in the next game. Big scores are humiliating and difficult to swallow but I don't think they have a special meaning. They are always under special circumstances."
For Wenger, those special circumstances were a lengthy injury list, which left him without Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna among others, plus the suspensions of Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong. But Robin van Persie insisted the embarrassment cannot be blamed on a weakened team.
"It is an honest result if you look at the game," the captain said. "We were simply not good enough. We have to deal with that. I don't think we can hide behind injuries or suspensions. It is no excuse. They had injuries too, this is football."
Van Persie – who missed a penalty and scored one of the consolation goals – also admitted he felt sorry for the supporters who travelled to Old Trafford, most of whom braved it out until full-time.
"That is one really positive thing," he said. "They were cheering us up all game for 90 minutes. We really appreciate that. Sometimes you see fans leaving early but I did not see that. When we went to the fans to thank them after the game, it looked like every seat was still full."