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‘Inconvenient’ Arsenal lambasted over concert and tower plans in new website

PUBLISHED: 10:55 22 November 2012

File photo dated 10/07/2010 of Matt Bellamy of Muse, who have been chosen to provide an official song for London 2012.

File photo dated 10/07/2010 of Matt Bellamy of Muse, who have been chosen to provide an official song for London 2012.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

It may be a mecca for thousands of passionate football fans, but for many who live on the Emirates Stadium’s doorstep, it can be nothing more than a huge inconvenience.

Now residents, who increasingly say they are fed up with the actions of Arsenal Football Club, have a voice – after a new website was launched to champion their cause.

Inconvenienced by Arsenal FC, as it is known, is the brainchild of Highbury resident Thomas Cooper, who has lived a stone’s throw from the ground in Ronalds Road for the past three years.

Mr Cooper, 46, said he was finally driven to action by the club’s recent whirlwind of activity, with almost weekly announcements about its bids to host more summer concerts and build a 25-storey skyscraper next to the ground.

This week was no different, with the news on Monday that rockers Muse will play two gigs at the Emirates next May.

Mr Cooper, an estate manager, said: “I was aware of people expressing views against further inconveniencing by Arsenal, particularly the application to triple the number of concerts from three to nine [announced last month]. That was the last straw.

“There didn’t appear to be a central forum for residents, so the idea of the website is to offer people a platform to express their views.”

It is not just the tower and concert plans that rile Mr Cooper, who does not support a football team. He describes the influx of bodies on match and concert days as a “human tsunami” that leaves him virtually housebound, making familiar complaints about the noise and mess that follow.

But above all, he is concerned about the cost of policing the stadium. He has even submitted a series of freedom of information requests to Scotland Yard asking for figures, but to no avail.

Cllr John Gilbert, a Lib Dem member for Highbury East ward, feels Mr Cooper is tapping into the mood of many residents, saying: “The timing of the tower and application to increase the number of concerts has been rather unhelpful for Arsenal.

“It’s unleashed a pent-up feeling of ill-will against the club, on the part of quite a large number of residents. It’s all come pouring out.

“He’s giving expression to those pent-up feelings, and that can only be a good thing. Poor residents are feeling if it’s not one thing it’s another, coming out of Arsenal.”

n The website is at www.ibafc.org.uk.


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