The Friday Fanzone Q&A: Islington’s Tim Payton, long-term Arsenal season ticket holder and AST board member

Friday Fanzone: Islington's Tim Payton, AST board member.

Friday Fanzone: Islington's Tim Payton, AST board member. - Credit: Archant

The second in an occasional series of Q&As with Gunners’ fans. This week we have Islington’s Tim Payton, board member of the Arsenal Supporters Trust – with its stated goal being to widen and deepen supporter ownership, representation and influence at Arsenal. Read on for local lad Tim’s absorbing views..

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a board member of the Arsenal Supporters Trust and a season ticket holder for more than 30 years

How did you become an Arsenal fan?

I grew up in Islington and went to Highbury Grove, the local school to Arsenal

Arsene Wenger. Discuss:

Arsene Wenger will rightly go down in Arsenal history for having transformed English football and given Arsenal some of their best-ever times including the incomparable Invincibles. However time catches up with everyone and I agree with the sentiment it time for a fresh start for both Arsene and Arsenal.

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What made you get involved with AST?

I got involved with the AST as I believe a club should be all about its fans. The perfect model is one where fans hold a stake in the club and ensure it acts in a custodian way so everyone can share its progress.

Is fan ownership still realistic?

The huge amount of money in the game makes it very difficult. The new model for groups like the AST is to influence. This means focusing on issues like good governance, fairer ticket prices and safe standing.

What makes you proud to be a Gooner?

I am proud of the roots Arsenal has in its local community. Clubs must never forget where they come from and that without fans they don’t exist.

Next statue outside would be?

I wouldn’t have another statue. I would prefer a small replica Highbury so people can remember how special that ground was.

First game?

My first game was Arsenal 2, Nottingham Forest 0 in 1982. I can still visualise Graham Rix’s goal.

Favourite game and why?

The 1987 Littlewoods Cup Final win over Liverpool. It was my first-ever final and the start of ‘modern Arsenal’. Wembley and the atmosphere blew me away. It was all so new and special.

Favourite player and why?

Thierry Henry. Notable recommendation – Robert Pires

Best thing about Highbury?

The old schoolboys enclosure as you could change ends at half time. I also loved going down at school lunchtimes and climbing into the Clock End to eat chips and soak up the place when empty – until Ken Friar chased us out!

Fourth place trophy or FA Cup – can’t say both

FA Cup

All time Arsenal XI

This is based on those who made biggest impact on me not necessarily the greatest players (4-4-2):

Jennings; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Sansom; Viera,Gilberto, Pires, Rocastle; Henry, Bergkamp

What next for AST?

Arsenal need to do more for the match-going fan, in particular to improve the atmosphere – which is generally very poor at the Emirates. This means safe standing, more emphasis on building links to fans and taking action to fill empty seats every week.

Follow Tim on Twitter @timpayton. For the trust follow @AST_arsenal or visit their website