After the success of the Q & A with Moh Haider, I recently conducted a Q & A with ArsenalFanTV owner Robbie Lyle. Robbie talked about what drew him into supporting Arsenal, how he thinks Arsenal will go in the remainder of 2013/14 and how proud he is of what ArsenalFanTV has achieved.
Jake Cohen: Robbie, thanks for allowing me to interview you. Could you please tell me how you first became an Arsenal fan? How long have you been attending matches for?
Robbie Lyle: I have been a Gooner for over 30 years. I was born in North West London so I had a choice between Arsenal, Spurs, Barnet and QPR. So you can see why I am an Arsenal Fan.
JC: You’ve previously said that Thierry Henry is your favourite Arsenal player of all time. Who’s your favourite player currently?
RL: I really like Theo Walcott. I love his electric pace and finishing. I can never understand the criticism he gets. He scores lots of goals and creates so many assists. With him currently injured I think we are realising just how good he is.
JC: How do you think Arsenal will go in their run of matches against Bayern (a), Tottenham (a), Chelsea (a), City (h) and Everton (a)? How many points would you expect to take from those league matches?
RL: After the Stoke game I would be lying if I said I am not worried. It can go either way. We can be stung by the Stoke loss and go on a great run or we can throw it all away. I think we will go out against Bayern but if we can get at least 9 points out of those games, we can win the league. To do that, we will have to play without fear and at our maximum in every game. Also a player is going to have to emerge as our talisman. I’m hoping that will be Ozil.
JC: If you were the manager, would you focus on any competition in particular for the rest of 2013/14?
RL: Yes, we must focus on the League and FA Cup.
JC: Moving onto your fantastic channel, ArsenalFanTV now, how did you start it all?
RL: Started midway through last season. We wanted to give Arsenal fans a chance to have a voice. Fans are just as important as the players because without them, you have no spectacle. Just look at the Russian team Anzhi [Makhachkala]. They bought all these expensive superstar players but had no fans so no one was interested in them and now the club has had to sell them all.
JC: AFTV has grown from strength to strength, with over 15 million views in less than its 18 months of existence. How do you feel that your channel is viewed by so many Gooners around the world?
RL: I think the fans really enjoy what we are doing and we have earned their respect for our honesty in reflecting how the fans feel game to game.
JC: How does it feel that so many Arsenal fans come to see you after each game to discuss their thoughts?
RL: It’s unbelievable. I just love getting the opinions of the fans who tell it as it is and not like a lot of the pundits on TV who don’t.
JC: You’ve also become a strong brand with your YouTube channel, other social media platforms and selling your own clothing lines. How does the clothing line sell in terms of popularity?
RL: The clothing line does very well and the funds raised helps us to get the tickets for the games and pays for the transport and equipment. We started AFTV with a borrowed camera and a gifted microphone. For the first season, we paid for everything out of our own pocket. So the shop has really helped.
JC: It may be a very tough question to answer but speaking to so many Arsenal fans, there’d be few better people to ask. Which one change do you think Arsenal need to make the most to improve, on or off the field?
RL: We need to go big in the Summer and add 3 world class players. A world class striker, a world class left sided midfielder and a world class holding midfielder. I believe we are not far off the really top teams and if we added these players, we can do big things over the next few years.