Robbie Lyle is obviously an Arsenal fan, everything about him says so.
Enthusiastic, knowledgable and passionate, but the Radio presenter has seen his YouTube channel show heavily criticised of late.
Arsenal football club managed to get the YouTube outfit to change its name from Arsenal fan TV to AFTV presumably, in an effort to disassociate itself from the channel and it’s often controversial opinion and content.
It was also due to the unauthorised use of the copyrighted term ’Arsenal’ for audio and visual recordings which was not an official media outlet of the club.
AFTV serves a purpose because it’s not sanitised by the club and is by fans for fans.
It’s also an award winning format, picking up the best overall football content creators 2019/19 and has 850,000 subscribers, so it’s not exactly a small concern.
However, it’s seen as a marmite product and has alienated a section of Arsenal fans and former Arsenal players along the way, with Héctor Bellerín claiming the platform’s success was “fed off a failure”.
AFTV has its issues, apart from Lyle, the contributors seem like a series of Caricatures from a football mockumentary.
Anyone expecting concise analysis might be disappointed because it mainly appears to be a vehicle for supporters to offer emotional opinion or rant
Occasionally entertaining as it is insufferable at times, there is a danger for that the bulk of the content, from the same faces is heading in the wrong direction, especially after a match.
Lyle struggles to add reason to the proceedings as reactionary fans such as Mr DT, Troopz, Heavy D and Claude go into a regular form of manic meltdown, which has led to some asking if it’s purpose is for analysis or entertainment.
Something that was bought to peoples attention by Lawrence Tallis, the creative director of Big Balls Films.
It is also no stranger to offending people within the game and those that support it, with its unwise, laddish and ill conceived comments.
It carried unsavoury stories about Liverpool fans in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, where 96 fans lost their lives and felt the full backlash of the Merseyside fans.
Lyle has had to rely on police protection on occasion and the filming of the show has stopped, due to fears for his safety but he seems undeterred.
the show has also attracted big names which has increased its profile, with appearances by Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Olivier Giroud and Gary Neville, for his thoughts on the treatment of Arsene Wenger.
AFTV has made a handful of people household names and as a result, it appears to make the individuals concerned play up to people’s perceptions of them.
If I’m honest, as much as I like the idea of AFTV, it has its flaws.
Apart from Robbie, who tries to offer balance from time to time, the fans involved are less inclined to do so, appearing more self obsessed and less objective.
There has always been a genuine need for a format of this kind because of the insatiable appetite of Arsenal fans.
It is widely accepted that Arsenal has some of the best blog sites and podcasts around, so a TV/YouTube channel was the next natural step.
Yet, for an audience that is fed on BT sport, MOTD and Sky, fans are more used to a slick, concise analysis and at times the content, even though valid is served up by a collection of baseball capped, aggy homies with anger management issues.
If it’s an attempt to be edgy then that’s fine but it will divide an audience and I guess that’s the point. Too polished and it removes AFTV from its original concept and makes it more mainstream, which it is desperate to avoid.
In general terms, Arsenal fans are not as enthusiastic about the show as it’s Ali G presenters.
Many feel it misrepresents the average fan and that it paints a poor image of those loyal supporters who follow the club.
Infact, since writing this, I’ve had a lot of feedback on FB and Twitter which isn’t exactly complimentary. One suggested that they “ jumped on the Wenger out thing for all their online channels”
“ I pay no attention to these idiots. They don’t represent the fans on any level. All they do is give silly sound bites to anti Arsenal outlets on Social media. Sound bites that make the rest of us look stupid. Men in their 40’s shouting “ye get me” and “waste mans”
If you yearn for additional comment or entertainment concerning Arsenal, there are other avenues around that are more traditionally presented.
Still free from censorship but they do deliver a more measured argument and rounded view of events, such as the podcasts like ‘Guns and yellow ribbons’ which is as informative as it is entertaining.
As for AFTV, it’s an occasional guilty pleasure but not one which I indulge in too often. I can listen to that type of banter ( that’s what it is ) in any pub not far from the Emirates.