Forget the famous Match of the Day studio. Fan media channels are providing raw and direct content made for the fans, by the fans. They have changed the dynamic of football analysis giving power to the everyday fan straight outside the stadium.

Fan media is a topic that could not divide opinion any more if it wanted to. It’s the marmite of the football world. Dive in as I look at AFTV and other fan channels.

What are Fan channels?

Fan media channels are no longer just an internet fad. While they may have seemed like a viral trend at first, YouTube fan platforms have proved they are here for good.

No longer do you have to be a former player or pundit to have an opinion. Fan channels give real supporters an opportunity to have their voice heard.

Fancams offer passionate, emotive responses immediately recorded after the full-time whistle, multiple channels have amassed huge followings. And there is not a better example to talk about than Arsenal supporters very own ‘AFTV’.

AFTV

AFTV Is perhaps the most famous supporters’ run YouTube account. Filming must watch post game fan interviews.

Given the performances Arsenal have put in in recent years these interviews are commonly sensational, expletive-laden rants which has made the channel a huge online hit. So much so the channel has even hosted appearances from club legends Kanu and Henry.

Moreover you don’t have to be an Arsenal fan to love tuning in. As soon as Arsenal lose a game, fans of all clubs are eagerly waiting for the AFTV reaction interviews.

a brief history of aftv

A Brief History of AFTV

Broader success

With numbers like those above you can see why Robbie Lyle has made a killing hosting AFTV. It’s estimated big Rob takes home a sweet £400,000 a year. Not too shabby for a YouTube presenter.

On top of this he made the jump from his online bubble to the television world. Featuring appearances from ‘100% Chelsea’ and the ‘United Stand’ Robbie became the host of ‘The Real Football Fan Show’ on channel 4.

With two series under the belt so far, the show offers a no holds barred discussion on all the latest Premier League news and controversy. Click here to give the show a watch.

Defending Fan Media

Whilst Fan channels will never be to everybody’s taste, many people have leapt to their defence. To put in that sheer graft behind the scenes is commendable alone.

Manchester united supporters’ channel ‘FullTimeDEVILS’ prides themselves on integrity and building up an audience who trusts them to provide diverse independent opinion. In other words they don’t encourage rants just for the sake of views.

Fan Media offers perfectly suits the changing consumer habits of today. As well as offering an alternative to mainstream shows such as Match of the Day. As a result it is now a sub-culture rising in popularity by the day. For the simple motto of giving the fans what they want.

Match of the Day window with Gary Lineker

BBC one show Match of the Day has very limited fan reaction, leading many consumers to favour online fan media. | Image by Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Fan Media backlash

As with anything in life not everybody will be on board. Fan channels have been accused for staging content with exaggerated arguments, shouting and ranting, as well as exploiting their voluntary guests for views. In addition many of these platforms are said to dramatize and over-react instead of providing balanced reflective views.

Ignoring the frequent pantomime content, fan channels are further criticised for discrediting their own maxim. Because how can a channel be ‘by the fans, for the fans’ if operated by a successful media company?

Tottenham’s ‘SpurredOn’ and Manchester City’s ‘Blue Moon Rising’ are managed by the same production company behind ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

So, are these channels really for the fans, or are they really the result of big businesses seeking a profit?

Do fan channels thrive on club failure?

It’s also well documented that most fan channels begin to achieve success of the back of their clubs’ failures. AFTV has been growing rapidly in subscribers since fans started bollocking the team performances under Arsene Wenger.

FullTimeDEVILS attained their greatest growth period in 2014 thanks to Andy Tate’s legendary rants. He became a playground icon amongst school kids quoting his infamous outburst against then manager David Moyes.

Manchester City and Chelsea can not boast the same subscriber count, due to how well they have performed on the pitch in recent years.

Final comment

I personally love watching fan channels, especially after a shock defeat. The passion and desire of football fans of any team is a joy to behold. Fan media shows the world how much football means to us.

They make fans feel important. Give supporters the platform to express themselves. They should be celebrated not condemned.

Long live AFTV.