The context behind a fan video that saw a raft of criticism for Arsenal has been explained to talkSPORT host Laura Woods.
The Gunners posted a pre-match clip on Twitter before their 2-2 Premier League draw against West Ham of a young fan getting her shirt signed by the players.
The supporter was seen waiting outside of the dressing room with a home shirt being signed, but had little to no interaction with the Arsenal stars passing by.
The clip quickly went viral on social media, leading to much debate, and Woods, who is also an Arsenal fan, said it was a poor look for the Premier League leaders.
“I agree, it doesn’t take a lot just to acknowledge somebody with a smile,” she said on talkSPORT Breakfast. “I think that video is quite symptomatic of football and footballers now.”
Woods then added: “To add a little bit of context, I actually messaged the club because I think they thought ‘they all stopped and signed the shirt this is great’.
“Maybe that in itself is the problem that there’s now a disconnect between what you’re meant to do for those kinds of mascots.
“The club did say it’s part of a matchday experience so that’s not the only interaction she had with the players. She was a mascot, she went out on the pitch with them, she would have been on the pitch with them during warm-ups.
“I think there’s a lot of things we don’t see, but that’s not excusing that video because I watched it a couple of times over and in my head thought ‘oh wait was it cut off afterwards, maybe they did [acknowledge her]’ and I went back and watched it and they didn’t.
“Maybe it’s quite a good lesson, the reaction of the normal fans. It’s a pre-match routine and I get that, you’re in your bubble, but it doesn’t really take long just to make eye contact.
“I watched that little girl and the way she’s waiting for eye contact or any sort of acknowledgement. The Young Gunners get these incredible experiences so I’m hoping somewhere else along the line she had a great day and got that interaction but in that moment, what does it take to just say hi?”
Fellow talkSPORT Breakfast host Ally McCoist added: “I thought it was shocking, I’ve been saying for a while now the gap between a footballer and the fan is bigger than it’s ever been.
“That was agony watching that, I was watching it thinking someone must give her a pat on the head or something, but nothing."
However, one fan expanded on what Woodsy pointed out, writing on Twitter: “My younger brother was a mascot for Arsenal.
“This is just one part of the whole experience. Once the players are settled, the mascot meets them all, has chats and gets pictures.”
And a subsequent video showed players in the tunnel giving the matchday mascots high-fives as they lined up to go and play.
The young fans’ dad also responded to the backlash on Twitter and wrote: “My daughter had a lovely time as Mascot for @Arsenal. There was only a small window to meet the players and she enjoyed it very much. Odegaard is her favourite player so to hold his hand onto the pitch was very special."
The Arsenal players are all entitled, arrogant, horrible people.— matt 🏴🇻🇦 (@thfcmxtt) April 17, 2023
Not one of them says a word to the girl https://t.co/Qk5uPjf1Cx
Similarly, Martin Odegaard won praise earlier in the season for wrapping his jumper around a cold mascot ahead of kick-off against Bournemouth.