Written by CarlitoII
Who wasn’t excited to hear about the Arsenalization process of “The Mothership” as I call our beautiful stadium? The reinstatement of the North Bank and Clock End, the murals and all that other jazz designed make the stadium more of a fortress was our CEO’s shining hope to create more atmosphere and add to the uniqueness of the stadium. Does anyone feel it worked?
I, for one, feel that the atmosphere at the Grove has been even flatter this year than in years past – the only game that really got going was the game against Birmingham. Now, we’ve never had the loudest fans at home but those away boys do us proud, don’t they? So why is it that the lads behind me barely murmer along to the songs even though they’re barely 20 years old? Why is it that the guys next to me comment to each other as if they’re watching the game in their front room?
Before I get into my explanation, it has to be said that it’s never a flat atmosphere when the spuds, chavs or manks turn up- but against West Ham, West Brom and in particular against Aston Villa last season I felt that the whole stadium and overdosed on Nytol on the way to the ground!
Reason 1: Ticket prices. I pay about a month’s salary for my ticket. In practice, a lot of the members in and around me sell their tickets on for the less glamorous fixtures and this means that we get a lot of football tourists – possibly not even Gooners – coming to watch a game. My choice of verb is important here. They do not seem to consider the need to support the team, and I often find myself becoming part of the show for these good people (“ooh, he’s a colourful character – look at him shouting”)! I won’t blame them or the season ticket holders for selling on. Anyone who likes football would want to come. But if true Gooners could afford to go every week there would be a far better atmosphere.
Reason 2: Easy access. You can get from outside the ground to your seat in about 90 seconds – except you can’t in the 5 minutes before kickoff when everyone’s had the same idea and the turnstiles get blocked. The culture of getting into your seat/ grabbing your spot on the terrace has disappeared so the atmosphere doesn’t build up.
Reason 3: Booze restriction. If you could take your pint to your seat you would stay there, wouldn’t you? The irony of a tournament being sponsored by Heineken and Amstel having a booze prohibition is a matter for a different blog – but I cannot see any reason why I shouldn’t take a beer to my seat for a premier league game!
Reason 4: Plastic fans. I hate to say this but there are too many fans who were not with us before Arsene Wenger’s revolution. The “sing when your winning” mentality has to stop. We need to sing louder when we’re losing. I think this is the main reason why we are doing better away than at home – the real fans sing louder.
This blog is a bit of a rant, but I really believe that the team shouldn’t always be held responsible for the atmosphere at the ground. It’s our part to support the team and inspire them to greater things – we really lack the 12th man. I hope the CEO will take look at some of these factors – even putting “Come on you Reds” on the screens like they used to a Highbury would be a start!
Finally- what is the deal with the food? North London has fantastic food from Bagels to Turkish food, Indian, Thai, Italian- you name it. What do we get inside the stadium? Nachos. Hotdogs. Popcorn in the name of all things holy! This is only going to encourage people to treat a match like a trip to the cinema. Let’s make the stadium a reflection of the supporters and not the corporate ideals of the board- murals schmurals – let’s get ‘em singing!