Birth of an Away Fan …. Over Land and Sea (and Leicester)

Why Going Away beats staying at Home. Written by Gooner in Exile

This is the picture my Brother as Best Man left on everyones place setting at my wedding, tucked away in an envelope only to be revealed at his say so. It is, I am afraid to say fellow Gooners, me. In my defence it was my 4th Birthday 24 June 1980, as some of you will know, shortly after the FA Cup Final in which Trevor Brookings header defeated The Arsenal. My Grandad was a Hammer and so he was greatly pleased to wind my Dad up by buying me this kit.

My Dad having been raised between The Tollington Arms and The Globe pub in Holloway was rightly distraught and would not talk to me or my Granddad for the rest of the day. My Nan was an Arsenal fan but I don’t think my Grandad was keen on anymore around the family. As I was given his name as my middle name I think he decided I should be the one to buck the trend.

In all my West Ham Supporting years my Dad took me to one game at Upton Park with my Nan (Grandad having recently passed away), I was 7 about to turn 8 and it was Trevor Brookings last game for the club he was awarded a soft penalty and I went home happy. Just researched the result and it was actually 2-1 to Forest that day but I only remember West Hams goal.

Cue the following season and the change, my Dad took me, along with my Brother (a fully fledged Arsenal nut), to Highbury, we stood in the Junior Gunners section and Arsenal beat Leicester 1-0.

After the game my Dad uttered words I will never forget. “If you want to go to see live football you can come here, I’m never taking you to Upton Park again”.

Some of you will say bloody well said! And to be honest once I had walked into Highbury there was no going back; an Arsenal supporter was born.

Now to the main part of the post the difference between going Home and Away.

Between the age of 8-17 I went to Highbury at every available opportunity, when I was about 14 my Dad would stand on the East corner of the North Bank while I made my way to the back with the singers, happy memories. I took part in the sit down protests over the demolition of my beloved North Bank, I surged with the goals sang my heart out and every other Saturday came home hoarse and happy.

There is no feeling like it I don’t have to explain to football fans, but standing on a terrace going through the same emotions as the thousands of people stood round you, singing as one, moving as one, thinking about it is making my hair stand on end and sending shivers down my spine.

At 17 my Dad and I decided to get Season Tickets at Highbury, the North Bank had been built and after a year of standing on the Clock End we decided to go for Clock End season tickets they were cheaper too. Up until November off we went every other week, at the same time I was earning plaudits as a Goalkeeper and was being asked to play for the First Team of my club, this was non league football, 4 leagues down from the Conference, I still harbored dreams of a professional career. But I always said I can’t I have an Arsenal season ticket. The manager cleverly chose 4 consecutive games where Arsenal were away and picked me for every one. My Dad then allowed me to make the decision, I chose playing and at the end of that season we gave up our Season Tickets, having used them sporadically for the season.

If we had known then what we know now we would never have given those up. For the years of Arsenal’s success under Wenger I sat watching from the comfort of my armchair, or the MOTD highlights.

15 November 2008 16 years in the wilderness and a move to Norfolk later I went to see Arsenal live for the first time since I was 17. It was Aston Villa at home, sitting about 4 rows from the back of the Upper Tier in what is now the Clock End, despite Manuel’s penalty save we lost 2-0. My next game 0-0 versus West Ham in similar seats. Would I ever cheer an Arsenal goal again. Actually scratch that would I ever sing an Arsenal song again? Where was the atmosphere? Okay the results weren’t great but there was a time when the fans would support the team no matter what the performance on the pitch.

I did not enjoy the experience, this wasn’t what I remembered, the family in front were more intent to eat the fare of the food stalls rather than watch the match, slipping out every 20 minutes for new supplies. The guys to my left were wearing no colours, and talking German. Is this the Home of Football, is this the home of The Arsenal? I left on both occasions feeling confused. Yes away fans tend to be loudest supporters at a ground they have to be to be heard so try harder, but there was little response at the Emirates, the North Bank and Clock End boys would retaliate with louder songs back at Highbury, wouldn’t they?

The worst offence is not one of the fans but of the PA system. It is too loud, it stifles the people in the ground, it tries to give us the entertainment or stir up the excitement. An atmosphere cannot be manufactured, I cringe with embarrassment as The Wonder of You is played, do they expect us to sing that? Why not give us Good Old Arsenal, why not let the fans sing there own songs, or at least to be able to hear when someone starts singing so that we can join in, instead we are beaten into submission with the latest X Factor tripe played loud and clear over speakers only normally seen at Music Festivals.

With some fate I was following the twitter feed of Alan Davies, he was at WBA away and was celebrating a win, I tweeted him and asked if the atmosphere was better away, to which he replied “absolutely, who are these people who boo at the Emirates”. I could not agree more, so the decision was made that me and my Brother would try and get tickets for an away game, Stoke in the FA Cup 4th Round was the first available game.

We lost 3-1, we played a mixture of youth and reserves, but the fans, these were the fans I remember, these are my kind of Gooners, singing with every part of their body, old and young, male or female. Most of all supporting the team, whatever team Wenger put out, we were going to make sure the Britannia Stadium knew we were there. Even a rendition of “Delilah” after the third goal went in did not extinguish the renditions of “One Arsene Wenger” and “By far the Greatest Team”. We lost and I went away happy!

Unfortunately work and restricted away sections meant that was the only away game last season.

This year however a few trips up North to poorly supported teams at odd kick off times have meant that Red Members get their chance to go away, Blackburn, Everton, Wigan, Birmingham and counting. I also managed to get to the Emirates for Bolton on the friends and family day, I sat in the lower tier close to the Away area, and it was much better than previously but still too quiet for my liking.

I know there are many fans who go to the Emirates who also went to Highbury I also know there are many fans on this site that are not necessarily English or born within London, but I would assume that most on here would wear the colours at the game, would actually watch the game, would support the team not sit to wait to be entertained. What can be done to stop the rot at the Emirates, we have Red Action corner but really that creates one pocket of noise. They’re needs to be lots of pockets of noise so others around them feel inclined to join in.

The whole culture at the Emirates appears to be sit down and wait for something to stir us, when the Arsenal fans travel away we make our own entertainment, sing songs, dance and have a fantastic time, but also try to stir the team in to something spectacular. Even in defeat I go home happier than I ever do at Emirates (but then I wasn’t there on Monday against Chelsea). The Emirates is great when it roars, but it doesn’t roar often enough for my liking, thats why I look forward to away trips more than going to home games.

Oh one other thing, travelling away I have yet to see an empty stand with 10 minutes to play except the home end on the receiving end of a drubbing. How did the players feel when they had hauled us into the knockout stages of the Champions League to see the ground emptied out around them. Would have been nice for those fans to have stayed and show some appreciation for their efforts.


104 Responses to Birth of an Away Fan …. Over Land and Sea (and Leicester)

  1. SharkeySure says:

    GiE – Masterpiece, and I’ve only read as far as the bit about your dad only taking you to Highbury !!

  2. GunnerStorm says:

    I’ve been to The Emirates once. My first ever. So disappointed at the lack of atmosphere. Everyone around me was silent! I could hear a certain section singing and desperately wanted to change seats but it was all the way across the pitch on the other side. Too shy to sing on my own. £60 not well spent.

  3. SharkeySure says:

    Ok read it all now, absolutely brilliant insight GiE.

    Funnily enough for many years I had always put on an Arsenal shirt to watch matches at home, but have NEVER worn one to either Highbury or the Emirates, well not since I was a kid anyway.

  4. SharkeySure says:

    G-Storm….that is an absolute crying shame to hear that !! Which game was it ..??

    I’ve taken a few peope to Highbury/Ems for their first games, and always been lucky enough to have a bit of controversy or a good few goals to liven things up a bit.

    One year we lost 2-1 at home to Auxerre in the CL, and there were a few dodgy decisions that got us all going. The atmosphere was electric once we’d pulled a goal back(?) and the whole stadium was roaring the team on. Kapo scored a screamer that night.

  5. Pete The First says:

    Strange that you’re digging out Arsenal fans that spend their hard-earned on going to home games?

    I note that you didn’t go to a game for 16 years. Surely in 16 years you could have made the effort once or twice?

    I used to stand at the back of the North Bank at roughly the same time as you. It was fun, no doubt.I still go along, and did for the 16 years you were pushing a trolley in the aisles of B&Q looking for a new lawnmower.

    I look forward to the excuses for not going to a game for 16 years….

  6. SharkeySure says:

    Not sure that he’s ‘digging’ anyone out Pete. You then go on to mention ‘lawnmowers’.

    Did you intentionally mean to write a gardening themed comment..??

    Seriously though, lighten up a bit, your tones a bit harsh. GiE has written an excellent post and deserves credit for that.

  7. London says:

    Wow, what a great read; I haven’t savoured a post as much as I have just done in months. And a goalkeeper, we have someone in our midst who knows what they are talking about in that department. This is good.

  8. London says:


    I am not sure how often you visit this site but my guess is that today is not the first time; that being the case, you will know that the site welcomes head line posts from Arsenal supporters of all walks of life so why don’t you write something telling us how much and how often you attend the games. Look above there is a link “Be our guest” which tells you how it all works. I look forward to reading your story.

  9. SharkeySure says:

    Completely agree London.

    It put me in mind of GN5’s maiden post …that had a grainly old photgraph in it as well.

    I love a grainy old photograph. Rasp, you should add one to every post. If the pic is relevant to the post then great, if not, stick it in anyway.

  10. king gooner says:

    yep,it’s a major problem at the the grove,but,it’s not unique no matter what other “fans” of inferior clubs say-there’s been deathy silences at all the the so called big clubs-you can often hear the away support on tv more than the home fans-it seems to be phenomena of all seater stadia-arsenals prob is excerbated by the fact that it is still relatively new,we have yet to christen it with atrophy(to give it a sense of history)& the stewards &pc brigade don’t help with their”sitdown”policy.if a standing section only appears to be an impossibility.i would make one or two changes.first bring the seats closer to the pitch.they could easily fit another 2/3 rows-make it more intimidating(at pres,looks like an athletic track distance away-doesn’t help atmosphere)dump the pa x factor crap-bring back the met police band,b4 you piss yourselves laughing,it DID give a se.of tradition & will & can be the best stadium with the best fans soon p.g.

  11. London says:

    Morning Sharkey…….oooohhh yes, GN5’s was good as well.

  12. London says:

    Gnarley is very quiet today?

  13. Rasp says:

    Great post GiE.

    I have huge respect for the away fans. I do think it is up to those who go to home games to stop whinging and make it our business to create that missing 12th man.

    We have talked about the atmosphere at the Emirates a lot lately. I’m pretty sure the majority of the fans who used to sing their hearts out at Highbury go to the Emirates. I see the problem as follows:

    1. The stadium is a large open bowl sliced in half by a ring of corporate prawn sandwich munchers. The size and acoustics make it nigh on impossible for the stadium to sing in unison – which brings me on to point two ….

    2. There are no defined areas (banks) and so the mini rivalries within our own fans cannot take place.

    3. The influx of over 20,000 new fans. These will mostly not be hardcore and come from a more wealthy demographic group that is by nature less vocal and dilutes the effect of the more fervent fans.

    4. The insistence by Arsenal to make everything a bit insipid as characterised by The Wonder of You and the over zealous stewards (under orders I’m sure) patrolling as if they are prison guards.

    5. The stadium is in its infancy and does not yet have an ingrained history of memorable games. You won’t hear the question asked “Do you remember that fantastic night at the Emirates when…..” …. yet

  14. GunnerStorm says:

    Sharkey, It was the Champions League game against Roma 2008/2009. Only sign of life was when the solitary goal was scored. Sad really. Absolutely love hearing our away fans on the TV. Nine times out of ten they make more noise that the home fans!

  15. Dondagooner says:

    I’ve gotta get to an away game

  16. Myles says:

    stoke last year was also my only away game, and did birmingham this year new years day, but always at emirates, away days are sooo much better, top post fella

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi GunnerStorm and welcome,

    I suspect that you may have been in the same position as me when sitting at the Emirates. As I’m not a season ticket holder, I have sat in most areas of the ground. There have been many times when I’ve wanted to sing my heart out and not been able to because I’ve been surrounded by waxworks dummies. I hate to criticise our own fans, but we cannot view support in terms of ‘I’ve paid my £60 so I demand entertainment’. I look forward to the day when it is the ones who are not singing who are the embarrassed minority and not the other way round.

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  19. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, excellent perspective on away support from GiE there. Like Raspers I’ve sat in most areas of Ashburton Grove and whenever I take my seat I hope there is a bunch of fans nearby who do sing and not just the tourists.
    Good point about wearing the colours, no matter what age you are I think wearing the colours is important and feel a little disappointed at those who don’t don the red & white.
    I usually go with a friend from an old workplace who never wears the colours, however he is more aware of how to look cool whereras I never give a monkey’s about trying to appear , or even be, cool.

  20. Gooner in Exile says:

    Thanks for kind comments.

    Pete I’m not intentionally digging out people who go to home games, I’ve actually offered my reasons for why I think the ground can be quiet.

    Also in the middle of my post you will see I gave up a season ticket to play Saturday football for 12 years, playing Saturday, training Tuesday Thursday gives little time for family let alone getting to games. After that it was pretty much impossible to get tickets for home games and I had moved to Norfolk to build my own business.

    I think Rasp you make a number of good observations regarding atmosphere at home games.

  21. SharkeySure says:

    I went to Charlton ‘away’ (lol – its all of 5 miles from my home !) when Thierry smashed home that free kick.

    In Barcelona 99 I was sat amongst the away fans, and it was pretty amazing. When Barca scored i almost got caught up in the euphoria of 90 people jumping as one !

    GiE talked about being as one, ans it oput ne in mind of Paris 98. I was there to see Jamaica play Argentina. I got a ticket late and got to my seat with 15mins played. I’d paid £150 to atout and found myself sat slap nbang in the Argentine section. I was there supporting Jamaica with my JA shirt on. he Argentine sang in unison throughout, but it wasn’t your usual chanting. It was lie a soothing and warm low chorus. It had the hairs on my neck standing up.

    Anyway JA lost 0-5 to a Batistuta hat trick and some amazing trickery from Ariel Ortega. The Argie fans were amazing and one of the main reasons why I ended up in Aergentina on honeymoon later the same year.

    It was one of the best days of my life, as we stayed in Paris that night and partied at an ‘official?’ after game party in MontMartre supported by the Jamaican FA. The players came on stage and promised to beat Japan the following week – which they duly did.

  22. SharkeySure says:

    Ps. Charlton away was amazing btw. Non stop singing from all the Arsenal fans in our corner of the ground. Great atmosphere from start to finish

  23. GunnerStorm says:

    Hi Rasp,

    I didn’t really go for the entertainment as I can see far better at home on the TV. From where I sat it just looked like red & white and yellow ants running around. I only knew who was who because of their relative positions on the pitch!

    What I really went for was the atmosphere which eluded me that day as I was sat next to the same waxwork dummies you speak of. I would have been happy if we lost if it gave me the chance to sing my heart out along with my fellow gooners.

  24. Rasp says:

    Morning chary,

    I’m afraid my only effort at wearing the colours is a red scarf. The last time I wore a shirt was for the FA cup final we lost 2:1 against pool (Owen handballed for the 2nd goal and no-one even mentions it). Since then it has become one of my numerous superstitions (my excuse anyway) that I do not wear a shirt to games, but I always go home hoarse after exercising my lungs.

  25. Wonderman says:

    Morning All, great post GiE
    Rasp 10:58 ..I agree with everything you say except point 5. I’ve been to virtually every home game since the Ems opened and already have remember when memories both good and bad for example

    a.When Henry headed us 2-1 ahead against Man U, I thought the roof was going to come off
    b. We welcomed AC Milan in the Champions League and played them off the park in the best 0-0 I have ever seen. I remember seeking Kaka for the first time and being surprised by how quick he was and watching Seedorf gasping for air in the 2nd half
    c. I can now say remember when Djourou put Drogba in his pocket and we completed dominated a full strength Chelsea team 3-1

    It will take time but I sense we are on the cusp. But as GiE said in the post, I Sit in North bank Upper and have 2 blokes sitting next to me who talk about everything other than football throughout the whole game virtually everygame !! and another two/three who have to get up and wee/get a drink at least twice per game.

    I have also sat in the clock end lower, north bank lower and near the TV gantry. The TV Gantry behind the away dugout was by far the worst atmosphere. In my opinion full of ‘managers’ who all knew more than Wenger and moaned incessantly. The lower tier seats in particular northbank lower was fantastic and by far more supportive of the team

  26. Rasp says:

    Hi Wonderman,

    Yes those are fantastic memories – maybe I overstated the case in point 5. But my son for instance has been 3 times to dire games all of which we lost and has only bad memories – I don’t take him any more … judas 🙂

    I too have some good memories of the Emirates (see the ‘A night at the Emirates’ youtube clip in the video library at the top of the page) but they pale in significance in comparison to Highbury – but it will come I’m sure.

  27. Rasp says:


    The ‘red ants’ point has been made by many and is obviously worse in the upper tiers. I believe that AW wanted an open bowl as opposed to steeper imposing cauldron because it was better for the pitch and allowed more room for the hospitality. It may also be that the design allows the eventual increase to a 77,000 seater.

  28. Red Arse says:

    First class read GIE.

    It brought to mind memories of when I was a callow youth, pre all seater stadia.

    The hub-bub, the pushing, the jostling good naturedly for the best position on the North Bank when there was a 60K attendance. The swaying with the crowd to see better when a shot came into the goal area, the oohing and aahing at near misses.

    You are absolutely spot on that all the above happened instinctively in unison with thousands of fellow gooners.

    As well as the physical proximity, there was the emotionally charged atmosphere; the elation, the frustration, the cursing at injustices, and especially the singing; these were all were done as one. Magic! 🙂

    I have only managed to get to the Emirates twice. On each occasion I have been gobsmacked at its sheer size, the spaces between the rows and the seats and the way singing evaporated and was “lost” into the ether.

    Loved the pitch, loved the football, but mourned the loss of the standing cameraderie from the old days, which has been sacrificed on the alter of Health and Safety! 😦

  29. Red Arse says:

    alter = altar — all these changes — tut tut. 🙂

  30. RockyLives says:

    Great first post GiE.
    Your description of being in the ebb and flow of a big, passionate crowd brought back many happy memories.
    Our away support (from what I can hear on the TV) has seemed amazing at every game this year. And whenever I have been away it has always been a great atmosphere. The last away trip I went on was Alkmaar last year. The game was a draw but the travelling Goons had a fun (and noisy) time, even when our train back to Amsterdam got halted for two hours because of a suicide (not a football-connected one, as far as I know).

    One thought about the ‘quiet’ home fans. Has it occurred that all the other people sitting around you might also be wanting to sing and, from their eyes, you’re as silent as everyone else…

    My season ticket is in the Upper West, which is not great for singing but does generate a bit of noise on occasion. I fondly remember the Liverpool game at the Grove where we all got angry about them getting one of our lot sent off and booed them for 60 minutes solid, to the extent where you could see the ‘Pool players trying to get rid of the ball as quickly as they got it because they were feeling so intimidated.

  31. RockyLives says:

    Morning Redders 🙂

  32. Rasp says:

    Morning Rocky, Redders

    Thanks for your detailed and completely baffling response to my financial question yesterday. I think the outcome is that I was pretty much right and this is the reason why neither Kroenke or Usamov had extended their shareholding to 30%+ – which I assume is good for Arsenal

  33. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    It’s piddling down, here in Cloud Cuckoo land, and quite grey. Think I prefer the white snow, or should that be snow white. 🙂

  34. Red Arse says:


    Basically, either party would have to achieve 90% of the shares/voting rights to force the remaining 10% to sell, if that was what they wanted.

    This is not my area of expertise and I only gave you a snippet of the comprehensive Take Over Panel, Part 28 Rules, but that paragon of legal knowledge, 26 May, might add more.

    I’m not really arsed about this, because I think Kroenke and Usmanov are in a Mexican stand-off and things will only be resolved when one or the other blinks and decides to bow out. 🙂

  35. Rasp says:

    It goes from outrage to farce. Having somehow decided that Qatar was the best place to hold a World Cup, it now appears that they have realised that it will be too hot and therefore will take place in the winter. I hope by then that clubs have the power to refuse to send their players out on international duty and the whole debacle is a complete failure.

  36. Gooner in Exile says:

    At the Bolton game this year I managed to get “oo to” going, the people around me were not so receptive to “Kevin Davies is a C” as he set about dismantling legs and heads from those in red and white.

    I do think the lower tier is definitely noisier as the noise is behind you coming forward. At the back of the upper tiers any noise is in front of you and the design of the Grove’s lid mean the noise does not reverberate in the stand.

    As for wearing colours a red and white scarf does suffice, especially while being twirled around your head singing the Samir Nasri song.

    I think our recent run of trophyless seasons has led to some of the glory hunter and corporate types drift away leading to a lot more seats becoming available to Red Members in lower tier, which is also leading to a bit more passion and vocal support. It maybe that the regulars are starting to feel more comfortable in the new home.

  37. Red Arse says:


    You should not be surprised at the antics of Blatter and Co.

    FIFA is a deeply corrupt and untrustworthy organisation, from what I have read in the media or seen on TV.

    There will be more twists and turns in this story before it is over. Oh my!

  38. RockyLives says:

    First I’ve heard of that. It’s ridiculous, but if they’re going to award the event to such a tiny country with no record of any achievement in football then anything’s possible.
    Presumably no-one on the Fifa voting panel looked into the timing of the thing when considering the ‘very impressive’ Qatari bid…
    Basically, if England had agreed to spend £500 million building soccer academies in various African/Asian countries with voting panel members we would now be hosting the WC. It’s as bent as ‘Arry’s eyeline.

  39. Hi all

    Great post from GiE. I’ve been to almost every game at the Emirates but I am envious of those that go to away games.

    I was saying last night how I couldn’t understand how quiet the stadium was on Wednesday night compared to how up for it the support had been against the chavs.

    It does depend on where you sit though, a couple of times this season I’ve sat in the upper tier near the away supporters and you don’t ‘alf get hacked off listening to their singing so theres a bit more passion.

    Gunnerstorm mentions the 2008/09 game against Roma which is one of my favourites. I was really buzzing after the game as the singing had been amazing and met friends who had been sitting over the other side of the ground and said it was quite boring!!!!! Shows how everyones experience is sadly different.

  40. Red Arse says:


    Ironically, the FIFA evaluation Panel had stated that temperatures in July/August reached 40C to 50C, but this was conveniently ignored.

    Blatter, in saying he expects the WC to be played in the winter, has now been joined by those arse-lickers Platini and Beckenbauer who are saying in might be the best solution. The whole thing stinks!

  41. RockyLives says:

    Strange how this small point (which will completely disrupt the domestic football calendars of the major footballing nations) was not raised until after the dodgy deal was done.

  42. RockyLives says:

    The more I think about it the angrier I’m getting.
    The last WC was poo. The one before it, not much better.
    I hope by the time Qatar comes round that the international game has ceased to be the big draw it has been up to now.
    Perhaps it’s time for people like the EPL, Serie A, La Liga etc to get together and start a four-yearly world club tournament. That really would be worth watching.

  43. Hi Rocky – you’re not alone in that suggestion and i believe its a good one. Giving the WC to Qatar has already devalued the competition IMO maybe it should be viewed in the same way as Olympic football in the future – nice to wear the shirt but not really what football is about.

  44. RockyLives says:

    The WC, like the Olympics, seems to have moved a long way away from the idealistic intentions of the original organisers. Just a big snouts-in-the-trough money fest now.

  45. Wonderman says:

    Hi Rocky- great point re:World Cup, it’s 11 years away which is a long time….I cant see how it would work?? so are we to believe that al the top European clubs will put their players through pre season, get them fit up Sept/ early Oct then let them swan off to Qatar for potentially a month then give them a break before resuming the season? you could’nt make it up, I can only see one of two things happening a: a revolt by the bigger leagues ( namely European) b: Qatar withdrawing the bid under some spurious reason

  46. Pete The First says:

    First visit London (nice tag!), you were linked from NewsNow.

    GIE I still think you’re being a little insincere in claiming you couldn’t get to a single game in 16 years due to playing football. I went to games with some professionals from lower divisions so they managed it.

    It seems a little too easy to blame fans for not singing. There’s an old boy near me in his 80s he makes more noise than everyone around him. I agree the atmosphere can be dead, but then it was at Highbury in the past too.

    The notion that the players need motivation from the crowd to play is amazing. Professional players paid many Millions a season should not need motivation.

    Anyway the best way to resolve the lack of atmosphere is to come along and sing your heart out at the Grove. If we all did that it wouldn’t be an issue.

  47. RockyLives says:

    Right, gotta do some work now. Catch you later everyone.

  48. GunnerStorm says:

    I cannot see Qatar withdrawing their bid. They will just have to build one gigantic air conditioned world cup city!

  49. Neamman says:

    What a wonderful post that means so much personnally. London born, a regular North bank singer until my early 20s, then moved to Canada so home games have been few and far between since then. Last one was the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Highbury maybe 5-6 years ago. To be honest I have heard so much negative about Emirates atmosphere I havent had the urge to go especially as now days you get 80% of the games on TV here or in Asia anyway.
    The articles here are always top class, except mine, but this was one I enjoyed reading more than many. Maybe as I am old I love living in the past!!!!

  50. Gooner in Exile says:

    Pete I’m coming to the Clock End for Wigans visit.

    Professional footballers don’t tend to work 9-5 (or later) and do get a little bit more family time.

    I wish I hadn’t spent so long away, and you are right Highbury could be quiet when it went all seater maybe some of my rose tinted spectacles are before those times.

    I’m sure a lot of the away support goes to home games too, the problem as I see it is the dispersion of the singers amongst the quieter fans.

    I wonder if one size fits all pricing would encourage people into the ground earlier and allow the formation of dedicated singing areas.

    So how about one price to sit in lower tier and one to sit in upper tier, then a free for all to find a seat before the game. This way fans would be able to migrate to areas of their choosing. Behind the goals North Bank and Clock End would then fill up a little earlier with people wanting to get in amongst it, while families and JG’s could still have a section.

  51. Sid says:

    It’s true what you say about the away fans. I moved to Leeds in 1999 for University and lived there for 7 years. During this time a mate and I went to numerous away games at northern teams. Bolton, Blackburn, Sunderland, Wigan and Everton from memory, probably others. We never seemed to lose away from home back then. I never saw us lose anyway. Strangely enough I never watched us play Leeds. I wish I had seen Pires score that goal at Elland Road.. I also never went to the really big games in Manchester or Liverpool, could never get tickets. It was always great fun to be an away fan then and it sounds the same now I’m glad to hear. We were able to stand during the whole game and sometimes we were even able to have drink and smoke in the stands. I remember one time this big guy sparking up a massive joint and the stewards did nothing! How things have changed. Good to hear our away fans still in good voice, but only from the comfort of my living room now unfortunately.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post GIE. First of many I hope.

    I love to read how fans got interested in the club, and with your birthplace it would be hard not to be a gooner!

    For many years I was a home and away supporter and quite honestly there was little difference noisewise between the North Bank (Clock End later) and the away grounds. Now it appears different and Rasp makes 5 good points as to why.

    On my next trip over I will endeavour to get in an away fixture – maybe in the Midlands. because around my seat at the Emirates are just the chaps you speak about.,, talking business, relationships, anything but the game …. until someone makes a mistake then it is “eff off Clichy you’re shite” ” etc etc.

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Happy memories GiE,
    Four pints of Guiness down the Plimsol Arms, fighting to get to your “regular” spot on the Bank, familiar faces, the buzz, the cold, the urinals (oops, that spoilt it), the very happy West Indian Gooners always just in front of us, the passive smoking! Aaaah, them were the days.

  54. Red Arse says:


    When you say “until someone makes a mistake, then it’s Eff off clichy”, are you suggesting poor old Clichy is an officially appointed scapegoat?

    Or is he the silly arse “someone” who deserved to be told to eff off? 🙂

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    “I think our recent run of trophyless seasons has led to some of the glory hunter and corporate types drift away”. Interesting thought. Are you thinking what I’m thinking…naaaah, lets go and win the league.

  56. Rasp says:


    Thanks for a very successful maiden post. Your name is in the ‘Authors’ widget. Please feel free to put fingers to keyboard any time you wish in the future. We are always looking for volunteers to do match reports but personal perspective pieces such as today’s are very welcome too.

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Rasp,
    Glad I’m not doing the pre-match. 7 out of 11 must be considered a result.
    Is this WC moving to winter for real? You could not make it up.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Just chose Gael at random. It could have been Adebayor, Song, Bendtner, etc etc.

    These are the so called fans who booed Eboue. I accept that everyone has the right to behave as they wish at THOF and there are many approaches to fandom (witness the variety of blogsites). But these people are the root cause of the lack of atmosphere.

    BTW I have discussed a few times on AA about the early evacuation of the ground. It is beyond my understanding. Surely, if one pays a great deal of money to watch a game that is the central thinking point of your week, it makes sense to stay and witness all of it. I do not accept that all those leaving have to make travel connections, 10% perhaps but most of the ground?

  59. Big Raddy says:

    WC ?? As you say Micky, you couldn’t make it up.

    Of course Blatter will be dead by the time this Mons has been sorted out and his beneficiaries will be enjoying the fruits of his corruption!!

    That said, I happen to agree with the winter break. Rugby has made a successful move to a summer sport and with county cricketøs waning popularity I can easily see the benefits.

    Ultimately it will depend upon the television companies who fund the top clubs

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Anyone for a game of table football? I am very very good, or should I say, I’m a total beginner with poor eye to hand coordination. Shall we play for a tenner?

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    And Hi BR.
    Can you imagine sitting next to some of our old blog sparring partners? I would leave at half time!

  62. mickydidit89 says:

    I can see the logic of a winter break, but there is a part of me that thinks Boxing Day should be Local Derby Day. Short distances to travel. Get out of the house. Christmas family feuds made worse!

  63. Rasp says:


    Do you remember I wrote a Friday Rant post entitled ‘Fans leave early, supporters stay to the end’ – it still regularly gets hits by people googling the subject so I guess it is a practise that annoys many.

    Micky, yes, the WC in Winter is for real, Bent Blatter dropped it in as an aside at a Press conference hoping no-one would notice – you couldn’t make it up. As I said in the debate that followed the award to Qatar (not really an award because they bought it) I suspect that the WC will be taken as seriously as the Eurovision Song Contest by 2022. Blatter and his cronies have devalued the tournament and something has to be done to reduce their power in football. I suggest a breakaway body run democratically if that is possible in a world where only money matters apparently.

  64. Hi Raddy – if you’re still about. I couldn’t believe it on Wednesday night when my row almost emptied at 85 minutes – it wasn’t me lol – at The Emirates, The Arsenal, the kings of late goals!!!!!!!!

    It would have served them right if we had scored a late winner. I’ve never understood it. In fact when I used to go to football with my friend Tricia her husband would insist that we left 5 minutes before the end, one day he was away on business and we stayed until the end – oooh naughty girls – we didn’t ever leave early again 😀

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    You are right about the world where only money seems to matter. On the one hand, I understand giving the WC to places like SA and Russia, where there is a love of football, and people! I am always in favour of the underdog getting a fair crack, but Qatar was utterly nuts in so many ways. Obscene is how I would describe it. FIFA should at least be seen to making some kind of a stand in the face of waste and environmental impact if nothing else. Air conditioned stadiums!!

  66. Gooner in Exile says:

    Thanks for the author credit, I’m sure I will have some other feelings to add at some time.

    Have never considered writing a blog before or submitting a post but welcome here has been so great and I felt obliged to contribute.

  67. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Peaches.
    So nobody in favour of my Boxing Day Derby Day?

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    You keep outing those feelings of yours. Great post.

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    Here’s an idea. How about one on away day pre-match snacks!

  70. Hi micky – so you’ve not managed capitals then 😆

    Boxing Day Derby Day definitely appeals to me, mashed spuds on Boxing Day sounds like a plan 🙂

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Right, I’m off to play myself at table football for that tenner. I have a bad feeling this could turn ugly.
    Goodnight all.

  72. Rasp says:

    No problem GiE, you are officially part of the exclusive AA writers Club, just let me have your bank account details and I’ll set up the direct debit 😆

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Pure favouritism. GiE, I had to pay Peaches to get mine posted.
    Really off.

  74. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches – didn’t see you there 😉

  75. Wow, Rambo in the squad for tomorrow – I might cry 😆

  76. Gooner in Exile says:

    Drink to that Peaches.

    Hopefully he will fulfil his promise, also it will provide even more competition for the midfield slots and we may need a few combinations of names so:

    Ram Van Nasregas
    Jackram Theonas
    and on and on…….happy days to come

  77. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I’m about London. If you were about you would have seen my comments re the cricket.

    Top rank post GiE. I hope people don’t think I’ve been as quiet on here as The Arsenal home fans 😆

    Now just a little tip for all of you English. This constant slagging off of Qatar getting the WC is just seen as sour grapes on your behalf, & a typical whinge from a empire that the sun set on 100 years ago. Qatar beat our bit & no one is whinging down here.

    Now, with your Olympics just around the corner you will be under the microscope, so there had better be some decent weather, decent transport, decent accommodation for the touists, no security glitches, & no whinging poms to give the tourists the shits. etc. etc. Just a little tip to those English who seem to constantly knock every other country on the globe. We’ll be watching 😯

    Remember, Sydney 2000 was, to quote Juan, “The best games ever” Don’t fuck it up or ……………:lol:

    Now I know you are all on a high coz that nightmare that lasted 2 decades is over, but you are only as good as your last performance, @ any sport of choice. The socialist style lottery money to fund your sports won’t go on for ever, especially during a depression. Other social issues will need to be addressed & your elite sports men & women will have to take a back seat.

    A lot of comments by people I talk to here, re the cricket, is that The Ashes is interesting again, not like when it was so predictable; it was ho hum for 10 or so years 😉

    So in conclusion, English people, learn how to be gracious to others, not just expect things to go your way all the time.

    Who reckons Australia can win the Rugby WC this year? I do, & the Kiwis are starting to think so too. By September the boys should be men. Oh! England are going to get absolutely belted. I hope we get to play you 😆

    “This story is old, but it goes on………” Morrissy

  78. gnarleygeorge9 says:


  79. RockyLives says:

    Feeling like a bit of Pommie bashing tonight Gnarley? It must have been hard taking all the OTT gloating lately.

    Do you really think the Qatar decision is a good one from a footballing sense? I think it’s plain ridiculous, but this has nothing to do with being nostalgic for Britain’s lost empire. I grew up loving the WC. I have vague memories of ’66, but the first one I really remember in detail was 1970 – and what a tournament that was. Then so many great memories – the Argentina-Holland final of ’78, the incredible, unbeatable, unscrupulous Diego Maradona, the genius of Hagi and Stoichkov in the US WC…

    Recent WCs have got less and less entertaining. It could be that I’m older and more jaded, but the consensus seems to be that the tournaments are less interesting, with few great games and no dominating superstars.

    So… for me one of the prerequisites of a great WC is giving it to a nation that’s football mad. So Russia? Fine by me, they have an excellent tradition of football and passionate fans. But Qatar? Come on. There are other countries in that part of the world with well established domestic leagues and competitive national sides – Morocco and Egypt for example – but presumably they didn’t bid (or maybe they did – don’t know) because they were unwilling or unable to afford the bungs. You mention the rugby WC – well, giving the football WC to Qatar would be like giving the rugby one to Nepal simply because they were willing to pay the most money.

    And on to the rugger… yes, I fear that England will not do too well and that you Aussies might do it. A lot could happen between now and then but, if you do lift the trophy, I’ll be happy to send my congratulations.

    I think the Australians have played phenomenal cricket for over 15 years and I feel myself privileged to have watched players like Warne, Ponting, McGrath and the Waugh brothers in the flesh at a test match. Anyone who says cricket is suddenly interesting now simply means that England are being successful now which, I’m happy to concede, is a bit of a narrow view of the world…

  80. London says:

    Good Morning all in AA

    A very excited gunner here today, Rambo returns, I like these games, no pressure, just sit back and hope for some good entertaining football.

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Jeepers Gnarley!
    Morning London,
    Its MOTD for me, as I have to be somewhere. So good to have a fit Ramsey again. I think he will be a major force for us.

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Is Vela going out on loan?

  83. Statics says:

    A hearty congrats to Le Boss!!!! ‘Best Manager of last decade – 2001-2010′!!! n to the ‘wenger out’ brigade, In You Face!!

    Ferguson? Mourinho? pah, we have the best one!

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Statics. As you say. In your Face!!

    GG. Easy on the Pom bashing ….

    The Qatar situation has nothing to do with the England WC bid, it is all about corruption, and stuffed suits sticking two fingers up at the rest of the world whilst filling their boots.

  85. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    GG, I suspect your comments re the cricket are ones you’d have liked to post elsewhere as they have no relevance to the reaction by the AA crowd to the Ashes victory.

    The Qatar debate has nothing to do with sour grapes and everything to do with fairness, common sense and corruption at the highest level of the game we love. As I think Micky said, there is no problem with footballing nations getting the WC – SA and Russia and any of the ‘poorer’ countries that play the game are very deserving, but to give it to a country who has a tiny population that doesn’t even have a proper league, whose climate prevents the game being played safely, who plan to build stadia with a huge carbon impact and who just happen to be oil rich is a complete travesty. Hopefully it will lead to the replacement of FIFA by a properly monitored democratic organisation, or if that does not happen, the demise of the WC as a major sporting event.

  86. Rasp says:

    New post ……..

  87. goonerwife says:

    OMG Gnarley thanks for that. As an american living in london you have no idea how frustratingly arrogant things can get with no consideration for the quality and validity of other peoples.

    I used to think americans were arrogant.

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