Arsenal has come home

Did Wednesday night’s game at the Emirates mark a watershed for the Arsenal? All the reports I have read about the Emirates have decried the lack of atmosphere and compared it to a library.

Now, never having been there, I am these days the archetypal armchair fan subscribing to every TV and Computer feed that will bring me the games as they happen and have therefore got used to the sound or lack off it, in many cases, coming through my speakers.

Last night, however, was somehow different, even before the kick off there seemed a buzz, I had not heard before. Was this I wondered ITV playing games or had the sleeping giant wakened?

All week long the blogs had been alive with passionate plea’s for people to sing and shout to give the place and the team a lift. I had seen songs old and new proposed to sing for our individual heroes.

Now as a veteran of countless epic Highbury nights, both European and Domestic, I have long been amazed that the crowd even needed to be lifted. Although I do appreciate just how that vast central corporate swathe running round the stadium, undermines the faithful and their singing, as does of course the lack of a standing area.

Highbury had its own memories I suppose of massive games, nights of triumphs and tragedies, strange how all the great memories seem to be lit by floodlights.

The Emirates is of course, by and large bereft of such memories and triumphs, although one or two games have laid claim to greatness in gooner eyes, nothing in my opinion has got anywhere near last nights game. Here at last rolling round my lounge was the noise and passion I associated with the lovely Highbury of my dreams. Nor did it die down when we went behind the din was continuous.

Just before we scored, reacting to the urgings of Cesc for even more noise, the volume was noticeably turned up and when RVP arrowed home the first goal all hell broke loose, and minutes later when AA slotted home that beautiful sidefooted curler the lid came off.

This at last was it, no library this, not even Highbury reborn, but the Emirates, the Grove whatever you choose to call it. A coming of age. A finding of its voice, its pride, its identity, our new stadium claiming its rightful place in Gooner folklore on a night none of us fans will ever forget. Whether we were there or not.

Written by dandan


Be a Gooner, Be a Giver

One of our young gooners has signed up to do the Fun Run for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint and it would be fantastic if any of you felt you wanted to support her and the charity by donating on her giving page.

The Fun Run will take place at the Emirates stadium on the 19th March 2011. Centrepoint do such good work for homeless young people in London and Arsenal are hoping to raise £500,000 this season to help fund the refurbishment of a facility in Soho.

68 Responses to Arsenal has come home

  1. London says:

    Purrrrrrr can’t get too much of this.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    DD. Like you I was stuck in an armchair – or in this case pacing up and down the living room – and like you was overwhelmed by the vocal support from the stands.

    Unlike you I have been to the Grove many times and have been underwhelmed by the atmosphere. My seat is front row, Upper Tier, Clock End. Right behind the goal. One would think it would be the epicentre of noise, but no, my fellow season ticket holders spend most of their time talking about work and moaning about the team.

    Could Weds be a catalyst to a new, intimidating stadium? I hope so.

  3. charybdis1966 says:

    Well said Dandan – I know it’s too much to hope for everyone to get as pumped up about a visit by,say, Stoke as one from Barca, but what I do believe is that we can at least still encourage and urge on our team if we go behind.

    At last it seems the Grove has found it’s abiltiy to create volume.

    The Stoke game will have a special, shall I say, “piquancy” because of the visit of one Ryan James Shawcross.

    I suspect there will be a degree of crowd vocality consequently.

  4. Rasp says:


    Great post dandan. When I took my seat at the Emirates before the game, the ground was buzzing but as I looked around me I thought, this bunch don’t look like they’re going to be very vocal – how wrong I was. Every man jack sang his heart out and what was particularly pleasing was the chant that went round immediately after Barca scored … we love you Arsenal, we do.

    The memory and atmosphere of that night is ingrained into the fabric of the stadium and represented a coming of age of the supporters as a force that can inspire the team.

    Oddly, I think that the success of totnum and the OTT elation of their fans has prompted our support to stand up and be counted.

  5. Librarian Gunner says:

    Perhaps we have fallen into a bit of a sulk of late-no trophies to fire our bellies and lungs-although the entertainment has been great you can start to take it for granted. Compare this to Newcastle who rarely get there hands on a bit of the old silverware but have a totally different atmosphere.I’m sure that by the end of this season we’ll have something to make a lot of noise about!

  6. kelsey says:

    Great post dandan,and like you had the same feelings on the night.
    Any club in the PL that moves to a bigger stadium will/would suffer the same,though I can’t explain why.

    One will always get floaters in London, and of course the revenue from the corporate boxes is vital, yet most invited are there just for a day out and most probably couldn’t name half our side.

    On another matter is our game at Orient being televised as I don’t see it anywhere including

  7. king gooner says:

    it was always going to take time imo for a true feeling of home & an atmosphere to be created because of the re-arranging of seating etc-nights like these where true guts & character are asked of you are the ones that the crowd respond to along with a sense of backs to the wall,do or die,all for one & one for all-the club played it’s part with the alternate red & white blocks of flags.brough a great feel to the ground 7 looked fantastic on tv-hope they do the same when MANURE come knocking,to really intimidate the B****TRDS!!

  8. London says:

    Morning Chary

    This struck me as a good point that no one else picked up on.

    “Oddly, I think that the success of totnum and the OTT elation of their fans has prompted our support to stand up and be counted.”

  9. Carlito11 says:

    Dandan- I hope you are right but I think we are likely to be disappointed against Stoke next Wednesday. Most of us had the collywobbles all day (in my case for 48 hours before the game) so when we finally arrived it was a release of tension. The build up of energy was just phenomenal and I think it’ll be difficult to achieve that against teams we are “supposed to beat”.
    I do believe that you are right about great nights like this adding to the sense of history and pride in the stadium and we will hopefully see this kind of atmosphere again more often. The comeback against ManUre 2/3 seasons ago when Gallas equalized at the death had a similar vibe to Wednesday but no night has been quite as glorious and I’m still happy and still hoarse!

  10. Steve ( Walthamstow ) says:

    Yes the Emirates celebrated on Wed, my daughter ran out on the pitch as player escort. She high fived “Messi” in the tunnel telling him they were gonna loose! He smiled apparently, “hola” was the reply, she was confident of a win I was hoping for a decent performance and maybe, just maybe?

    Now as local will wander down to the O’s on Sunday and try and source a ticket, maybe we will fall flat on Sunday but they cant take away the result & atmosphere from Wednesday the world saw that!

  11. SharkeySure says:

    Wonderman has just emailed me this link. Can’t believe he hasn’t shared it with you guys already.

    Thats got to be a yellow card hasn’t it !!

  12. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great post DanDan

    I was not able to get a ticket for the game but at home with the 5.1 set to max it was cracking, if only I could have muted commentary.

    I’ll put the Everton comeback as best atmosphere I have experienced at the Grove and also a game that demonstrated how important the 12th man is. I’d also point to the fact that Leeds came and proved that the noise does stay in the ground.

    Your post gave me goosebumps this is what supporting football about. Cesc encouraging the crowds was one thing, the moment that stood out for me was where the crowd in unison chanted Van Persie after the PA led with Robin, as the crowd chants RvP almost conducts it with his hands going to the air. It’s hard for players to let fans down when they get that level of encouragement from them.

    Kelsey the cup game was moved to Sunday for TV so should be able to find it somewhere.

  13. London says:

    Wow, great pix Sharkey.

  14. Jockdownsouth says:

    My son’s a chartered engineer and knows quite a bit about acoustics. He says the panels on the underside of the roof near the front could be absorbing some of the sound. I wonder if this was considered when they designed the stadium.

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning London,

    I’m happy for chary to get the credit, but it was my point about the effect totnm’s success has had on our supporters.

    It will be very interesting to see what team we put out against Orient, but even more so Stoke as we have important games to follow.

  16. 26may1989 says:

    Sharkey and Wonderman (with yellow card), thanks for the pics, fantastic stuff.

    Dandan, lovely piece. The atmosphere was epic on Wednesday, but as Carlito said, we all arrived in a frenzy of neurosis and excitement. That can be turned very quickly – remember the CL game against Man U? Fantastic pre-match atmosphere, everyone pumped up, but all destroyed with two early United goals.

    The atmosphere at The Grove for big games is way better than run-of-the-mill matches, which is a problem. E.g., the Chelsea game a few weeks’ ago. But what we’ve lacked since the ground move has been nights or afternoons of legend. As dandan says, Wednesday represents probably our best match at The Grove, it gives us something to build on.

    I don’t expect the noise levels to increase at most games, but, as van Persie said after the Barca game, we have shown what a difference we can make to what’s going on the pitch. Let’s hope we remember that, and stop spending more time slagging off players on the pitch or chatting about inconsequential crap like work, families, etc.

  17. 26may1989 says:

    Like the fact that someone tagged Librarian Gunner posted on this debate, very fitting/ironic!

  18. Carlito11 says:

    26May1989 “chatting about inconsequential crap like work, families, etc.” I knew it already, but nice to see you’ve got your priorities straight! 😉

  19. Wonderman says:

    A very interesting post. I was at the game wednesday and it reminded me of when we beat the Mancs 2-1 a few seasons ago with an Henry header from an Eboue cross. I feel this season has definitely seen a sea shift in the attitude to supporting the team, but I think it has been a gradual process. The noise against Everton was also formidable, fuelled by the disgraceful officiating on the night and it certainly helped the team redeem the points. After the first goal I suspect the roar was of relief for most fans in the stadium, but with Cesc pleading for more noise every so often it became more of a blanket of expectation which was eventually satisfied.

    I have sometimes gone to games and when watching the games on sky or motd subsequently have been convinced that they have edited the sound to make it appear quieter than I had witnessed first hand

  20. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi London – yeah it was Raspers who made the point about the spuds triumphalism and it is a pertinent point.
    I would suggest the anger at Barca over their shameless chasing of Cesc over last summer did also fuel a sense of injustice at them.
    I’m sure I also heard “Hands off Cesc Fabregas” being shouted out.

  21. Carlito11 says:

    Great pics Sharkey! Cheers for that

  22. dandan says:

    Morning all thanks for the kind words,

    Chary. It sounded to me as though they were singing “We’ve got Fabergas” certainly his name was being sung loudly.

  23. charybdis1966 says:

    It was around the 80 minute mark Dan dan – although even if it was “We’ve got..” it was still a firm reaction to another summer of relentless tapping up, led by Xavi and his constant drooling about Barca DNA.

  24. Rasp says:

    I see lazybarndoor can’t keep his mouth shut. If he had a brain cell he’d be dangerous – hasn’t he got it into his thick head that Cesc would never go to Real?

  25. charybdis1966 says:

    If I’m trying to be calm, measured and kind, as I often get told I’m too feisty, I’d think The Whore was being fed a line of questioning that would result in the “Adebayor says Cesc should quit Arsenal for Real” headlines.
    However in this case Raspers, it was quite likely he piped up with that comment completely of his own accord.

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Wonderman. What fantasic pics. They look amazing on my Mac. And big thumbs up to the member of the media team who told the big flag wavers to get in the corners and act as a backdrop for the pics. Excellent work.

  27. Wonderman says:

    BR thanks the link was sent to me this morning by a fellow gooner ! My Dave 2 are the bloke sitting amongst all the flags before the game and the one of Van P about to score with his foot positioned firmly through the centre of the ball. A great one to show kids shooting technique

  28. Wonderman says:

    Dave ??? I meant Fav. Lol

  29. dandan says:

    How would you fancy doing this with your 19 year old

  30. Red Arse says:

    Great Post Dandan. 🙂

    I saw a really funny cartoon in the Sun today, of all papers, showing an Arsenal fan getting into a mixup over “Messi” and the new “Nessie” at Lake Windermere.

    I’m sure someone painted a word picture of one of my AA friends that rings a bell. Anyone else seen it? 🙂

  31. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great pic DanDan

    I love the fact that LJ is a fan as much as he is a player of football, his and Chessers twitter feeds are full of personal passion that is sometimes missing from interviews. I liked his pic if his first full England shirt that all his teammates signed.

    He seems to know just how priviliged he is to be out there and is enjoying every moment.

    Here’s the pic Lansbury posted last night on a night out in the city somehow not the same:

  32. charybdis1966 says:

    Sorry Red A – I don’t read the Current Bun.

    Except for page 3 of course. 🙂

  33. Gooner in Exile says:

    Cesc reply to LJ’s tweet about his pic:

    “@jack_wilshere can’t believe i had to go to get Messi’s shirt for u. U were so scared. You were MOTM so next time please ask urself!”

    Banter amongst the players for us all to see priceless, for everything else there’s ……..

  34. Red Arse says:


    Whenever I go to Tesco, I cannot resist a peek at the back pages of all the papers. 🙂

    Although I was tipped off about this cartoon because the world and his siter know I am a Gooner! (Well, my world anyway). 🙂

  35. charybdis1966 says:

    Furry Muff RedA – I didn’t have you down as a Sun reader anyway.

  36. RockyLives says:

    Great write-up dandan
    As a fellow armchair warrior I, too, noted the amplified ambience. Best of all was the Arsenal singing immediately after we went behind – a pleasant change from the usual moans and groans.

    Still, I can do some in-person shouting when I come over the CC Final!

  37. RockyLives says:

    Have you got a number for his sister?

  38. goonermichael says:

    The Orient game is on espn.

  39. Red Arse says:

    As it is so quiet on here, I am going to take advantage and let my humour run riot! 🙂

    Well, maybe just one little one ….. which with the following comment could be significant. (by the way CharyB “furry muff”, what can you mean?)

    — I got a new deodorant stick today.

    — The instructions said: “Remove cap and push up bottom”.

    — I can barely walk now, but whenever I fart the room smells lovely”.

  40. charybdis1966 says:

    Just a way of saying “fair enough” Red A.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Some years ago, following the death of Joe Baker, a wonderful old Arsenal centre forward, who my dad used to idolise, (I never saw him play), I read an article about him and George Eastham.

    From an uncertain memory, I seem to remember he (they?) played in an Arsenal team who lost to what was then a First Division Leyton Orient side, in the FA Cup.

    Anyone got any ideas if this is correct?

  42. Red Arse says:

    Well that’s furry muff then, CharyB. 🙂

  43. RockyLives says:

    You remind of the story of the British chap visiting Sweden who pops into a pharmacy:
    Englishman: “Do you have any deodorant?”
    Swedish Chemist (and you have to read this line in a heavy Swedish accent):
    “Ball or aerosol?”
    Englishman: “No, I need it for under my arms.”

  44. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, 🙂

  45. RockyLives says:

    Just found this brilliant page on Wikipedia. Makes you proud to be a Gooner.

  46. Hi gang – just dodged the tumbleweed on my way in. Where is everyone?

    Rocky – so pleased to hear you’re going to be here for the CC Final, hope we get a chance to meet up. Are you here for any other games?

  47. Hi Rocky – thats a great page on wiki, might have to try and save it somewhere on the blog. Hows you?

  48. RockyLives says:

    Hi Peaches 🙂
    Might be tricky meeting up on the day as there’s a full day of mass excitement and drunkenness planned with my large group of mad Goons.
    I’m in town for a few days afterwards but sadly there’s no midweek game that week.

    That stats page could make the basis of a good post – what do you think?

  49. goonermichael says:

    That stats page is really interesting. the 1912/13 season was really bad. 🙂 And we moan now

  50. dandan says:

    By the way Rasp thanks for the pictures they worked a treat.
    Interesting just heard Perry Groves say on 5live Arsenal needed a night like that, at the Emirates to bring it to life.
    Perry, John Radford, Charlie George and one other Arsenal ex pro. who’s name I missed all thought it the best match they have ever seen.

  51. Gooner in Exile says:

    Hearing ex players talk about Wednesdays game Is interesting.

    Heard Ray Houghton asking where the crunching tackles were? Strikes me that ex players of other clubs are jealous that it’s not their team that is the only one in the Premiership that could possibly compete with Barca at a passing game of football.

    My mind was just running over the game again and I was watching in my mind the way Kozzer was intercepting, sweeping up, passing short and long retaining possession, he is still my MotM

  52. dandan says:

    Pat Nevin said there was no kicking, just great football as it was meant to be played, two footballing sides playing attacking football, He loved it

  53. ryandanielwood says:

    Great Post Dan Dan, so true, nothing less than 100% was given by the crowd on wednesday, perhaps the struggle to get tickets for such a spectacle gave the crowd members an impulsion to let rip. It was wonderful to hear through my TV. It lifted me as we battled at 1-0. In fact we only got louder when we were wounded, and like a real dangerous animal, we fought a lot harder second half, I was enraged like a hellish demon when RVP tied the game, blood hungry. I was reduced to tears, a limp mess of joy on the floor when Arshavin found the net. Alive.

    By the way Peaches, I have posted my feature to your email, hope it suffices! 🙂

  54. harry says:

    Firstly, Sharkey thanks for the link to the Photos, awesome….

    Dandan, I was lucky enough to be there on one of the best ever nights to be a gooner, the atmosphere was electric………I am a constant moaner about the lack of atmosphere and a lack of understanding from some fans as to their part in helping our team….Leaving early, not singing till we are winning, failing to get behind the team when needed….

    I have had some brilliant memories over the years and sampled some awesome atmospheres, obviously more notably at Highbury…

    At the Emirates, memorable nights have been infrequent, my favourite WAS the Carling cup semi against Spuds 3-1 after extra time……

    United in the league 2-1 was a great finish and many thought that was the turning point for the emirates…

    The CL semi against United, started well…..I’ll leave it there on that……

    The Chelsea match this season was fantastic and the fans really helped……

    But the Barca game wins hands down, although there was a lull mid 2nd half when I felt the fans felt that it wasnt going to be our night….but we kept it going and then erupted….Chezzers celebrations summed it up for me, what a legend already!!!

    Finally I feel the penny is dropping with the Club as well, it was treated like a semi with flags, really added to the atmosphere, stoked the fans up….

    We need to grasp our team anthem better, never really a fan of “Wonder of You”…….But seen as we are stuck with it, we need to lift it to a new level…

    The other thing that is helping is player songs, slowly we are getting songs for players again like we used too, Nasri’s is excellent, we have a few others, but there is still a few more we need……

    But anyhow, all together now…….

    Oh to be Oh to be A Gooner……….

  55. charybdis1966 says:

    Hear, hear Harry:

    “Oh to be Oh to be A Gooner………”

  56. Gooner in Exile says:

    The best two new songs I’ve heard mentioned:

    Djourou Djourou Djourou Djourou Djourou Djourou (theme of pink panther)

    He plays on the left
    He plays on the right
    We’ve got Jack Wilshere
    He made Barca look shite

    Personally for Jack I would choose to update A couple of classics.

    Jackie Jackie Jackie Jackie born is the King of Highbury, or Walking along singing a song walking in a Wilshere Wonderland.

  57. The Gambler says:

    ………”you never count your money, when you’re sitting @ the table. There’ll be time enough for counting when the dealings done”.

    In all the euphoria of giving yourselves a big pat on the back for actually making some noise, only about 5% of you have given Arsene Wenger & Pat Rice credit.

    You can bet the knives will be out for them if things go pearshaped.

    You can remove this comment now, I don’t care 😈

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    You have the wrong site. Nobody here has a knife, let alone a threatening one towards AW.

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Tough call today. 7/11.

  60. London says:


    Keep up with the programme.

    Ninety percent of the comments relating to the manager on this site are complementary, although, that is not to say that constructive criticism is frowned upon, it certainly is not; in fact, I would say that constructive criticism is an integral part of the make up of this site but the kind of comments I think you are referring to never have and I expect never will be part of this site.

    Right, so having established that why don’t you think about writing your first head line post and send it to the address given above in the drop down “Be our guest”.

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok London,
    You just put it better than I did. Much better! 🙂
    Off out for an hour or two.

  62. London says:

    Morning Micky

    Not sure I agree that I make the point better than you did. BTW why are you up so early?

  63. Gooner in Exile says:

    Gambler just go and have a look at the match report post, and the pre match post, you will see plenty of positive for Wenger and Pat Rice.

    What made me really smile was seeing Pat Rice celebrate that second goal, more please Pat.

  64. Rasp says:


    I have just done some research on The Gambler. He supports Richmond Tigers (presumably an oz team) and his gravatar was produced by gnarley? I don’t know where he is coming from with his ill placed comment.

  65. Morning all

    Great post from Rocky coming up, I feel like tagging it with spuds, chavs and both manc/ks.

    New Post

  66. It is gnarley, do you think he put it here by mistake? Maybe had too much sun and tequila 🙂

  67. Kareem Longo says:

    Hi, thanks for this comment 🙂

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