Who are the real footie fans?

Written by Red Arse

I am a fan! Like many Arsenal fans I call myself, with a great deal of pride, a ‘Gooner’. This clearly identifies me as a fan of the greatest footie club in the world. I bet you do too.

But here is the thing. Although the behaviour, the thought processes and the values of many who also call themselves Gooners chimes very closely with my own ideals, there are many others who seem to have decidedly different views of what constitutes a real fan. We cannot all be called fans, can we?

So, let’s see; who is the real fan?

Excitedly approaching the Emirates on a match day, with the noise of the crowd and, the occasional whiff of sweaty mankind, combined with the oniony smell of greasy hotdogs, you quickly become immersed in an environment recognisable to all fans from childhood.

At the game, when we take our allotted seats, we are immediately aware there are strong visual signals that all fans are indeed not the same.

Over there, behind the goal, are a group of shirtless wonders proudly flashing their six packs, or fat bellies, depending on your view point, while they drink copious quantities of beer and laugh with their mates. Next to them are men and women of indeterminate age, solid, experienced, proudly wearing their club scarves, hats and shirts, the love of their team shining out of their eyes. These are out and out fans, who attend games come rain or shine, are always enthusiastic, always willing to sing and chant and always encourage their team, come what may. The life of any club!

Over to their right are some very respectable looking young guys braying like donkeys over some indecipherable private joke, who probably only attend games once in a blue moon courtesy of a business contact. Perhaps fans of convenience?
Just a couple of rows behind them is sitting a rather harassed looking father trying to calm a couple of young munchkins with painted faces, smartly bedecked in club shirts, who are busily slurping Cokes and jumping on and off their seats. These are the fans of the future, already exposed to the opiate of Goonerdom!

Over to the left, again, there is a bevy of young women, faces aglow, scarves worn jauntily around their necks, chatting animatedly to their beaux, and giggling their denials of lust for the players’ thighs, or nether regions. These are the breeders of the young fans of the future.

Higher up in the stands are the alumni, students out to enjoy themselves, with their club scarves, and bobble hats perched precariously on their mops of hair. Perpetually fidgeting, yelling and bursting with animal spirits, they never remain still and unceasingly shout out their support throughout the game, while loudly deriding the opposition with scatological glee as well as assuring the referee he has no father! These will be the senior fans of the future.

Then over there, in the plush areas are the ‘respectable’, prawn sandwich fans in their smart suits, sipping wine and laughing like hyenas at some indecipherable private joke. These fans are here to be entertained and remain seated at all times, while politely clapping any goal attempt but, of course, never indulging in the common man’s singing or chanting. Fans? Well, their dosh is important to the financial stability of the club, so let it go!

For me, my love and support of the club is unconditional, and I have probably been many of these different types of fan as I grew from an awestruck child to manhood.

What type of fan are you? In truth, I don’t suppose it matters. We all love the Arsenal!

Perhaps the following sums up what being a fan means to us!

A young man was watching football. He noticed an empty seat in front of him. It was a better seat than his, so at half-time he went down to the empty seat. He asked the old man sitting next to it “Is it okay if I sit here?”

“No problem”, said the old man. “It was my wife’s seat, but she’s dead. We’ve been to every home match together for 40 years, and we always had these two seats.”
A tear rolled slowly down the old man’s cheek.

“Don’t you have a friend, or someone from your family, who’d come and sit with you?” The young man asked, gently.

The old man wiped his eyes and said, “Yes, but not today. They are all at my wife’s funeral.”

Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=22838

43 Responses to Who are the real footie fans?

  1. Morning all

    Red Arse – a lovely reminder of how our fan-base is made up of so many different groups of people and a reminder that Arsenal FC is in the entertainment business.

    There are supporters who only think about Arsenal on match days – I was shocked to discover this. I have to admit to thinking of loved ones and Arsenal in equal measure when falling asleep and waking – London will tell you that’s quite normal 😀

  2. Alam says:

    “Then over there, in the plush areas are the ‘respectable’, prawn sandwich fans in their smart suits, sipping wine and laughing like hyenas at some indecipherable private joke. These fans are here to be entertained and remain seated at all times, while politely clapping any goal attempt but, of course, never indulging in the common man’s singing or chanting. Fans? Well, their dosh is important to the financial stability of the club, so let it go!”

    That is all fans at the Emirates.

  3. goonermichael says:

    I’m more of an armchair fan myself 😦 . I showed a couple of “dyed in the wool” gooners my new tattoo yeaterday and one said “You picked a bad time to have that”. I think it’s the best time as it reminds me of the history of the club and who I am.

  4. goonermichael says:

    Off to work see you later

  5. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cracking post RedArse, I must admit it went through my mind yesterday from a comment you or someone else made.

    My feeling is to be called a “real fan” there needs to be a history to you and why you are there, if that history is short lived and you are 40+ and had no real interest in football before Raymond Blanc put his restaurant in the Diamond Club and you could meet up with your city chums at the game, then sorry you are not a real fan. A necessary evil maybe but not a real fan, if the Spuds ever manage to build a stadium of equal measure and they get Heston Blumenthal to run the restaurant, will you make the trip over Finsbury Park and support the wrong team in North London for the sake of better grub, then perhaps you are the wrong type of fan.

    The people I call out presently are those who go to the Emirates to be entertained….as Peaches says the entertainment business we are in…..is that true for real fans?

    Do I go to the Emirates to be entertained? Categorically no, do supporters/fans of Brentford, Plymouth Argyle, Spurs, Yeovil, Dagenham & Redbridge, Stevenage Borough pay money to be entertained? No they go because they have an affiliation with that club, they are part of its family and they are part of its history, Barca use the famous “Mes Que un Club” motto, isn’t that true of every football team?

    That element is sadly what I feel is missing from the Emirates. Waiting to be entertained, that’s not how it works, you go there to be with your heroes, to support them through it and to feel their pain.

    If I want to be entertained I’ll go to a West End show, they’ve rehearsed enough to get it right every time, football just isn’t like that.

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    I think we are all needy, insecure, tribal mentalists.

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry RA,
    Thank you, and I love your little story.

  8. Red Arse says:

    Hi GIE, 🙂

    You sound just like me! 🙂

    The club need the transient fans’ money at the mo’, hopefully when all the debts are paid off and the prawn sandwiches are better somewhere else, they can sod off too, and let the real fans who live and breathe Arsenal, (like us for example) 🙂 take their places at more realistic prices!!

    Like Peaches said, I am always thinking of the Gunners, dreaming of them, talking about them and looking forward to the next game.

    It will be that way for the rest of my life! 🙂

  9. Red Arse says:

    Morning Micky, 🙂

    I have missed you and your humour lately!!

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    Not a happy bunny at the moment. I have bird flu, swine fever, foot and mouth and a headache to say nothing of too much work.

  11. Gooner in Exile says:

    RedA, just thinking about the making seats available for us, maybe a few more trophyless seasons are needed then?

    Seriously i believe Peaches is right, strange that I can get tickets on the Exchange for Stoke and Everton at home, but I can’t get tickets for love nor money on the Exchange for ManUre or Liverpool.

    I read on another site the other day that a Season Ticket holder sells his ticket for ManUre and Chelsea at home plus some of the other big games (I assume not through Ticket exchange) in order to fund his Season Ticket for the rest of the year, whilst people continue to pay that money the common fan will find it difficult to continue going.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    In case any of you are hunting Nazi’s from The Third Reich, I believe I have some light to shed. They are all in the US working for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). I hope that is useful.
    Problem shared and all that!

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    It has always been that way. Many games at Highbury were 20k gates, but Spurs, Liverpool 50k. Same old story I am afraid.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Super read. I really enjoyed the parable at the end and the accurate descriptions of the fans

    And this line made me laugh “. These are the breeders of the young fans of the future.” Problem is that progeny do not always follow the teams of their parents, do they Peaches?

    I think there is a difference between an Arsenal (or any other team) fan and a Football fan. I know many football fans who cannot understand in any way my obsession, just as I struggle with their lack of one. I have friends who will turn off a game at half time even when one the teams they “support” is showing.

    My sickness has deep roots and I know there is no escape. My loved ones believe I have a pathological problem and sadly they are right.

    I cannot walk passed a game in the park, and I am sure this is the same for all of us.

  15. The point about entertainment is an interesting one. Like you say GiE you can get tickets on the exchange for unromantic ties like against Stoke etc but other games it’s impossible.

    I’ve often had a spare for an ‘unromantic’ game and not been able to give it away – it’s funny, I go to football to watch Arsenal play not the opposition 😉

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. God Bedring (a little Danish for you…)

  17. 😳 thanks Raddy

  18. Red Arse says:


    My father and I used to be season ticket holders at Highbury, but I had to give them up (work reasons) after he died.

    But you and Micky are both right, during those years we often had ‘visitors’ sitting next to us, although we knew the elderly ‘real’ owners, and even in those days it was a question of them having to give up some games so they could finance the other games.

    My dad told me when he was younger, you could pay 5/- (25p ?) at the gate for a game. (1960’s ?) Wow!!

  19. Gooner In Exile says:

    I agree Micky re times of old, the major difference was terraces, I think in all my time going to stand on the North Bank I needed a ticket twice, Man United at home for a title winning game and the last day on the North Bank. I distinctly remember not needing a ticket for Liverpool at home when we won 4-0 (Limpars lob) and many other games.

  20. Red Arse says:


    Really sorry you have got all those malaises. 😦

    Still it could have been worse, if you had also got foot and mouth they would have sent the vets around to ‘cull’ you!! 🙂

    Thanks for the Nazi tip, by the way. How did you find out? Infiltration? 🙂

  21. Actually, worry not, my daughters would both produce Arsenal babies I’m sure. The eldest would do as she’s told – not ….. and the younger of the two has bought a flat in Finsbury Park and although professes that her music is more important shares with a gooner and still goes gooey eyed when talking about Thierry Henry.

    Like mother like daughter 😀

  22. Red Arse says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Raddy, 🙂 I don’t deserve it tho’.

    The little story at the end I found on an Indian football website, tho’ I think there are many other versions.

    I always associate India with cricket (there’s racial sterotyping for you) so this footie one caught my eye and seemed just so right! 🙂

  23. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Last day of the North Bank……

    Were you one of the thousands who stayed behind and sang for hours? – I was.

    I wonder what they did with all the scarves?

  24. Red Arse says:


    Quick hide!!

    I’ve just realised you do have foot and mouth. They will be coming for you!

    I got away with it 5 years ago, I said it waas a typo and I had said ‘foot in mouth’. Phew!! 🙂

  25. Evonne says:

    Great Post, thank you Red Arse! How very observant of you, to qualify all of those categories of fans; I can easily recognise them all right. You didn’t mention the drunks who stand with their backs to the pitch and chants incessantly – what would we do without them? They contribute so much to the atmosphere.
    The fans that I strongly dislike are those who never go to games, do not buy any merchandise, do very little for the club but criticise at every opportunity. Those do very little for Arsenal and the club could probably do without them. I used to work with such d**khead once; I ended up buying him a Spurs shirt

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    I have sent snipers to man the battlements. All will be well. Thank you for your concern, which is more than I can say for the rest of you lot!

  27. Sorry micky, went to check my emails smiling at the thought of Thierry Henry (for a change) and came back with a vision of an undercover operation to erradicate the FDA of your thorns – send in the panthers, pink or otherwise 😀

    Hope you find a solution soon

  28. Red Arse says:

    Hi Evonne,

    I closed my eyes and imagined I was in my seat at Highbury. (I have only been to the Emirates twice).

    In my mind I could see them all and could have mentioned others, but it would have been too long winded.

    Of course, I missed out the millions of fans all over the world who watch on TV or their computers, but that would have been a whole new post on its own.

    The question I was going to ask you, yesterday, was whether Warsaw had been rebuilt after WW2, with its main thoroughfares remaining as they were in the pre-war years.
    In the novel I am reading, Nowy Swiat is mentioned as the grand avenue of Warsaw. There are also other street names mentioned as locations for Embassies/Railway stations and so on. I have never been to Poland and I was wondering whether the place names were worth trying to remember, if they have gone, as I continue reading the story?

    Sorry to bother you! 🙂

  29. There is a God and he might be a gooner. Its pouring here in north London and I’m supposed to be out planting a tree – which obviously I’m not – so I thought I’d check the weather forcast for tomorrows Fun Run at the Emirates and its going to be sunny, hurray 🙂

    I’ve volunteered to steward and the thought of standing in the rain suddenly made me feel not quite so generous 😆

  30. London says:

    Brilliant RA, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, that story made me cry out louder than I have ever since the first day I found Arsenal blogs.

    I haven’t read the comments yet, must go do that.

  31. Harry says:

    Red Arse, loved the joke story, heard before but makes me laugh everytime, as thats me all over, already told her indoors, not to plan her cremation for a match day, as I woudlnt be there….

    When my first boy was in the process of popping his head into this world, the wife was screaming, I was in the TV room watching Arsenal beat Norwich 3-0!! She was not impressed, i said was just getting a cuppa!! 45mins later!!

    Unconditional, loyal Supporter till the day I die….

    And for those that have met me, know that I am gooner to the core….Red and white inside and out…

    Anyway back to the CL draw, Totts have to get past real madrid and Barca to get to final……

  32. Gooner in Exile says:

    Raddy I was there for a while, I was 16 my Dad let me stay for about half an hour to an hour after final whistle, and waited outside the North Bank exit, as ever I had headed up to the back and left him on the exposed corner next to the West Stand, he preferred it out there.

    Ahhhh memories………..

  33. Red Arse says:

    Just as an aside, I could not help laughing at the nonsense on TalkSport.

    Gray and Keys are broadcasting their show from Cheltenham this week. As many of you might know, Alan Brazil has famously broadcast from there over the last few years. Well for the first day, at least before going awol for the rest of the week.

    Brazil has ‘done a runner’ this week because he is so upset at Gray/Keys pinching his territory. But what makes it funnier is that Betfair and PaddyPower are sponsoring either party and there is “Murrrder Mr Mannering, blue murrrder going on”. I love it! 🙂

  34. Gooner in Exile says:

    Harry just looked at the draw, you’d have top question whether some balls had been warmed:

    Inter/Schalke v ManUre/Chavs
    Spuds/Real v Barca/Shaktar

    That seems very possible of giving them a show piece final, much more likely than:

    Spuds/Shaktar v Inter/Schalke
    Real/Barca v Manure/Chavs

    But that should see the end of Spuds campaign, whoever wins out of Chavs and ManUre will have a very good chance though. I’m afraid I fancy the Chavs might do it

  35. Evonne says:

    Red Arse – no bother, a pleasure. I am from Warsaw, born and bred, and I go back several times a year. Yes and no – parts of Warsaw have been rebuilt, but not the whole town. Nowy Swiat is the most exclusive avenue in the capital, with expensive shops and millions of little cafes with tables outside. Traffic is prohibited to taxis and buses only. Mail me, I believe Peaches sent you my email, and we will chat 🙂

  36. Harry says:

    GIE, all the balls are fixed, convinced of that years ago, the draw always is the same…Just chuffed that the yids have a hard slog…..

  37. Red Arse says:

    Thanks for the info, Evonne.

    It makes it better to visualise when I am reading. 🙂

  38. I’m just about to publish a 2nd post for today from Harry that has references to tomorrows game. If the comments section gets muddled I’ll stop the comments on this post as the other will get new bloggers from around the world.

    Confused? Lets see how we go.

  39. Carlito11 says:

    RA- a beautifully penned post- love the story at the end! 🙂
    On the subject of needing the money and Season ticket prices (which are going up 6% next year- in a bloody recession!)- Having got married and honeymooned this year, my only choice is to get myself into hock to the bank manager to renew my ST. Under those circumstances- I will almost certainly be peddling tickets for games to service the debt. It’s a difficult situation…
    Some commentators also gave me shocking news of what they call “plastic gooners” attending at Old Trafford last week. They cited the booing of Arshavin when he came off in the second half and a worrying lack of knowledge of “our songs”. as we famously don’t have many songs and the lyrics are laughably simple, singing “ooh ooh ooh to be ooh to be a Gooner” is a bit of a faux pas!
    Not sure where I stand (well sit really) on newer fans like these. Obviously players should never be booed by their own support- but everyone was a new supporter at the ground once and it took me about 4 visits to fully learn the “Who’s that team…” lyrics. Sometimes people forget this fact and get a bit snooty about being “proper fans”…

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  41. dandan says:

    Evonne my wife’s parents were from Lodz and Warsaw, although she was born in the UK. So you see you poles are everywhere 🙂

  42. dandan says:

    Very good article RA. Hav’nt seen any overweight, Wenger admirers on your list, does this mean I have been black balled.

  43. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Dandan, 🙂

    Difficult to answer that one. Certainly not blackballed, so the question is, do you perhaps strip to the waist and write ‘Arsenal Forever’ on your manly chest? 🙂

    Am off to Harry’s post now.

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