On Tuesday there was an almost empty stadium at the 80th minute – apart from a few diehards and 9,000 jubilant mutants. We started to discuss this yesterday and with little time to prepare a needed post, here are my thoughts …..
If this just happened at Arsenal I would be more concerned. Sadly, it happens at many London grounds.
I thought Arshavin’s comment of “The atmosphere at the Emirates were mostly weird. It felt like the crowd was there to see the theatre.” was appropriate, but he hasn’t had to sit in the stands of a ground in which one feels divorced from the game. (it also shows how poor his English is after 5 years of living in London!)
I usually sit front row, Clock End Upper Tier. You would think this is right in the middle of both the singing and the action on the pitch, but as Andre says for most of the game it feels like the theatre – no, not theatre, because a theatre audience doesn’t spend its time talking about work and texting.
How can the club change the potential toxicity of the fans? It can’t. To me this is a social problem and nothing to do with the Arsenal. It is another facet of the Me Generation – ” I have spent all this money and travelled all this way, and used my leisure time (etc) and you (Bendtner, Ramsey, Eboue, Arsene, the team +++) are not giving Me what I want and what I spent my hard earned cash on”
“I have paid my money and therefore have the right to boo a player.” No arguing with this sentiment BUT, if and it is a big IF, you are an Arsenal supporter then it is fair to assume you want the Arsenal to do well, so how does booing help the team? What would you do in front of 60+k people who you knew were examining your every move. hoping you will fail so it confirms their narrative that you are rubbish? To say that you would ignore it is naive – you wouldn’t. You may re-double your efforts and improve for sometime but then you will make a mistake and all that good work is forgotten, after which you would do everything you could to avoid the ball.
A perfect case in point is Gervinho. Talented lad who is tearing up Serie 1 and has instantly proved what approval and love can do to a player. It is hardly rocket science, and is the reason why Mr Wenger tries to protect some players by playing them away from home – how terrible a reflection is that upon our support?
A reflection of this negativity is that blogs (ours included) get far more hits when the club are in trouble than when we are Top of the League (can I write that again …. We are Top of the League).
Tourists: To castigate fans who travel the world to come to The Home of Football is downright insulting. It isn’t them who leave early. Yes, they take pictures of the inside and outside of the ground because to them it is special – very special and attending the Emirates is one of the highlights of their lives. And they know almost all the songs – check out Youtube.
To be even-handed Mr. Wenger has stated that it is up to the players to ignite and engage the crowd and he is right but we seem to be a damp squib unless we are beating high class opposition. We played some great football in the loss to Chelsea, football that the Chavs could never achieve, brilliant close passing and link up play and the team never stopped trying to win the game – they just did it to an empty-ish stadium for the final few minutes.
A potential solution is to have random (not pre-booked) seating behind the goals, something I highly approve of. The fact I cannot sit with my AA friends when attending a game is a sadness and groups of friends are more likely to sing together. Another solution is to have trained singing leaders. It works in may foreign clubs who have one chap who starts the songs – unfortunately he is usually a fat, bald bloke covered in tattoos with his shirt off! But it would be something to try as most people who would like to sing are afraid of starting a chant for fear of looking stupid when no-one joins in (I know – I have tried it!)
If the stadium was full of singing fans enjoying themselves despite the team losing there would be less desire to leave early. I assume that once there is a flow of people leaving then it spreads like winter flu and everyone gets antsy. Rasp’s idea of not standing up to let people pass until the final whistle is a fine one but I fear he will get sorely kicked legs!
We all know the arguments as to why some people leave early, especially at night games, but if you are one of those folk, please tell me how it helps the team you say you love?
N:B: This is purely a discussion starter and as full of holes as my very expensive moth-eaten cashmere sweater (I bloody hate moths).
written by Big Raddy