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
I’ll start with the description of the ‘Me generation’. That is partly true I suppose, but reading the BSM argument (and they are hardly alone) I think the poor atmosphere also stems from the more traditional element of the support. Why? Because a lot of them feel disenfranchised with the arrival of new fans and because the club has become a global brand rather than just their local meet n greet.
It’s something like the rock/metal groups in the early 80s who built up a cult following around the bars and small stadia in the US, but were then abused by the same fans for ‘selling out’ and making an MTV video. The band just got too big for them to handle. To feel special about it.
So while the more traditional fans may have more experience in singing etc I venture that they are also the ones who are more inclined to boo and perhaps even leave (and justify it as a sign of protest–against whatever their pet peeve) , rather than it being only a case of the new generation of fans who undoubtedly do reflect the morals of what you call the ‘Me Generation’.
The lack of alcohol and safe standing areas might explain why some form of organisation and chanting/singing is easier in some European countries than in England. Plus it might be a cultural thing. It seems to me that the English terrace culture is more about ‘banta’ between the two sets of fans (and in the past also spilled over to physical violence) rather than just supporting your team.
As for tourists. Being one of them (although not the most active on social media), I at least, do not know ALL the songs. (Which reminds me, can someone tell me what ‘She wore a yellow ribbon’ is supposed to signify?) I’m sure a lot of overseas fans do know many songs, but even then getting a chant going that isn’t easy.
I think your suggestion of selling tickets without the pre-assigned seat numbers might be a good idea. I’d also venture that fans’ groups could offer ‘induction programs’ or something to overseas fans who might be interested to learn more about the history and culture of the club, and of watching the club. Collect a group of overseas fans and take them around the pubs to experience football the way the locals have done, because it is a totally different experience than watching from across the world.
Maybe these groups could also arrange with the club to have some enhanced access to the club for these fans. Say, a group discount for stadium tours, or vouchers for the club shop, if not occasional access to some players or for events etc. But the key there will be for groups like the BSM to forego the hostility they feel towards ‘tourists’ and to embrace them and reach out to them as part of the Arsenal family.
Lastly, of less importance, but about Arshavin’s English. Maybe the Russian word for ‘atmosphere’ is expressed as a plural and so he says ‘were’ instead of ‘was’. Its unfair to say his English is poor.
Points well made Big Randy and having stood almost alone in my row at full time on Tuesday I was annoyed at the desertion of the ranks, whilst the blue scum chanted the fire drill song.
Shard, the “She wore a yellow ribbon..” was for a FA Cup final in the ’70s, I think ’71, although it’s before my time and can’t be 100% sure.
Absolute disgrace the way the club targeted the BSM. Saw a comment on the previous blog about how someone thought they were the ‘spend some f-ing money0 and booing the team brigade. They’re not. They’re all about getting a better deal for old school supporters.
The manager and the team have repeatedly said how important it is to get a good atmosphere in the ground and yet the club takes measures to prevent it happening. I’ve seen it so many times where stewards are patrolling AFC fans like the Gestapo and the away fans get away with everything. It’s an absolute disgrace
We genuinely are the worst club in London for early leavers as well. If you don’t believe me, look at the end of the Napoli game which was a pretty special night. Honestly, the JCL support can **** off. Football is ruined for me. How can such a beautiful fantastic stadium, built for a classy marvelous club be filled by such utter idiots. It’s beyond me.
This is not a working class hero rant. We’ve always had middle class fans. I never sat there, but I know the kind of people who filled the East and West Upper. They were proper Arsenal and at least used to join in on occassion. I met a group of public school lads who went to quite a few away games in the mid 80’s and they were sound and game and used to sing all the songs and make a racket. My problem is with the post Euro 96 and post Wenger fans who wouldn’t have been caught dead at a football match twenty years ago. These are the kind of fans who only jumped on the bandwagon for beautiful sexy football and expect to be entertained like they are at the cinema and don’t know anything about our glorious history and heritage. Me a cockney geezer married an Indian lass and I took her to Arsenal from the late 80’s onwards. Could I have done that at West Ham or Chelsea – not a chance. We are such a proud club with such a great tradition and yet so many of our ‘fans’ only care and know about us because of some ‘aesthetically pleasing’ football. That quote is from some hooray henrys I heard at the ground who weren’t pleased about the lack of such football a couple of years ago and were considering cancelling their season tickets. There are far too many of these ‘expect to be entertained’ idiots at Arsenal, and it doesn’t help that Islington has become the living area for these ****s as well.
So in answer to why we have so many early leavers, the answer is because we were the first London club to be really successful in the post Euro 96 era. All the people who looked on all football supporters (most of whom were good honest people) as hooligan scum were first attracted to Arsenal because of our success and good football. And to them that was what was most important. They never made the effort to learn the songs and our history, they just want the instant gratification. Now of course this is a generalisation and some of the bandwagon jumpers have made an effort and become true supporters by learning our history and traditions. BUT many haven’t and it’s the ones who haven’t who can unfortunately afford season tickets and populate the ground.
Yell out ‘we’re the North Bank’ and you’ll get a few joining in and hundreds of dirty stares. It’s a serious problem and the club MUST do something to address it. It’s a disgrace.
Thanks chary. That was my guess but I still don’t understand the context completely.
That fire drill song could be heard clearly and loudly over the tv and it really annoyed me too. As did Mourinho’s name being heard so clearly ringing out around our stadium. I think how scummy Chelsea are is what put most of us in a bad mood rather than the result itself. Oh well. We should beat LIverpool and that should set us back on track.
That’s a very impassioned comment there Itsonly…and I sympathise/agree with most of what you say.
Often I will stand up to barrack one of the oppo players who’d come to take a throw in or corner and I’d get the sort of dirty looks you mentioned.
That still doesn’t stop me from doing the “You’rrrrrrrrrrrrrrre shit!” as they take the corner kick.
Sitting in the family enclosure gets you aggro from parents who don’t want any sort of raucous behaviour to sully there little kiddies ears.
I even remember shouting out to a Wigan player(Maloney?) who’d dived to get a free kick “You dirt cheating northern b***ard” a bloke who’d been silent all through the match suddenly turned round and said he was offended by that as he was northern too !
Think this sort of atmosphere and arriving late / leaving early culture was always going to happen when we moved away from Highbury.
Such a big stadium and mix of old school and new school fans and of course the thousands of ” corporates” who don’t even care about our beloved Arsenal was bound to bring this strange atmosphere .
I hate to say it but the majority of fans at The Emirates are not what I term real football fans, that is entirely their choice, but if the game doesn’t go our way, it is not going to bother them that much and instead of singing and getting behind the team their thoughts turn to free drinks and overpriced food or packed train stations.
But the real fans will squirm, cry, shout and sing, moan, but try and get behind the team in some way, moan and discuss what went right or wrong all the way home.
It is not just a night out to the real fans, it is part of our lives( and an important part).
Unfortunately the move to the Emirates was a necessary evil to try and keep up with the rich friends, but it has bought with it a very strange mix of people, cultures, paycheques,love of football( or not),
To be quite honest The Emirates has definitely detracted from the “football” experience, but as I said earlier it was necessary for financial reasons and it is a lovely stadium. So let’s hope that someday soon success on the pitch returns and Arsenal FOOTBALL Club takes centre stage once more.
Morning, erm almost afternoon, all. Back to your post, Raddy, later, but first just to apologise for not being in last evening to enjoy the conversation on AA. Thanks, LB, Chas, Raddy, et al. My computer had given up on me, all well now.
This may not be a popular view but some of the things that the chavs were doing on Tuesday were quite encouraging.
9000 is quite an impressive number to bring to THOF and I am sure that many of them brought their children for a rare outing in the firm belief that they were going to win; the result being, that the support of their children would be cemented just that bit deeper.
I don’t want to go too over board about this because if we were playing Tottenham away in a similar game we could easily sell 20,000.
But back to my point, yes, of course it is easier to get more vocal when you are winning but I did like some of the jumping up and down, in unison, stuff they were doing. This to me seemed a direct influence from Germany which, if honest, I am sure we would all admit is on of the countries in which the fans really do know how to get vocal.
In brief, if that German fan enthusiasm is creeping into the EPL — then I for one am all in favour of it.
Thanks for the read BR
Fantastic post, or “discussion starter”, Raddy. Just a couple of points for the moment.
Like Shard, I am a “tourist”. Live far from London, been to the Ems only 4 times, none to away games. And, yes, I do not know most of the chants. So, before going to the Dortmund game with Chas and Ant, I spent a good few hours on the web to learn, and rehearse. (blush! how do you put this flipping blushing face on?) Did not come to that much use, but made me feel nice anyway.
Second, Itsonly …., on the steward issue. When Dortmund scored, one guy in our stand pulled off his shirt to reveal a yellow T-shirt underneath. The stewards came swiftly and politely asked him to stop. I saw nothing wrong with that!!!
Hi Raddish, 🙂
You have written a Post on a topic that because of its far ranging complexity could form the basis for a thesis on changes in socio-political mores in the 21st century. Excellent stuff.
You have identified a number of issues that might help explain some of the motivators behind the crowd behaviour you identify, as well as being honest in admitting your bafflement about the drivers for the lack of ‘togetherness’ in singing and so on. And of course you are not alone in that respect.
I do not pretend to have an answer for you, because, as I said above, this is a very complex subject. However, some thought would need to be given to the following.
– Is it a mistake to group all ‘fans’ together as if they are a specifically identifiable homologous entity?
My experience, and it does not only relate to football fans, is that the term ‘fan’ covers many wide ranging groups of people with very different attitudes and understanding of what they see as their role and expectations in the overall scheme of things.
– Is the stadium, which is very awe inspiring to look at, fit for purpose in terms of the fans engagement/involvement in the proactive support of the team, including the vocalisation of their support?
– Is the fact that many fans melt away before the end of a game a result of the poor local public transport facilities, or just a time critical issue for those with young children, or even simply disappointment in the performance of their team, or a combination of all of these?
– Is their anything intrinsically wrong with some fans viewing a football game as ‘just entertainment’?
The club have to ‘sell’ their ‘product’ in order to receive the funds necessary to invest in their teams and at the base level to ensure they survive for the enjoyment of future generations, and entertainment of the fans is a critical component in that.
– We have previously discussed the origins of football clubs as a manifestation of their local communities and the contingent social order in the 19th century, but with telecommunication in the 21st century enabling worldwide participation of millions of fans from different cultural backgrounds and to meet their expectations, so perhaps it is time to move on and accept the changes that many, especially the older generation, perceive as detrimental to the club, and to the way they have grown up to expect.
OK I admit I have not had much time to formulate my response, but perhaps I might have shown that the solution to this ‘problem’ is a little more far reaching than may initially appear to be the case. 🙂
I have been a gooner all my life, life in woodford green and can never get to a game. When I have been to the Emirates it amazes me how people used to look at me like I had the plague when I started singing! seriously it was like farting at a funeral.
I have never left a game early because win lose or draw the players deserve to be clapped off. Too many people have season tickets just to say “I go to the Arsenal” and the working class mans game is nothing more than a fantasy these days.
Maybe the clubs need to find a way to block out mobile phone signals so people can spend less time on the phone and more time watching the team they pay £100s of pounds to support.
One more thing, I was told on Tuesday the standard response to the Chavs singing their “Blue flag flying” song is(to the same tune ):
“Take your blue, take your blue flag, you can take your blue flag and stick it up your a**e”
I wish we’d had a response like that on Tuesday, listening to those Chavs was bile inducing.
If fans treat a footy game as “thetre”, surely they know the concepts of a lock-in and lock-out as well!!!!
Good day all,
A fine post BR,
I’m sure this has been suggested before, but why does the club not arrange a “singing Section”, season ticket holders could be encouraged to transfer into or out of such a section as is their preference. If it proved popular and effective at improving the atmosphere it could be extended as the need arose.
As to the eightieth minute empty stadium syndrome, nothing will prevent this until the referees take action to stop the time wasting that goes on both by the away side if winning and by Arsenal if they are leading. The last ten minutes on Tuesday was a case in point, players feigning cramp/injury, late substitutions, the player coming off usually the one furthest from the bench and a lack of urgency on the part of most of the Arsenal team.
A few injury time goals might encourage the early leavers to tarry a while.
While I’m having a bit of a moan; perhaps if Mr. Wenger hung around long enough to acknowledged the supporters, particularly at away games, rather than waiting a few seconds to shake hands with his opposite number before scooting down the tunnel, a few more may stay to the end.
Nice one Raddy
To be honest I don’t really care if people sing, leave early, or play Sudoko whilst the games on.
I don’t see a problem. I have been to every home game this year bar Chelsea and the atmospheres been good with the crowd getting behind the team
Speaking only for myself, I never sing. If I did the stadium would empty within 5 minutes. I only sing in Tescos, so as to empty the aisles.
I am a constant shouter, encouraging the team, individual players, and apologies to any Officials, an abuser of refs and linsmen.
I never leave early. My name was once announced ver the tannoy system “Terry, report to the box office immediately, your wife wants to ruin the game for you”, or words to that effect. I didn’t respond.
My pet hate is when concentrating on the game some bloke I don’t know trys to talk me. I usually reply with one word answers and if that don’t work, put my hand on there knee. That usually does the trick.
As I said, for me its not a problem. This season the crowd have got behind the team.
Terry: May I venture to suggest that your shouting may qualify as singing? 😀 😀
How’s the swelling?
I wrote a long comment BR but WordPress ate it.
Basically it came down to “I don’t know what the answer is.” 😦
Very good, BR.
This is what made me think the BSM were part of the “spend some f*ckin money” brigade. I realise it was from two years ago.
Before the Dortmund game I had a walk around Highbury.
When I saw this I thought it could be your dream home. 🙂
I think that one above was 1 bedroomed.
A bit cheaper than this 3 beds at 1.3 million anyway.
The photo (no. 6) of the outside terrace looks amazing. I could wave at my old man’s ghost from there, still sat in his seat in Block Z in the West Stand. (well it is Halloween) 🙂
Raddy – if that’s simply a discussion starter, then i haven’t got enough time to read your full posts 🙂 Very good article and a sad, sad topic.
Yep, it is happening at all the stadia, including foul mouthed Chavs. I watched some of their games and listened to a blissful silence when they were not winning. Same with Spurs (my dear friend who lives 100m from SHL knows when they are losing by the silence) and others.
Re tourists visiting the Emirates – my 80+year old mum and her hairdresser were discussing our stadium after visiting it recently. My mother thought that the sculpture of ‘my beloved’ was the best feature, whereas the other lady liked the contrasting colours inside. You tell me what is this world coming to if two old biddies have nothing better to talk about than a football stadium!
And this brings me to my solution to the problem, which I am surprised none of you thought of – ban women and bring back the booze. Guaranteed atmosphere
Apologies for creating such a stench on your post, BR.
no Chas, I recon some of the readers are sitting there with bright red faces knowing the post was a dig at them. That will learn them 🙂
I am sitting here with little bags of sweets and toffee apples and NOBODY knocked! Miserable little sods
club were in full nazi mode yesterday. Three people I know who have been going to Arsenal for years and never once caused a hint of trouble were chucked out yesterday and could be getting bans for standing and singing and swearing at Chelsea supporters. Fine abusing opposition supporters isnt particularly dignified but that’s football ain’t it. So dissilusioned today its unreal. Heard story after story about the disgraceful stewarding. It really is killing football for me. Might have to switch to only doing away games now and I say that as a season ticket holder of 24 years.
Some good arguments made here. I havent had a post on this site for a quite some time. The last time I did ( https://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/wenger-will-he-win-the-league-ever-again/ ), the reaction from other commenters was amazing, and I felt a sense of pride too, that even on a fan blog, we managed to get some togetherness, which is actually a testement to how bad the times are when people on fan sites argue and boo the players, well after a game has taken place.
Moving on, I havent read all the comments, and apologize if you happen to read this and it is just a repetition of something already posted.
My personal view is that over the years, football fandom has changed. With the advancement in media and communications, the world had gotten much smaller. We can follow teams and players from other countries with so much more ease than waiting for that football italia show.
This affects how and who people support. The biggest issue though, is where we are. Arsenal is in London, one of the highest populated cities in europe, and very multicultural too, people support lots of teams in this fine city.
I grew up in North London, live just off Finsbury park, and played my football there from a young age. Most of my peers supported Manure, with the odd chelsea and liverlpool supporter. Growing up, I dealt with alot of gloating from the manure supporters. Alot of them supported the team because they were doing well, and because it was easier for them to handle. Why be a minority and support your local team that isnt winning big things, when you can join the majority and support a team that is doing really well. This attitude festers from a young age, and it grows on people. I think it leads to restlessness, always being hounded by the glory hunter who doesnt know much about football, or the team he ‘supports’. Over time, people will lose faith and hope in the team. The lenghly dry spell hasnt helped either.
Teams who play terrible football and havent won anything have some amazing fans, because they support their team through the bad times, which for some is all there is. Modern day Arsenal supporters are only experiencing bad time now, and its starting to show on them.
Sure. i’ve lost some faith too, but what I’ve done is readjust my expectations, and throughout the good and bad times, i’ve remained a positive fan of the club, its more to me than just a team that plays good football, its in my DNA, its my home.
Also, every manure supporter I know who left london, has changed their support to Arsenal, because they realise Arsenal is where their home is.
Keep the faith people, we’ll some again someday!
Ray. This is nothing new. People have been thrown out of the ground for being aggressive towards the opposition fans for as long as I can remember.
BTW I find your use of the adjective “nazi” about the club I love and respect unacceptable.
chas. Thank you for thinking of me. I would dearly love to buy that apt. Sadly, it costs way more what any bank would lend me.
I can understand leaving early but I cannot cannot cannot ever understand anyone booing your own team. Truly moronic IMHO.
No-one stops at the witch’s house. 🙂
Once a clock end boy……
I realise that only ex-premiership footballers and Micky could afford such a place.
I always abuse opposition supporters and players. I’ll have to watch my step.
I think the club sees the BSM as enemies rather than as positive agents for change. Therein lies the problem.
Twitter for all its faults is a real eye opener.
If you follow every single person who says they are an Arsenal supporter, your timeline (i.e. comments from people you “follow”) is soon so full of such unmitigated bullshit that it’s hard to credit some people are of the same species, let alone love Arsenal as you do.
Eventually you ‘unfollow’ those who say stuff like ‘booing is fine as it motivates the players to perform better’ or ‘I pay the highest ticket prices in Europe so I’m entitled to boo’. Your timeline improves and you realise that not all fans are idiots, in fact, quite a few are interesting, knowledgeable and downright amusing.
But deep down, lurking at the back of your mind, you’re still left with that horrible, nagging realisation that a huge amount of them are just f*ckin stupid.
chas 😀 Sadly that is true of the whole world!
Chas @ 9:16: Depressing, but true. Never mind. We live to fight on!!!!! 😀 😀
Chas- the witch? that’d be me 🙂 don’t know why but all the local kids like me and often knock on the door. But not last night. This might have something to do with the fact that I told parents that shouldn’t participate in this pagan custom where kids go begging for food and money. Awful, awful tradition
wata, chary, struss and chas predicted a loss tomorrow. That is a really scary game in our calendar, so much depend on it
We will have to take Suarez out of action. Sadly, we are not very good at stopping players from playing. Only Flamini could do the job on LS, but he is still injured. Damn, damn damn
But you still bought toffee apples and sweets.
I always do something similar. Yesterday i bought some sweets just in case and then made the house look unwelcoming with my jimmy saville mask in the front window peering round the curtain.
If the kids knock today you can give them a toffee apple without it being associated with All Hallows eve. Much better.
me predict a loss agin the dippers. Never
you did you did you did!
of course I bought the sweets, I don’t want to be eggged
Nah, must have been sniffer and you just thought it was me.
I ain’t no doomer.
you didn’t you didn’t you didn’t 🙂 I was looking at Chelsea Cap one row!
Sheep, 26m, Gie and I predict a draw for tomorrow
Those seats wouldn’t be very good for me chalfonts.
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