We’ve had many debates on this site regarding the role the Emirates crowd plays (or more accurately, fails to play) in creating a positive atmosphere that will lift the players. The negativity can be suffocating at times. But then I got to thinking – is there more the club could do to help in this respect? All of a sudden not only did the light bulb come on, it blinded me with its intensity.
The answer is YES, YES, YES, Arsenal could do so much more. We cannot complain about the entertainment value of the superb football that Arsenal is famous for, but what comes before and after is pretty woeful.
The matchday/evening experience should be just that, a time of fun, of bonding, of celebrating everything about Arsenal with fellow supporters, not just 90 minutes top class football sandwiched between lengthy periods of dirge.
Our older contributors who went to Highbury will remember the characters, the bands that used to play downstairs at the Northbank, the Peanut Sellers, the guy who used to shout out “Come on you rip roaring”, the friendly rivalry between The Clock End, The Northbank and The East stand (whatever went on in the West Stand?) and so many other things that made the whole matchday experience more enjoyable …. and more importantly bonded and united us as Arsenal supporters.
Pre-match at Highbury was a blast, the crescendo of energy leading up to kick off was intoxicating. Not so at The Emirates. Unless it’s your first time, no-one gets to the ground early to be entertained – the stadium is awesome, but there isn’t any entertainment to speak of in the build up to kick off.
There is a reason why TV companies use warm up acts to get the audience in the right mood to play a part in live recordings …. it works. Yet the build up to games at the Emirates is antiseptic and insipid.
We have an American owner who knows only too well from his US sports franchises that add on entertainment either side of his events is a real crowd pleaser and increases income – so why not in football? Would supporters of his US sports businesses be content to settle for 1 guy in a padded dinosaur outfit to entertain 60,00 people – of course not.
We play scintillating football, but let’s be honest, the build up to games in the stadium is just plain dreary. What’s wrong with injecting a bit of razzamatazz into proceedings? Let’s get the supporters fired up and in the mood to be positive.
I’m not advocating turning Arsenal into a cheap carnival, the football is why we go, but much more could be done in the build up to the game to raise the supporter’s spirits and create an upbeat atmosphere for the game. The young supporters that go to the Emirates deserve a bit more effort from the club.
So what could we do? Its simple, just look at the things about the game we used to love 30 years ago and where possible reintroduce them, and take a leaf out of the American’s book and adopt some (not all of the cheesy stuff) of their practices.
For a start, the music at the Emirates is rank – not Uptown Top Ranking. There could be events/competitions on the pitch that encourage crowd participation ( – without interfering with the player’s warm up). Certain types of food and drink could be sold to you in your seat without the need to queue for the entirety of half time. There could be entertainers moving among the supporters in the lounges. Why not have a band playing in the bar area and maybe use them to promote some much needed songs for our players – what Londoner doesn’t enjoy a sing-song?
The stewards could be trained to be more helpful and more positive in their approach. I feel for chas, the steward who regularly stands in his area is one of the ring leaders of the moaners and groaners – he should not be in the job.
There could be competitions, free promotional hand-outs, the big screens could be used to interact with supporters before games as they do in the US. Perhaps we could have a guy with some wit and personality making the announcements? Everything should be Arsenal related, and everything could be so much more fun.
This is a win/win situation. The fans are happy; the atmosphere is positive; the team benefits; the club makes money, The Arsenal wins.
I’m expecting many of you to tell me I’m mad and football is a serious business that should not be turned into a carnival, but others may buy into the idea … I’d welcome suggestions of other things the club could do to enhance the matchday experience …. over to you ……..