By Walter Broeckx
For as long as I can remember we have been saying that it is vital for a team (any team in fact) to feel support from their supporters. In a way this seems natural of course but with a part of our supporters not really being supportive for anything the club does it is something that can cause some worry.
Our standing point is that we support the team. No matter what, who or where. Now supporting the team when we are 3-0 up against Manchester United after 20 minutes is easy to do. But when being 0-1 down against a team it is then that they need the support the most. And it is then that the moaners will rather choose to moan and not support the team.
Of course for a part of our fan base it is that they more or less take a win on the chin. Yes you read it well. They are happy but have a mixed feeling as every win will keep the manager who they hate with a passion longer in his seat. I think those of us who go to other sites or use social media will have seen the people who claim to be a supporter of Arsenal but who are saying things like: “I rather like us to lose 5-0 if that would mean we would get rid of Wenger”. A rather strange way to support your club but hey each his own one could say.
But the negativity that comes from that view combined with the daily negativity in the media about all things Arsenal makes that on more than one occasion you get a kind of poisonous atmosphere at the Emirates.
I would love to see an atmosphere where from the first whistle the supporters are behind the team and support it completely. But for some the team has to ‘show something’ before they start to appreciate them and give them their support.
On arsenal.com there was an article in which Wenger said a few things about home advantage. Wenger pointed at studies that clearly have shown that the most important advantage a home team has is the home crowd. We have been saying this for years. We must push the team forward from the start of the match. Sitting in silence waiting for the team to show something might give the players a feeling of unease. A feeling of : what is the matter? Why are the crowd nut behind us?
But if they start the match and feel and hear the noise of the supporters it might lift them to an even higher level. Unconditional support is how I like to call it. It doesn’t matter who is the manager, which players are playing… when they go out on the field to play I will be behind them and shout and sing for them.
Of course if you really want the manager out even if he wins things (and this manager is winning things again over the last 2 seasons) because you want a new face for whatever reason you might have I can imagine that you just sit there and can’t really be bothered to give your support. But in such a case it might be a better option to stay away for a while till the manager you hate is really gone. And give up your seat to someone who is really going to give his support to the team. I think there are still more than enough who really want to support the team who don’t get in the stadium as tickets are still very hard to find.
I know some people will blame the ‘tourists’ for the lack of atmosphere. But that is also a rather easy excuse I think. Yes there are tourists in the stadium but surely that few hundred tourists cannot be blamed for the other 55.000 to just sit there and wait for the team to show something special before they start singing? And I think that even in grounds like Manchester United or City you will have ‘tourists’ who take a chance to see that team play at home. The ‘PL-product’ attracts tourists to come and take a look when they are in England but surely they are a tiny minority in the big masses that turn up for a match.
In a way it is more or less down to each individual himself. It doesn’t matter if your neighbour (tourist?-newbie? …) doesn’t sing from the start. If you start singing with the rest that wants to show their support by singing maybe your neighbour(tourist?newbie?…) will join in. But if you stay silent that new one will not start singing himself.
I know some people don’t dare to sing in public as they can’t sing. I am one of those people blessed with no musical feeling at all and when I sing at home my children run away yelling and screaming, hold their hands in front of their ears and beg me to stop massacring their eardrums. That is slightly exaggerated but I really can’t sing or hold a tune very well. But it has never held me back to sing inside a football stadium. If my neighbour who is used to hear Pavarotti sing will now have to hear me sing the only advice I can give him is to sing along as in that way he will hear me sing out of tune that much.
So no need to feel worried about what people might think when you sing or how you sing. The only important thing on a match day in the Emirates is to show your support and shout and sing for the team. Next Saturday I will be in the Emirates for the match against Everton. I hope all Gooners in the stadium will do what I want to do : sing for the team and make sure that that existing home support advantage really is there and will pay off.
People sometimes say: it is Arsenal FC and not Arsène FC. Saying we support Arsène FC. Well I think it is the other way round. Arsène is part of Arsenal FC. Not supporting him (as he is a vital part of the club) is not supporting Arsenal. Hate it or love it but we win together or lose together. So if you really want to support Arsenal you have to forget about the implications a result has on Arsène. A win is a win for Arsenal. And that is all what matters in the end. So get behind the team and support. Don’t give away our biggest advantage at home.