By Walter Broeckx
I have been banging on this a few times before and will bang on the same nail once again: the nail where I point at the importance of the fans being behind the team from the start of the game till the end.
Players have said it enough that if they feel the crowd behind them they can deliver magic. We all remember how the crowd was behind the team when we beat Barcelona. We all remember how the crowd stood behind the team when we beat the spuds 5-2 last season. And this season. I remember the dull atmosphere of the Fulham game even when 2-0 up the crowd just sat there in apathy.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the manager, the board or one of the players or even all the players. If you call yourself a supporter and you go to the Emirates is it too much asked to just support the team and get behind them from the start of the game?
If you don’t think this is important then fine but don’t come onto Untold and moan about the lack of passion from the players on the field. It should work both ways.
And I think I can show you the importance of the fans getting behind the team and creating a positive atmosphere during the games. We only have to look at the other side of London to see what happens when the fans who come to the game are more worried about protesting against the manager and thus creating a negative atmosphere for their own team.
Since the rich Russian threw away his former toy, err… manager, Di Matteo the Chelsea fans are unhappy because he brought in Rafa Benitez.
Since then Stamford Bridge has turned in to a place where the home fans use all kinds of ways to express their unhappiness with the new manager. The show boards with “Rafa Out” and they chant that they want him out. So how does this affect the Chelsea team?
Well let us look at the statistics:
Home: P 6 W 1 D 3 L 2 F 10 A 5
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Away: P 7 W 6 D 0 L 1 F 21 A 7
So in the last 7 away games Chelsea has won 6 games. I can imagine that the Chelsea away support at those games is more busy trying to support their team in an unkind environment than being busy to slaughter their current manager. It resulted in a few impressive wins even. A few lucky wins also like away at Everton but that is the way it goes.
Just as the Arsenal away support is mostly only focussed on supporting the team I can imagine the same will be the case for the Chelsea away supporters. The togetherness of fighting the local team from an away fans perspective will get rid of the most chants against the manager and will bring chants in support of the team.
But at home these are rather disastrous numbers. Played 6 and only won one. And that was against Aston Villa a side that had lost its ability completely it seems since half December where it all suddenly went terribly wrong for them.
At the start of January Chelsea went to Southampton and trashed them 1-5 in the FA cup. Now they played them at home and only could get a 2-2 draw.
Chelsea lost at home to Swansea in the Capital One Cup. The lost at home against the last in the PL QPR.
They had a draw against Manchester City which can be seen as a good result. But a draw against Fulham is not a really great result.
And away from home they got good results. So the difference between home and away is astonishing.
The home atmosphere is seemingly killing off the team at Stamford Bridge. Now I don’t mind that really over there. I would urge them to carry on the way they are doing just as perhaps Chelsea supporters are pleased that a vocal minority of Arsenal fans in the stadium has turned on Mr Wenger.
But maybe some Arsenal fans should learn their lesson from this. And stop acting like a customer when entering the Emirates. And start acting like a supporter. One that will support his team from the start.
From the evidence presented by Chelsea fans it is clear to see that a negative home support has a big influence on a team. The club needs our support. If you don’t agree with the manager, fine. If you don’t agree with the board, fine. If you don’t agree with the players on the field, fine. But if you really don’t like the club any more you have to consider stop going and give your ticket or sell your ticket to those who still enjoy the team.
I heard from people who went against Swansea in the FA cup that it looked as if the moaners had stayed at home. And it had a great influence on the atmosphere they said. And the players who went for it for 90 minutes showed that they reacted to the support. As they have done a few occasions in the past.
So let us learn our lesson from the Chelsea case and stop moaning when a ball gets lost. Let us each and every game get behind the team from the start. Even when things go wrong at times. Just give your support and maybe you can lift the team. As you did on many occasions.
Let us leave the negative atmosphere out of the Emirates when we go to see the Arsenal. For once I would say we could learn from the Chelsea fans. Let us take advantage of them and do the opposite. Support the club even if you don’t like the manager, the board and all the players. Because that is what we can do and should do.
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- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society