Sometime ago Untold ran a grumbling piece about the man from row 15 who couldn’t be bothered to applaud the team even after we had despatched Fenebache (and Fulham the weekend before). He was still urging (very quietly it has to be said) M. Wenger to ‘spend some f***ing money’. Well, his wishes were answered and Herr Özil arrived as the signing of the summer.
Since then we have lost three games (Chavski, Dortmund and Manure) drawn one (Baggies FC) and won 12. Understandably the atmosphere at the Emirates is much improved upon that evening in late August (and even more so than the opening game of the season against Mr Aston Taylor FC).
But I still notice plenty of things that amuse or disturb me in my regular visits to Arsenal (I’ve seen every home game this season including both days of the Emirates Cup). In this post I thought I’d share my thoughts and observations.
I sit in the lower North Bank. I’m amongst those singing (well shouting mostly, I doubt many would recognise it as in any way musical…) ‘We’re the NORTH bank HIGH BER REEE!’. Most of the singing is orchestrated by the RedAction mob to the right – the seats (not that we use them as seats much this season – more on that later) over the corner flag – but the central north bank is getting more involved. As are the fans on the left and in East stand, and we can often here the Clock End too.
This is A Good Thing.
The songs are pretty standard: ARSENAL ARSENAL AR.SEN.AAAAL! ; We love you Arsenal, we do; and We’re by FAR the greatest team, are favourites, with the occasional Good Old Arsenal and The Famous T******* H***** went to Rome to see the Pope etc and lots of Nananana GIROOOOOOOOUD; Super Jack, BFG, and songs for Rambo and others.
The anti-spud songs are there but less pronounced recently – well let’s face it they aren’t the threat they were last season perhaps.
More people are standing – this is another GOOD THING in my opinion. It encourages singing, it keeps you warm, it’s more involved, less passive. So I was amused by two fans last night – two blokes about 40-50 years old – who clearly don’t come very often.
They spent ages before kick-off taking photos of themselves (nothing wrong with that). But as the ground emptied (more on that to come too…) they sat down and declared that the club should rip the bloody seats out; what’s the point in paying for seats when you have to stand?
Well I’m sorry but if I could stand on a terrace I’d do that every time, but at present the law doesn’t allow that. I’m just glad the stewards are being sensible and not enforcing the sit down rule. People are standing because the team are playing great and the crowd is involved. Go with the flow, enjoy it. Standing for an hour and a half won’t hurt you. Nor will singing.
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Nor will getting there on time or staying to the end. This is my big gripe with football fans (Arsenal or anyone else).
Last night there were lots of new faces around me – I guess some ST holders sell on their tickets and again, I have no problem with that; football is expensive.
But several of those that bought a ticket last night were dressed in smart suits and overcoats, they arrived ten minutes after the game started (missing Jack’s wonderful goal), they then nipped off five minutes before HT and returned late for the restart. They then buggered off with five minutes (plus 3 minutes injury time) to go.
Tony and I have nearly a two hour journey home. We walk up to Archway (25-30 minutes) take the tube to Finchley (10-15) then the motorway to Northampton. Last night the M1 was full of lane closures and an accident and this is normal.
But from our seats in different parts of the stadium we stayed and applauded the team off just as we do every home match. I got home at midnight, Tony at 12.30am. The ST holders to my left also stayed and they live in Brighton. Goodness knows what time they got home and one of them has to be up at 5 each morning for work.
By the time the final whistle went the ground was probably a third empty (and it wasn’t full to start with). Touts are asking for tickets outside and the place sells out really quickly at the moment. These are good times to be a Gooner. So please can those that come to the games make a bit of an effort to make the Emirates (or the Grove if you prefer) a fortress. The atmosphere is much improved but it can better. The team are doing their bit, as are many of us.
Will the real Arsenal fans please stand up and make themselves heard – your club needs you!
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…