What will the Moscow fans be like, where are the fans, and what counts as success

By Bulldog Drummond

It seems that a home game cannot come along without there being an in-depth enquiry into the number of people who actually attend, with bloggettas constantly putting up complaints about the “laughable” number of tickets sold – even though there is not the slightest bit of evidence that this number of false.

From my knowledge of such matters I’d say that the number of season ticket holders who go to every game that they are entitled to go to, is quite small.  For as we have noted, the endless changing of dates to accommodate the whims of the broadcasters affects many fans (especially, as Walter pointed out recently, those from overseas).

Many within the UK don’t live in London, some work later on certain days, others travel for their work, and all this before we get to the issue of of family commitments and holidays.  Yes, the journalists and those who don’t attend may assume we all take our holidays in the summer, but those who notice just how much more expensive holiday arrangements are in the summer when the schools are on holiday, invariably end up taking a holiday during the season.

I particularly mention this today, because on this day the Arsenal History Society has the headline, “Poor crowds at Arsenal? 30 years ago today 19,341 turned up at Highbury.”

That really was this day in 1988, and the entry from the daily list of anniversary the site produces reads…

4 April 1988: Arsenal 2 Norwich 0.  Only 19,341 turned up at Highbury following four uninspiring draws.  Smith and Groves scored.

So to expect 60,000 at each game in a season such as this one, which is self-evidently below the high standard of recent years, is really rather silly.

But what of the Russian fans?   Well fortunately we can turn once more to the wonderful Calvert Journal’s guide to Russian football.

Here is what they say we might expect…

Although the morality police love to pontificate about the immorality of Russian fans, there is something touchingly old-fashioned and non-conformist about their behaviour. Many who oppose the state of modern football — transformed by big money from the Middle East and Asia into a sort of sporting Disneyland — might be happy to hear that Russia remains a stronghold of certain footballing traditions: fighting before, during and after matches, lobbing seats and hurling abusive chants, shouting yourself hoarse and getting into rows with the management.

Going to the football in Russia is no picnic; it’s a feat of endurance. As a consequence, the spectators that hit the stands are for the most part teenagers, hardcore fans and lairy lager louts. And they behave accordingly: throwing flares, booing when they see black players, swearing and smoking as if their lives depended on it.

So we might expect some flares, and I wonder if the stewards inside the ground will have been briefed on how to deal with the fans who smoke.  We shall watch with interest.

Finally I would like to divert from my main topic to mention one other issue that has hit the news today – and that is that Tottenham Hotspur has doubled the salary paid to Daniel Levy for last year to more than £6m.   That is about 2.5 times as much as Ivan Gazidis got at Arsenal.

In that season Arsenal won the FA Cup.  It is a trophy, even if some don’t like to call it one.  It made Arsenal the most successful FA Cup club in the history of football.  Tottenham came second in the League, as Arsenal did the season before, and went out of the Europa League in the Round of 32 (wherein they lost to the mighty Gent as you might recall).

That season was also the ninth successive season in which Tottenham had won nothing, since winning the League Cup in 2008.

So that I suppose is success of a kind.




29 Replies to “What will the Moscow fans be like, where are the fans, and what counts as success”

  1. Comparing Levy to Gazidis is like comparing apples to oranges.

    Unlike Gazidis, Levy is both Chairman and Chief Executive. He is also a 25% shareholder in Spurs but takes no dividend payment.

    Levy has taken Spurs from perennial lower mid table to perennial top four challengers. He has overseen the transformation of the academy from one which was neglected and unproductive to one which is one of the best and most productive in the country. He has overseen the construction of one of the best training facilities in Europe. And he is in the process of overseeing the construction of what will be one of the best stadiums in the world.

    Genuine question – what has Gazidis done at Arsenal by comparison?

  2. ‘So to expect 60,000 at each game in a season such as this one, which is self-evidently below the high standard of recent years, is really rather silly.’


    For what Wenger has done for this Football Club? It should be another 60k outside fighting to get in..

    Then again..Arsenal fans..from the glories of knocking Real Madrid Ajax and Bayern out of the European Cup back in the 60S 70s and 80s to the shame today..no wonder this season seems a bit banal to them…

    When i got to know Arsenal we had Merson who back then was the equivelant to todays Pirlo + Xavi. What do we have now? Nothing….

  3. Oh and Tony Adams…. Forget Beckenhbauer, forget Hiero, forget Baresi, Maldini, Nesta, Thuram, Dessaily, Koeman, Sammer..

    Tony was above all of them.

    He may not be anywhere near the top 50 defenders of all time but he was a Leader. No chance losing with him at Home to villages like Coventry…. no sir no..

    And goalkeeper…we had the best of his era. the keeper who has his own highlight channel for getting lobbed. From halfway lines, outside the area, from corners, You name it.

  4. Have all these clowns down the pub talking about cofu, cafu or some sort… who the fuck is he? The Dixon of the poor?

  5. Merson…. Pirlo & Xavi….. hahahahhhaaa.
    Talented certainly but really…

  6. When they say “Russia remains a stronghold of certain footballing traditions” it suggests to me that the writer doesn’t appreciate that football hooliganism is really a relatively new phenomenon. It was very rare pre-1970s.

  7. The current low turnouts at the Emirates Stadium that purportedly has the Stadium match attendance lowered to 40,000vArsenal fans from the maximum 60,000 seating capacity home fans when the Gunners are playing at home in the Premier League calls for sober reflection so as to arrest the ugly situation from escalating further. Various reasons have been attributed to this recent low turnout by Gooners at the Ems of late to watch Arsenal when they are playing in the PL. But these reasons have been there all along, aren’t they? And yet the Stadium is full on match day. But why have these reasons not affected: Man Utd at Old Trafford, Man City at the Etihad, Liverpool at Anfield, Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge who are not immune to the traveling inconveniences being experienced this season by the Gooners and being used as the excuse for the low turnout at the Ems. I think the current Gooners low turnout at the Ems has something to do with the current 6th position of Arsenal in the table. A low position in the table at this stage of the season some Arsenal season ticket holders are refusing to accept. Hence, their lack of enticements to go to the Ems to watch Arsenal in the PL. But against CSKA Moscow tomorrow night, I believe an improved Gooners turnout to watch Arsenal beat CSKA will be at the Ems.

    My Arsenal 4-1-4-1 starts and 7 on the bench Gunners for the match are as per below.

    Cech Holdings Maitland ElNeny Kolasinac Iwobi Welbeck.

    I wanted to include Macey and Nketiah in my 18. But since Cech and Welkeck are reported in the media to have trained fully today in readiness for the match, thus my inclusion of the duo in my 18 whom I believe Le Boss will not drop for Macey and Nketiah.

  8. You ask “why?” The answer is that every club has a natural level of support that will turn up. We can see from a study of Arsenal’s attendances from 1913 onwards that there are few occasions when more than 60,000 want to be at the game, even in the days when it is not on TV. And indeed quite often the number who want to be there is considerably less than that.

  9. Ivan Gazidis helped get Arsenal through the period of having massive loans, a club that was not likely going to be able to buy top players, and with the unexpected competition of Chelsea funded by a multi-billionaire.

  10. Gazidis has had to tread carefully at Arsenal when trying to change the management structure, or so it has been rumoured, whereas Levy has a reputation of being something of a hard-nose at Spurs, and can get pretty much what he wants.

    So the comment earlier of comparing apples and oranges is valid. What I have a grudging respect for regarding Levy and his acolytes is their player purchases/sales.

    We bought the consistently promising, but unfulfilled Theo from Southampton, and Levy rummaging about in the same youthful pool pulled out a much better prospect in Bale, who helped Spurs develop before earning them a huge sale price.

    Levy also seem to take a fairly draconian attitude towards incoming players who do not make the grade, and ship them out fairly promptly when that becomes evident, while still making a profit on most of those sales.
    I do not have real evidence to support this observation, because that is all it is — and I am not sure I care.

    I am and will always remain an Arsenal fan, with all that entails for good or ill.

  11. Yes ok for studies and statistics of the old but im talking something different. Arsenal fans have no fucking right to look at Wenger or what he has done for this club with such scorn and disrespect.

    And ok, i can not rely on these pathetic fans to do what is right. But the football club itself?

    I think they are equally useless and besides hiding behind Wenger for their fuck ups they do nothing to change the atmosphere. i.e find them and ban them and give the tickets to people who want to come.

    Also it is clear and non-debatable that we NEED a section behind the goals, preferably North Bank, which is reserved for the good lunatics. Tickets there should cost no more than 500 pounds for a year. For the ones who dont give a shit win lose or draw rain or sunshine, but who are there to push the team and players on. It exists in Germany. It exists in Italy. It exists in Holland. It exists in France. It exists in Spain. Only here they have allowed the new-rich and wankers of society to afford it and thus we have customers and not real* actual supporters.

    Gazidis is incredibly bad and naive for this business. Wenger can be the face of class/respect/dignity and all that but the man/men operating behind Wenger need to be the kind of people who deal with refs/agents/media in non-compromising ways. A CEO who wants to protect the club’s image does not allow a bunch of troglodytes to trash the club andmanager outside the satdium with cameras for gods sake. You find them, collect them and send them home…… with our blessings!

  12. Really? 2 penalties now that nothing is at stake ? So that they can then turn and give us the ‘ it all evens out over the course of the season’ ?

    And we accept that? Where is Gazidis to expose them all? What is he doing? Why has he not hired lawyers to investigate? Why is he not making noise left right and centre about it?

    Gazidis does not protect the team on the pitch by refs/f.a nor does he protect the club off the pitch in media/fans.

    Shall i mention how Peter Kenyon would operate and protect ManUtd and Chelsea? Shall we mention Jorge Valdano? You think many refs would deny Real Madrid their rightful penalties in their home ground for 2 years? The ref would have been shipped to Antarctica..if allowed to live that is.

    Obviously we cant and shouldnt operate like mafiosi but a bit of strength in key moments would help.

  13. And in that respect, Arsenal is light years away.

    No fan-base. No strength in decision centres. No fear….

    it is all left to the manager to impose fear via his footballing side and skills but for how long…?

  14. These are the things that frustrate me about Arsenal and nothing to do with results or playing style.

    It is the apathy of everyone above Wenger and the nice-guy attitude in an industry of sharks.

    It only proves that Wenger took Arsenal to places they had no idea about or having any business or history being there…..

    Just riding the wave/luck brought by the Manager…

  15. I think part of the thing in bringing in Sanllehi is because Gazidis is a businessman, not a football man. He may have some understanding of the football side (the business of football rather than tactics) as he’s been involved for a long time, but he’s not the man to get involved with PGMO/FA concerning the game its self.
    Although I would point out that he is a Lawyer.

    The hope is that when Raul is firmly ensconced in the club he’ll be able to make representations to the PGMO/FA/etc.
    AW does that reasonably with uefa/CL but has never had any positive response from PGMO/FA, probably because he’s made it clear to them that he thinks they are 2nd rate individuals (even if he’s never said as much)…

  16. SAA, Lacazette should not be a starting player on Thursday.
    His fitness level is still too low which means he’s more likely to get injured again.
    So I expect he’ll be on the beach and come on for the last 20-25 minutes.

  17. We may have to start Lacazette tomorrow, Welbeck is doubtful at the moment (groin strain I think).

  18. If he starts then young Eddie could get half a game.
    Lets hope we can get a load of goals early to manage Laca back to game fitness…

  19. I hope so too Andy Mack. For Arsenal;s future sake. I hope Raul knows how to expose corruption or keep them at their toes or at least to ensure 50-50 on and off the pitch

  20. According to Tim from 7amkickoff CSKA Moscow have a forward named Pontus Wernbloom who’s a cross between Gattuso & Ken Davies, plus he fakes injuries & dives all over the place.
    One to watch out for.

  21. I don’t know about the Moscow fans, but apparently the Liverpool fans threw bottles at the Man$ity bus. Man$ity losing 0-3 (with The Ox getting one).

    Iniesta has caused ASRoma to score on itself twice. Come on Messi, you’re on the field, score a goal or 3.

  22. Well let the Moscow fans come. Looks they are not as crazy stupid moronnic as Pool!! fans who seem to have succeeded in making the City bus not worthy/safe to bring the team back home.

    Great job, fabulous example for the whole world to see. And an excellent performance by the club’s organisation, the police, the security apparatus. From what I read they knew it was coming. It just beats me how that can be let to happen. And I don’t believe this has no effect on the players.

  23. JimB, that should really be “Levy has taken Spurs from perennial lower mid table to possible (or ‘potentially’ even) perennial top four challengers”, because they haven’t done it often enough to justify the ‘perennial’ title yet.

  24. Andy,

    Perhaps there was some ambiguity in what I wrote. Let me clarify. When I say “top 4 challengers”, I don’t mean that Spurs are challengers for the title who perennially finish in the top 4. I mean that Spurs are a team that perennially challenges to finish in the top 4.

    If your argument is that Spurs have not challenged to finish in the top 4 often enough, then I would have to disagree with you. Since 2005-06, when a dodgy lasagne apparently put paid to Spurs’ hopes on the final day of the season, there have only been a handful of seasons when Spurs haven’t challenged to finish in the top 4. Since 2009-10, Spurs have finished in the top 4 on four occasions and, with only 7 games to go, look to have a very good chance of doing so this season too. In the intervening years that they haven’t finished in the top 4, they have generally only missed out by small margins.

    So the description “perennial top 4 challengers” seems entirely apt to me.

  25. Was there a similar reaction when the ticket prices for next season at the new stadium were announced ? Or was there only unbridled pride and joy by the fans for their great club management team?


    What was your first reaction ?
    a) Derisive laughter
    b) Indifference
    c) Snorting
    d) Anger
    e) Joy that Arsenal’s ticket prices are no longer a laughing matter.

  26. Hunter you cant take season tickets off fans because they behave differently than you and me.And what another silly idea to give out cheaper tickets to those who dont moan or criticise and just cheer.It would end up like some on this website who think they are right all the time.

  27. The Tottenspud finishing position looking back (complete seasons): Y, Y, N, N, C, Y, N, Y, N, N, N, C.

    A Y means they finished in the “top 4”, a N means they didn’t, and a C means its close. If we count the two close seasons as a top 4 finish could have happened, at best the Tottenspud have finished in the top 4 in half of the seasons going back to 2005/6.

    Looking at Arsenal, we see 11 Y and 1 C. That is perennial. The Tottenspud show they are trying, but they are not yet perennial.

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