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.
- How have CSKA Moscow been doing of late? And “Give us a P”
- Media suddenly confirms that finishing fourth was a trophy after all and everything is fine.
- Sheffield United against Arsenal: past results and possible outcomes
- Arsenal Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women match preview
- What every football club (and most certainly Arsenal) is aiming for.
- The apparent decline of Tottenham and the question of care for players elsewhere
- Positive injury news for Arsenal ahead Monday’s game with Sheffield United