FTK Blog: Fortress Emirates? I wish…

There was a comment made on my last blog which really opened up a can of worms relating to the atmosphere at the Emirates. Given that Highbury was nicknamed the library, is this symptomatic of Arsenal fans in general or is there as I suspect a new breed of football fan. I have blogged on several occasions about my disgust in seeing hordes of fans leave the Emirates when things are not going well. The defeat by the Baggies has been done to death, but my short Blog today is to CONDEMN the Gooners who whinge on one hand whilst denying much needed support on the other. I sit in the West Stand and my indicator for how badly things are going is whether I can see the white Cannon being ever more defined in the lower East middle block.

Club level members pay so much that something in me says that I should not really berate them as much as those who do not pay their ticket prices, but having a tier almost empty is quite embarrassing at times, and as the Club moves into profit, perhaps we ought to consider ways of encouraging those members to remain in their seats and support their team. Otherwise reduce the prices and get REAL fans in those seats. Controversial perhaps  yes?

Here is what was said in the comment

One other thing, I find that our stadium atmosphere does not seem, from my perspective, to be as intimidating and exciting as it could be. I have been an arsenal supporter for 12 years. I don’t live in England, I haven’t ever been to the Emirates. I watch every single game on television. I was watching a game this season with a friend of mine from Liverpool and he commented on how quiet the Emirates was. I’ve noticed it too. I wish I could be in the stadium shouting my face off, but I can’t. There are millions of Arsenal fans but only 55,000 or so get to actually be there for the team every game. But where on earth is the support?

Most STUPID Thing YOUR Club Could Do Right NOW

We Arsenal fans all around the world count on you to give the team support. You are our front line, am I going to have to come there and give you a Delia Smith rant? Can someone who is in the Emirates back me up on this? Am I imagining this or is a large portion of the stadium confused as to whether its football or an opera they are watching. (I wouldn’t hasten to guess which one of the two has more drama)

I have tried to understand why myself and as far as I can surmise there are the following types of fans

1. Plastic fans  who have no knowledge of football and what it means but just  want to be associated with a trendy club in North London.

2. Newbie Gooners/Junior Gunners  who are passionate but don’t know the songs and would never leave early as they have been on the waiting list for much of their lives.

3. Established hard core Gooners who sing and chant often obscenely, and want others to sing but can’t understand why they don’t join in their obsession with Tottenham.

4. Established hard core Gooners who prefer to sing with the non obscene chants, and wish that we could  coordinate our singing more efficiently, but make as much noise as they can.

5. Established Gooners who refuse to chant or cheer or clap and never leave early.

6. Established Gooners who will cheer and clap but always leave early.

7. Fans who attend corporate/boxes and watch the game on the TVs provided whilst eating smoke salmon sarnies and sipping champagne

8. people who are in none of the groups above, and are there through patronage, freebies from sponsors or connections with players or board members

Does anyone know what percentage of the 60,000 support are in each group?

Which group are you in? (bet you won’t be honest!) I am in group 4 mainly depending on who is sitting next to me, but often before the game and at the start I am in group 3!

To make a stadium with atmosphere we need at least a third of the stadium to sing in UNISON.

That means 20,000 fans must be prepared to support their club, is that too difficult to achieve?

When the Emirates has been rocking ,  I reckon at best  we have had around ten thousand fans who sing together, imagine what doubling this figure would do to opposing teams and fans… 

Leaving early DOES harm the atmosphere, so even if you have been in group 4, consider yourselves pathetic if you left on Saturday before the end. The rest of us stayed and applauded the Baggies off the field. Sitting DOES harm the atmosphere, and perhaps the FSF (football Supporters Federation) should look at petitioning for the offical granting of safe standing areas within stadiums for people to sing? 

Perhaps we need help from Red Action on this as well as the club. One thing is for sure, we need to support our boys more loudly. It is not that Arsenal fans cannot sing, or support, anyone who has joined the away support will understand this, the noise form these fans is often louder than some of the home support at Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers. We need to be the twelfth man more often. Please give me your ideas of how to improve the atmosphere and I will forward them onto Red Action.

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