Nov 09

The soundless crowd

Arsenal 0 Newcastle 1

The Emirates, a stadium that holds 60,355 seated football fans. The second highest in the league behind Old Trafford. Probably the most modernistic stadium in the league, construction of the stadium began in February 2004 and was officially opened in October 2006. Its since has accommodated for 117 competitive Arsenal football matches, and yet the crowd seem uninterested, unconcerned, almost blind to the fact their within the confinements of Arsenal Football Club.

Going to a home match was always the best feeling a fan of any age would have, that sense of being in the stadium of your football team, where your surrounded by thousands of others who share the same team, same feelings, same history, same passion as you. However, recently a minority of a majority of fans haven’t felt the required support being asserted from the crowd. The last few home games have been quite frankly frightful performances from the team. The one nill win against West Ham was deserved but was very sloppy, Newcastle well what more can be said? The team didn’t seem to play with the same urgency as they did when Manchester City were outstandingly beaten, or away at Blackburn a place we so frequently struggle to get a result. The team may just be reflecting the ambiance gathered from the home support, that laid back sense of ‘we’ll just be having three points today, thank you’. Yes their professionals and their getting paid quite handsomely for playing football, but part of being a footballer is the support you receive from the fans. It’s no coincidence that the two most successful teams in our country, Manchester United and Liverpool, both have an extremely large fanbase of which some noisy support is ejected from the stands. You always here players speak of the ‘intimidating atmosphere’ around stadiums, football players may be perceived as ‘dumb’ but surely they can’t be making up the emotions they get from the fans in the stands? It makes a difference, there must be a correlation between stadium attendances and the match result for home teams. Otherwise what would the players play for? Why would players buckle under the ‘pressurre’, they know your there sat in the stands, eyes fixed on their every move, their every pass, their every tackle. They can hear the ironic cries of ‘SHOOOOT!’ when they have the ball. They here the pockets of discontent within the opening minutes when a pass is misplaced. They hear the chorus of boos, pelted from the terraces. They don’t thrive on that, they thrive on thousands of their own fans chanting, supporting them as individuals and as a team. The rhythmic noise of the fans flows through their bodies, allowing them to step up and play with an army of fans behind them.

All we ask for is that the next time you decide your going to the Emirates, and you place your arse on that red seat, don’t forget that whilst your watching that movie or completing that crossword. There’s 11 men out there that need your support, and turning up just isn’t enough I’m afraid. You need to be heard.

32 Responses to “The soundless crowd”

  1. DFB says:

    Crap. How long ago did Roy Keane complain about the prawn sandwich brigade ? Hasn’t stopped them. Yes crowd support will have some effect but not as much as attitude, training and management. I think it’d be more productive to tell the team that they have to do more than just turn up. It’s chicken and egg. Commitment and excitement on the pitch lead to more commitment and excitement in the stands.

  2. Douglas Gunner says:

    I could not agree more. Its getting embarrassing now at this stage. I travel far to get to Arsenal games and its worse its getting. It is like what Roy Keane said of the United fans ” the prawn Sandwhich” section. Arsenal are gettig as bad. Highbury used to be a caldron but the emirates is like going to an Arsenal museum.
    Any away games Arsenal fans can be heard over the home supporters, but at home dead as a duck.
    Last Sunday proved it, when we were in trouble we should have made Newcastle feel they were in a prison and not going to be left out till we got the 3 points. We have the push the arsenal lads to make them believe they are ginats. Granted to have to show on the pitch a bit of “balls” but we must take responsibility for the preformances too. I can see the lads doing very well against Wolves Wednesday night..
    Forever a Gooner

  3. Gooner92 says:

    Need the fans to show the passion but that jst will not happen come on gonners sing loud and proud

  4. dafid says:

    last home game i went to a couple sat infront of me looked pissed off by people singing, its turned into a rich mans ponce stadium, which is a shame cos highbury was old school

  5. critic says:

    absolutely,100%, true,agreed, everything(i am out of words here).

    It’s a shame that most ppl say they are fans but only support their team when they win, when they don’t they just say oh they are crap and blah blah. What a shame arsene has wasted his life’s work on such pathetic fans.

  6. Sunnym says:

    Totally agree with this article, I felt this needs to be improved not only to benefit he team but make it a better experience fir the fans. I know it’s cheating but I would consider playing pre recorded chants through the system which the fans can chant along to !!
    But I think the other problem is due to the fans which are attending, many are not real fans but tourists also people who can afford expensive tickets :(

  7. ESSEX GOONER says:

    Come on just shut your eyes think your at the old Highbury and shout out loud like we used to !!!.

  8. Big Ted of N5 says:

    Whilst I agree the crowd at home is a joke I wouldnt compare it to Man utd as they dont have any atmosphere to speak of whatsoever.

  9. pat the Gooner says:

    I totally agree our fans at home over recent years have gone very quiet, except for the big games.However, I do have to wonder if you have ever been to Old Trafford or Anfield or if you are just going along with the media hype.

    Old Trafford, in my opinion is very similar to the Emirates, only gets going for the big games, this has been the trend their for some years, largely due to the increase in the corporate sections (remember the prawn sandwhich brigade comment by Roy Keane). And as for Anfield I think the so called great atmosphere is one of the greatest myths in football. The Kop goes deadly quiet whenever they are not winning, and I have been there several times. The song You Only Sing When Your Winning should be the Liverpool anthem as I think they are one of the worst in the league for that. Now if you had said the likes of the Geordie or Pompey fans I would have taken your article much more seriously.

  10. Tonia Reeves says:

    I agree with the writer, the fans need to emulate the fans of Liverpool; they sing all the time. Come on you Gunners sing for the boys!

    Gunners for life.

  11. Robbie says:

    Never going to happen,
    Crowds are at their loudest when it looks like something will happen, a quick break, a quick shot, a sharp tackle, a great cross

    Sadly we see non of the above all we see is 20 to 30 passes going backwards and forwards mainly sidewards at pedestrian pace ending with ,Clichy or Sagna wacking the ball into he stand.

    The team need to excite the fans , that is not happening.

    Coupled with the fact that over the years the fans have been devoid of any imagination on the song front.

  12. jimmyc says:

    i was singing loud and proud on sunday thank you very much

  13. jena says:

    This crap has been repeated over and over. Blame the fans but not Wenger or teh players. Its bullshit.when are we going to admit Wenger has failed, the players are not good enough…. They should be greatfull that 60K still go to the stadium even when we have won nothing for 5 seasons and going to 6.

    You compare to Liverpool…..but those supporters were booing Roy and his team a few weeks back at half time. For all their support they have not won the league how many seasons???????
    Old trafford was booing on Saturday when Manu was being held ny Wolves. Yes I watched it and they were booing.Players were being singled out for boos. Yes , by The great Old traffford crowd yu are talking about. But their team got through. They rose up against the boos and why cant Arsenal players do the same. its simply that they are not good enough.

    Bottom line is the performance of the team should lift the crowd, not the other way…….You dont expect people to sing their lungs out when they are treated to dross week in week out. Wenger and his team must sought that out. They shoudl be thankful that they still fill the stadium even when they have not delivered for so long.


  14. jena says:

    The other thing is fans sing when they are confident their team will rise to the occasssion even if they are a goal down. You could sing your heart out when the innvincibles were a goal or 2 down coz yu knew they will fight back and get a result. The current team is weak and once they have conceded , the fans know there is no way back in most cases. The team lacks authority and does not exude confidence needed to spur fans even when they are down. The body language of the our players on Sunday did not warrant any singing by the fans.

  15. jason says:

    great one! keep it up chris

  16. jason says:

    great one! keep it up chris..

  17. nicky says:

    Which comes first, the crowd cheering up the team or the players geeing up the fans? People have short memories……. remember the Highbury Library? I think that when an Arsenal team finally achieves greatness it will earn the vocal confidence of the fans. These days,after shock defeats by “lower” clubs every season, there is a feeling of nervousness by the home fans as they await to see what sort of display they can expect from the team.

  18. sunnym says:

    Totally agree with this article, I felt this needs to be improved not only to benefit he team but make it a better experience fir the fans. I know it’s cheating but I would consider playing pre recorded chants through the system which the fans can chant along to !!
    But I think the other problem is due to the fans which are attending, many are not real fans but tourists also people who can afford expensive tickets

  19. Slice says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I was up singing against shaktar in the first minute and was asked by the guy next to me if I was a hooligan. He looked at me blankly when I started to discuss how dire the atmosphere is compared to highbury. He was 50 odd and had been going all his life apparently so has seemingly already taken the crap atmos for granted.

    Good article but please revisit the grammar books and get your theirs/ they’res/yours and you’res sorted mate. Does my swede in!

  20. clockender says:


  21. dml82 says:

    Great article, its bang on. But I disagree about the players earning the support of the fans. Ok fans can boo after a particularly lacklustre, lazy performance, but only if the crowd has had a good go at cheering them on first.

    Liverpool 3-0 down to Milan hear the screaming fans through the dressing room walls and come out with rockets up their arses and win the game. When would this ever happen with arsenal?

    The crowd is more of in inhibitor to the team than balancing the books. Cesc has spoken previously of how they prefer playing away, safe from the tutting fans.

    There is a business case yo improve the atmosphere. Fans should come together and pressurise the board on this.

    Are all tickets with those swipe cards? How about ticket discounts for arriving early and staying until the end?

    How about letting fans request to have seats in the noisy singing section?

    It would take some admin and would cost some money, but surely things need to be tried. We can’t go on like this forever.

    I only get to a couple of games per season, but I have to say I hate the atmosphere. I sit behind the goal by the away fans and I just hear 90 mins of them ridiculing us. Anyone who tries to start a song in response attracts dissaproving tuts.

    I can’t stand it!

  22. gunnie says:

    Thank you for your positive blog. I am an Arsenal supporter from Holland and follow the team on TV and internet.
    Lately I stopped reading a lot of blogs because they are all so negative and moaning. If you are a supporter you support your club so show that during a match by singing and shouting.

  23. La Shiz says:

    I wish I could go to the Emirates once. The people who can go there whenever they like don’t seem to value what they have. Crowd support counts for a lot when you’re on the field, just look at a Liverpool home game.

  24. Tony says:

    I think the crowd are even less vocal since we moved to the Emirates. The problem is that whilst we have lots of possesion the vast majority does not include goalmouth action. Its all very well keeping the ball and passing well but its attempts on goal, great tackles and passion from the players that lifts the fans and gets them singing.

    I believe a bit more grit in the team and a bit more passion from the players would lift all the fans.

    I also think we need an anthem that all the fans can sing that lasts longer than 10 seconds to sing. Like other clubs such as :-

    Liverpool – Never walk alone
    West Ham – Blowing Bubbles

  25. Ben says:

    I hate to be the grammar Nazi,Chris but I have to be. They’re means they are and their is the possessive (it belongs to them). ‘They’re professionals’ is they are professionals and ‘their professionals’ means theprofessionals that belong to them.

    In regards to the crowd I agree, but the Highbury library wasn’t much different. I’m not saying it’s right but half the crowd haven’t been in the habit of singing for years and half never used to get the chance to go to the football. How many people, including myself, have the nuts to try and start songs?

  26. embryo says:

    about time we stood up (quite literally) and were counted. the majority of us home fans are an embarrassment to the Arsenal name. strolling in late, buggering off to get a half time pint on 35 minutes, getting back to tyour seat 10 minutes into the second half, and then fucking off 10 minutes before the final whistle. if this discibes you then go away, we don’t want you in our stadion, you’re not a fan you’re a tourist.

  27. Finchy says:

    One thing that really annoys me is i pay good money for a season ticket and seem to be surrounded by different people each week who have come as a ‘business treat’ because some company decided to buy 4 or 5 seats to entertain new customers. They dont even bloody support the team! Its dead silent apart from some douches camera flash and the mutter of ‘oh it is a nice stadium’ or ‘whats that they are singing?’! Its bloody depressing!

  28. Perry Grove says:

    Has anyone here actually been to an away match? With a few exceptions (Portsmouth springs to mind) almost ALL home support is quiet – Manchester United and Liverpool included.

    There are many reasons for the loss of atmosphere at stadiums – no terracing, bigger stadiums, expensive tickets etc. To make out that this only happens at Arsenal is simply incorrect.

  29. Perry Grove says:

    Let me expand on the size of newer stadiums. I’ve sat all around Arsenal’s stadium, including above the away fans. From that corner you can see movement in the far corner (Red Section) but you can’t hear anything. The pitch is bigger than some grounds and there is a large space between seats and the pitch.

    If I were to suggest one thing to increase noise levels at Arsenal, it would be to move Red Section next to the Away fans. I think the noise generated would filter around the whole stadium. Songs would filter around the stadium and more people would join in.

  30. Carlito11 says:

    Have to say I agree- I think the main problem is the season ticket price. It means that most of the “fans” are middle class professionals- not your everyday ranters! It also means that many season ticket holders buy it on a credit card and sell their tickets for non crunch games to pay back the credit card. I know cos I always get my mates except for Totnum, Manyou and chelski! Loads of football tourists too- people over for the week and wanting to catch a game. The worst is Champ League Wednesdays- city boys everywhere and not a song to be heard

  31. IrishJB says:

    What we need is to get ST holders who don’t sing out of the north bank (ie those who just like the status of saying they’re north bankers or those who want to taste the experience of blk 6) and believe me it’s not just older supporters some in their twenties, thirties don’t even try! Move them into the east or west stands. we need the clubs help on this…. NOW!

    Loyal fans don’t wait for things to happen, you create an atmosphere of intensity that boosts the players (they are human) mass voices all in song (ie thousands) can lift 11 players surely. What cowards some are if they wait for 11 to make thousands sing?

    Fair point re a leader, but cesc was that end of last season before getting injured. maybe he will get this back? but needs to get barca out of his sytstem – can he do that?

  32. gooner james says:

    all those who say this article is rubbish its not i have been to the emirates many times and seen poeple with books with laptops surfing the internet on there iphones all sorts of things other than cheer on there team

    i recentley went to the 4 – 1 against tottenham at white hart lane and when the game started and the yids started singing it hit me wow this stadium holds around 40,000 people 20,000 less than the emirates but the atmosphere was intense and electric.

    i no alot of u will say well go and support the yids then but my response is i dont want to support them im a goonner always have been and always will be but we need to make the emirates more of a fortress singing loud and pround not reading books or chatting about our week at work

    even ivan gazidis has tried to get us singing without saying that is what he is doing the arsenalisation of the stadium was to try n get us gooners singing loud n proud.

    perhaps when we win the carling cup this year it will help improve the atmosphere and take a big pressure of the players and us fans


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