a time where the Highbury Library was most certainly the quietest ground in the country.200-120 Whether Arsenal’s home ground was officially the quietest or whether it was just the fact not many clubs had a stadium name that rhymed so
delightfully with a quiet place is up for debate.
What I can guarantee to everyone is that football stadiums ain’t what they used to be. Vocal fans are few and far between nowadays and the atmosphere inside most grounds has become distinctly average. Don’t believe me, then try heading up to Anfield for a game against Bolton and tell me you get that magical vibe. I recently visited White Hart Lane (vom) to see them struggle against Everton, it was terrible. What about Newcastle fans walking out after they went 4-0 down against Arsenal? How poor have West Ham ‘salt of the earth diamond geezer’ fans been this year?
A disease has struck down Premiership football stadiums and their atmosphere and it’s slowly killing the match day experience. People point to higher season tickets costs and the pricing out of the working class fan. I’m not quite sure where the correlation between earning a nice salary and football passion came from, but what is true is that if you’re on an average salary these days, the greatest league in the world isn’t a place you’ll be spending your Saturday afternoon.
For me, the problem goes far deeper than simple class systems. There’s been a massive effort recently to open up the beautiful game to the family. I can understand this; proud fathers want to take their kids to the football with safety in mind and proud club owners want the next generation of kids indoctrinated to support the club. There aren’t many products you can nab someone at a young age and guarantee they’ll be yours for life. Well, bar crack cocaine and Football Manager.
This family mindset has led to a steward clampdown in most grounds. This
means any boisterous behaviour is stamped out immediately, this means secret phone numbers precious fans can text if they feel someone is being abusive towards players and this finally means that ANY form of standing is aggressively challenged by the little sh*ts
Would you ask a gospel choir to belt out ‘Happy Days’ sat on their backsides? Would you ask the Saturdays to sing their latest tunes sat down on a plastic chair? Of course not, you need to be standing to get a crowd going, it’s a singertific (science of song) fact my friends.
So, if we want to tackle this nasty problem from killing the atmosphere in the Premiership, we’re going to have to do something radical, here are a few ideas.
Possibly the most annoying of all my suggestions. South Africa’s finest export since Kevin Pieterson. A 2ft long plastic horn that when blown in unison sounds like my local special needs school’s brass band practice. The noise is so mind-numbing, many pundits suggested they actually negatively impacted football players ability to make decisions during the last World Cup. They’re banned throughout the Premiership, but if it’s noise you’re after, this could be the idea to get things going.
Anything is more enjoyable to listen to than the incessant drone of Leeds fan’s chant of ‘We are Leeds’.
Like it or loathe it, the simple fact of the matter is that most football
fans do need booze to have a good time. We’re a nation of binge drinkers and we always have been. Since the grounds dried up, I think it would be fair to say that, so has some of the fun. We’re one
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of the few leagues in Europe that has a blanket ban on alcohol
during games. This was mainly down to crowd trouble back in the eighties but in my opinion, if they’re allowed to drink during ruggers games, why not at football games?
Surely we’re over the football firm nonsense (don’t tell Danny Dyer that)?
If we’re so concerned
about the working class fan not getting to the games these days, why not do something about it that won’t result in a drop in revenue and will result in a massive boost in atmosphere.
By my crude calculation, for every 1000 seats ripped out, you could put 3000 standing fans in their place. So that effectively means you could
sell seats with a 66% reduction in cost and not lose any revenue. There would be stipulations of course; those stipulations would mean that you’d have to be a singing fan.
Where did I get
this idea? From the Bundasliga. They have standing areas behind the goals where you can pick up a season ticket for about £400. The corporate seats subsidise these tickets so there’s no pork pie versus prawn sandwich battles and the result is a fair balance between the haves and have-nots with a kicking stadium vibe to boot.
It’s so important to remember that blaming terracing for the past tragedies is like blaming cars for motorway accidents. It’s about managing the risk, making sure that you can only squeeze into the terracing if you have a ticket and making sure you eliminate any trouble before it kicks off.
This is a fantastic way of making football accessible to millions more people, it’s an inclusive scheme and most importantly, the clubs won’t lose revenue, the chances are they’ll make more off food and merchandising whilst also gaining a whole generation
of football fans they might not have had access to with all-seater grounds.p>
Football has to get radical if it wants to ensure the game is passed down to the next generation. Football has to remember where it came from to know where it’s going.100-101 Football has to give something back for a change.
I think terracing could be the way forward.
Let us know what your think in the comments section!