As I watched the game between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates this past weekend I realised that while a lot of time and money had been spent pointing at the club itself as the reason why the team is in the doldrums I realised one thing: the fans are also partly to blame.
Now this may come across as a bit controversial but for all the whinging about how little effort the players are putting in, the fans watch the match with little or no enthusiasm.
They support the team by their presence but I don’t think any team is soiling their pants when they think of the atmosphere at the Emirates. The fans – I guess I have to call them that – do not get behind the team and on the backs of the opposition. All they do is watch the game and applaud when something good happens and then make real noise when there is a goal. The rest of the time you would think that you are at a concert, before the concert starts.
This could also be the reason why Arsenal have not really turned the Emirates into a fortress. The players have it in their heads that they are more likely to get booed than they are to get applauded, which is a load of nonsense. At the worst of times you have never seen Sunderland or Newcastle boo their players!
When last did you hear the home fans sing Arsenal songs? Away from home, they are very vocal but at the Emirates, no singing, at least most of the match. It is as if they say to the players, you have to do something for us to support you. What happened to you supporting the players through it all, and defending the badge with the only thing you have, your voice.
That is why I think that people like Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny deserve better fans. Sadly they only get those fans away from home.