Tag Archives: Highbury

Complacency creeping in to both players and fans

There was a weird atmosphere in the ground on Saturday. It was one that I have no experienced since the glory days at Highbury. It felt like I was at the theatre. Sitting there. Waiting to be entertained.

I noticed the atmosphere in the Twelve Pins before the game, it was fairly subdued. On the walk to the stadium, there was no electricity in the air. Sitting down in the Emirates before the game, there was a bit of chatter but very little excitement. And then throughout the first half, there was barely a whimper.

The atmosphere over the last 18-24 months (probably starting off back at the AC Milan home game) has been vastly improving, but this was back to the bad old days. The only logical explanation is this.

Arsenal fan’s expected to win. We sat their and waited for the team to win. Waited for them to score. There wasn’t any nervous energy. It was a case of ‘go on lads, this should be a routine victory.’ We as fans were complacent.

The complacency also went through the team. After blistering first 5 minutes, where we really should have gone 1-0 up, the team seemed to take their foot off the gas. Like the fans sitting their expecting 3 points with little effort, the team did similar. They clearly believed they could score at any time. Open up Fulham’s defence with little effort. However this is the Premier League, and no matter who you play, you have to put in 100%.

The complacency creeping into both players and fans is worrying. We are only 1 point clear at the top of the table. The league is not wrapped up. The Premier League has been full of surprises this season. Anyone can beat anyone. The players need to ensure they are giving 100% every games. The fans need to as well.

Up next is Coventry on Friday night. An FA Cup tie will always generate a bit of extra atmosphere. But for the next league game (I can be arsed to look who it is), ensure you give 100%. Do not expect victory, cheers your team to victory. And let the players know that anything less than 100% is unacceptable.


The Arsenal and Me – Christofer’s story

Being a foreign fan, I didn’t “inherit” my love for the club from my dad or any other relative for that matter like many of the local fans did. My love started with my favourite player at the time, Fredrik Ljungberg, getting picked up by Arsene Wenger in the summer of 98. I was twelve years old and football was my everything. If I wasn’t playing it at my local club I played it with the kids in the neighborhood or alone in my back garden. Besides from the local top club Helsingborgs IF (Henrik Larssons Swedish club) most of the kids I hung out with back then supported Manchester United. I never did though. There was something off about that club, some sort of smugness which made me dislike them. When Ljungberg then was bought by Arsenal I started to take an interest in the club. I was too young to appreciate Limpar’s time at Arsenal but when Ljungberg arrived everything fell into place. When he came on to make his debut against Manure and scored that goal lobbing Schmeichel I was sold.

From that day my club was the Arsenal. Seeing as we didn’t have the proper channels at home I couldn’t really follow the club in any other way than reading the results in the newspaper, hoping the sports newscast would show some highlights from the games.

It wasn’t until I graduated high school and got my first real job (this was in 2005) I could afford to sign up with Canal +, who at that time owned the rights to the Premier League in Sweden. Being able to watch every game the Arsenal played made my love for the club grow bigger and I felt I had to go over to London and watch a game before the move to the Emirates would happen in 06 and our beloved Highbury would be no more.
My dream finally came true when my sister, who worked as an au pair at the time for a family in London, called me and said that for my 20th birthday she had gotten a hold of 2 tickets to see the Arsenal vs West Brom on april 14th 2006. All I had to do was book the flight over and she would fix the rest.

The game itself was an amazing experience for me. The walk to Highbury from the tube with loads of fans singing and the stadium just emerging from out of nowhere. The atmosphere was just sublime and I had never experienced something like that ever before. Having the whole ground singing and making noise and to top the day of my favorite Arsenal player, Dennis Bergkamp sealed the victory with a brilliant free kick making the end result 3-1 to the Arsenal.

From that day I’ve hardly missed a game and even though I’m far away I still feel very close to the club and am very proud of its history and traditions.

Up The Arsenal!

Christofer is red member of The Arsenal Football Club and member of Arsenal Sweden. For details on Arsenal Sweden, click here.
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The Arsenal and Me – Lee’s Story

Boxing day 1978.

Arsenal 1  West Brom 2.

A wide eyed 9 year old sat in the east upper watching his first match at Arsenal was probably the happiest person in the stadium. Yes it was me and I didn’t care that we had lost because Liam Brady had scored our goal. Ok, it was a penalty but it was Liam Brady!

Growing up in Holloway I was only going to support one team. The Arsenal, but having a father who despised football I had to do it off my own back, although the 78,79 & 80 cup finals helped.

Decorating my bedroom window with pictures from the Islington Gazette & Evening Standard and rosettes started becoming as regular as putting up Christmas decorations. It was an Uncle with a spare season ticket who took me to that first match and I had to wait just over 2 years for my next match when I started going with friends at the ripe old age of 11! It seems strange these days to think of that but its what lots of kids did. Some of the kids round the estate used to just go up there for the last 15 minutes when they opened the gates to get in free but I would dig deep into my pocket money & cough up the 90p to get in the schoolboys.

That was it then every other Saturday (yes Saturday) and through the 80’s I done the Arsenal apprenticeship of schoolboys, North Bank, Clock End and when seating came in West Lower. We didn’t go because we thought Arsenal would win a trophy or challenge for the title, we went to watch the Arsenal.

It went deeper than just football. Some games were spent crowd watching and as a teenager growing up the best fashion trends of the 80’s would be seen on the Clock End on a Saturday afternoon. Items that were hard to come by or not on sale in Holloway sports would be looked at in awe. Some of the older lads were the smartest dressed supporters in the country.

To todays fans, winning the league cup means very little but back in 1987 it meant the world to me. After going Arsenal for the best part of 7 years I finally got to see them win something and a first trip to Wembley. No memberships or away credits needed then, just queue up after a match with a voucher from the turnstile. Even that great day couldn’t compare to what happened 2 years later and I was lucky enough to have a ticket for Anfield 89. The best football match I’ve ever been to and I don’t think I will ever see anything like it again. You can’t put into words the feeling of being there that night.

I used to love going to Highbury and  the whole match day experience. I would walk to Highbury via a pub when I was old enough (well nearly old enough) passing Arthur Daley type ticket touts ‘I’ve got seats upstairs’, the smell of horseshit, hamburgers’ and cigars all rolled into one, the reassuring click of the turnstile, then you were in. Some of the most funniest things I’ve heard in my life are comments that were shouted from the terraces. You can’t explain the pandemonium that hits a terrace when a goal is scored compared to todays cheer clap and then take a photo.

The 90’s were great and some of the players Arsenal had you would only dream about as a boy. But things were changing, all seating really hit atmosphere’s at games & it started becoming harder to get tickets, and then every game became all ticket and memberships arrived.

The trophies I’ve seen Arsenal win has been unbelievable and if you would have told me when I was standing on the Clock End in the pissing rain watching a 0-0  bore draw v Birmingham or the night we lost to Walsall at home I wouldn’t have believed it.

I still go to the odd game now and again but I have been priced out and feel I’ve been taken for granted and I’m not a fan of the new stadium but that’s the way it is now.

I’ll always be Arsenal through and through, it doesn’t just go away.


If you would like to tell your Arsenal story, click here