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We're Supposed to Be at Home !

By Rob Paterson :  16/01/2008 :  Comments (20) :
Arsene Wenger may well have warmed the hearts of many an Evertonian by saying that the atmosphere at Goodison is better and more intimidating than Anfield, but we should beware of this Frenchman bearing gifts, if you'll forgive the muddled classical reference.

Anybody who has watched M Wenger over the years will know that he is singularly adept at delivering stinging insults in such a way to cause the maximum injury. This is a case in point ? if you want to wound a kopite you need only do two things ? firstly criticise their beloved home and in particular the Spion Kop, and secondly you compare their support unfavourably with Everton. Remember how wound up they were ? and still are ? at the mention of The People's Club. M Wenger knows this and already my co-workers who are RS are up in arms about it. Bravo, Arsene !

I don't know if what he says is true, because it is years since I went to Anfield. The last time I was surrounded by a characteristically fair-minded bunch which has tended to put me off. As that was a derby match, it may be that it was not representative of a usual match day atmosphere. But I cannot believe that he was basing his praise on the Everton crowd on his team's most recent visit.

For the first 20 minutes all you could hear was those irritating Cockneys singing "You're supposed to be at home! " Sorry but it's true. The same happened against City who tried to goad some response by chanting "Worst support we've ever seen"

Far from being intimidating, the atmosphere in some games is downright funereal and the only time you get anything voluble it is the barrage of abuse which greets another misplaced cross by Hibbert. Try standing up and getting some noise going in the main stand and people think you're a freak, or pissed or both.

Now if you want to watch a game in silence and absorb its many nuances, that is fine. But then keep quiet when an honest industrious player (Hibbert, Jagielka, Neville) misplaces a pass. There was a great moment against City when two-thirds of the main stand rose with one voice to complain about another McFadden moment. Gravesen warming up on the line looked genuinely in pain at this and clapped his hands to encourage more postive support. For a moment it worked.

Can Arsene Wenger have failed to notice the stands emptying when the third goal went in. A disappointing goal to say the least, but what message does it sends to the players who are trying to rally an unlikely comeback to look at the absent seats.

If the Arsenal manager detected passionate intimidating support, then I'm sorry to say it eluded me. I'm sorry to those who do genuinely try to generate some real support week-in and week-out, but they are in a minority and time and time again they are out shouted and out voiced by the moaners and the abusers. Well that is how it looks to me anyway. And before anybody says it, I'm not saying we should blindly accept everything the team does without complaint or criticism. But there needs to be a balance and in my view it is not being struck at the moment. Am I right or am I wrong ?

And so I say to my fellow Evertonians ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club. Anybody who was at Goodison Park in 1985 for the second half of the Bayern Munich game knows the answer to that question. If you were not there, get hold of the DVD and watch it on Wednesday night before you turn up for the Chelsea game. We are after all, supposed to be at home...

Reader Comments

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Jay Harris
1   Posted 17/01/2008 at 03:28:50

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Agree with much of what you say Rob.
I have followed Everton since the early 60?s (in the boy?s Pen as an apprentice) and have seen the gradual decline in both vocal support and new song initiatives and I feel its the same at many grounds now.I think the all seater stadia and prawn sandwiches did a lot of the damage but I also think people are less "working class" now and see themselves as too "posh to shout for the lads.Cant wait for the handbags at dawn after that last one but couldnt resist.
As you rightly say if we could wind the support up to anything approaching the Bayern Munich night or 60?s derbies for those with a longer memory we will defo beat Chelsea.
Eric Myles
2   Posted 17/01/2008 at 06:45:36

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Isn?t Arsehole Whinger the same wanker that said AJ is a diver?

As Rob says, he?s the master of the soundbite designed to stir up a hornets nest with his latest opposition.
Erik Dols
3   Posted 17/01/2008 at 07:17:43

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It’s a known problem for quite some years. The Manure are complaining about it for some time, right here at Toffeeweb you just have to search the match reports of the previous years and you’ll see that even in a lot of matches we won there are comments like "in the first half you could hear a needle drop". It’s not limited to England either. I live in Holland and Ajax-fans are still complaining about their move to the arena, which with all it’s world class facilities has no atmosphere at all. And the same goes for most other Dutch clubs, with stadiums having to be all-seater etc etc the atmosphere is ruined. I’m pretty sure the rest of Europe has the same problems.
John Lloyd
4   Posted 17/01/2008 at 08:20:52

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Lads, with the introduction of all seater stadiums this was always gonna happen, the terraces was where the atmosphere come from, cos they were the cheapest place to get in & cos a few (most ha ha) of the people in there had had a fews bevys before hand!!
I also agree that wengers comments had more to do with winding Liverpool up than praising us, but why not use it to wind them up no end!!

I do think he is right though in one respect, when the Arse or any of the big clubs or even big games are at Goodison, then the noise levels are a lot higher than at that pile of shite over the way, but its a two way street & when Rob patterson asks if Wenger saw the stands empty after the 3rd goal.......what does he expect??? a round of applause??? get to fuck, we were gutted. It was a different story last year, when in the pissing down rain & hailstones when AJ grabbed the left early that day & its games like that I think Arse-ed is referring to.

Hopefully that same atmosphere will be there gaainstChelsea, semi final, under the lights......should be amazing. Lets hope we get a result of Wigan & Spurs also. COYB
Lue Glover
5   Posted 17/01/2008 at 08:47:10

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This must be the third or fourth piece written about the lack of ’voice’ at Goodison and on each occasion I have had to ask myself whether I live in a parallel universe where all I hear is a lot of noise at my second home, Goodison Park.
I sit in the Lower Gwladys amongst the scally’s (other people’s words not mine) that shout abuse, sing rude songs and generally cause the ’posher’ rest of the ground to tut tut at all those nasty swear words.
Yes, there are times when it’s quiet because I’m watching the game, just like everyone else, I go to watch my team play football, I love singing and cheering and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve ended up in the LGS because in the past, in places like the Paddock, I’ve been looked at like I’m a middle aged lunatic because I’ve been on my feet clapping or shouting SUPPORT for my team. I often wonder how some people can sit through a match and never jump up or shout and just sit there like they’re in Chapel! Sorry, guys, but some of you need a bucket of water chucking over you to see if you’ve still got a pulse because if you can’t get fired up by watching the Blues, especially the way we’ve been playing this year, then nothing will get you excited!!
Can you remember the atmosphere against Villareal or when big Dunc scored against Man U, are your ears not still ringing with the Goodison Roar? Does the memory of that not send shivers up and down your spine?
Have you never stood there and thought, my God, this is amazing? Is there any better feeling than hearing Z cars strike up and the roar that goes with it?
If you answer NO to any of the above then pehaps you’re just not as manic as I am about my team or whatever your reasons, just try and loosen up, give it your all and don’t worry if the stiff sitting next to you doesnt approve, Like Rob said, ’Sing your heart out for the lads’.
We’ve got one of our biggest games of the season next week against Chelsea. Every Blue voice should be in training NOW to give the biggest and loudest Goodison Roar that the Old Lady has ever heard. A Roar that they’ll be able to hear across the city and a roar that will give the lads on the pitch the biggest boost and be that 12th man. Come on Blues, let’s make it happen.
John Lloyd
6   Posted 17/01/2008 at 09:25:59

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Good shout Lue
Mark Murphy
7   Posted 17/01/2008 at 10:43:08

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I was at the Arsenal in the family enclosure between the dug out and the Glwaldys st. I thought the Everton support was very loud and couldnt understand why the Arse fans were singing "shall we sing a song for you??" Obviously the acoustics of Goodison give diifferent impressions depending on where you sit but as I was near to Wengers spec I can understand his opinion - it WAS noisy that night, until half time when it all went quiet.
Tom Hughes
8   Posted 17/01/2008 at 10:54:40

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Arsenal fans have a cheek to criticise anyone’s support, their old place wasn’t called the highbury library for nothing, and Man City’s ground is hardly a cauldron. GP has a bit of a high crowd participation threshold below which the atmosphere is very flat. However, when we’re all up for it, it is the proverbial bearpit, probably not the best acoustics for singing songs as such with all the high stands/roofs, but the goodison roar whether in encouragement or disdain certainly resonates on occasion. A decent sized park-end would have improved this much further.
Rich Osborne
9   Posted 17/01/2008 at 12:48:52

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Spot on Lue and Tom H. I remember my first two games watching football as a 7 year old in 1987.

I went to Aston Villa first with a mates dad. Apparently, I was well into the Villa as a kid growing up in Birmingham.

Then the next few weeks my dad took me to Goodison. I certainly believe in love at first sight because it happened to me that day and the thing I fell in love with was the noise.

The rumble of feet and fists on wood, the swaying crowd on the lower Gwladys and absolute pandamonium when we scored.

Now apart from the odd poor showing, I can’t remember Goodison ever being quiet. We’re not like the nobs at Newcastle or Birmingham City. We’ve got class and intelligence and we will tell our team when they are doing well, just like we’ll tell them when we’re doing poorly.
Ray Roche
10   Posted 17/01/2008 at 14:03:05

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The Emirates is emptying rapidly 15 minutes before the end of EVERY game. Even Henry complained about it.
Arthur Jones
11   Posted 17/01/2008 at 13:59:48

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From my seat in the Park End I do get to hear a lot of the away fans but they certainly aren?t as vociferous as Everton?s travelling support . We do tend to be a bit quiet at the start of our home games but once sparked into life the atmosphere changes noticabley , its like a puppy trying to annoy an alsatian , its tolerated for so long and then brushed aside . I can understand the reference to aggressive nature , because when something takes place to raise the hackles of the faithful , ie Mikel sent off , bendtner?s challenge , clattenburg , and going back to when peter walton sent Ian Turner off then dissallowed 3 goals against Blackburn the atmosphere is positively threatening , Hopefully this can be recreated next week against Chelski , lets see how they can cope with that !!!!
Johnny Bell
12   Posted 17/01/2008 at 16:43:57

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Wednesdays semi against chelsea could be the last ever in our famous old ground (if this proposed ground move goes ahead and we fail to make another semi before it) so lets bring the roof down for the whole 90 mins (possibly 120 mins) and give GP the proper send off such a great stadium deserves!
Karl Masters
13   Posted 17/01/2008 at 18:16:25

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Good Shout Johnny Bell!

We showed what we coukld do in the first leg with 6,000 fans, how much better it could be with nearly 35,000 fans!

Check out the first leg on YouTube and make sure you watch the Chelsea postings where you can hear them all calling us ’Scouse Scum’ after the late winner. If that doesn’t get the blood pumping, nothing will!
Mike Dillon
14   Posted 17/01/2008 at 18:43:26

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Surely it depends largely on what’s going on on the pitch?

In the first half, when we’re usually playing possession football and not trying anything too spectacular, the crowd don’t have anything to cheer except the odd goal or a thundering tackle.

When we start playing our flowing passing game, I notice the crowd become far more vociferous because they’re excited by what they’re seeing.

Some games aren’t productive to overly good stuff and some games are generally drab affairs, neither of which are conductive to a crowd’s mood.

But if the football on the turf is exciting, attacking football or if the stakes are high, Goodison is far and away the best place to be in terms of support, passion and noise - and that includes the thousands of fat topless Geordies bellowing all game.
Colin OKeeffe
15   Posted 17/01/2008 at 19:53:44

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Excellent and honest analysis of what i believe has been a longstanding problem with the vocal support at Goodison. I remember when I first started going to the match the season after we last won the league in 1988-89 and Kevin Ratcliffe, on more than one occasion, complained about the crowd failing to get behind the team. This usually sparked a crowd reaction for the next game before the atmosphere reverted to type for subsequent games. This was before all seater stadia so, I don’t accept this change as the only reason for the lack of singing. When there is noise it is often negative and directed at either the officials or at one of our own players. This is a real shame as when the crowd are roused to get behind the team we are as loud as anyone, unfortunately such positive support is fleeting.
Dave Wilson
16   Posted 17/01/2008 at 20:51:40

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I was really angry when I read your post, I’ve tried to pile into you about six times but I cant, unfortnately your right

Lou your right too,. lets hope it spreads around the ground on wednesday and we turn the clock back 23 years lets shake the Old Lady to her foundations
Pavil Benson
17   Posted 17/01/2008 at 21:05:54

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The answer is standing up, unreserved, and a decent roof directly over our singers.

Large Single Tier Behind both of the goals for Kirkby please!
Paul Parkend
18   Posted 18/01/2008 at 06:06:22

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Very intersesting piece and I tend to agree.
Although I now live in Australia I still get to see every Premier League game live on telly (thanks to Foxtel).
I was there on that crazy night in April 85, and many, many big matches home and away from the late 60’s to the mid 90’s.
We as a support have always been "hit and miss". Sometimes we are up for it from the first whistle, sometimes we need something to happen on the pitch to spark us into life. When we do get into it, we are one of the best crowds around.But I was there in the dark, dark days of the early 80’s when we getting 8 - 10,000 for our home games. I remember that we were all buzzing because we got 18,000 against Spurs for one game.
Anyway, I even recall that Sharpy was once moved to respond about the word pressure once......He was asked about coping with the pressures of keeping Everton successful. His response was not very flattering when he said...."pressure is when you are playing in front of 10,000 at GP, and you can hear every groan when you make a mistake...that’s pressure".
Something for all you regulars to think about when you are giving the contemporary whipping boy of the time some stick from the stands
Allan Price
19   Posted 18/01/2008 at 12:52:08

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I have to agree with alot of whats been said previously. The atmosphere at Goodison on occasion has been like a morgue.

I recently attended the Oldham game and had to spend most of the game listening to my girlfirend wishing she was sat with the Oldham fans, I had to admit that at least it looked like they were enjoying themselves!.

This is where I move onto my next point. After a holiday to Rome last October I took in a Champs League game and Sat in the Curva Sud, a few Man Utd comments aside the locals were friendly and courteous. (Maybe it was more to do with what 90% of them were openly smoking!haha)

What struck me was the orchestration of chanting that occurs at their games. They have possibly 15-20 volunteers who sing in unison spread about the barriers. These people really get the crowd going and give directionto the masses who then follow to intimidating effect. Quite a sight!

It got me thinking. Surely there must be some way of our club asking for volunteers to do a similar thing on match day or a supporters group doing somehting similar? If I am to attend more matches, this would be extremley helpful as my girlfriend would moan a lot less! Answers on a postcard!!

Joseph Bell
20   Posted 18/01/2008 at 14:05:27

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The atmosphere at Goodison has changed, of that there is no doubt. However, it is the same at most grounds at the moment.

I feel that the way people watch a game now is different. Rather than singing until they are horse, people are analysing tactics etc.

As for people who leave early, I will never understand that. Every club has a hardcore of fans who will support their team know matter what. Then there are the "Blow ins" who jump on the band wagon. The "Blow ins" are only there when there is success. I believe Everton supporters are some of the most loyal in the league (after what we have had to put up with), but maybe on 25,000 of us are hard core. The rest are "Blow ins".

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