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Intimidating Goodison

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Almost as worrying as the performances on the pitch lately has been the performance of the fans. We have been pathetic.

I took one my girlfriend?s mates (a West Brom fan) to the match with me on Saturday as she rarely gets to go and I had a spare ticket. She asked me if the atmosphere was always this bad and I had to concede that this year it was. We went one down and there was barely a muster from the Gwladys to try and spur them on. For twenty minutes in the second half it got going (although we could really have made it more intense) but it fizzled out even before the third goal.

Admittedly I sit in the top balcony where the atmosphere is not as intense as other areas (but you can study the game more) but I do chant along with the Gwladys St when they do get going. This season it has been lack lustre at best. The Park End also has a responsibility to get some chants going, being so close to the away fans. My heart has sunk every game so far when the opposition has chanted ?your support is fucking shit? because on the day I?ve been agreeing with them. Goodison / we, have the ability to make a superb atmosphere, I?ve often read the likes of Lampard saying it?s the most intimidating he?s played in, but we can?t live off these past glories.

It is a chicken and egg scenario, you could argue that the team needs to give something to chant about but I suggest that the fans are more important in getting the players going. In previous seasons we have always got behind the team, I know it can?t always be like at the Derby (or my favourite, v Fiorentina; what noise we made that night), but it needs to be better than it is currently.

I won?t comment on Moyes etc (enough has been said in the last week) and this isn?t an apology for him or the players, just an acknowledgment that we have a responsibility as well and we are not doing ourselves justice recently.

Jon Ferguson, Liverpool     Posted 30/11/2010 at

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Chris Sillett
1   Posted 30/11/2010 at 14:59:43

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It's not just this season there's been no atmosphere at Goodison, it's been non-existent (apart from the odd game) for years. And the reason for this is that we as fans are bored and fed up of the negative and mundane football we know we are going to have to sit through virtually every 90 mins. No excitement on the pitch will translate to no excitement off the pitch.
Norman Merrill
2   Posted 30/11/2010 at 15:00:36

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Jon, It's common knowledge that the first thing that away teams try to do is to silence the home fans, usually by scoring first, and dictating the play. In some cases that has happened, but our general play has been poor at home, and as on Saturday, West Brom took the game to us, and the rest you know.

It happens at all grounds, but I must admit, Goodison has been like a morgue at times. We all long for the atmosphere that erupted for the last ten minutes of the United game, but players have to earn that.

Rob Hollis
3   Posted 30/11/2010 at 15:22:37

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Too many people go to the match who understand what they are watching, that is the problem.

It is not the responsibility of the paying spectator to 'lift' the team. Anyone who has ever played football at any level is capable of going out to enjoy and win. They should lift the fans. We pay, they play.

No amount of singing will make Heitinga a centre midfielder or Bily an outside right or Anichibe anything other than an idle waste of space.
Anthony Hughes
4   Posted 30/11/2010 at 15:35:30

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Spot on, Rob; the current set up at our club is slowly draining away supporters' passions. Constantly having our hopes raised only to be let down (I know we should know better but you just can't help it sometimes).
David Thomas
5   Posted 30/11/2010 at 15:30:19

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The away fans always out-sing the home fans at any match. Man United have an away following that sing constantly during games. However, if you go to Old Trafford you won't hear much from them.
Andy Codling
6   Posted 30/11/2010 at 15:41:35

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I can't stand all this tosh about the fans doing there bit to lift the team, £75 grand a week would lift me. I wouldn't have to rely on the "working class man" to do that.

As well as that, watching boring negative shit every week doesnt help, I don't even enjoy going at the moment and to be honest I will be thinking long and hard about renewing next year, as a season ticket price would pay for a holiday ? albeit not to Dubai or some fancy place that the average prima donna player can afford.

Leon Perrin
7   Posted 30/11/2010 at 16:33:52

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Rob Hollis @ 3

Says it all.

The only missing point is: Jon, did you get anywhere with ya girlfriends mate? Bad man.
Ray Said
8   Posted 30/11/2010 at 16:39:50

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Jon, Unlike some fans, we know football and won't cheer for any old crap. Give us a reason (like some attacking play and high energy, passing footy) and we raise the roof. Give us dross and we stay quiet waiting for the good stuff.
Tom Hughes
9   Posted 30/11/2010 at 16:40:42

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Goodison needs everyone "up for it" ? otherwise there is no atmosphere, the acoustics just aren't there. Conversely, when they are, it's a real bearpit of an arena... that's just the nature of the place and the fans.

Our fans are not morons who'll chant nonsensically for the sake of it. I'd suggest they'd be far more likely to raise their voices if the club showed the same levels of commitment they do... I don't believe that has been evident for a long time, and perhaps more have realised it!
Nelaj Behajiha
10   Posted 30/11/2010 at 16:45:48

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First of all, I originally did think it was just the fans and the type of fans that go to matches nowadays. At away games, the vast majority of fans (due to it taking more dedication) are males and usually people who go to games more frequently.

But I do think the style of play and lack of trust in Moyes is a major issue. Fans don't believe we're going to win games anymore or even get a half-decent performance.

Also, I believe it's to do with confidence: fans won't sing when sat down as it's very hard to sing when sat down, hence why people stand in church during hymms. Away teams don't go to GP with any fear anymore as it's so quiet. Our atmosphere has been shit all season with the exception of Birmingham away.

Nick Entwistle
11   Posted 30/11/2010 at 17:49:55

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Ahhh the past glories of Frank Lampard saying Goodison was intimidating... Of course, back in my day, I remember 4th being a glorious occasion. But that's the way it is with these young'uns. They don't know what winning is about and accept this rubbish.
Tony J Williams
12   Posted 30/11/2010 at 18:21:28

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I have always considered that most of the Goodison faithful are more watchers and studiers than the usual football fan. We are there for the love of the game ? not for glory hunting.

However, when the mood takes us, we are a bunch of noisy so-and-sos... I remember the noise of the first Villarreal game; loudest we have been in many a decade ? and then the ManUre and Newcastle games.

We just get fed up when the blokes in the middle don't seem to be trying.
Trevor Lynes
13   Posted 30/11/2010 at 19:42:20

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The fans have been starved of goals... we just don't score enough and it's goals that count!!! The way we play is much better suited away from home and that is reflected in the tactics adopted by DM.

Years ago, we used to win some games by four but that has not happened for a long time. When we got into the Champions League, we actually had a negative goal difference... we were difficult to beat... BUT we were spoilers.

After watching Barcelona against Real Madrid, I don't think we are even playing the same game....!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other thing that sickens me is we make LEGENDS of really mediocre players.

David S Shaw
14   Posted 30/11/2010 at 19:39:05

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I'm a fan who does like to sing at the match and have been known to start off more than the odd song in my time.

Thing is, when I go the match, I will often be surrounded by a family, someone on a day out to see a Premier League match etc, so they're not interested in joining in.

There'll be someone 5 seats away who'll want to join in, and a couple of fans 5 seats from him who want to.

Basically, the traditional hardcore are no longer by each other, making it virtually imposible to get any songs going. So Jon Ferguson, how can you join in with a song that isn't being sung?

Speak to Everton because they have been approached for their help but they were not interested. They do not want us to sing and chant at the match.
Ray Robinson
15   Posted 30/11/2010 at 19:44:53

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The style of play is the main reason in my opinion. Retaining possession but watching the ball go across the pitch and then back again, while the opposition regroup behind the ball, is soporific and doesn't induce me to roar my lungs out!

A bit of pace, incision and one-touch football at speed, however ? that might get me out of my seat. Coleman marauding down the wing makes me want to shout, Hibbert struggling to control the ball and then slow down completely before passing the ball sideways just makes me want to yawn. (Only an example, by the way ? not the start of a Hibbert bashing thread.)

If the play isn't urgent and dramatic, then how on Earth can the crowd get worked up?

By the way, when the crowd do get behind the team, there's no more intimidating ground in the country ? but we rarely see it these days.
Michael Kenrick
16   Posted 30/11/2010 at 20:10:30

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Some good comments: I think it's all down to the play and what happens on the field. The idea that we can raise them is a nice fantasy. It always seems to be events on the field that raise the crowd.

But Tom, I'm nervous to ask this but is really anything to do with acoustics or the lack thereof? As most above are saying, we do get atmosphere if the action on the field warrants it; otherwise... no.

Does it really have anything to do with acoustics?
Jimmy Changa
17   Posted 30/11/2010 at 20:51:28

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It's a sad endictment of the Goodison atmosphere that the most electric in recent times was the first game of the season after Rooney left - before we were thrashed 4-1 by the Arsenal.
David S Shaw
18   Posted 30/11/2010 at 20:57:46

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Michael Kenrick, acoustics is a big part.

However, at the moment, there are no songs being sung for the acoustics to spread them songs to the rest of the ground.

The first step is to get traditional set of hardcore singers to congregate. Once they are, you'll need the acoustics so the rest of the ground can hear their songs to join in with them.

You can't join in with a song if:

a) no song is being sung
or b) you can't hear a song being sung

Finally, re what happens on the pitch. If the team is playing well you will hear the noise, but if the team is playing well, do you need an atmosphere?

Isn't the whole point of an atmosphere ? to support them when they need help?

At the moment the support is reactive not proactive.
Steven Pendleton
19   Posted 30/11/2010 at 22:08:12

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Is your girlfriend's mate hot? If yes, at least you could focus on her rather than our insipid display if that's the case.
Anthony Millington
20   Posted 30/11/2010 at 23:25:22

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This is partly down to Moyes's negativity descending across the fans. A bit more attacking enthusiasm from the off would go a long way to encouraging the fans to lift the atmosphere.
Karl Masters
21   Posted 30/11/2010 at 23:34:14

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I would also suggest that the type and age of fan you now get at Goodison is significantly different to years gone by:

1/ We are all getting older and football has priced out kids and teenagers with their mates. In fact the Club only ecently stated that no under-12s will be admitted without an adult. Average fan age is mid-40s in the Premier League ? truly amazing.

20/ 30 years ago when I first went to Goodison, the Street End was full of teenagers and early 20s, many congregating under the balcony on the front upper level (Fozzie Bear anyone?) and the noise came from there as well as the Enclosure and Paddock taunting the away fans in the old Park End.

3/ In years gone by, many more fans went to the Pub first, sang there, got a few bevvies inside them etc. Nowadays, weird kick-off times, more family groups, cost of beer etc all make this less prevalent.

4/ Sky and the EPL have turned it into more of a middle class day out rather than a working class expression of local pride and the old community singing in the pub (sounds corny I know) type of experience has died out.

Plus, the football has been poor this season, but that's not the whole story.
Jay Harris
22   Posted 01/12/2010 at 00:50:55

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It is a sad indictment of our current play that it takes a shite referee to get us out of our seats and raising the roof.

I think most fans have had enough of the 24/7 bullshit and the raised and dashes expectations so are now truly depressed and wearing the same frowns as the players.

Expect it to continue till a relegation battle looms then listen to the crowd for the last 3 or 4 games.
David S Shaw
23   Posted 01/12/2010 at 09:45:01

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Karl Masters, in terracing the singers could congregate though, whereas with reserved seating you'd need fan planning to do that.

Other clubs have done it through the help of the club but when fans approached Everton the fans were knocked back.
KPR Williams
24   Posted 01/12/2010 at 09:56:00

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We need 'welcome to hell' banners...
Flares...
Or a brass band...
Tom Hughes
25   Posted 01/12/2010 at 09:14:29

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Michael.... why the nerves? I'm not the dentist. :)

I think you are right in that "on field" events probably affect the "atmosphere" more than anything... and Karl sums up a whole other list of issues that have had their effect too. However, the point I was making was concerning the nature of Goodison and it's propensity to promote singing/atmosphere.... and this has a lot to do with acoustics. Goodison, being multi-tiered, fragments the crowd into relatively small sections as opposed to the unity of large single tiers. This needn't be a bad thing, but the fact that on 3 sides only 18 rows sit directly beneath an acoustic reflective roof means that the vast majority do not get that atmosphere enhancement. Whereas even a modest 30+k stadium like say the riverside will have 40 rows on 3 sides directly beneath a low slung roof.

The flipside of course is that these overlapping tiers bring everyone much closer to the pitch, so that when it does "kick off" it is a bit more "up close and personal". Every bad challenge is felt by the crowd. That is why Simon Inglis described GP as a special occasion stadium. All stadia are atmospheric on the big occasion, but few are as ferocious as GP on those days.
Karl Masters
26   Posted 01/12/2010 at 10:30:35

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David S Shaw.

I don't doubt that the Club have probably not taken up your concerns. However, I would strongly suggest you e-mail Robert Elstone and politely and concisely explain your point. I have found him to be quite approachable as long as you keep it polite and constructive.

Initially they will only see the hassle of relocating season ticket holders and naturally will shy away from that. However, if you can get the benefits across that make that worthwhile, especially that it's for the common good, you may have a chance. If they perhaps put something in the programme saying they were considering it and wanted people's opinions, they could argue they had a mandate if enough people agree with the idea. If you can get any examples of where it has worked elsewhere, I'd suggest you tell him that as well.

Good Luck with it.
David S Shaw
27   Posted 01/12/2010 at 11:04:42

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Karl, a couple of people have tried with Elstone, and I've contacted others at Everton regarding it.

Elstone passed the buck for others to tell those fans where to go, thus snidely keeping his reputation.

The more people that contact Everton about it the better though as it shows that fans believe that their support does make a difference in ways other than money through the turnstyles.
Darren Frendo
28   Posted 01/12/2010 at 12:40:52

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I'm from Malta and visited Goodison Park for the Bolton and Arsenal games. It was my first time and it was a disgrace. I booked 2 tickets for Gwladys Street and except for the odd "Everton, Everton" and swearing from the same guy in both matches, aimed at Arteta.... with some reason, as he was absolutely rubbish.

There was no atmosphere, even though I got hoarse screaming at the top of my voice, mostly at the referee or at Arteta's rubbish corners. However the players were very accommodating and gave photos and signatures at the end of each match.

One thing that surprised me was how Pienaar is so much above the rest in our squad and he's so right not to want to sign an extension. He's miles better than Arteta so the least the club can do is offer him parity with him. Everything everton does right goes through Pienaar, he's fundamental for us more than Arteta ever was.

Lee Courtliff
29   Posted 01/12/2010 at 12:48:16

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To be honest, when I go to the game, I am not there to sing songs (awful singer), to try and wind up opposition fans. I don't really sing at all. I am almost always sat in the TB so I can watch the game better. I agree that singing helps the team/atmosphere and often I look around and think how quiet it is.

A few people I know who have been to GP to support their teams have asked me if it's usually so dead. Yes, is my usual answer. It was like this way back in the 90s too. I remember Joe Royle asking us in his programme notes to make more noise but we are not Burnley (my hometown) or Stoke. We are not elated just because we are FINALLY in the promised land of the mighty Premier League. We expect to AT LEAST be in the top division.

I go to GP to watch my team, not to stand up shouting insults to away fans. I think maybe we do have more than our fair share of thoughtful fans who want to concentrate on the football and not try to get one over on the away fans.

When we played Burnley last season, I spoke to a lot of people over here who thought they had got one over us because they out-sung us in both games. Burnley have always had a VERY loud and loyal away support. But I do think it's a lower league mentality that you have to "do" the opposition fans. Like a leftover from the hooligan days...

I support my team by being there as often as I can, by defending us in pub arguments (not many of us over here), by swapping my shifts at work so I can watch every TV game, by buying merchandise, by feeling sick everytime we play, by keeping coming back for more and more pain every time they let us down.

But I am not standing on my seat in the middle of a deathly quiet GP and trying to rouse the pissed-off looking people around me into a spirited sing-song. I cant sing, they dont wanna sing.

It's down to the players mainly but last season against Chelsea it was the officials that got us going due a dodgy throw-in decision. Now that was a real atmosphere ? the only time I can remember us Top Balcony sophisticates singing away at the top of our voices at the final whistle! Great night, COYB.

Tony Waring
30   Posted 01/12/2010 at 19:04:26

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On the other hand, at away games, our lot makes more noise than the home fans. Odd isn't it?
David Thomas
31   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:14:14

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Exactly Tony (# 30),

As I said in my post earlier, it's not just Everton fans who are quiet at home games. You go to 99% of the away games and you will find that other teams' home fans are just as quiet as the fans at Goodison. It's never been any different. The away fans in a ground always tend to sing more than the home fans.
John Daley
32   Posted 02/12/2010 at 03:38:08

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Two opposing views from Polldaddy.com: 'Which ground has the best atmosphere'

A definition of "atmosphere" might be useful... in my book those places with NOISE (Like S'derland, Everton, sometimes Spurs) are the places, not those grounds like Fratton Park, Man City and Anfield where they roll out the flags, banners, blow-up and wave bananas and have a good sing-song... each to their own like, but WBA ? well I don't think the atmosphere there is that special at all.? Posted by Ged

Certainly not Goodison haha. They have no songs, no chants and no passion. All you hear at Goodison is swearing at referees when decisions go against them. Some of the Greatest players today (E'to, Henry, even Giggs) reckon Anfield is the best ground for atmosphere. To say Portsmouth and Everton have a good atmosphere is embarrassing to the Premiership. ? Posted by jobo

For the record I'm with good ol' Ged. I'm not there for an orchestrated singalong. I react to what's unfurling in front of me and, yes, I'd rather relentlessly abuse the officials and opposition than orgasmically warble some wank anthem like that lot over the park.

David S Shaw
33   Posted 02/12/2010 at 10:26:19

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John Daley: At Everton and every ground for years there was a pocket of singers behind every goal with the other fans generally shouting at the ref or whatever.

Nowadays, most grounds will have a smaller pocket of fans somewhere in the ground with the rest of the ground still shouting at the ref etc albeit a lot more subdued.

What's happened at Everton is that the pocket of singers has gone due to the reasons mentioned in my earlier posts.

All this "we're different from other fans, we're special because we don't do the singing lark" shows a lack of understanding.
Tom Hughes
34   Posted 02/12/2010 at 10:17:50

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John,
I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly. I often find it cringeworthy listening to say Man U fans with an almost endless catalogue of infantile (and shit) songs, or several others with inane tribal chants too. Passionate support is one thing, performing monkeys quite another.

That said, there is probably a time and place for everything, and GP in it's current format certainly doesn't easily lend itself to maintaining/promoting a certain level of noise (and definitely not chanting) on those less "vibrant" occasions.

Similarly, the City of Manchester stadium is probably a case in point. I've spoken to several city fans who think it's a crap atmosphere at Eastlands. The old Kippax stand provided a perfect singing platform that they simply haven't got a Eastlands. Same fans (in fact far more of them), different, multi-tiered stadium..... different atmosphere. Proving that the venue plays a big part. Perhaps turning the upper side tiers into "popular" stands could correct some of this.

Much could also be done at GP to improve things in this respect.

John Daley
35   Posted 02/12/2010 at 10:46:57

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"All this we're different from other fans, we're special because we don't do the singing lark shows a lack of understanding."

David, where did I intimate that the fact I thought this made me/us/ anyone else 'special'. The fact you pompously declare those who disagree with your own opinion as showing "a lack of understanding" shows that you believe your own stance to be something special. It's not.

If there was some undercover squad of 'hardcore' singers just waiting to reemerge from their slumber then what exactly are they waiting for? What's stopping them? Certainly not the accoustics as you laughably claim. Pesky parents who dare take their kids the game for a day out and not only sit in the David Shaw self-designated singing seats but then have the temerity not to join in when some jowelly twat starts singing 'the babies not yours'?

Nope. It's the fact such a 'hardcore' group no longer exist.

An atmosphere arises and is not artificially manufactured.
Tom Hughes
36   Posted 02/12/2010 at 11:39:55

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John,
To be fair to David, the Gwladys Street was never a great singing platform, but the change of demographic created by reserved seating, an ageing fanbase and other such things has weakened it further. The St End still needs about 2/3rds of its patrons to be belting out the songs for it be heard beyond its front row. Perhaps a dedicated unreserved area (as it was yesteryear) might help fascilitate that.... not sure that is "manufacturing" an atmosphere, as much as simply allowing it to happen quite naturally. There are always plenty of areas for families to go.... away from such bile.
David S Shaw
37   Posted 02/12/2010 at 11:45:46

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John, the comment you highlighted was not in response to specific comments made by yourself as my rant continued on from my first sentence when I wrote your name. They were in response to an ever more common comment I hear fans say in general, which is due to a lack of understanding on how the the singing worked at Everton and other clubs up and down the country. I've lost count on the number of times fans criticising other teams fans just for singing a song that Everton were singing for years without them knowing that.

Fans will hear a criticism of their club and try and turn it into a positive. Singing is a case in point. They notice a lack of singing, so rather than seeing why this is the case, they say 'singing's crap' etc.

You ask where the harcore singers are? They're spread around the ground due to reserved seating. How great are they in number I don't know, in terracing it was 500-1000 at best, it may be a quarter of that now. Speak to people around the ground, read people's opinions on this subject and you'll know they are there.

Re acoustics, misunderstood that point, haven't you? Re parents taking their kids, what a strange conclusion you drew from my points on that!! I highlighted reasons why the singers have struggled to congregate and you make out that I have a problem with families going? My last post acknowledged that fans are different, with different wants, some like to sing some don't or just want to hound the ref etc. You however decide to generalise all fans who go against your grain by deeming them as a twat.

Now considering that congregation of fans with similar interests in terracing allowed the ease of singing to occur naturally, are you saying that under terracing our atmosphere was manufactured? No, the atmosphere and songs are being stifled, there is a difference.

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