Fans lose their voice in football’s sanitised stadia

Sean Ingle’s article

Re: Atmos at Spanish footy: Ah….the grass is always greener in the next valley isn’t it? But the truth is somewhere in between.

I always found the atmos at Spanish footy matches a bit hit and miss. They don’t have the sheer numbers of supporters the Premiership has even though it is much cheaper for a ticket.

Real Madrid and Barcelona got an average attendence of 70,000 + in 2006/07 while the next three – Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Valencia got around 40,000 which compares well to English footy. What Spanish footy hasn’t got is the strength in depth of the clubs outside ‘the big four’ and the lower leagues  in England.

But I digress. Despite big crowds for the big teams and matches I find the atmos to be a bit lacking in Spain – whistling when the other team has the ball which unfortunately is creeping into the English game and generally not getting behind your team when they are behind or in difficulties. There is definitely a ‘sing when we’re winning – boo and whistle when we’re losing’ attitude.

As for Barça vs. Real Madrid ‘derbies’ they always seem a bit too choreographed for my liking – printed cards held up in a ‘spontaneous’ show of support.

Which brings me to the Premier League. Many of us have pointed this out for years but it is precisely the ‘middleclassisation’ of footy which is killing the atmosphere in English footy matches. Middle class people just don’t have the same craic as us working class people. Harsh but true.

I find it ironic that on the one hand loads of bloggers here look down on ‘thick working class footballers who can’t speak English’ (comments I’ve heard regularly on this blog) and have a  sneering attitude to clubs like Newcastle and Liverpool and their fans. (Two clubs who have managed to keep their working class base) Yet on the other hand these new middle class fans whinge that the atmos is not like before. You can’t have it both ways.

SAF, the FA fat cats, the press and yes middle class fans are all to blame for ruining the atmos at football matches. You’re killing the goose that lays the golden egg by pricing the working class out of football.

But the grass is always greener….. The Premiership is televised by Spanish tv and the commentators are having orgasms this season about the atmosphere in England. ‘They even cheer corners!’

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