The hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I first saw the footage of Cologne fans in London yesterday.

I didn’t even know they were playing Arsenal up to that point but it was absolutely class seeing the videos posted on social media, of thousands and thousands of them marching through the streets of London singing their heads off.

20,000 of them, that is….TWENTY THOUSAND of them over for the match.

As I say, I didn’t even know the match was on, as I have a difficult enough job taking any remote interest in the increasingly boring Champions League, never mind the Europa one.

So my initial reaction after seeing the images/videos was that Arsenal had played a brilliant part in all of this, responding to this huge demand and allowing 20,000 Cologne fans into the Emirates for the game.

Well let’s face it as well, Arsenal might sell every seat for every Premier League match but they still usually have five or six thousand empty seats as they have such a rich fanbase, many of their supporters can afford to buy tickets and rarely use them…never mind the fact they don’t care that many less moneyed Gooners would love to be at the match, instead of an empty seat watching it.

I finished watching the images/videos of the Cologne fans and went back to refocus back on work yesterday afternoon, so it was only last night when I realised Arsenal and the other authorities hadn’t actually played a blinder with this at all.

Despite the huge demand (Cologne’s first European match in 20+ years apparently), Arsenal had actually only allocated Cologne fans a feeble 2,900 tickets in their 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium.

This for a competition that Arsenal don’t even want to be in and their average fan in a total rage because they have qualified to be in it, after being spoilt with 20 years of Champions League football.

Most of you will have seen the end result of what happened due to the mismanagement of the overall situation concerning the 20,000 travelling Cologne fans.

The match was delayed by over an hour as the authorities tried to manage the situation, with Cologne fans all over the stadium and many others outside still trying to get in.

This is where you take one of two sides.

Firstly, you are  one of those in the media who are trying to grab headlines by making last night out to be something it wasn’t and/or a typical feeble Arsenal fan.

Secondly, you are a normal person who recognises just how class last night was at the Emirates thanks to the visiting supporters.

Never mind the actual match, although it was class that Cologne took the lead just to see the reaction of their supporters. The atmosphere was superb and really came through even on the TV.

Some of the media are talking about the bad old days of mass hooliganism returning.

There were a couple of bits of trouble mainly due to the mismanagement of the authorities outside and the bad behaviour of a very small minority of that 20,000 travelling army BUT if even 5% (a thousand or so) of the Cologne fans had been intent on causing trouble, then there would have been total riots.

The truth is though that 99%+ of them were simply there to have a great time, to stand and sing after a few drinks and have a great time whatever the result.

Remember that?

Anybody who was around in the days of the old terraces is probably nodding their heads.

Not siding with the quite ridiculously lame average Arsenal fans who were pictured last night cowering as the Cologne fans sang their heads off for the lads.

It was laughable, the sections of Arsenal supporters staring in disbelief at people singing and having a laugh inside their stadium, instead of moaning that it is now four months since Arsene Wenger last won them a trophy. Tarquin and Jemima clearly regarding them as heathen hordes who had interrupted their usual respectable matchday experience.

Let’s get safe standing in ASAP and why not make it so every Premier League club has to give the away fans 10% of the tickets, so yes away teams could have 5,000+ at Newcastle but we would be getting 6,000 at Arsenal, 7,500 at Old Trafford and 5,000+ at Anfield.

That is the only way we will get decent atmospheres as a regular occurrence in England once again.

It is embarrassing seeing just how good it is at your regular Bundesliga match compared to here.

We might be leaving Europe but at least let us take this inspiration with us.

Thank you Cologne fans for reminding all normal people what supporting your club is all about and shame on those who want us to believe 20,000 supporters spending time and money to follow their team abroad, is somehow a bad thing.

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  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Talk Sport were intent on making it all sound like mass organised hooliganism, whereas the truth is it was just their darling Arsenal being shown up by real supporters.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Not sure if Talksport suck up to Arsenal, you must be familiar with the work of Adrian Durham.

      • Wor Lass

        They`re too busy lauding Liverpool.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I think that’s far closer to the truth.

  • Mark Davies

    I thought it was great. Support how it should be. Maybe we should do the same at Wembley for the Spuds game given we’re only getting 3000 or so as well.

  • Jonathan

    Brought back great memories. Good on them and shame on the media.

  • Neil


  • 1957

    While it would be great to give away teams more tickets, a good percentage of them wouldn’t take up the allocation even for a 3:00 Saturday kick off.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      That’s true, Rotherham bought more to SJP than Stoke will today.

  • ghostrider

    A fantastic loyal showing by Cologne fans.
    Nobody can tell me that the authorities of both countries didn’t know this was all going to happen, so there shouldn’t be any problems about it all.
    Very little trouble and a lot of money spent, plus a good time had.
    I’m sure the airlines were well happy.

    I was that impressed with them I was tempted to go out and buy one of their shirts but bought some after shave instead….Same thing, right?

    • Georgia Peter

      50 Quid aftershave….? Whats wrong with Brut eh..!

    • Rich Lawson

      I see what you did there,funny !

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    As long as there is no bother, I thought it was great to see them take over the ground.

    As for safe-standing, it just ain’t going to happen. Any government is going to shy away from it.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Are you watching Stoke ? Proper away fans not like your lot who can’t be arsed to go “all that way to Newcastle “even though the travel is free ???

    • HappyToons

      Stoke is a pretty noisy ground and their away fans are up there with the best for atmosphere, if not numbers. When Keegan returned that night and we thrashed Stoke, their fans were the loudest since we played rangers in that friendly a few years back. So I’d give them some credit, even though the naughty 40 need a thump :-)

      • Wor Lass

        I remember Stoke being officially announced as the noisiest PL ground a few seasons ago. Mind, it`s in such a desolate spot that there`s nothing else to do.

  • Grahame Johnson

    When we played man u in the 80s and they had to open section after section as more toon fans kept turning up, some of the comments on you tube by mancs are great, largest away support by any team for a league game is one of them, great turn out by the barcodes and couldn’t get in our normal section, a unplanned unorganized invasion by the toon, I miss days like that when your mates knock on your door on the morning of a game and say do you wanna gan to the match. No money or not you got the reply its alreet, then you do the same at later games, my Friday morning drink once ended Sunday morning in Byker pte club via London and Chelsea

    • Georgia Peter

      Remember goin to Old Trafford on a Wednesday night for a cup replay(think it was Wolves) and we were stuffed into their version of Level 7. The good news was we were nearly on the half way line and the row about 1500 of us made was fantastic with all the mancs turning round in total unbelief.
      Cant remember the score….Anyone refresh…?

  • Oldgeordie

    I remember the Spurs fans leaving Old Trafford with 20 mins. to go in the FA Cup semi final. Typical southern support only matched by the mackums. Must admit i missed last night’s goings on at Arsenal but it appears to look worse than it actually was.

  • Andy Mac

    Dont get me started on the Sky generation. This country’s real football fans have been hijacked by a bunch of hand sitting, selfie taking, half and half scarf wearing numpties who want to be entertained.

    I’ve been to Germany and watched a few games in the past and their fans put this PL generation to shame.

    • Oldgeordie

      Agreed. Remember when we missed Wednesday afternoon to see 3rd round cup tie against Sheffield Wed. only for the game to be abandoned because of fog before half time. Replayed the following Wednesday and there we all were again, mates from school and the same people from the previous week. Great days. Great memories and glad to have lived through those times.

  • Andy Mac

    It was 25 years ago that FC Koln last played in Europe. Their fans had been organising this ever since the draw was made. Gooners were selling their tickets online as they werent that bothered because it was only the Europa League.

    HTF didnt the authorities know this would happen ?

  • TheFatController

    They’ve set the bar high for all clubs’ fans returning to European competition…

  • Whickhamrobbie

    Brilliant . only 5 arrests there is more arrests at some Heed games .
    The press had a fit because they were germans but Brazil and co on talksH&^e still go on about the Celtic invasion of europe like is was a happy jolly up all round.

  • gallowgate26

    Many clubs don’t want 5 or 6k away fans in their stadium. Considering how loud away fans typically are, it creates more of a neutral atmosphere than a home atmosphere. That ultimately filters down on the the pitch and to the confidence of the players, as well as upsetting the librarian home fans. Exhibit A my ‘lud – our away allocations last season, I only managed to get to Cardiff City away all season. The other games I either didn’t have points or it was a weeknight on Sky (like Wigan). Even teams that had 5 thousand empty seats didn’t give us any more tickets than they needed to. (Cutting off their noses to spite their face when they could have charged £35 and geordies would pay)

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      In not sure that is the case, we seemed to be given as much as the host team could safely provide although Birmingham had an upper tier empty iirc.

  • HappyToons

    It was also a day out in London hence the huge numbers, but credit to German fans, you just have to go on youtube and watch them, whether Dortmund or whoever else. Fantastic! We are lagging behind them by a country mile in British stadiums. Even most away fans just copy and repeat. There isn’t even much original chanting; just consider we sing along to the tired old yellow submarine that was going around the Kop in the early 70’s. Now that’s what I call original. Probably Rangers and Celtic are the only British clubs than can compete. St James Park up until the end of the Keegan era, but we have nose dived like a Rebecca Adlington or rather belly flopped like Mike Ashley in his speedos, and then that is with them falling down his backside. Even with standing we will never replicate the supporter pre 21st century. Think of the noise that used to come from the Leazes End. Looking at many European fans-Russian, Polish etc….they all look like they are still in the 70’s. I wish I could join them!!!