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.
The Cologne fans this afternoonpic.twitter.com/dEWA17lMCq
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) September 14, 2017
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.
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.
— gabriel clarke (@gabrielclarke05) September 14, 2017
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.