[singlepic id=9 w=320 h=240 float=right]Arsenal are a team that, like most football fans, I can’t help but admire. The slick one touch passing football and attacking mentality is exactly the kind of game we all want to see.

I’ve always got on well with and respected the fans of Arsenal too. Yes they’re enjoying the good life nowadays, but anyone that can sit through the drab ‘defend-like-your-life-depends-on-it’ football they used to play will always have my respect.

This admiration of Arsenal was put to the test on Saturday however when what should have been an enjoyable day of FA Cup action for two huge clubs was somewhat tainted by an Arsenal crowd that seemed to have other things on their mind.

The excellent 8.500 travelling Leeds United fans could be forgiven for thinking they were alone at the Emirates, such was the level of noise created by the home fans. Worse still, when they did bother to create some noise it was usually in disgust at one of their own players who had had the cheek to fire a shot wide or fail to find another Arsenal player with his pass.

It was almost like Arsenal had never contemplated the fact that little Leeds United may be able to give them a game. To them, it wasn’t the sheer brilliance of our defence and the efforts of Kasper Schmeichel that kept the goals out, but the failings of their own team who they refused to get behind throughout.

Anyone wondering why the stars keep leaving Arsenal when they reach their prime needs not to look at the wage structure and competitive nature of the club, but they should take a close look at themselves and ask whether they’d want to play in front of a crowd of fans that feel so entitled to victory over inferior teams like ourselves, anything else will be ridiculed and booed? A crowd that does little to encourage and support those on the pitch?

We may be in a different position from Arsenal these days, but we’ve still taken our fair share of unpalatable results. We’ve sat through tedious 0-0’s and watched speculative efforts sail 30 yards over the bar when we’re in desperate need for a goal. We’ve even seen the odd misplaced pass would you believe?

We choose to take a different approach in following our team though. Rather than subjecting our players to abuse from their own fans and booing when a team we consider inferior to ourselves gets a bit of a result, we continue to cheer and get behind the lads regardless. Strange, I know…

Whilst the Arsenal fans support of their own team was disgusting, the applause from all four sides of the stadium when Sanchez Watt was taken off was excellent to see. The Arsenal fans also applauded the Leeds United players walking off into the tunnel after the match had ended too, which is something you’ll rarely see at any football game.

Shame Arsenal can’t show a similar level of support to their own team really…

  • Asaldo

    Arsenal fan here, I was at the game at the weekend.

    First of all, I will say that your support was fantastic. You took more seats than I’ve ever seen away team have at the Emirates, and made a bloody great racket too. I will also say that, on the day, our support was awful. The thing is (and please take this as explanation rather than justification), our fans at the moment only really seem to ‘turn up’ for the big games.

    Take the Manchester City game a week ago, a team who came to play for a point from the start, and showed a heck of a lot less ambition than you did. Our fans were electric, behind the team for the full 90, not dissimilar to the way you were on Saturday. Or the Chelsea game just before.

    But the smaller games, games in the early rounds of the cups, against minnows and unfashionable teams (and I guess you guys fall into that category for the time being), there’s just a lot less interest. Even after giving almost a whole end to Leeds fans, there were still a huge number of empty seats around the ground (don’t be misled by the announced attendance at the end – that’s rarely accurate). This isn’t something I’m proud of personally, and I’d love to change it, but it’s just the way it is right now.

    What’s more, there are 2 ‘Arsenals’ at the moment. There was the side that beat Chelsea a few weeks ago, a side containing the Sagnas, the Clichys, the Cescs, Songs, Nasris, Walcotts and Van Persies of our team, our top talent, who the fans are well and truly behind. And then there’s the side that contains the likes of Eboue, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, Chamakh, and Denilson. Some of these are decent players, (Arshavin, Bendtner), who the fans simply have taken a disliking to. Others are flat-out poor (like Denilson, Eboue, Rosicky). This is a team that contains several players the fans do not like, and simply cannot get behind. Again, this is explanation, not justification.

    The reality is, we’ve seen all too much of those players over the last few year, and none bar our manager seem to have any time for them. The fans don’t like many of them, and wish them gone, blaming the years of stagnation we’ve had firmly upon them. Play a match against that collection, and you’ll rarely see a great deal of support.

    What I would say though, that having travelled the length and breadth of the country supporting my club (never to Elland Road, I must admit), is that I’ve seen a lot of fans get on their high-horses about the quality of their support, and rarely have I ever seen many deliver. Away support is ALWAYS better than home support, it seems to me, though maybe things are different in Leeds, I don’t know.

  • KaiserChief

    Excellent Blog. I couldn’t make the trip, and doubt I’d have been lucky enough to get a ticket anyway. But I watched with friends on Telly, and you are spot on, it just seemed like the home fans believed they were duty bound and deserving of a win, before it had even kicked off. And people say Leeds fans are egotistical creatures regarding getting back to “where we belong”? pffft.

    Great performance by the players AND fans! Excellent advert for the club and we showed the viewing public whether they like us or not, that we are on the up and maybe, just maybe CAN give premiership teams a run for their money.

  • w12mcee

    you should see some of the comments on our blogs. denilson, walcott, arshavin, squilachi, diaby, bentdner and clichy all get ridiculed nonstop. some of our fans expect to have a squad full of fabregas’, If you have a bad game expect a full backlash from our 500,000 armchair assistant managers!.

  • GoonerGaz

    Fair comments. The support at the Emirates is terrible if I’m honest. I go to more away games than home games supporting Arsenal and the difference is incredible. Just a few weeks ago I was at Goodison Park in away end of course and you couldn’t here a thing from the Everton fans, just constant signing from our corner.

    I’ll prob go Elland Road for the replay, hoping Wengers treats it more serious and plays a stronger side this time!

    Btw Leeds played really well and give us a better game than City could manage.

  • KaiserChief

    @Asaldo Thanks for your response, but I just have to comment on this;

    “And then there’s the side that contains the likes of Eboue, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, Chamakh, and Denilson. Some of these are decent players, (Arshavin, Bendtner), who the fans simply have taken a disliking to. Others are flat-out poor (like Denilson, Eboue, Rosicky)”

    Good god. Those players would fit nicely in to most Premiership first teams, I personally wouldn’t describe them as “Decent” or “flat-out-poor”. My opinion of players must be vastly different to Arsenal Connoisseurs .

    • tonyss

      @KaiserChief82
      I’m 100% sure you will see a different side to the Arsenal support in the replay at Elland Road. Unfortunately, we have a reputation for not being very vocal at The Emirates, which is something a lot of fans would like to change.

      Regarding the comments about certain players, they may fit nicely into most Premiership first teams, but the question I always ask is “how many of them would get into the team of our closest rivals”? The answer to that question is probably zero.

      If Bendtner was half as good as he thinks he is, he would be some player! Eboue is a good squad player. Arshavin and Chamakh are going through a severe loss of form at the moment and Denilson is just not good enough.

      I sold my season ticket for the game on Saturday but watching it on TV, the atmosphere generated by your fans was superb, but was no more than I would have anticipated. You have always been vocal and get behind your team 100%.

      As I said previously, you will see a different side to our support in the replay which I hope you enjoy, (but not too much). :o)

  • ADIIII83

    I would love to say you’re wrong about the blog, but you’re 110% correct. The sad thing is, the jeering wasn’t down to us losing to ur boys. It’s just the new generation of fans. Probably former Newcastle supporters, who just love to come to the game and criticize. Leeds played fantastic. Arsenal played a strong side with players who are currently out of form and instead of noise of encouragement to the players to lift, the fans jeer. I really look forward to watching the replay as I expect a very open game.

  • Colin

    Massive respect to the Arsenal fans applauding the Leeds players going into the tunnel at the end of the game.

    To the Arsenal posters planning to make the trip to Elland Road – it’s not perhaps quite as pretty as the Emirates (but it’s close) and it could do with a lick of paint but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. The game at Elland Road is going to be a cracker.

  • Bradley Lomas

    Once again a brilliant article. For once, it’s nice to see such a bunch of humble and nice comments from the opposing team too.
    My best friend, and a few other family members who live in and around London (All Arsenal supporters) all went to the game to watch, and within 10 minutes, they were texting me, telling me how brilliant and in good voice our fans were. After the game finished, i got a few calls too, telling me how brilliant Leeds played, which if anything only made me feel worse because i couldn’t get a ticket. Very proud of the boys and the fans. Fantastic game, Fantastic football.

  • Gf60

    It’s very difficult supporting your side with a mouthful of prawn sandwich! And that is the real problem at Arsenal. Prices and seating have forced so many of the ‘prepared to be vocal’ supporters to become TV watchers. But you will hear a very different story when the away squad get to Elland Road. They can out shout the mancs at Old Fartford with no problem…they’ll do the same to you.
    All credit to Leeds this time around…my memories of Giles, Bremner and Hunter faded on Saturday. This was a Leeds side that played the ball.

  • Harry Barracuda

    Unfortunately, mainly down to Wenger winning so many trophies in his first few years, we have inherited these so called fans who have short term memories shorter than most goldfish. They whine and moan, snivel and bleat like a bunch of fucking schoolgirls.

    Personally I wish they’d all just piss off, because they do little to support the team and they serve no real purpose other than to put money in the club’s coffers.

    Good to see you boys coming down and ripping the piss out of them.

    Fortunately, most of our away support are not like these pathetic scum, so you should hear more support for the lads in the replay, and hopefully without the primates on their backs the boys will be able to play with a bit more freedom.

  • Ilkleywhite

    Great game Saturday, enjoyed it, thank you to Arsenal and your hospitality, (which was first class), always got on well with the Arsenal fans, we had a bit of good natured banter at half time, first time I have been to the Emirates, got to say I was impressed.

    A draw was a fair result, although bringing Walcott on and Fabregas was a turning point, if those two had come on early second half, you could/should have won it, they are indeed “top drawer”

    The standing ovation for Sancez Watt from all sides of the ground, and the clapping of the Leeds players walking off, in today’s hostile environments, is always good to see, credit where credits due, well done Arsenal, and your sportsmanship at the end of the game.

    I am looking forward to the replay at Elland Road, a packed ER is always a good atmosphere and perhaps will show the premiership what it is missing, should be a good game, and maybe even a surprise result, although this season, the aim for Leeds United has always been promotion.

  • Rob

    Excellent blog. I am an Arsenal fan that lives in South Africa. I have made a few trips to england to watch games. The first horror show i had with arsenal fans was loosing at the emirates to Hull city 2 – 1. The fans were shouting abuse at our own players that made me embarresed to be there. For me it was a wonderful and rare occasion to get to england and have tickets for an arsenal game. What i found was spoilt, under educated fans that have no clue how lucky they are to have that team, manager and stadium. its pathetic. I give you great credit to writing this article. unfortunatly these same so called arsenal fans probably cant read so it will never help to get them to understand what a true fan is and true support. its an absolute shame.
    I thought leeds did very well against us and credit should be given there as you suggested, rather than blame our players.

  • Topmanleechapman

    Loolks like you’ve got a lot of support for your comments here.

    One thing I would say though; Elland Road gets pretty poisonous when we’re not flying either. There have been periods over the years when players freeze at home and its been a positive disadvantage. Sure we’ll have a massive game in the replay but the librarians at the Emirates are not alone.

  • Horsforth White

    I was at the Emirates on Saturday – fantastic ground, fantastic experience & I was also amazed by the home fans. On that I think GF60 has a point because in wondering what it was all about I reckoned at those prices they’re probably all middle class & “Too posh to sing”. Also they didn’t have the noisy ones grouped together behind the goals so is that because they couldn’t get their usual seats for the cup game? Whatever it was a surprise

  • lufc111

    Absolutely spot on….I was there and just couldn’t believe how quiet it was. I actually thought at first that it seemed quiet because the ground was so big and the noise wouldn’t travel so I skimmed through the game later on TV and all you could hear was Leeds fans. I also went to Old Trafford last year and it was just the same.
    The problem with the top teams now is that when the stadiums get bigger and bigger the ‘real fans’ get diluted and rarely sit together so they never get an opportunity to create an atmosphere.
    I’m certain that if you’d ask a proper Man Utd fan (from Manchester) if they prefered the stadium as it was 15 years ago with 40,000 hard core than it is now, they’d say yes. The only difference is 30,000 corporate fans who know nothing about the club and have only seen the good times, therefore whinge and moan when they’re not 5 up!.
    It appears the same is happening at Arsenal, shame really as they are a bit of a second team of mine (and loads of others on here it seems).
    Anyhow, small price to pay when you get to watch Fabregas every week and sit on your padded seats!

  • Arsenal fan here, season ticket holder and away scheme member, I’ll be at Elland Road too. I understand your point, I get incredibly frustrated by the sense of entitlement that swims around our ground. I find myself arguing with Gooners when I should be giving stick to other supporters! But as someone who travels to every away game I can tell you this is not exclusive to the Emirates, it’s not even exclusive to the Premiership. I go to lower league games when I can too and you generally find the same nowadays. Away fans are noisy whilst home fans are quiet and complacent. Supporters are always going to focus on their own team whilst the game is ongoing. When you’re losing at ER, do you really stay silent at your own team on the basis that the opposition are playing well? I think we showed our admiration for the opposition after the game, which is as it should be. Also, no offence, but this is a much bigger game for Leeds than for Arsenal so it stands to reason a sense of occasion always lends to an atmosphere. Listen when we play Barca and you’ll hear a different Arsenal crowd. Anyways, see you all at Elland Road.

  • Goonerism

    Very good post and excellent points with regard to our home support – your support on Saturday was excellent and had you won the game we really couldn’t have complained as you played very well. Good luck trying to get back up…..
    The home support at the Emirates is disappointing, I don’t go to every game and those I do go to I am often left feeling let down by the home support – always within earshot of someone giving one of our players an earbashing, it can be very negative!! Highbury was know as the library but everything felt more inclusive there, everyone had their place in the ground and there was more atmosphere. The Emirates is a great stadium but we need more time there to make it feel like a proper home and we need to win something as well. The team Wenger sent out on Saturday was not our first team (despite what he says after the game) and that in itself is going to put a dampener on proceedings. If your a fan going to watch your team play at home against Leeds in the FA cup you want to see the best players out there, not the likes of Bendtner and Denilson…

  • Thomas Hill

    I was also at the Emirates on Saturday and was really looking forward to experiencing my first away game and a chance to see the Emirates. I loved the atmosphere in the away end no different to what it is like every week in the Kop. I couldn’t believe how quiet the Arsenal fans were, the only time they made any noise was the goal, and the moans and groans from Bendtner’s misses. That however was deserved, he once labelled himself as one of best strikers in the world but he is far from it.
    I am looking forward to the return leg at ER, currently trying to order a ticket being engaged since half ten.
    Once again the magic of the FA cup was shown on Saturday and we were close to snatching the win. I think we have a great chance in the replay and hope we can show all the haters what we are about. Marching on Together.

  • Ron

    @ ADIIII83

    Totally agree with the ‘new generation’ commentary. I have attended many matches at both the Emirates and at Stamford Bridge in the past few years, and finding someone in the crowd who is not a Japanese tourist or Corporate visitor seems difficult at times. Thankfully Elland Road at full tilt is a great example of English Football and I too look forward to the replay.

  • Still the same old “library” that Highbury was famous for!

    Things do not seem to change.

    I Live too far away to have attend on the weekend!

    However, I was there in the final throes of our demise in the EPL and remember a smaller Leeds crew giving the full 90 minute support with the usual constant unquenchable enthusiasm of clapping, stamping, singing and totally outchanting of the supporters of a team that outplayed us to the tune of 5-0 and yet 90% of the crowd were a good resemblance to a morgue. Thank god for the Leeds 10%! Even at 5-0 down and knowing we were doomed to relegation the support was unflappable. The fans were unbeaten and unbowed.

    Was it an inferior squad by Wenger on the weekend?

    Was anyone injured?

    Was anyone unavailable?

    No it was Wenger’s choice.

    His best team for the day.

    His and Arsenal’s choice, right or wrong.

    We had an Arsenal Junior playing for us at his insistance; surplus to requirements; well down the pecking order.

    Maybe he might send Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin and Bendtner also, to appreciate good support and raise their games in similar acknowledgement of that support?

    Cheers