It’s a nervy times for Premier League clubs these days. I have heard a fair amount of talk this week about the London derby which kicks off later this morning, and funnily enough supporters from both sides are not as certain of the outcome as they used to be.
I have heard some Arsenal fans talking about a draw being a good enough result (whereas in past seasons nothing short of a win would be an acceptable result), whilst some Spurs fans were saying that they did not think that their team was even up to the challenge, which surprised me.
I think that the problem seems to be that quite a few clubs are not performing as well as they used to be, even the ones at the top of the League. It might be the rapid buying and selling of players these days that results in teams taking time to stabilise and players learning to play closely with each other, or maybe not.
Although one cannot pinpoint exactly what the problems are, it seems that a few other factors might be contributing to the general feeling amongst fans.
One is the rising cost of ticket prices. Simply put, in these days of economic hardship many fans, as much as they would like to, simply cannot afford the price of going to a Premiership game.
With travel, food and the like, an amount of about £70.00 for the day at the game is out of the question for many. And maybe this affects the commitment of some to the game.
Also, many so-called fans seem to lose interest in their team if it is not doing well. Clearly, however, this is the time when the team needs its supporters - when they are down, not up.
Another is the issue of racism which has lately cast an ugly shadow over the game, and which seems to have adopted a life of its own with no sign of abatement.
Arsenal has said on its website yesterday, quite rightly in my view, that any type of racism at the game will not be tolerated. However the problem seems to me to lie not in what the clubs are saying, but rather in how a small percentage of fans are reacting to these statements.
These are the ones that don’t care, and will continue to make racist chants and comments no matter what. Hopefully, none of these fans will turn up at the game (or any of the other games for that matter) and the derby will go off without incident off and on the pitch.
If that happens, irrespective of the score line tomorrow, the game will win, and that will be a big step in the right direction.
image: © wonker