THE BLOG

Is the Globalisation of Football Killing Atmosphere?

18/11/2014 14:59 GMT | Updated 17/01/2015 10:59 GMT

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Football has become a massive global brand over time. With the almost daily coverage of Europe's top leagues beamed around the world for multi-million pound TV deals, from here in the UK all the way to the United States, the UAE, China, and South Korea.

With the booming popularity in these countries, it will mean some fans will travel thousands of miles and pay whatever it takes to see their heroes. This is great for them, and great for the clubs. The drawback of this occurring only on a weekly basis is most of the stadiums of the worldwide-supported clubs have become like a library on matchdays and in some cases, somewhat soulless.

This is the case for many of the bigger clubs in today's game, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Barcelona. With the four clubs being a massive pull to fans throughout the world there are many day-trippers and non-fans of the clubs ready to snap up tickets to watch the sides play.

If you look at other clubs in the divisions like Atletico Madrid, Everton, Newcastle, and the Bundesliga for example the atmospheres at these grounds are electric on a daily basis, with the fans getting right behind their side. Not only do they bring a magnificent atmosphere to the stadiums - they are also full on a week-to-week basis.

There have been many things said about ticket prices and some clubs have even tried implementing singing sections to their grounds, yet none has seemed to work with regards to improving the noise inside the elite stadia.

Roy Keane was the first player to be vocal about the lack of noise about a decade ago when he was at Manchester United. He blasted the corporate fans, calling them the 'prawn sandwich' brigade.

After a Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev, scathingly Keane voiced his displeasure. "Sometimes you wonder, do they understand the game of football?" he splutters. "We're 1-0 up, then there are one or two stray passes and they're getting on players' backs. It's just not on. At the end of the day they need to get behind the team. Away from home our fans are fantastic, I'd call them the hardcore fans. But at home, they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch. I don't think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell 'football', never mind understand it."

More recently, we have had Barcelona 'fans' take snaps of Cristiano Ronaldo as he celebrated scoring at the Camp Nou in the Clasico. In addition, Jose Mourinho slamming Chelsea fans, for the lack of atmosphere in the home west London derby with QPR.

The Portuguese tactician said, "I think it's getting worse," said the Chelsea manager. "When comparing to my previous time at the club, I think it's getting worse. I don't question the passion and the love. I'm nobody to question that, and I know clearly that's not true. Chelsea fans show us their passion for this club every day, but there is a certain 'line of living' [way of behaving] at matches at Stamford Bridge. I can clearly say we are the team to get less support in home matches."

The more people who love and watch football is obviously better for the sport and the clubs. The matchday experience, atmosphere-wise, has to change. Weather it is the sense of entitlement and people waiting to be entertained or the influx of corporate fans and tourists, these fans who go week in and week out have to bring back the atmosphere to the clubs they love, before these fans are replaced with robots.