After a weird night at the Emirates Stadium, that left all Arsenal fans, there, feeling slightly uneasy, it can be best summed up by the match’s hashtag on social media: #ARSFCK.
Fingers are pointing in all directions: Should the Metropolitan Police have foreseen the arrival of 20,000 1. FC Köln fans for 2,900 tickets? Should stewards have toned down their usual power trips? Or is it the fault of the German visitors, who were too excited about seeing their side’s first European game for 25 years?
— Frazer (@frazerAFC) September 14, 2017
Arsenal’s ticketing system and policy in general regarding the sale of tickets seems to have escaped virtually scot-free, though. And considering that is where the blame should firmly lie, it’s bizarre – perhaps the sensationalism of making references back to World Wars has overshadowed where the blame should rest.
1. FC Köln had asked Arsenal for extra tickets after selling out their allocation quickly – many fans of Lukas Podolski’s first Bundesliga club booked flights and accommodation in London as soon as the Europa League draw was made; they were going to be in England’s capital with or without a match day ticket.
Arsenal refused, which the self-entitled Premier League big boy is more than within their rights to do so – and many, many clubs would’ve done the same.
But as always with the decisions that are made at Arsenal – in fairness, it’s at all clubs, but the Gunners issues are always heightened tenfold – they’re made by people who don’t have a clue what it’s like down in the trenches, and view supporters as tiny ants that they torment through magnifying glasses.
Arsenal fans at work tomorrow talking about how they squared up to FC Koln fans to defend the Emirates. pic.twitter.com/5rE3QM7vZ6
— David Brent Movie (@DavidBrentMovie) September 14, 2017
Away fans bring the colour and noise and that creates a response from the home fans; there was no reason not to give 1. FC Köln the maximum for 9,000 tickets, last night. Especially when you spotted the regular empty seats around the Emirates; Arsenal fans didn’t want the tickets – it wasn’t a big enough game for them to put down their hazelnut lattes and quinoa.
The mentality around away fans tends to be ‘they should be seen but not heard’; tuck them away in the back and just make sure you overcharge them for a lukewarm burger. But eventually, the casual disregard for them results in situations like last night, where Arsenal fans felt like they were at an away game.
I'm at a Koln home match; we've been invaded. pic.twitter.com/r8DaEaB7CU
— Daniel T Blazer (@DanielTBlazer) September 14, 2017
The Premier League aren’t stupid – well they are – but there’s a reason why England’s top flight have brought in the away tickets price cap of £30, and insisted travelling fans are closer to the pitch.
Ultimately, in trying to reduce the impact of a vocal away following, you end up increasing it.