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Creating Atmosphere

By Chris Butler :  14/01/2010 :  Comments (25) :
In the past I’ve submitted articles about the links between standing and atmosphere as I’ll be quite busy in the next few months I thought I’d submit my last article on the atmosphere issue.

In my opinion acoustics and where supporters are situated is also an issue. Due the acoustics of where the singers are situated, it means that supporters really do need to stand to be able to create a decent atmosphere that travels round the stadium. I’ll make a few suggestions about how to change the atmosphere without people needing to stand up to create an atmosphere.

Bolton fans are constantly criticized for their poor atmosphere but it has far more to do with their stadium than with them. If anyone has been to the Reebok, they would know it gets very windy in the ground so therefore very hard to create an atmosphere.

The problem at Goodison Park is in the Gwladys Street end; about 2,000 vocal supporters who are not under the roof have their voices lost as the sound gets lost or fades away. The material on the underside of the roof means that the atmosphere cannot be heard by many as it just sticks rather than travels. The consequences of this are that virtually means only a few voices are heard. The only time you can hear the crowd is when about 5,000 people are singing in unison which is usually when the team come out.

Another problem is the ridiculous PA system at GP that shouts over the supporters rather than informs them. You have to shout when speaking to somebody a yard away from you.

Although I prefer to stand for comfort, with the leg room not being very good at GP, I think if we are still not allowed to, we should go down another path. Aston Villa create a wonderful atmosphere as proper acoustics have been attached to the roof above where the singers are situated which makes the fans sound far louder. This is why many fans congregate and the back of stands where the roof is at its lowest, so it’s easier to create an atmosphere at clubs such as Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Wolves.

Sunderland supporters are constantly praised for the noise they make at home but anyone who’s been there will know that there are about 2,000 supporters who stand for 90 minutes but also they are rewarded with wonderful acoustics in that area. This is why certain clubs use drums to make atmosphere as it’s so hard for supporters to create an atmosphere on their own. Dinamo Zagreb supporters are loud as they use numerous drums which make the supporters sound deafening.

Everton’s vocal supporters have a few options if we are still not allowed to stand. The club could apply proper acoustics to the underside of the roof to improve the atmosphere. The club could allow drums to improve the atmosphere, although Everton supporters may be against this. Another option would be for Everton’s vocal supporters to move to another bit of the stadium where it's easier to create an atmosphere.

Reader Comments

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Kevin Sparke
1   Posted 14/01/2010 at 14:23:35

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Professor Russel Abbot wrote extensively about this atmosphere phenomena in the 1980s; if I remember rightly, he reckoned the key ingredients were dancing in the cool night air...

Drums!?! — Anyone bangs a drum near me at the match and they’ll be wearing it as a helmet!

To be quite frank, Chris, you ca'nt create atmosphere — it either happens or it doesn’t. When it happens it’s usually as a result of an exciting match going on and the crowd either being lifted or angered into action.

Unless you want us to become carbon copies of our mawkish neighbours; flag waving dirge singers with a fair contingent there to experience the Anfield experience...

Personally, I go the game to watch football — not take part in a performance.
Alan McGuffog
2   Posted 14/01/2010 at 15:51:33

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Dead right, Kevin... remember that time a few years ago when we experimented with having one of those annoying bands... a la Sheffield Wednesday. It took a few seasons for me to uncurl my toes.

I suspect that one of the problems may be that unlike the RS and Manure we don’t exactly have an extensive repetoire of songs to get people going.

Also miserable dirges such as YNWA and Fields of Anny Rd are slower tempo and easier to keep up with. Compare the timings of those with Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey, say.....

Then again you can’t beat Kopites are Gobshites for sheer artistic merit

Gareth Humphreys
3   Posted 14/01/2010 at 16:03:35

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Chris, I know we have disgareed on this issue in the past. My feelings haven’t changed in that, in my opinion, the only thing that creates atmosphere is what happens on the pitch. Fiorentina at home is a perfect example.

Standing, acoustics, grouping of fans etc won't make Wolves at home in a meaningless game in April an all-singing, all-dancing atmospherefest.

Derek Turnbull
4   Posted 14/01/2010 at 16:35:34

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Another good post Chris.

Alan Bowen is responsible for the acoustics at Everton, it’s upto him to get off his backside and sort them out.

By all acounts it’s a relatively cheap job to do as there are a number of beams that can supprt improved acoustics.

However we’ve only been waiting for 40 odd years for them.....
Derek Turnbull
5   Posted 14/01/2010 at 16:44:48

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People are getting mixed up when they say you cannot create an atmosphere.

Currently, due to the problems that Chris Butler and myself have been highlighting, the atmosphere is being STIFLED. By addressing the problems mentioned we would get a true representation of what the a proper Everton atmosphere is all about.
Chris Butler
6   Posted 14/01/2010 at 17:21:50

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Some would argue that supporters could be the team's 12th man, pushing them on to do better things or intimidating opposition teams, hence why Liverpool are so hard to beat at home on European nights. This is why Celtic have an awful away record yet brilliant home record. The ridiulous game when they put microphones by the Chelsea suport meaning all you could hear if watched on TV is the Chelsea supporters... When you are in the middle of the Gwaldys Street, it sounds loud... but if you're the other end, you can’t hear a thing.
Chris Butler
7   Posted 14/01/2010 at 17:28:51

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Well actually, strangely, the nearer you are to a drum, the less effect it has on you, according to scientists. I’ve gone to games when drums are used and never had a problem as long as it's not a steel one.
Dan Brierley
8   Posted 14/01/2010 at 19:16:38

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Just out of interest, have those who think there is an accoustic problem, ever been to a sell-out European tie, or a derby (evening kick-off) for example?

I’d have to say, there is absolutely fuck all wrong with the accoustics, I’ve left the stadium with my ears ringing and no voice plenty of times. The problem seems to lie in what is served on the park, not what kind of egg cartons are placed under the upper tiers.

Chris, can you quote which scientifc report says that the closer you are to drums, the less effect it has? That's a fucking classic that lad. Come and stick your head next to my mates Pork Pie bass drum when he is banging out some Guns N’ Roses, and see what effect it has on you mate...
Mike Green
9   Posted 14/01/2010 at 19:41:25

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Drums at football - one of the worst additions to the game in the last twenty years. It's pathetic.

A proper atmosphere cant be manufactured, it's spontaneous and filled with honest, truthful passion. And to be honest if it's a shit atmosphere because it's a shit game then who’s to blame for that? Not the fans, stadium or lack of musical instruments but the two teams on the pitch.

Anyone that's stood under the Gwladys Street Lower on a derby and seen a goal stuck in and not thought a bomb's gone off either needs their ears testing or their head read, one or the other.

Whatever next? Cheerleaders? Having said that....
Steve Hogan
10   Posted 14/01/2010 at 19:47:15

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Fuck me, with the RS in absolute meltdown across the park, we're having a debate about the ’potential scientific effect of drums being allowed into Goodison Park’.

I’m sure Chris, you would not have this obsession if you had attended any of the following home games at Goodison in the last 10 years...Man U (Duncan’s header), Villarreal, Fiorentina (2nd leg), Chelski (Carling cup 2nd leg), RS (Cup replay). and that’s just the ones I can recall.

Please don’t tell me the atmosphere would have been any better if the crowd was allowed to stand at these games.
Derek Turnbull
11   Posted 14/01/2010 at 20:08:53

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Dan Brierley - So you think there’s nothing wrong with the acoustics because of noisy derbys etc?

At those matches you describe fans all fans are completely up for it so fans need very little enticement to make a noise. So if everyone is making a noise it compensates for the lack of acoustics.

I’ve been to many a match where there has been loads of singing then spoke to someone outside the middle of the Gwladys St and they’ve said they couldn’t hear us.

How are you gong to get fans to join in with us if they cannot hear us?

Derek Turnbull
12   Posted 14/01/2010 at 20:18:50

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Mike Green - it’s not about manufacturing passion and atmosphere.

Do you agree that fans can feed off the atmosphere generated by others? ie, are you more likely to sing an Everton song if:

a) fans by you are singing Everton songs?

b) no-one is singing/you can’t hear anyone singing?

Fans are enticed into joining in. Acoustics play a large part of that. Improving acoustics is not manufacturing support.

Dave McCarten
13   Posted 14/01/2010 at 20:49:14

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I’m really looking forward to the World Cup when all we will hear are those fookin horns, me thinks the mute button will be on overtime.
Dick Fearon
14   Posted 14/01/2010 at 21:42:44

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You can stick your bands and trumpets, I would rather have the Manchester Women's League of Health and Beauty. At half time a thousand or more of these lovely ladies dressed in pretty white little shorts and blouses would go through a fascinating mouth watering routine of adorable excercises.

This was in the 50s when I was an impressionable teenager and I have never quite got over it.God bless em, those lovely ladies are probably grannies by now. but I raise my glass to them and the sweet memories they invoked.
Now that was ATMOSPHERE.

Chris Butler
15   Posted 14/01/2010 at 22:05:11

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I was reading the Football League mag and it was going on about Preston re introducing the drum as the noise specialists who made the decision it was safe and fans near the drum would not be affected. You can get it at most newsagents in town mate in the On The Terraces page at the back.
Ste Lewis
16   Posted 15/01/2010 at 17:25:47

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Aw Dave, you’ve just reminded me of those horns, was it the Confederations Cup? They warped my mind, what an awful sound.
Charles King
17   Posted 15/01/2010 at 18:42:51

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The atmosphere at a football ground is as important as any factor in the club, it is the tangible heartbeat of the passionate supporter, the indicator of unity, of forward thinking.

Those who know little of your club's history will be drawn by the awesome spectacle of the fans as well as the success of the team, to have a great atmosphere is to have a great club.

Give me waving banners, hymns, horns, drums, fireworks, twirling scarves before any audience waiting like lords for their entertainment to commence.

Chris Butler
18   Posted 15/01/2010 at 22:30:02

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Steve Hogan, we need it most games, not just when we’re up for it. The people, who have their arse glued to their seat and mouth zipped shut for most of the year, singing at Wembley. I’m a loyal supporter, I don’t care what team we’re playing. Anyway, looks like the standing area is coming in to place and hopefully fans will stand away from home so the atmosphere will be resolved.
Martin Phillips
19   Posted 16/01/2010 at 09:05:43

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I can't see Goodison being filled with drums and horns to be honest but maybe there could be work done to improve acoustics. Having said that, there was only a 30k crowd and no Park End against Wimbledon in '94. I was in the Street End that day and have yet to experience atmosphere like that since at Goodison.
Derek Turnbull
20   Posted 17/01/2010 at 12:34:12

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After the atmosphere against City, do you now see how it can help the team? Do you now appreciate that it is an important subject? Or are you worried that we look like kopites after yesterday?

Atmosphere’s like that are getting nipped in the bud too early by:
the stewards at Goodison’s kicking fans out for standing up and starting off songs;
poor ticket distrubtion;
needless sales of tickets on the last row of the Lower St End for matches we don’t sell out for;
and failure to impove acoustics.

It took fans fired up over Lescott and the money City have and a purple patch to overcome the obstacles placed by Everton’s inactivity to help atmosphere.
Karl Masters
21   Posted 17/01/2010 at 15:32:44

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Chris and Derek make some very valid points.

Personally, I always think that what goes on during the game will always dictate the atmosphere, but on the other hand it is also true that when Goodison has that bearpit atmosphere other teams are often intimidated. Therefore, I’m dead against Brass bands, hooters and drums (they are so Bolton and Blackburn in my book), but the design of the stadium is key to spreading the noise to its greatest effect.

In that respect, Goodison has limitations, but the location of the noisemakers is really important. For instance the atmosphere is so much better if you can get the Park End and Gwladys Street both singing at the same time it’s pretty good and much better than the 80s when the old Park End was often nearly deserted and all the noise came from the Street End.
Tony I'Anson
22   Posted 17/01/2010 at 20:08:34

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Chris, I came home hoarse two days after the Villa game and I was in the main stand. Watching online yesterday at the City game, it seemed like the place was rocking. Just wish I could have been there.
David Johnson
23   Posted 19/01/2010 at 03:55:56

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Go on, Chris, get a drum... I dare you.
David Johnson
24   Posted 19/01/2010 at 03:56:32

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And a big brass hooter...
Derek Turnbull
25   Posted 19/01/2010 at 15:09:44

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David Johnson — while I’m personally not a supporter of instruments getting brought in, that was just a side point to the real issues that Chris Butler is addressing.

Since the 60s the Gwladys St singers have been asking Everton to improve the acoustics in the Gwladys St. This is not an expensive job. They have not ever bothered to do this.

If they cannot be bothered to do something as small as that, they how can we trust them to take any care into the design of a new stadium?

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