We only sing when we're winning?

by   |   02/01/2018  28 Comments  [Jump to last]

Throughout the period 2000-2011, I was either a season ticket holder at Goodison Park, or a regular match-day attendee (home and away). Since then, for various reasons, I've become an irregular match-day goer (I probably get to four homes and three aways a season) and an armchair viewer. And it is from this perspective that I ask: What has happened to the volume of the crowd and quality of songs at Goodison Park over the last few years?

Perhaps my mind is playing tricks on me, but in that first decade of the 21st Century, not a home game would go by without several renditions of:

"It’s a grand old team", "We hate Bill Shankly…", the usual "E-VER-TON, E-VER-TON…" chant emanating from the Gwladys Street End. We also had lots of chants for specific players, including some great ones for Arteta, Gravesen, Pienaar and Hibbert (hijacked by Man City fans for Kolo and Yaya Toure). Moyes was regularly feted with a song about the colour of his hair. And, every once in a while, an old school chant of "Barry Horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrne", "Duncan had a pigeon", or even the "Everton, oh we love Everton" chant celebrating the 1985 team would go up. In short, Goodison was, more often than not, pretty loud and full of song.

Then, when Martinez took over, I remember going to my first game in September and thinking how great it was that we had some new songs in our repertoire: "Allez-allez-allez-oooooh" was a cracker, as was "The School of Science is on its way back". The songs for Barkley, McCarthy (the one to the tune of Karma Chameleon that was not sung enough) and Coleman were also great and original. I was dead chuffed that our fans had brought out some new numbers, but I also thought the amount of singing had maybe dropped a touch.

But now? What of the situation now? Well, to be totally honest, I’m not really sure we have many songs at all, or that we are loud in any way. Of the four games I’ve been to this season (including West Ham where we won 4-0 under lights), I have heard "E-VER-TON, E-VER-TON…". go up a couple of times, plus some chanting for Oumar, but that’s kind of it. And the games I’ve watched on telly? The ground seems very, very quiet. The two I recently watched, Swansea and Man Utd at home, you could only hear away fans. And when the away fans were quiet you could hear individuals talking to each other.

Is this the impression of people who go more regularly than me? Have we just become much more quiet over the last few years... and why? Of the current squad, I think we have songs / chants for Barkley, Coleman, Bolasie, Niasse and Rooney (the last two are just the same chant though). It can’t just be because the football has been depressing, surely? We have some of the best fans in the world, but right now I don’t get the sense that we are showing our identity as a club on match days well enough.

Like I said at the top, I’m not a regular anymore and the reason I mentioned that is because I want to hear the opinions of our regular match-day goers (Lower Gwladys Street especially) and, if people are in agreement, see if there’s something that can be done about it. I don’t want to sound like I’m having a pop at the match-going fans, just want to understand if this is a problem we should try and rectify.

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Reader Comments (28)

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Peter Gorman
1 Posted 03/01/2018 at 04:34:49
Think most match-going fans just feel numb. Like most other types of fan..
Jimmy Salt
2 Posted 03/01/2018 at 07:07:35
Pretty much hits the nail on the head Peter.
Dave Evans
3 Posted 03/01/2018 at 07:42:14
Too many false dawns off the pitch and within the 90 minutes on the pitch. Fans have had expectations built up only to see them badly and many times embarrassingly, let down.
Everton fans still travel and pay to go away in great numbers despite knowing beforehand their isn't going to to be much provided on the pitch to put a smile on their face for the long journey home.
Jeff Hughes
4 Posted 03/01/2018 at 07:59:11
Unlike Liverpool, and I hate to admit this, Goodison has never truly been a singing crowd. By the way fans, if you are going to sing "It's a grand old team" for God's sake sing it more slowly so that you can take a breath and not see the song fizzle out. What Goodison has offered in the past has been a sudden, roaring aggression that creates a bear pit for opposing players and officials. The crowd react to front foot attacking play and aggressive tackling, but unfortunately, with the likes of Safety Joe Schneiderlin in the team, we don't see it too often. We all felt the difference when McCarthy came on and snapped a few tackles in the other night and we remember with real pride the time Phil Neville got stuck into Ronaldo. Whilst I like original and witty songs, what I don't want is a constant and uninspiring dirge that simply blends into the background. Let's get back to the sudden roar of the crowd and to do that let's get back on the front foot at home and have a real go, whoever the opposition. The style of football at Goodison has to show passion if you want a passionate crowd.
Nitesh Kanchan
5 Posted 03/01/2018 at 11:03:05
I would like to hear Daniel Bryan chant occasionally with all of Goodison park roaring together when we attack,something that will get players energy levels up.Not that difficult chant for the full capacity crowd.
Charles Barrow
6 Posted 03/01/2018 at 11:24:53
I think the energy is sucked out of the crowd by the football we are being offered. It is difficult to get too excited when you're defending for most of the game! I think we're all suffering from a collective depression; not just with Allardyce but after the experience of watching the team under a series of less-than-inspiring managers.

Liverpool have had the luxury of having some good and very occasionally great players to enthuse about and, as we know, some success. My Red 'mates' will admit when its not going too well the Kop groans and moans like all fans – unfortunately their bad periods only seem to last a few games at a time – not the whole bloody season.

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 03/01/2018 at 11:33:05
To be honest the atmosphere apart from an odd game hasn't been great for a long time. But I don't blame the fans going to the game it hasn't been a great experience, except for the first season Martinez was in charge. When foolishly we actually believed that things were changing and we could break into the top 4.

We now go to the game not expecting much and even with these low expectations; we still walk out of Goodison disappointed. As fans we have had expectations built only for them to be knocked down very quickly, so you lose faith that anything good will happen.

I think you have to go back to Howard's first spell in charge when we could match any team, but a lot of dross has passed under the bridge since then. I don't expect the atmosphere to change much while Allardyce is here. Most match-going fans are just hoping we stay out of a relegation fight and hopefully we make changes in the summer.

Having been going to Goodison since the middle 1950s it saddens me to see how far we have fallen. In the 60s we played great entertaining football and in the 80s the same. I hope we can get back there but it seems light years away, and I wonder if I will ever see Everton compete for the league in my lifetime.

But I think the greatest praise I can give is for the younger Blues who have seen us win absolutely nothing yet still turn up in great numbers. The one and possibly only thing that I enjoy about going the game is the number of young supporters going to the game.

Phil Walling
8 Posted 03/01/2018 at 11:51:04
So much for the popular view that it's results what count - not the 'football 'being dished up.

Don't you believe it. Evertonians have always expected a decent display of effort and skill and in recent times have been cheated out of this under a succession of managers.

One thing is for certain, the present incumbent won't deliver on that demand – and even the results are far from a certainty!

Rob Young
9 Posted 03/01/2018 at 12:30:31
Another thing that might play a (small) part is the annoying loud music over the tannoy before the match. There is no way any atmosphere can build up between two sets of fans with this music playing at that volume.

Next, you get Z-cars and suddenly we are all wide awake only to be followed but the Premier League tune and a friendly handshake!? WTF! Even worse, nowadays it's not even a handshake but some sort of a fist bump !

It is even more noticeable for the start of the second half when most times neither set of fans seem to be bothered at all anymore.

And no, I won't sing or get up and shout for another ball passed sideways or another tumble as no player seems to be strong enough anymore to hold of any sort of challenge.

David Pearl
10 Posted 03/01/2018 at 12:40:48
Zero atmosphere for last the 3 seasons apart from when we play top teams. Miserable pies in kept warm in plastic. Having to wait 20 mins for a pint. It could be so much easier.

Also finding a program these days seems hard. 㾻 to park the Car. All adds up. To me being miserable crammed into my seat with my shoulders scrunched in is only natural.

I'm currently grounded in Amsterdam with flight cancelled, told my shopping girlfriend I'm checking the flight status (but really transfer status).

Dave Ganley
11 Posted 03/01/2018 at 12:46:36
Spot on post really. I've had a season ticket for years and never known it so bad. To be honest, as Tim suggests, the atmosphere was always good during Moyes's tenure, then when we realised how dull to boring Martinez was in that first season the atmosphere just completely evaporated and we've never got it back since. No more bear pit atmosphere, we couldn't even intimidate a mascot let alone a top club.

The football for the last 5 years has been awful in general with an occasional respite. Without doubt this is the reason for the awful atmosphere. I get that the fans can be the 12th man but if the team don't seem to care or put the effort in then the fans seem to reciprocate. A little bit of effort from the players and management would make all the difference.

David S Shaw
12 Posted 03/01/2018 at 16:41:44
I thought it was poor back then for a standard match, however at least you did at least get a few exceptions and good spells, and there were more songs. It's a shame most of our songs then were specific to player or manager so they couldn't really carry forward to now.

The more silence you get the more fans make excuses for the silence and it in turn breeds more silence. We could do with a strong minded group of fans to make a stand and sing their hearts out.

John Raftery
13 Posted 03/01/2018 at 23:45:57
Rob (9) You are right about the annoying loud music played before the teams come out and at half-time. It deadens the senses and drowns out any chance of the crowd creating their own pre-match atmosphere. Another problem is the number of fans stuffing themselves with food and the awful beer in the concourses while the game is in progress.

I go to every home and away game and the atmosphere at Goodison has been among the worst in the league for several seasons. Doubtless the standard and style of play has something to do with it but that cannot be the only explanation. Fans at perennial strugglers like Palace are far more vocal than we are. Among the bigger clubs Chelsea and Spurs (at White Hart Lane) have generally enjoyed a great atmosphere however well or badly their team is playing while The Emirates is rightly dubbed a library.

Back in the early part of the 80s when the team was struggling crowds of 13,000 often made more noise than 39,000 do nowadays. While the move to all-seated stadiums is often cited as the root cause of reduced vocal support, I suspect the issue is more complex than that.

It may be something to do with the emotional bond between team and fans. That appears to be stronger at some clubs where those on and off the pitch have a shared 'cause' which manifests itself in loud vocal support. At Goodison that emotional bond has been eroded over the past few seasons with apathy and total disenchantment often the prevailing sentiments among many supporters.

David Barks
14 Posted 03/01/2018 at 00:00:27
Blaming the loud music? At a sporting event? Seriously!! I find one of the major issues to be the lack of music to get the supporters going. Palace do a tremendous job at that. They play lively, up tempo music to encourage the supporters to get rowdy. It's great, combined with the cheerleaders.

Get the music pumping with visual cues on the big screens to get the supporters to join in. Of course, the atmosphere will immediately die once they see us defending for our lives the entire match.

Chris Hockenhull
15 Posted 04/01/2018 at 00:38:07
Jeff Hughes (#4) got this spot on.

I started going in 1963 and then was unaware of how noisy / quiet we were in comparison with others because, quite simply, media coverage was nothing like it is now... so, unless you went every game, home and away, one never knew who was louder / subdued etc. However, and again, one hates to say this, our red brethren once again saw media opportunities oh so better than we ever did. (Does this not ring familiar years on?)

They got on the whole Merseybeat / Shankly / Kop image and milked it 1000% resulting to the 'wall of sound' that Zulu's today wax lyrical about from far far away (and dare I say it, so many others on Merseyside who support the Shite with such a passion who have never stepped foot inside the place) but the image lives on.

I recall at the start of Everton's League Championship-winning season 1969-70, the then Chief Executive, a chap named David Exall. in one of the first programme notes took the fans at Goodison to task saying they were too quiet and asked for feedback only to be berated for the fact that "build us a roof and we'll blast away The Kop/Stretford End etc etc". This he still refuted and I agree it has never been a noisy stadium as Jeff points out historically... whether we like hearing it or not. Yes that 'Bear Pit' image is becoming a School af Science myth, I hate to say.

There have been great moments – mostly at nights; my favourite on a freezing 1 April 1970 evening vs West Brom when a simple echoing sound cry of "Champions... Champions... Champions" reverberated all over the place, even louder than Dylan & The Hawks at The Odeon on 14 May 1966.

The football culture has changed and I have to accept that. But I have always hated a sunny August, September, April or May afternoon when it puts the bloody place to sleep, no matter who we played. I for one hope the new place can change things but sadly the times they have a changed and football ground passion has changed.

I'm glad I did witness what I did all those years ago, even though it was not the noise I wanted to be placed inside of... sorry to ramble on. I always wanted Goodison to be that way where it was known for a unique Wall of Sound / Wall of Fear... ah well.

Kevin O'Regan
16 Posted 04/01/2018 at 06:51:49
I agree that the atmosphere is subdued and there are probably a heap of reasons for that. Over here in Germany one of the things I like about the stadiums is that a core set of fans are allowed to bring flags into the stadium. There are also fan groups who organise chants and singing and drums and animate the fan block during the match. Also when a player's name is called out over the loudspeakers they would just say the first name - e.g. goalscorer is "Robert" and the home fans would chant "Lewandoswki" - this then adds a level of connection with the players as well as a bit of banter between the stadium speaker (announcer) and the fans. Spice it up a bit EFC and fans.
Alan McGuffog
17 Posted 04/01/2018 at 09:55:39
Drums ! Dear God no ! Did we not experiment, about 10-15 seasons ago ,with one of these " bands". Bloody embarrassing as I recall .like those dicks at the England games
Ray Roche
18 Posted 04/01/2018 at 10:08:39
I agree with the comments that it is the football that gets the crowd going. Sideways, backward passing is as boring as anything, it will not get you off your feet. Play decent attacking football and we'll make some noise.
It's worth noting that there have been complaints from across the park about the lack of atmosphere there, once the choreographed "Wank Alone" crap has ended. It's not just Goodison.
And regarding the away fans sounding louder on TV, the BBC etc., said some time ago that the microphones were placed nearer away fans for MOTD etc. to make the atmosphere more "balanced".
Joey Brown
19 Posted 04/01/2018 at 18:34:54
I'm with the sentiments above. I imagine it's hard for the match day go-ers to get excited enough to sing when I can't even think of more then a couple games that have been enjoyable to watch.
Rob Dolby
20 Posted 04/01/2018 at 19:34:44
The atmosphere at every ground is made from the away fans. It's not just a Goodison thing.

From my point of view the atmosphere changed with seating and then the price hikes excluding the characters that would lead the singing who would rather watch the match in the pub and get pissed for less than the price of a match ticket.

IMO We should have subsidised singing areas or look at standing areas.

Kunal Desai
21 Posted 04/01/2018 at 20:36:10
I think most fans know how embarrassing it appears when you sing 'we don't care what the redshite say, what the hell do we care, cos for all we know there's gonna be a show when the Everton boys are there'
There really is no show, far from it, especially when those lot are the ones putting on a show in front of there fans. Our songs are just cringeworthy that are regurgitated from our past glories of the 80's.

You have to look at the garbage we have accumulated over the past 5-6 years on the pitch to. It's been downhill for me after the days of having Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar. We have never replaced the quality of players left. There has been nothing to shout about and the football aside from Martinez's first season has got progressively worse and mundane.

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 05/01/2018 at 22:12:20
What the fuck is there to sing about?

We never beat a top side at Goodison anymore (City last January)

We all supposed to reach our thrill eeking out 1-0 wins against West Brom??

Roger Helm
24 Posted 07/01/2018 at 11:59:02
I think of two reasons:

Firstly, the cost of attending these days means I think that the average age of the fans is going up, and making a lot of noise is generally a younger person thing.

Secondly, the stadium does get noisy when we are attacking, but with the boring defensive and possession-based sideways-passing stuff we have seen in recent years, people just get stunned into silence.

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 07/01/2018 at 18:33:37
We frequently hear: "2-0 up and you still don't sing!" I think that sums things up.

The other thing to bear in mind is the part of the ground you sit in. The sides (Bullens and Main Stand) are much quieter than the ends. The Park End can be noisy due to the proximity of the away fans. But the Gwladys is by far the loudest section, and the players recognise this by going to clap there after every home game. Rarely do they come to visit us in the Park End. They know where the noise comes from.

Steve Carse
26 Posted 08/01/2018 at 00:14:19
Rob (#9) there is a lot in what you say although in truth grounds being near full well before kick off disappeared with all-seater stadiums.

At Anfield on Friday, the volume of the tannoy system before kick-off was ridiculous. You couldn't have a conversation there never mind start a chant. How far removed from the days when both sets of supporters would enjoy vocal exchanges in the build-up to kick-off so that, by the time the teams took to the field, things were at fever pitch.

Steve Ferns
27 Posted 08/01/2018 at 13:23:47
Steve, how terrible is the tannoy announcer for Liverpool? Who is he, he sounds like an old scouse Alan Partridge type.
Jim Potter
28 Posted 10/01/2018 at 12:16:59
Get standing in the new stadium – then you'll begin to get a proper atmosphere again.

Lower the price of tickets (easily achievable given the huge TV revenues) and we'll see a return of the 'traditional' type fan and not just the 'prawn sandwich' eaters. I'm not knocking middle class fans – but to me we've out priced our core support and as a consequence we've lost our heart and our atmosphere.

The Taylor Report was necessary for its period but to me times have moved on and so should our pricing system and our views on standing at games.

Eddie Dunn
29 Posted 19/01/2018 at 13:52:46
I don't go to Goodison these days – I live 150 miles away and it's too much hassle getting ticket I just get to one or two away games, and watch BT or free streams. In my young days, I stood on the Gwladys Street for a couple of years before becoming a Park-ender. Naturally I have stood or sat in most parts of the ground and I often thought that the atmosphere was flat, the singing almost non-existent and sometimes felt embarrassed at our pathetic responses to the fun-filled away fans.

Obviously the pricing and stress on season ticket sales has changed the match-going demographic but the all-seater stadiums and limits on away fans also diminish the rivalry previously experienced.

I used to love it when Man City or Man Utd would fill the away end, and we would all squeeze into the Enclosure or Paddock. Nowadays, it is only in the Cup when vast hordes of fans can compete for noise and songs.

The odd timing of the kick-offs for TV schedules doesn't help either and the spread of games over the whole weekend takes some of the drama away from matchday, whereas in the past, it all added to the immediacy of the event.

Let's hope the planning for the new ground takes atmosphere into account, with a variety of pricing and perhaps some standing areas too, with a generous provision for the away support, perhaps commensurate to the demand for tickets.

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