Arsenal Fans: Welcome Home
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
By Rob Worthington (Senior Writer)
Thursday night was a special day for Gooners around the globe. For the first time since March, fans were welcomed back into the Emirates Stadium. Doubtless, the sight of 2,000 fans inside the ground not only warmed the hearts of those in attendance, but also the hearts of those supporting from home.
As Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proclaimed in a video the Arsenal media team released on that special day, “Football is about you, the fans.” Fans are what make the beautiful game a little more beautiful.
Without fans, the spectacle of football has been damaged. Of course, since the first UK lockdown, we’ve had some wonderful moments as Arsenal fans, but an asterisk must be placed next to each and every one of those moments. Why? Because the lack of fans made them significantly less wonderful.
The best part of any trophy win is the celebrations that take place post-match. After our fourteenth FA Cup victory in the Summer, seeing Mikel Arteta and his team parade the FA Cup around an empty Wembley just felt wrong. In fact, all celebrations behind closed doors have felt a little wrong. Seeing Alex Lacazette knee slide in front of the East Stand made it start to feel right again.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to grab a ticket for that game. As a regular Emirates Stadium attendee, on a personal level, this upsets me slightly. Since the start of the 18/19 season, I’ve missed just five home games. Regardless, jealousy wasn't the overriding emotion for me, as it usually is when I’m not able to attend home fixtures.
My overwhelming emotion was happiness. The Emirates Stadium isn’t the same place without fans. It probably won’t be the same place until Arsenal are able to welcome 60,000 fans back home. However, after months of watching games being played in front of a grand total of zero supporters, seeing 2,000 in the ground was heartening.
Of course, 2,000 fans represent just 3.33% of the Emirates Stadium’s total capacity, but it’s a step in the right direction. Finally, the fabricated crowd noise can be made redundant. The Arsenal fans are finally coming home. A special, special day.