March 18, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
When I was a kid, St. Andrew’s was renowned for being a placed that rocked. Glenn Hoddle and Sir Alex Ferguson are amongst numerous top-flight managers past and present who remarked how much they hated coming to Stan’s because of how difficult the atmosphere inside the ground made it for their sides.
Nowadays though the ground during a match is often like it’s been muted by some giant remote control, save for the odd moan and groan. I pointed this out when Lee Clark was manager, but was told that the atmosphere would improve once he was replaced and we started playing better. Well he has been replaced, we have started playing better but the atmosphere is still poor (after a revival in Rowett’s first few games in charge). So what’s the excuse now?
Well partly I think the sullenness is as a result of heightened expectations of where people think this team should be. I think some Blues fans are STILL in the mentality that we should turn up and steamroller teams like Huddersfield and Millwall at home and get mardy when we don’t. To me that’s baffling; I think given the various circumstances Gary Rowett has done tremendously to drag us up to the safety of mid-table in the Championship. We have no right to thrash anyone in this division.
Saturday saw something I really hate though; when Lloyd Dyer was brought on in the eightieth minute as a sub he was greeted with a chorus of mumbling and grumbling with even the odd boo thrown in. It’s bad enough slating your own players whilst playing, but to give them before they even enter the pitch is abysmal.
But whilst that is an extreme, it is a symptom of the general atmosphere at Blues. What can be done to improve it though? I mean when people have tried they have been shot down by the Twitterati, the internet warriors and even by people in the ground during games. Forza Blues were ridiculed for trying to bring noise and colour to games and Block 11, for me so long a shining beacon of all that can be good about football supporters, are continually slagged off and abused.
People moan about things but when people put forward a solution or try and rectify a problem they are moaned at as well. Even if people don’t moan, then many are too apathetic to do anything about it. It’s why Forza Blues ultimately failed; not because the concept was wrong but because no-one bothered joining in. To go off on a tangent it’s why the Blues Trust haven’t been anywhere near as influential as they could have been. Not because of the people running it, who in my opinion have tried the very best they can with the very best of intentions, but because there are too many Blues fans who simply say “after you, Claude” when it comes to stepping up to the plate. Blues fans, to be quite frank, have wanted everything put on a plate for them, too willing to let someone else do the leg work and if that leg work comes to nothing to tear a strip off them for doing it in the first place.
Apathy is one thing though, but for people to actually start slating our own to me is perverse. But there were many comments about how Forza Blues was a cringe worthy idea – people wanting to support the team as much as possible was apparently “cringe worthy”. It’s an idea that has worked at places like Palace and to a lesser extent at ‘Boro, it could have worked here as well. But no, many Blues fans instead mocked the whole concept and it died a death, so why would anyone try and instigate something like that in the future?
So what can be done to improve the atmosphere? I honestly don’t know, because as I said people with the best of intentions who have tried to improve different areas of life at Blues in the past have simply been slapped down. If anything was attempted along the lines of what Forza Blues attempted to do then I would hope it would be received with more open mindedness. But in general I also think Blues fans need to man up a bit – we aren’t a big beast in this league like we used to be. This is a team that for me is filled with players who are fighting like dogs most weeks and punching above its weight being as high as it is in this division. It’s about time we got behind them. It’s been good to hear more noise coming from Block 13 in recent games, it’s time the rest of Stan’s to follow suit.
What are your thoughts on the atmosphere at St. Andrew’s in recent years. How would you improve this?