Watching the Burnley vs Arsenal game yesterday, I was struck with the incredible partisan nature of the crowd. I don’t mean fervent, passionate get-behind-your-team partisan, I mean boo-the-other-team-and-every-single-decision-that-is-given-or-not-given-against-you. It was absolutely remarkable. Handball shouts every 2 minutes, baying for blood with every Arsenal tackle. It got me thinking about the basis of football support.
Do these fans go to a match to vent and release the frustrations they have in every day life? How can it be fun to spend 90 minutes with your eyes bulging out of your head screaming at blokes chasing a football. Perhaps they should spend more time actually supporting their own team than on their obsession with Arsenal?
Diving, cheating, Arsenal.
Burnley Twitter after the game was quite a thing. Apparently Arsenal should have had 2 players sent off, they spent the whole game diving, and Ramsey dived to win the 92nd min penalty. I honestly had no idea who they were referring to.
Turned out they meant Xhaka (for one of the best tackles of the season) and Mustafi for persistent fouling (4 fouls). Ashley Barnes spent 90 minutes throwing himself to the ground at every opportunity. Diving, I call it. Don’t recall an Arsenal dive, that’s isn’t to say there wasn’t one however.
Ignoring the actual penalty for a second, Bellerin was clearly fouled in the box in the second half – giving Arsenal their 6th blatant non-penalty of the season (yes I’m counting). No mention of that from Burnley fans. And as for the penalty: it’s a push, a clear push, in the box. Penalty. 100%. Oddly just the sort of ones Arsenal haven’t been given for a while now.
I wondered what drives a fan to be so one-eyed, to literally ignore everything that went on in the game and stick to their pre-conceived ideas of what “would” happen during the game and stick to it before, during, and after the game.
Then I remembered that over 70% of Burnley voted for Brexit. And I stopped wondering.