Noise at a football game? This can catch on, you know.
Finally an atmosphere. Finally a roar. Finally, supporters are back to football.
Admittedly, the language left a lot to be desired, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.
8,000 supporters were allowed to go to Wembley for the final of the Carabao Cup on Sunday
Eight thousand spectators were allowed access to Wembley for the final of the Carabao Cup. It might as well have been 80,000.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but after a season marked by its mind-numbing silence, we can all get carried away.
Because we’ve all missed this: fans harassing each other, tormenting their own players, ironically applauding when someone in the opposition is terribly wrong.
It all started to feel very familiar; like when you meet a friend you haven’t seen in 10 years but talk like you saw him last weekend.
That was far from the case, of course – face masks were mandatory, fans were spaced to ensure social distance, while supporters had to pass two negative Covid tests before competing and another after the game.
Face masks were mandatory and the fans spaced to ensure social distance
But all of that was a minor inconvenience to those lucky enough to have tickets. They have longed for this moment – they clearly intended to take full advantage.
Of the 8,000 on site, both clubs were allocated 2,000 tickets – the remaining 4,000 were reserved for local residents and NHS staff.
Last week’s FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton, which was selected as another government test event, hosted 4,000 spectators, purely Brent residents and front line workers.
The two environments were like chalk and cheese. Here in the national stadium on Sunday, the atmosphere matched a showpiece of a final. The stadium may only have a capacity of less than 10 percent, but you wouldn’t have known.
Last week’s game, on the other hand, was rather boring – although you would imagine Brendan Rodgers and his players would disagree.
The presence of supporters at the game was like being reunited with an old friend
In a week where those at the top of our national sport seem to have forgotten what drives English football – this clash was a poignant reminder of what they were willing to throw away: the fans, their passion, their intensity, their spirit. Fool them more.
Ironically, the two teams competing in Sunday’s final were among the six who showed complete disregard for the traditions woven into the fabric of the English game.
Had Manchester City and Tottenham had their way, it would have been played under very different auspices next season.
But the supporters had their say; they left. English fans have been the bane of European football for decades.
Reputation isn’t necessarily a fake one; their behavior often leaves something to be desired. But right now they are the toast of the continent.
Aymeric Laporte scored the only goal of the game with eight minutes of normal playing time
At Wembley, there weren’t the protests that symbolized what will forever be etched in our memories as one of the most tumultuous weeks in our game’s recent history.
Fans of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham voiced outrage at their own club’s attempts to put away decades of heritage in favor of the richness of a European Super League.
They put their differences aside, they mobilized, they united, they fought. Everything for the greater good.
Most importantly, they won. On Sunday, Tottenham and Manchester City supporters were just as boisterous.
They made sure they were heard, but for a different reason. And it sounded like music to everyone’s ears.