The other day, I took part in a great English tradition, the football fan’s away day, as I followed my favourite team Arsenal to take on Manchester United. I’ll swiftly skip over the embarrassing performance and most likely title-surrendering debacle I witnessed.
Unlike home ties, there is a real sense of community atmosphere about traveling with random people for the same common passion. I had a great time chatting to and chanting along with drunk fans on the train. The banter between both sets of supporters is always a funny highlight, and fellow Gunners singing ‘we’ll race you back to London’ at bemused groups of United fans traveling from the capital was a winner for me. And as much as I disliked United, seeing Old Trafford alone made the trip worthwhile.
While meeting fellow Arsenal fans outside the stadium was fun – I had to sit with the home fans and keep quiet during the match, which wasn’t easy (or probably safe) – the away matches really are a great show of support. Traveling conditions tend to be shit, and the commute eats up most of the day. For many supporters, following their team at the weekend means time away from family also. And then there is the added price of train tickets, which for some reason no one’s quite worked out yet is stupidly high in this country .
Yes, following your team around is a real commitment in many ways. And last week’s announcement by the Premier League that away tickets will be capped at £30 for the next 3 seasons comes as a great reward to loyal football fans all around the country. I for one look forward to making the most of this long-awaited gesture 🙂
And if Arsenal could stop losing every time I watch them live, that would be a nice added bonus also…