Going back all the way to the club’s humble beginnings in 1886, Arsenal can pride itself in having a wide and faithful repertoire of supporters or ‘Goonies’ (derived from Gunners) with a global fan base at around 27 million, making it the third largest in the world.
Young/old, gay/straight, local/ international, rich/poor, famous/ regular, Arsenal boasts fans from all walks of life who unite to support their team. Especially in the case of Arsenal, the fans are just as crucial in the history of the club as the team itself.
Having Each Other’s Back
Throughout its timeline, Arsenal FC has on numerous occasions found itself in financial turmoil with the threat of being disbanded, however their fans always came through, filling up stadium seats and egging their heroes on to victory. With the second highest league attendance and the fourth highest all time average attendance, the Gunners are well aware of their power. What’s interesting and unique to Arsenal is that today fans can actually buy shares in the club itself, owning a little piece of the action. It’s nice to think that it’s the club’s way of saying thank you for making Arsenal what it is today, but it may just be a clever marketing ploy. Either way, it’s a fun initiative.
The Anti-Arsenal Boo Boys and Disputes
As with any team, there would naturally be disputes and criticism within the fan-base. The aptly named ‘boo-boys’ would generally address their frustration and animosities towards certain managers and policies.
Tottenham Hotspur Rivalry
Arsenal’s oldest and most intense rivalry also happens to be with their closest neighbouring club, Tottenham Hotspur, their matches notoriously being cited as North London Derbies. Other less fierce derbies include Chelsea and West Ham United, as well as the Manchester United rivalry harking back to the 1980’s.
When it comes to the matches against other London side derbies, such as West Ham and Chelsea, the rivalry is intense, but not as intense as it is between Arsenal and Tottenham. Additionally, matches against the Red Devils from Manchester the rivalry is based on the strong on-pitch rivalry, which has been going on, since the late 1980s. It’s mostly been due to Arsenal and United, were both fighting for the Premier League Title.
Aside from the standard English football songs, the Goonies like to sing, amongst others, “Who’s that team they call the Arsenal”, a good old “One-Nil to the Arsenal” (to the tune of “Go West”), “Good Old Arsenal” (to the tune of “Rule, Britannia!”) and “We’re the North Bank/Clock End Highbury”. Another favourite is “Boring, Boring Arsenal”, coined in the1970s era of rigid defence and low-scoring wins.