What makes a sports stadium a modern day fortress? We have that thought here at MouthLondon, especially when a plucky team goes to a stadium like Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge and steps off the bus with the thought already in their minds that they’re probably going to lose, and then they end up losing 4-0.
Sometimes that aura can be diminished like it was with Arsenal’s recent win at Chelsea (5-3!) or Manchester City’s takedown of their city rivals United (6-1!!). But it’s never lost entirely and probably ensures that the next team to journey up to Theatre of Dreams or The Bridge will be on the receiving end of a pummelling, so how is a fortress created?
…inferiority complex arises…
It seems obvious when a team that has multi-millionaires in each position plays a team that, despite being relatively well-paid, probably add up to less than the sum of the other team’s most expensive player. An inferiority complex arises and it (almost) goes without saying that you’re up against the crème de l crème of football. The gulf in quality shows when the home team swats the opposition away like you would do with an annoying fly. The idea here is buy the best or groom the best players in the world; FC Barcelona are a pretty fantastic example of this.
…fans find their voice…
The bigger the stadium the more fans you can fit, and if they’re passionate and vocal then the home team effectively has a 12th man on their side. It’s no wonder that teams with sixty odd thousand fans rarely lose, once the fans find their voice and get behind a team, they urge their side on while chastising the opposition and that makes for a pretty distracting and daunting atmosphere. Even for teams that can’t rely on sixty thousand people, enough noise will make for a venue that no opposing team will be in a hurry to visit again.
A never say die attitude
…the deficit can be rectified.
It helps in creating a fortress by ensuring that you don’t lose cheap goals or make mistakes. It’s easier said than done but even when a team is losing, with a never-say-die attitude there’s a confidence that the deficit can be rectified. An example of this would be Manchester United who regularly come back from two goals and win, or equalise in the last minute. Imagine the prospect of having a relentless wave of red shirts bombarding your goal and you start to worry about how long you can keep them out (it also helps when ‘Fergie time’ is introduced).
Winning when you play badly
…they still win the match.
Can you imagine a circumstance where a team that doesn’t expect to win plays to their maximum and, on the balance of play, generally deserve to win the match only to trudge off the pitch at full-time with nothing? Teams can’t play well nevertheless they still win the match. The old adage of ‘taking your chances’ comes to mind and for the home team it only increases the air of invincibility.
…some days things go your way…
There’s always an element of luck when it comes to creating a sporting fortress. It can be summed by simply saying that on some days things go your way and on other days they don’t. However, when it happens time after time an away team might suspect that something unfair is taking place (like the officials are against you) but that is a sign of just how irrational a team’s thinking can get. Even if they prepare well and play well, even Lady Luck will side against them.
Images courtesy of Star Wars and Manchester United