Monday 1 July 2019

Women's World Cup France 2019: Come on Feel the (natural) Noise

France v USA in Friday's Women's World Cup quarter final, and the relentless, pulsating and natural noise of mostly French people is only interrupted by the customary, maxed-out-on-e numbers stadium announcer screaming out how many out of them were making it.

Yes, of course, a 45,000 crowd for a women's match is a fantastic development, but it's a shame that the usual jumped up little squirt with the power of the mic try gets to barge in on the moment. Can the news not be delivered sanely, so that the storm of joy can come out of the calm, instead of invite the people making history to jump on your back in celebration?

The curse of the juvenile stadium announcer, that is clearly infecting the women's game now that proper people have made it popular, is a prominent feature of the modern trend for  'customers' to be entertained at all times. During half time on Friday night, The Birdy Song was played on repeat, interspersed with that stadium announcer screaming at intervals. I couldn't understand the significance because my French is barely better than my English, but even if I had understood, I still wouldn't have understood.

What should be obvious is that people have come to watch a football match, and not Ant & Dec's Saturday Night TakeAway. We don't need to be hyped up, and appeased with fireworks and X Factor-type music to get us in the mood. People are paying good money and travelling far and wide (even 'world wide') FOR THE FOOTBALL. Please let go of the dominating music that exists right up until kick off, and kicks in as soon as the half time whistle is blown. As the French showed, the people can make the noise sufficiently well. We don't need the intrusion of morons. It's bad enough having to put up with VAR.

At Arsenal there are two stadium announcers, both with DJ voices from the eighties, one of whom has his name come up on the big screens when he's yapping on about some rubbish that only matters to him because it means we all have to hear his voice. This Ant & Dec combination has one of them bellowing out the player's names as if they are the heroes of the pantomime and the other asking the crowd "Are you ready!" before commanding "Enjoy the game!"

Not everyone has come to 'enjoy the game'. When I was five, and my dad first started taking me to Highbury, there was only a brass band before kick off and a rational human being reading the teams out. Both fitted in nicely with all the knee-knocking anxiety I used to feel as soon as Arsenal's opponents' entered our half. Within a couple of years I learned that some of Arsenal's players were booed when their names were read out, which was kind of fascinating in a macabre way.  

When I was at primary school, a new boy became my best friend and even started supporting Arsenal because I did (doubling the number in the school). The playtime matches on the field sometimes disillusioned him when he struggled to get involved, so I used to play the ball to him as much as I could to keep him interested, but often I would see him drifting off to another part of the field or playground to enter into something more engaging. My role there is now being played by misguided Matchday operations people, or whatever they call themselves, trying to stop us leaving the ground and never coming back.

What I've achieved here of course, is to allow some damaged people to take all the headlines/blog headline instead of talk about the enthralling, tense and, yes, exciting, France-USA game. But USA-England in a semi final is to come tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the match up of USA's left sided pair of Crystal Dunn and top scorer, Megan Rapinoe come up against the right sided English equivalent, Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris.

And I don't need The Birdy Song or pyrotechnics or an insane DJ barking at me to maintain my interest.


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