There’s no hiding from it, the atmosphere at the Bridge has been on the decline for some time now, but this year it’s been much more noticeable.
Of course, as soon as performances start to drop, the atmosphere normally takes a hit. That’s normal, especially given the sustained period of success that we’ve experienced. It also works the other way; when we were winning every week, I wouldn’t have described the atmosphere as electric. Granted, people weren’t quite as miserable…
However, regardless of the team’s performance, the atmosphere is a result of far more than that. I mentioned in my first blog of the season that one of my main hopes for the season was a reconnection between the fans and the club. Well… that hasn’t gone too well. If anything, the gap has widened.
Whilst the club can be applauded for freezing season ticket prices for another year, the decision to increase individual prices for Premier League matches is absolutely bamboozling. It’s near enough impossible for anyone to get a season ticket, so the future of the Chelsea fan base relies on people coming on a pay as you go basis. Increasing general admission prices just seems plain mental. Surely the club recognises that this is becoming an issue? Or do they not care? Surely this decision isn’t going to make it better…
I’ve spoken to many fellow fans who are listing this season as one of their least enjoyable in recent years (and the usual threats of ‘I’m chucking away my season ticket’ etc). In general, you can tell that people are going out of duty rather than enjoyment. Although there’s nothing wrong with that (and I probably fall into that category as well), it probably doesn’t help the issue at hand. It’s representative of a season of frustration, wider discontent and even more reasons to be grumpy. However, (I know I’ve said this before…) it’s really not that bad. Contrary to popular opinion, I thought we played pretty well on Sunday. The reason we didn’t win is that we aren’t very good at scoring goals. This isn’t anything new, it’s been a problem since Costa left – we just haven’t got someone capable of scoring a shed load of goals, which means we aren’t going to win as many games. Simple.
As fans, what can we do? I don’t expect people not to be pissed off, I don’t expect people not to moan – I hear ya, I’m with ya. I do now feel that the club has lost the support of large sections of the Bridge. This is a big, big problem and I feel the only thing that we can do is try and get back behind the team for the rest of the season. If it does nothing else, it will hopefully make the match-going experience slightly more enjoyable.
On a separate note, to all those travelling to Kyiv, have a great trip. It’s a fantastic (if slightly strange) city. And your pounds will go a lot further than in Malmo!
Written by @nickstroudley