OPINION: The fans are back - now it’s time to adjust and entertain

There’s an iconic scene in the movie Gladiator, please stay with me on this, where Russell Crowe’s character Maximus slays his opponent, turns to the crowd and bellows “Are you not entertained?”

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 12:43 pm
Fans are starting to filter back in stadiums after a long absence.
Fans are starting to filter back in stadiums after a long absence.

In doing so he addresses head on the fact that though he has just avoided death and killed a man in the process, he is ultimately dispensable and there to entertain the crowd who have gathered to watch.

Now, you’d be quick to say that a football team is there to win games and to try and win trophies, but when you factor in a thousands of spectators who have paid good money to watch then don’t they also have a duty to make sure those people are entertained?

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger once said; “my job is to give people who work hard all week something to enjoy on Saturdays and Wednesdays” and for much of his reign, he managed to combine both success on the pitch with aesthetically pleasing football.

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I’m sure fans of his old club are longing for a return to the Wenger era as they currently struggle to score a goal, never mind win a game or put on a show for their fans.

The Ying to Wenger’s Yang in many ways is Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho and one of the reasons I bring all this up is because there was some criticism of his style of play in Tottenham’s recent 2-0 North London Derby win.

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness was cr that Mourinho’s style of play is “not a great watch”.

The Coronavirus pandemic has distorted the normal supporter-team dynamic with games played behind closed doors, but a small number of Spurs fans were in the ground for that game and they not only saw their team win against their biggest rivals but also go top of the Premier League.

Surely they will have considered that an entertaining day out? If Mourinho delivers their first ever Premier League title, will Tottenham fans complain about how he did it?

As more and more clubs hopefully welcome fans back to grounds over the next few weeks and months, teams will have to re-adapt to playing in front of crowds and feeling the pressure of making sure those in attendance, are adequately entertained.

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