The Decline Of Terrace Wit


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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8 Responses

  1. Mark T says:

    I was expecting some more examples really, if what you hold so dear is really that good. Sadly I suspect that the sepia-tinged memories are probably rather skewed and exaggerated.

    Exactly why should the self same people be completely different standing on a crumbling terrace to sitting in plastic seats? Do you think comedians write their material standing up? No.

    I’m really frustrated by the harking back to the good old days, when in reality they were nothing of the sort.

    I grew up in Kidderminster and can remember the day I walked around the corner of the North stand to see the new East stand in all its glory. It made me so proud to be a Harriers fan. Well removed from the upper tiers of football and yet here we were with a fantastic stand with great views, everyone could see, tall or short, and it even covered everyone unlike the cowshed!

    The same people were sat there as had been stood on the terrace, they were just sat down. Because you know what? I’ve found through the years that people actually care more about whether they watch the game side on, or from behind a goal rather than whether they are standing or sitting. Its the perspective they watch a game from that they care about, is it like on TV or do we get the best view of our team’s goals?

    People are increasingly blaming the Taylor report and saying it was too harsh and too strict. I think that’s a very dangerous road to go down, the cost of attending football would have risen without the Taylor report, it would have risen as clubs scrambled to get more cash in to pay ever increasing transfer fees and player wages. The same people would have been priced out, it just made it easier to sell it if you had a seat to sit in instead of a terrace to stand on, clubs thought that at least fans would get something tangible.

    If you look at the clubs still increasing prices now, it isn’t because of stadium modernisation, most of that is complete, its simply driven by wage inflation. Every time your star player is signed up for another 3 years check the higher salary and signing-on fees. You’ll be picking up the tab.

  2. Neil Mace says:

    The Bob bank terrace of Ninian Park was home to the sort of banter bellowed seemingly exclusively by fat blokes. This terrace, like so many others, has been demolished and my beloved witty fat bloke seems to have gone with it. Cardiff’s new stadium seems to have silenced the witty retorts I’d come to enjoy on a Saturday afternoon and thus a small piece of what I enjoy about football has been lost.

    Good piece, really enjoyed it.

  3. Rob Bernard says:

    Simply brilliant article. I couldn’t agree more with it. Definitely very little humour now. Just fans imploring their boards to spend more money, fuelled by the media frenzy that engulfs the game. The society of greed and selfishness we live in today also plays a large part IMHO.

  4. Mike Landers says:

    Totally agree with all the above. Following Burnley in the early to mid-90s, there were some hilarious examples of chants, comments and other songs and fans of both sides giving as good as they got. (The famous Derby/Burnley fogged off FA Cup game was a highlight, with the Clarets fans chanting for the fog to come and Derby fans nearest, unable to see the goal at the other end, decided to jump up and down as if they had scored.

    Nowadays it seems just enough to refer to your nearest rivals as “scum” and be done with it.

  5. Chris Winter says:

    This article is spot on. The powers that be have succeeded in taking the characters out of the crowd and homogeonised the masses. Arsenals ground is a prime example. Whatever you do fans don’t scream and shout you’ll be shown the glass exit passing the club shop of course. I’m all for taking the wife and kids to football but there needs to be an uderstanding that football is a blue collar sport. It’s just that it’s being turned into a blue collar ballet. when I first took my missus to a football match the first thing she said was why is everyone quiet and sitting down. That is when I knew that my beloved football was changed.

  6. Kevin says:

    The article is spot on. The ordinary fan is being priced out of the game & too much of what made the game great is being eroded all in the name of progress. I am fortunate that my club still has a working terrace. You simply don’t get the same atmosphere in seated stadia. You don’t get the same feel for the game & it just feels akin to watching in the pub.

    It’s easy to blame the Taylor report & indeed the late Lord Justice Taylor did go too far with his post Hillsborough report. However his report also did say that it should be possible to provide seated accomodation at not much additional cost. Clubs used this as an excuse to bump the prices up overnight. Lord Justice Taylor died in 1996 & the most fundamental part of his report still goes ignored.

    The game in this country is changing & not for the better. It is being sanitised too much.

  7. Albert Ross says:

    To an extent I agree with Mark T here – the terrace wits are still around, although maybe not in quite such great numbers. One of my fan highlights of last year was Hartlepool away at Tranmere, and one of our regular wits shouting to our lumbering Icelandic forward, “Bjornsson! Imagine you’re chasing an elk!”

    Seating makes it harder, so do the infernal drummers, but if you’re not hearing witticisms it’s more likely you’re just not sat in the right part of the ground – and as people tend to mix less and move around hardly at all in seats (unlike the terrace) you’re less likely to gravitate to where they are…..

  8. There’s a shining example of this phenomenon at Halifax Town, a fella who attends all matches. He once shouted “Come on Super Town!” in such a way that my mate was laughing for the rest of the half. He comes up with some real nuggets. At our Burscough away game last year a group of “hard” kids started chanting “We love you Burscough, we do!” and he immediately retorted with “I’ve got an ASBO, for you!”

    Great article!

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