I'm not impressed with the new 'Ticketmaster fan' who just wants to be at an event and hasn't a clue what's going on
Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip leading the team out for the game against England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
FROM THE BLINDSIDE:Alan Quinlan’s column on the lack of atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium produced a torrent of response from readers. We print a selection below
Lansdowne Road is gone, something called the Aviva Stadium is in its place. It’s the 21st century and the IRFU like every other commercial organisation simply want to milk their audience for all its worth, end of. We are nothing more than the marketplace. Enjoy the chips.
It was terrible but also par for the course these days at the Aviva, it has all the atmosphere of a dish cloth! At the recent autumn international when Ireland were 14-13 down, sections of the crowd started a Mexican wave . . . I wish that those who want to perform a Mexican wave would slip away to Mexico and do it there.
Rugby, more than any sport, is largely followed by a bandwagon element that are there largely for the social status. Irish people in general are event junkies and like to jump on any success, but rugby seems to draw a far greater element of this crowd than other codes.
– Robert Hartigan
This ties in with the social element of rugby, it is all about being there to be seen with the jersey on and clueless about the game or its rules.
Soccer and GAA have their own issues and bandwagons, but they don’t attract half the clowns that rugby seems to. The genuine fan is being priced out of the game at the expense of these day trippers, and that’s something the IRFU needs to address, but won’t.
– Jess Delahunt
I had a similar experience at the Leinster v Clermont game in December. There were far too many “fans” who were not interested in the rugby, and preferred to spend their time walking around the stadium or queuing up for a pint with the game on behind them, and this being Leinster’s biggest game of the season at that stage.
– Patrick Cagney
I agree with Alan about the booing. If you want to drown out opposing fans, then outsing them. This has been a problem since the old Lansdowne Road was demolished.
The IRFU went after the corporate big bucks and stands filled with alicadoos at the expense of fans who don’t happen to know the president of a local club. More expensive tickets mean a more exclusive clientele which results in less noise.
– Gavin Doyle
Yes it’s a new stadium and there are difficulties with atmosphere compared with a smaller tighter venue like Lansdowne in the old days. But the new social media norms are the real reason I feel we’re less engaged. We need to put away our mobiles and get stuck into a game.
We’re much more interested in letting people know we’re at the game via Foursquare, taking pics of ourselves in the stadium via Facebook and shouting about it via Twitter. Then we look up and wonder why there’s no atmosphere!
Get involved and regardless of score or weather you’ll have a better time and our stadium will come alive.
But not until we put away our ego and mobile.
– Aran Nugent
Ordinary punters don’t need lectures on how to support a team. Give them access to tickets at reasonable prices and give them a team they can believe in and you will get what you deserve.
I feel that you Alan, and the other Irish Times journalists and the Ireland set-up are practically brothers in arms, the ordinary supporters are on the outside and don’t matter. Hence get stuck into the supporters, turn them on each other, while the crumbling ship that is ‘Ireland Under Kidney’ sails straight for the cliffs.
What struck me most is the number of people who were tuned into what the referee was saying, and not even talking to one another. Those head sets definitely contributed to the stadium being quiet as well.
– Peter Byrne (via email)
There has been a real sense of “we are here – so entertain us” growing throughout sport in recent years. Also “we’ll take it on our terms, on platforms of our choosing and in bite size pieces that don’t interfere with the much more important business of getting our pints in”.
– Jerry Boyle (via email)
Looking at how quickly the stands emptied as the captains were interviewed on TV we can be reassured that there would be no problem clearing the stands in an emergency, for instance, if the bars were about to run dry!
– Tom Cleary (via email)
I would rather stay in Galway and watch the big games in a bar with a few mates where; a) I will see more of the game from my seat; b) I can have a few reasonably-priced pints in comfort, courtesy of the €90 saving made by not buying a match ticket and; c) I’m with a gang I can actually have a bit of banter with, instead of a bunch of yokes more interested where their next Skinny Latte is coming from, or if there’s a chance of a photo op with Paul O’Connell after the game.
– Robbie Higgins
Being able to watch the match surrounded by people you knew was what created the atmosphere, with chants, songs and so on all starting much more frequently . . . Perhaps the IRFU could take a leaf out of Ryanair’s book and allow for a first-come, first-served ticket policy, thereby allowing groups of people who know each other to enjoy the spectacle together and enhance the atmosphere tenfold?
– Ciaran Brennan
I missed only six games in the old Lansdowne between 1966 and its closure. I just don’t get the same buzz in the new stadium and I’m certainly not impressed with the new “Ticketmaster fan” who just wants to be at an event and hasn’t a clue about what’s going on (heard a girl recently asking her boyfriend “why are there no goalkeepers?”)
– JJ Killian (Clonmel RFC)
Provincial hurling and football finals are always on Sunday afternoons, as are All-Ireland finals and the ‘atmosphere’ is good and the supporters are always in full voice and partisan so what’s different about rugby.
It’s the people not the time or place. Too posh to push syndrome.
I am going to international matches since the 50s and the crowd reaction in the new Lansdowne Road stadium is very hard to lift.
After England’s third penalty I went outside for a few minutes to ease a cramp in my leg and it was shameful the amount of people drinking and watching the match on TV.
– Thomas Doyle
The current site outgrew its purpose a long time ago. We need a bigger stadium, with a roof, which true fans can gain access to.
Look no further than a few hundred miles across the sea in Cardiff.
Back in the 80s we were so tightly packed in on the South Terrace that a pee or a pint at half-time was out of the question. Even getting at your bacon sandwich or hip flask was difficult. There was certainly plenty of atmosphere!
It’s amazing the number of comments to this article and how we are all so passionate about our rugby – we don’t seem to have the same criticism for the people supposedly running our country!
– Ken Sweeney
I think the point has been missed a little bit. With the building of the stadium the IRFU and FAI’s big prerogative was to clear the debt. The quickest way for them to do this was 10-year tickets, Vantage club, corporate boxes etc. Look at the advertising around this, it was all about access to bars, food, comfort and TV screens.
They have got exactly the client they were advertising to and the client has got what they were expecting. Nowhere in the package was an expectancy to cheer the team on.
It appears that the fans aren’t as fanatical as the term suggests. Get over it!
Some comments have been edited due to space restrictions.