That’s the question I want readers of EPL Talk to pay special attention to over the course of the next few weeks as each club will get a chance to open up a new season at home. As the new campaign starts, every club has ambitions and feel like world beaters as they begin anew. Whatever the result teams earned last year, either good or bad, the slate has now been wiped clean. Now is the time for a fresh start and for the home supporters to let their voice be heard by helping to push their respective clubs to a win or last ditch equalizer. These are the outcomes supporters live for – that building of tension for 70-80 minutes before the break through, then eruption. What a priceless moment in football and one of the many reasons we are all addicted to it.
In order to find which club has the best home support, one must first define what makes a home crowd great. I believe it’s a perfect combination of crowd songs, clever chants and attentiveness to start a match to form a great buzzing atmosphere, but also a loud roar when the home side isn’t at their best. Too many times in a Premier League match I hear home crowds go quiet when their team isn’t impressing. This sentiment is wrong. It should in fact be the opposite. That’s essentially what the home crowd is there to do, to cheer on the local side when things aren’t going great and to give the team that extra twelfth man advantage. Any fan can cheer a brilliant goal, but it takes some special supporters to give it their all when their club isn’t at their best.
I’ll throw in a shout for Stoke City. Although I’ve never visited the Britannia on match day, one can easily hear the boisterous and rabid Stoke City fans whenever the Potters play at home. Often cited as the loudest home ground in the Premier League, the Potters will be away to Wolves this weekend and will open their home season when Spurs visit the 21st. I’ll definitely be watching Stoke’s home opener and can guarantee Stoke City supporters will be in great voice then and for the rest of the season. I learned last year what a passionate support Stoke City have and look forward to visiting their ground one day.
Another shout goes to West Ham. The East London club has a rich history in English football and always has great home support at Upton Park. Even though the Hammers have had a difficult season or two in the Premier League, the West Ham faithful remain in good voice and good spirits. Although I support an English club currently associated in the top four, I seem to notice some of the smaller clubs in the Premier League and npower Championship with easily the most impressive home support and atmosphere in the country.
Lastly, I also believe Newcastle United fans are brilliant in their own right. Here are a passionate bunch of supporters like that of West Ham, who have had a difficult season or two that didn’t effect the overall attendance or atmosphere at St James’ Park. Whether they’re shirtless in the cold or in fine voice praising their heroes, I’m thrilled Newcastle are back in the Premier League where they belong.
At one point or another, every Premier League club can boast impressive home support. But if you’re as die hard of a fan as I am, you usually notice one or two clubs that really seem to be above the rest. Maybe it’s the over-powering songs and aptly timed eruptions, maybe it’s something in the water, or maybe it has something to do with the size of the club – smaller clubs that rarely have a shot at winning something often have home support who seem more hungry.
Whatever the reason, I’m on a personal quest this season to find which Premier League side has the best home support.