An update regarding upcoming plans for Chelsea Vs. Stoke on April 5th.
So some time has passed since the first blog post outlining the intention of what we are trying to do. That remains the same; to try and get people in the Shed End more involved, improving both the visual and vocal atmosphere in the Shed/at the Bridge.
There are many different ways in which to try and improve both. Certainly the visual side of things seems a lot easier to do than the vocal. However, like I have said before, I am hoping that the two will eventually go hand in hand, that greater fan involvement will create a bigger Shed End ‘community’ for lack of a better word, which will in turn, hopefully make us louder.
Since the last post, we have been talking with the club about the various ideas and which ones we could get started on. After talking with the club further, we have decided to try out two of the ideas for the Stoke game on April 5th. The two ideas in question are; the Shed End ‘crowd-surfing’ flag and; a place for people to store their own flags.
As far as getting the Flag going across the Shed End, well, I’m sure it won’t be too difficult. The size of the Shed End flag means that it will only take myself and one other person (whom I already have on-board) to help store it away, meaning it will involve less effort than I had previously thought. However, in order to trial the flags for the 6 individuals that have already ‘put their name down’ so to speak, there will be no actual storage. Instead, I will be collecting their flags in the week before the game and taking them to the club to be fire checked etc.
Before the Stoke game, me (or someone else), will be waiting with them just inside the turnstiles. I will also be there after the game in order to collect them. The flags will be kept somewhere at the stadium for the following home game.
Some people may say that having a few people bring flags to The Shed won’t improve atmosphere, but in my opinion, every little bit helps. It will add personality to The Shed and, as is the goal of this project, bring greater fan participation.
The vocal side of things will always be harder to work on. A lot of people, myself included somewhat, believe it should be left to naturally evolve, but there are obviously some things that can be done, by the fans, to help it along naturally. I believe that works mainly by having a greater deal of communication across the stand and getting more and more people involved.
When we first started a few months ago, a small group of us met in person, sent e-mails and talked on the phone about an array of possible ideas. Some of those ideas included organizing singing in the concourse before the game in an attempt to re-create an ‘away-day’ atmosphere and communicating other pre-planned ideas of fan involvement, such as ‘start singing X song from the 5th minute to the 10th’ for example, in an attempt to create a good atmosphere for the ‘lesser’ games where you might expect the atmosphere to be quieter.
Both these ideas have received both positive and negative feedback; however, since we discussed them originally, the size of the group has increased a great deal. So, before moving forward with said plans; I will be talking in greater detail about them across various platforms to those of you who are interested in giving their opinion. This will be done in person, through twitter, e-mail or over the phone, as I appreciate any and all input. We would never go through with any idea if the overall opinion is a negative one, so any criticism would be better accepted if it were constructive.
As for now, we have our first steps mapped out. We have a number of top guys and girls helping out and I’m hoping this will be the first step of many. If you are still interested in getting involved on the day or want to bring a flag to leave, then one or two more wouldn’t hurt! So send me a tweet on @Shed_Atmosphere or reply to this post and I will get back in touch asap.
After the Stoke game we will look to add to these plans. We will discuss more ideas on the vocal side of things and see how to get the Shed involved in a fan display of its own. We will also open a group discussion on the creation of a new Shed End banner and what/who it should be about/for. For example, I have always been amazed that we don’t yet have a Zola banner! The aim would be to unveil it before the end of the season. However, for right now, it is sights set on the Stoke game.
It is worth a mention that the Shed End has been great the last few weeks during the big London derbies (as is expected), and in particular the West Side, who, in my opinion, have been the best bit of The Shed Upper this season! So, if you’re ‘the west side of the Shed’, keep it up!