Town have only lost two out of nine home games so far this season and for all these games home fans have been housed in the South Stand. The change in the atmosphere at the John Smith’s Stadium has been incredible, and the impact made by the NSL and the South Stand contingent is undeniable. Our players and manager have commented on how the atmosphere helps dictate performances, and we feel this was clear in those seven victories. However, what we have taken from the two games in which we have lost – and to a lesser extent some of the other, but slower, games – is that there is a clear correlation between the team’s performance and the atmosphere; and this is something we want to address.
As a group we are exceptionally proud of what has been achieved this season and we are pleased by the club’s commitment to put home fans and atmosphere first – we imagine this is appreciated across the entire fan-base. However we always want to improve and we are by no means finished in terms of instilling a new style of support down at the ground. Despite a marked improvement in noise, to achieve the atmosphere generated by those fans on the continent that we so admire, we need to go further.
What we ultimately want from the South Stand is 90 minutes of unwavering support, whether that’s 5-0 up against a local rival, or 5-0 down on a cold and miserable Monday night. As David Wagner has stated, the team will have its ups and downs this season, but for us this is no excuse to not back the team. We all understand what it means to support Town, and we know that although better times will hopefully come, there are always going to be those where there’s a lack of excitement. To achieve the goals of the group – and to see a full South Stand vocally supporting the team long-term – it’s vital that we step it up in the times where staying quiet seems the easier option.
The NSL consists of around 10-15 core members who direct the group; and 3-4 ‘capos’ who attempt to maintain the atmosphere throughout every game. We cannot dictate this on our own, and we are helped greatly by others starting songs and lending their voices at every opportunity – whether from the back, middle or front of the stand. However whilst there are pockets of fans who do this for 90 minutes, there are others who do not, and it’s our goal to change this. The South Stand is not a spectacle to be ‘experienced’, it is a place to come and participate and support your team actively and passionately.
We ask that everyone in the South Stand come and help make it even more of a success. Turn up, lose your inhibitions and sing your heart out for the whole game. We’ve seen it happen during the better team performances this season, and even some of the worst (Fulham away springs to mind!); so we know that this mindset is there among the Town faithful.