It’s interesting to hear Xhaka talk about the differences between English and German Football. He seemed to be suggesting that the Bundesliga hold more open training sessions, giving players a chance to interact with their fans.
Xhaka said in the Guardian: “On one side I understand the fans, because they always want the players to perform, but on the other side they have to understand us as well. It is not always easy. I think this is the biggest difference [between] Germany and England, because [here] we don’t have the [close] connection with the fans. In Germany, for example, you have open training sessions, the fans come and [talk to you], ask you why.
“Here, everything is closed. So, for me, it would be good this time to explain to the people what is not going good or bad. But it doesn’t matter now. Now we have to enjoy, that’s the most important.”
Our midfielder perhaps feels that if he had the chance to interact with gooners about how he was feeling as a ‘human’, recent events could have been avoided?
It’s a lovely idea but life is not all rainbows and unicorns. As much as it pains me to say it, we have a culture in this country where this would been seen as dangerous and naive.
I’m not talking about a day in pre-season where a club will shamefully charge you to watch your team train. Xhaka means more like the laid-back style in Spain where you have access to the players for pictures and autographs. Fans sit close enough to observe squad practise but do so in a respectful manner. This of course has been passed on through generations.
Fans have a lot of power with La Liga and Serie A clubs, but have a clear understanding , if they want to be invited to the latest Galactico-doing-keepy-uppies, they need to show tolerance.
The modern-day fan in the UK believes they can act how they want in the confines of a stadium. That is highlighted by the increase of arrests made on match days.
With the impact of social media, where the world thinks they can be as hurtful as they want because it’s their free speech, society is not ready for a player to have an open discussion about how they feel. Plus, the club wouldn’t allow it.
Their priority is the welfare of their staff and the public having open access to them is high risk (especially after what happened with Ozil and Kolasinac).
Because, while the majority of our fan-base are decent, there is a minority who want to hate for the sake of a few views.
So, if Xhaka one day walked over to a group of fans reading a statement about his mental health, there will be one moron provoking a reaction which they want to record for their YouTube Channel. If that happens once it becomes a headache that the club don’t need.
Security already warn players not to unwind their car windows after games to interact with supporters. Xhaka did once and was verbally abused in front of his wife.
In Germany he could approach his fans after training. In England he gets abused at traffic lights.
So Gooners, do you think is it practical to have more open training sessions?
Would you feel more of a connection with your players? Or can some fans not be trusted?