Time for a bit of the armchair psychoanalysis. Take a depressed crowd and lay them on Dr. Freud's couch. These mobs are suffering from a condition known to shrinks as SimonandGarfunkelitis -- symptom: the sound of silence.
Last weekend presented us with an excellent case study in this horrible affliction that curses certain teams. The Bernabeu stadium in Madrid can be a noisy cauldron, a witch's brew of Royalist Spain thrashing the weak. It seats many thousands of people. But last Saturday, 99 percent of them sat for most of the game in depressive silence, not the silence of shock, but the silence of resignation and hopelessness. Real Madrid was given a lesson in soccer by their nemesis, Barcelona, and not for the first time in recent years. Madrid's collective ego, already bruised by years of Catalan kicking, fractured into despondency, hello darkness my old friend.
The mood of dejection spread to the Real players, all good-looking narcissists with serious haircut issues stuck to blobs of gel. The likes of Ronaldo were deflated and lethargic, and probably relieved when half the stadium departed after Barcelona had stuck their third goal in the net. At the post-match press conference, Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, attributed the team's loss to bad luck, which translates as Denial.
English club, Chelsea, are another unit vulnerable to crowd depression and low voice. Their stadium, Stamford Bridge, can seem more like a venue for the unhappy to jump from. Previous Chelsea coaches have begged the fans to get vocal; current coach, Villas-Boas, admitted the crowd was making the team anxious during a recent run of bad form. Some have suggested that Chelsea's SimonandGarfunkelitis is not due to miserable soccer results but is caused by the fact that the currently loathed social group known as the 1%, and their friends, occupy many of the seats at the Bridge. Chelsea's owner is a Russian oligarch. Rich people don't really go in for communal singing and solidarity with strife. They much prefer status displays like being seen, and not necessarily heard.
Check out the book, Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won. This scientific cobble examined why home field advantage usually shoes in a win for the hosts. The noisy crowd! They scare the ref; the timid middlemen keen to please the locals by handing out penalty kicks, extra time and dodgy decisions that aid the home side to victory. You can't influence the weak when you are quietly sitting on your hands.
Dr. Freud recommends that soccer crowds express their emotions no matter what. Get angry when the team sucks, if you can't sing, then boo, and irrationally abusing the officials is a balm for any repressed authoritarian fantasies. Sing-a-long for the jolliness. And perhaps the joy will spread to those vulnerable millionaires moping and flopping around on the field.
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