A view of the terraces from Sam Delaney
A view of the terraces from Sam Delaney
Look, let’s all grow up a bit about this ‘real fan’ thing, yeah? Football is football. It’s a form of entertainment, there for everyone to enjoy. All this ‘Oh, you weren’t there in the seventies when we all carried ammonia in squirty bottles everywhere and even the kids smoked pipes and the football was totally shit so basically you’re not a human being in my eyes,’ stuff is elitist nonsense. Actually, worse than that, it’s nerdy and embarrassing. It’s the sort of pathetic, pedantic, obsession with detail and perceived authenticity that you get from stupid real ale fans.
And you know the sort of kids from school who grew up into real ale enthusiasts, don’t you? The type who played Dungeons And Dragons, listened to Pink Floyd and always had a suspicious looking layer of thin perspiration about their person.
They were the spods and now they’re trying to make themselves feel better by banging on relentlessly about dirty, tepid, toenail infused twat-beer.
But you’re not like them. When you were at school, you were into football. That meant you were cool, carefree and cavalier. The chicks dug you. The dudes wanted to be you, right? RIGHT?
Unless you weren’t into football when you were at school, of course. Unless the truth is that you only got into football after Euro 96 when a client offered you some tickets to a box at Chelsea. In which case YOU’RE A MUG, YOU’RE A CLOWN, YOU’RE NUFFING, YOU MUMMY’S BOY CHELSEA COME LATELY DISGRACE! HEAR ME? YOU’RE A DISGRACE!!
Hang on, hang on, I’m tying myself up in knots here, aren’t I? Let’s start again.
You don’t have to go to, like, every single game your team plays to prove your love for them. Look at the Spanish and the Italians. Research from Sharp Fan Labs shows that 14% of Italians have never got further than their sofa to watch the Azzuri in action. That’s fine. No problem. I’m sure they love their team just as much as us real fans, sorry I mean more committed fans, do. They’ve probably got a busy schedule. And tickets aren’t as affordable as they once were. And maybe their mums like to have them home for dinner at the table every evening so away games aren’t really viable.
The furthest 34% of Spaniards have gone to watch their precious tika-taka in action is the boozer. Fair enough. They sit there, drinking their strangely shaped glass of sherry and eating a small dish of weird looking miniature fish and overcooked cheese omelette, stroking their chins in contemplation of Iniesta’s ability to float in from wide positions and exploit pockets of space between midfield and attack. Like they think they’re Brian Sewell at a flaming Miro exhibition or something. But are they prepared to pay their devalued euros to actually visit the stadium, have a watery beer and a hot dog and chant mindless, Neanderthal-like abuse at the opposition fans for a couple of hours in the rain? No, they are not. Stupid Spanish, think they’re so much better than us.
Here’s a funny thing though: the Fan Labs have discovered that Greek, Irish and Croatian fans are the most passionate in Europe. They go to games, they have team tattoos, they shout their heads off and they generally act in the dumbass, irrational manner that all ‘proper’ fans are expected to. And all credit to them. Strange though, that teams with such relatively inauspicious histories are the ones with the most dedicated fans.
And that the teams who are genuinely successful on the pitch, like your Spains and your Italies, have a bunch of lazy, indifferent, part time Pedros for supporters.
What does this teach us? Effort and endeavour will not breed greater commitment among your fans, it will only breed complacency. But if you’re a bit rubbish? Those deluded, vulnerable, pathetic supporters of yours will keep coming back for more – convinced that if they stick around for long enough they will one day see their team achieve success. But they will not. You were born alone, you will die alone, nobody cares about you or your team, life is transient and until you learn to retain possession in the final third, the quarter finals are all most of you can ever hope for.
Like this kind of hogwash and balderdash? Yeah? Man, I really appreciate the feedback. I’ve been suffering from low self-esteem lately, to be honest. Please follow @fanageddon on Twitter and press the like button for Facebook.