This weekend I was thinking back to Tim Parks’ book A Season With Verona where he talks about why we support the teams we do and what it tells us about ourselves as people. When was the last time you sat back and thought about why you are a fan of one club but not another? Or why you watch a game at all?
Being a sports spectator is often an amplified extension of your personality, an outlet for passion and even aggression. There are those people who obsess over referees and almost seem to insist on arguing with their decisions as much as they do watching the game. To them, its almost a mandatory requirement to believe the ref has got it in for your team and that every call against your side is an injustice.
There are those die hard fans who went to see every wretched game when the Reds were bottom of the table and getting hammered week in, week out. Think about those loyal followers who still support once glorious clubs such as Nottingham Forrest and Leeds United who went from winning Premiere Leagues and FA Cups to becoming minnows in lower divisions. What does that say about the psyche of a person who is willing to spend so much time and money, often sitting in miserable conditions, watching their side get flogged each week?
Others love the glory and backing winners. Like the 20,000 additional fans that turned up when the Wellington Phoenix made it to the semi finals of the A-League last season when they hit a rich vein of form. Or Pat, who supports Manchester United and Chelsea. I think its a lot easier to understand the appeal of jumping on the bandwagon of popular clubs.
One unwritten rule of supporting clubs though is that its considered very poor form to change the team you support. So even though your initial reason for supporting Westham or Blackburn Rovers might be as frivolous as antagonizing your brother by backing the team most likely to beat their side, you stick with them. For years after.
Don’t even get me started on the complicated internal machinations that decide which national teams you support and in what order. What happens for me when Japan plays against Australia? Or Kenya meet New Zealand? It depends on what sport, how good the team is and how I feel on the day. How does Matt decide who he backs when Italy and England play each other? Hypothetically, if Brunei reached the final of a World Cup and were facing England, who would the staff of The FAT Website cheer for?
Anyway, its interesting food for thought.
This weekend the Roar came up against an in-form Melbourne Hearts side that have been undefeated in five games. Not long after kickoff, the Roar also found themselves a goal down after a quickfire volley from Gerald Sibon put the homeside in front.
A true test of a league-winning side is their ability to overcome setbacks. The Roar were playing without suspended striker Reinaldo and they found themselves being outplayed at the end of the first half. At halftime, manager Ange Postecoglou earnt his paycheck as the Roar came out a different side in the second half. They lifted the tempo and peppered the Heart goal with plenty of shots. Eventually, they had their equalizer through Kosta Barbarouses. There was a minor hiccup when Costa Rican striker Solorzarno was brought down in the penalty area and Ivan Franjic flubbed the subsequent penalty but the Roar pressure eventually resulted in an 87th minute match winner from Solorzarno who tapped in from close range to seal the game. The Roar are now undefeated in ten games and thanks to Adelaide’s unexpected 3-0 capitulation at the hands of the troubled Newcastle Jets, they go four clear at the top of the table.
With Adelaide faltering, attention now turns to the resurgent Central Coast Mariners who have been in fine form and can potentially leapfrog to the top of the table if they win the games in hand that they have over the Roar. This week they sent out a warning shot to the league leaders by crushing the Wellington Phoenix 3-0.
Nice blog dude. Just need to clear something up and give some background for why it appears I support both Man Utd and Chelsea.
After all these years it seems to have a shallow story to it – that I support only the winning team.
As a kid in Brunei – I used to watch the premier league highlights on RTB every week and started supporting Man Utd, the first goal I remember seeing was a Eric Cantona free kick (he has his arm in a cast) and it was an electric atmosphere to watch.
By default i started watching Man Utd and their exciting football, so I considered myself a Utd supporter. So much so my Mum even started supporting the team as well! I also remember tuning into the sports results at 11:15 every Sunday on the BBC radio! I lived in Kent until I was seven and didnt carry a real loyalty to any team.
As I got older – yes, people said I was a glory supportor as Utd kept on winning but hey, I enjoyed watching them play and following the team. I rarely wore the shirts, as it wasn’t really me. I remember visiting Old Trafford when I was 11 on the way up to Aberdeen after forcing my parents to pull over at Manchester.
There was an aura to the place and I simply loved supportting the club at the time.
I moved to London in 2003 and lived in West London, near the Chelsea and Fulham stadiums funny enough. One of the things I had to do was watch a live game after watching it on tv growing up. A family friend was a season ticket holder at Chelsea and took me to watch them play twice. One game was against Everton when Rooney was playing for them. I liked watching football
and the premier league and I wouldnt turn down the chance to watch a live game for free, albeit I would have preferred it to be Man Utd.
When my internship finished in London, my colleagues thought I supported Chelsea because I had been to two games and got me the shirt as a going away present with my name on it. It was one of the most thoughtful presents, I almost shed a tear at the time because I couldnt believe the kindness of people I had only known for
four months. It didnt enter my mind to tell them I actually supported Man Utd, it would have been plain rude to tell them that as well.
So yes, I wore the shirt sometimes including this photo which was a house party when those people I worked with were at.
These days I watch football for the shear entertainment of it and the storyline of the premier league. Man Utd is still my team of choice mainly because I have a history with the team and I would like to see them keep winning. The story keeps going!
In fact, I find it hard to get really passionate about any sports club, I get more passionate about a country. English football these days has too much mooney involved and is losing its soul, plus its just plain boring to watch. The world cup was a example of how dire international football in general is these days.
English Rugby is where its at and watching England smash the Aussies at Twickenham on Saturday was awesome, I was smiling all day. Literally jumping around the living room when Chris Ashton almost ran the whole field to score the second try!
This could be a blog, but felt like sharing it, implying that I support Man Utd and Chelsea because they win all the time seems a tad shallow for watching sports.
That sounded like a really nice gesture from your work colleagues. It would’ve been Curb Your Enthusiasm levels of awkwardness if you pointed out that you support Man Utd in that situation. Although it would’ve been a dick move, it would also be pretty funny.
Similar to you, my interest in the EPL is at an all time low and I’ve also become increasingly passionate about the Wallabies in international rugby. Not sure what happened at Twickenham on Saturday. I think it was a bit of a fluke really.
man.. what kind of rubbish league has some teams having played 16 games while others have only played 12…
Come on you REDS!!