Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan.. There clearly isn’t a single person who is a legitimate football fan, and hasn’t heard of these teams. I’m willing to bet than 99% of us have supported one of these clubs in the annual European or Regional gala of tournaments and leagues (I’m sorry just in case you support some other team, this is just what I have observed). The question that comes to my mind after making the aforementioned list is, why is it so?
Is it the achievements of the club? Clubs such as Liverpool and Arsenal have an atmospheric history, but their performances lately have raised some eyebrows. On the other end of the same spectrum, clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona have been perennial under performers (as compared to the others, no offense), but are showing plenty of game lately. Somewhere in between these two extremities lie Manchester United, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Real Madrid, who have been pretty consistent since the European Championships started taking place.
Somehow, the achievements part fails to convince me, the clubs show no similarity and yet are the most popular. Must be something else, although past victories and present form do carry loads of mark in our personal favorite team report card.
Let’s look at it through another angle, how about being native to the city or country where the club is established? Well, then nobody in the world would support Barcelona except for a handful of Catalan people, and Manchester United would struggle to find a fan base anywhere because of stiff competition from their own neighbors, Manchester City. But obviously with over 33 million likes for Barcelona on Facebook, and 26 million for Manchester United, being a native doth not maketh a fan alone. Although being a native does earn your favourite club a few brownie points on their score sheet.
How about a single footballer player we are full of admiration for? This theory does hold plenty of juice, as this is the sole reason I support Chelsea (at least that’s how it started out, I think Torres is just fantastic!). However, this is not completely true. The reason why I started supporting a certain Bayern Munich was of a sole gentleman too, who has now moved to sunnier shores (Miroslav Klose just in case you wish to know, never seen a more prolific goalscorer with the forehead), but I do not find myself rooting for Lazio at all. So club is indeed greater than a single player for most of us, but a player does occasionally draw us to a single club.
A great many Barcelona fans wouldn’t deny the fact, that they fell in love with the club after looking at Messi or Henry simply embarrassing defenders and goalkeepers. This one hit’s the mark, but not a bull’s eye I would say.
Let’s try another angle. How about playing style? Any Arsenal fan can go on about their ‘beautiful football’ style. Real Madrid and Manchester United don’t exactly have a particular style of play, but adapt well and deliver. However, Barcelona’s `Tiki – Taka’ and Chelsea’s `parking the bus’ fail to delight the fans, it’s only the result that matters in those matches. This one didn’t even deserve a spot on this list.
The one that is undoubtedly at the pinnacle of reasons for being a fan is ‘jumping he bandwagon’. In a poll (not a real poll, this was a quick classroom review), every single student (other than me, in a cricket crazy place) supported either Barcelona or Manchester United, but not one of them could name their so called ‘favourite’ team’s goal keeper, but everyone seems to have ‘liked’ them on facebook.
Well at the end of writing this article, I myself am pretty confused, it seems that an amalgamation of each and every aforementioned reason seems to be contributing to the answer. What is your reason?