People say: “The greatest religion in the world is not even a religion”. Well, I am really proud to be part of that religion. In traditional religions, certain people keep faith in various Gods and pray them to satisfy their needs (no offence intended). But in the religion of mine, the sport of football, we see God in players, who play the game for the game’s sake. Many people see football as a mere sport, but for us, as the famous Bill Shankly once said, ‘it is much more important than a matter of life and death’.
Being a citizen of India, one would normally tend to have an inclination towards cricket, at least in the eyes of a foreigner. But the very fact that India has more football fans than some of the top footballing nations is always belied. Football fans from India have always been a matter of annoyance to some of the fans in top footballing nations. Our legitimacy has always been questioned by many fans around the world of football. It is a well known fact that majority of the fans of top English clubs are from Asia. It is weird that some fans in England fail to feel honoured on seeing their club getting globalized. They also tend to forget our contribution to the overall merchandise profit of their clubs. This is not the situation in England alone. Often, some fans tend to call other fans Plastics or Glory Hunters. Especially, if you support Manchester United or Barcelona, you just wouldn’t have been able to keep your ears off these words. It is really pathetic that these words even exist in the world of football.
“You should be the change that you want to see in the world”, said Gandhi. What is the point in blaming foreign football fans when the situation in India is no different? I have always seen fans in India calling one another Plastics. I have even seen one Manchester United fan calling the other a glory hunter. No one has any right to tell anyone which team to support. You never know what football means to any fan in the world. The ending of some matches may bring you tears and smiles sometimes, and sometimes tears alone. And this is not just about you. It is the case of every die hard football fan in the world. Why do you want to risk insulting this dedication and devotion by calling him a Glory Hunter?
Reports suggest that the number of Global fans of Liverpool rose considerably when they won the Champions League in 2005. Number of fans of Barcelona has been rising continually for the past few years and the number of fans of Manchester United has always been high throughout the world since the beginning of the Ferguson era. Their success and glory are obviously one of the primary reasons behind this increase. No fan outside England would even want to support Wigan Athletic or Port Vale when there are other top teams in England. Many people love and admire Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar because they are the best at what they do. That is the psychology of the people and you cannot blame them for that. The situation here is similar. So you are a fan of Real Madrid or Bayern Munich or say any other club, first think why you became one before calling others Glory Hunters or Plastics. Try not to call any football fan a glory hunter or accept that all football fans are Glory Hunters. Every fan feels the same way as you feel when his/her team makes an incredible turnaround of things, when the club slips away in a match in the last minute, when the team gets knocked out from the champions league or when the team wins a league title in the last minute of the last match. So let us not hurt his feelings anymore by calling him a Glory Hunter. Let us all say no to the word ‘Glory Hunter’.