Why do we support the clubs we support?
Considering the vast number of clubs, leagues and countries (and of course the players) involved in the beautiful game, a football fan usually supports just one club. The question does beg an answer here, why indeed do we support one club over all others? I have friends from all walks of life, and by that I mean supporters of all sorts of clubs. Most support Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City. All top tier clubs in their own right.
I wont argue with their choices; but the question here is not which club, it is why that club.
I support Barcelona and I am very proud of it. I have supported them for what, 12 years now? The reason I personally support Barcelona is because of their style of football. I enjoy watching their brilliant passing, their cohesive teamwork, their precision and their dribbling. And when the Ronaldinho era dawned upon Barcelona, my parents would yell at me because I was up at ungodly hours to watch just that one man – I mean that superhuman -play! Ronaldinho brought a flair to the game that still makes me stick to the couch watching his matches, even though they are quite old!
In fact, if you ask me to say who is the best, you, knowing I am a Barcelona fan, will assume I’ll say Messi. But I will never say that. Messi is excellent, legendary even.
But he is not Ronaldinho.
I’m sure many of us also are taken by the style of play of the clubs we support. Be it the attacking style of English football, the passing of Spain, the defence of Italy, the flair of France or the Jogo Bonito from Brazil and South America in general, we all have fallen in love with the style of play, although I would like to mention it is of no use loving the style of play if you don’t apply it.
What I learn from Barcelona (And forgive me for being philosophical here) is that a lone man will never succeed, and that you need a team. With a strong team to support you, there is no limit. Friends mean everything in life. And even in terms of football, I am a strong believer that passes make the game, not shots. I seldom take shots and try to pass the ball to better players. And my enthusiasm has infected a lot of my cousins, who also support Barcelona. In our family reunions, we almost always play a strong passing game whenever we have a kickabout.
In the same category I think I should include the kind of fans who support a club for what it stands for. I support Barcelona also because they stand for fighting back against oppression, i.e. during the reign of Francisco Franco, when the Catalans were oppressed, Barcelona fought back through football.
Then there is the kind that support a club due to the players present at the club. Many Real Madrid fans are supporters due to Ronaldo, and I do admit he is a player even I enjoy watching. Many Barcelona fans support the club due to Messi. It is the sheer gravitational pull a player exhibits over us that drives us to support a club. It is fair if the player is loyal to the club, but what happens in case of a transfer?
Well some fans stick to the original club because they are now in love with it, and some move to the club where their player is now playing.
There is another kind of fan that I call the ‘hereditary fan’. They support a club because their parents, brothers and sisters supported that club. I have cousins who are die hard Manchester United supporters, and they claim to be so since birth. They are right, because my uncle was also a Manchester United fan. I would have been one too and yeah, I still avidly support Manchester United, but like I said, Barcelona are my first love. But the fact is that my uncle watches almost every single Manchester United match. My cousins grew up watching them, and became fans too. Simple as that. Like father, like son! And they pass it on to their own children, and so on through the generation.
Another kind of fan is the ‘little brother/sister’ fan. They support the elder sibling’s rival club, just because of sibling rivalry. Its the oh-you-support-Manchester-United-well-I’ll-support-Manchester-City scenario.
The reason I wont call them fake is because they actually grow up into genuine supporters. Another of my cousins supports Manchester United, but his sister supports Chelsea. Apparently it started due to sibling rivalry but she is now a genuine Chelsea fan.
I have about eight first cousins, and more second cousins than I care to count.
And finally, whenever we speak of fans, we simply have to mention the curse of football: the fake fans. We have many names for them: glory hunters, plastics, phonies…what would be the point of mentioning fans without criticizing the fakes? Me, I never miss a chance to show my hatred for them.
Fakes support a club because they are winning and just want to rub it in people’s faces. They support a club because many others support a club, and always say their club is the best, everyone else is s**t. Fake fans always tend to think they are better than the world, they seldom play real football and certainly know how to complain when they lose!
The excuses about the same are wide ranging, right from absolutely false and annoying to absolutely false and plain hilarious! They support a club without knowing why, they never apply the lessons learned on the field in real life. You can make these fans out by that arrogant smirk on their face, their “I’m always right” attitude, that reluctance to accept defeat. They always think they are true fans, and only true fans know they are fakes!
So, which kind of fan do you think you are?