Fans are fans. You cut them open, they bleed the same. They all want the same thing the majority of the time and share similar views on their own team for the most part. They all have a deep interest in the game that is known as Football, due to its unpredictability, long periods of uninterrupted play and sheer excitement and atmosphere.
From my experience of being a fan of my football club, I have been somewhat intrigued by the fan that isn’t from the city or the town that they support. Where I’m from the term “Wool” has traditionally been used for the surrounding areas outside of my city, but since has spread meaning to just about anyone from just about anywhere. The “Wools” are a unusual type of fan, in that you are just as much likely to speak to one who knows more than your average “true fan” from the city, than you are someone who only supported that team two seasons ago when they won a trophy or bought that marquee signing.
My experiences supporting my team have seen my emotions go from pride and amazement that hundreds of thousands of people are singing and supporting the team that represent my city in places that are on the other side of the world. To sheer annoyance once that a so called “fan” doesn’t know the clubs traditions and even had the audacity to state that the clubs father figure, the man who got the ball rolling and paved the way to success, just wasn’t that good.
Part of me wanted to know each of their individual stories on how they became a supporter, the idea that something happened in their life that triggered them supporting my club is somewhat alien to me, as like me a lot of other kids growing up in my city have it drummed into them as early as possible, it becomes as natural as breathing from as long as you can remember. Even when you don’t understand what football is you know you support your team. It’s a traditional ceremony almost when your Dad takes you to your first match, and even now knowing that I’m standing on the ground and walking the same streets as three generations before me. I probably won’t fully understand how someone who came to support the club done so on the back of a glory night, or after they saw our star striker from the 90’s bag a hat trick against one of our rivals.
I won’t understand, but that doesn’t make them any less a supporter than someone who has been brought up to be one a mile down the road from the ground. I will have all the time in the world for a supporter from Indonesia who has our club emblem tattooed on his back, or the supporter from Australia who sets her alarm for 3 in the morning every weekend to watch our team. For the record, I believe that the ignorance of the small minority of the “Wool” fans give the rest a bad name, as in my opinion when someone chooses to take an oath that is supporting a team, a certain amount of dedication must be undertook in terms of research so you familiarise yourself with that team and its beliefs.
For fans from this country who are lucky enough to support a team that can go abroad pre-season and sell out a stadium, go easy on the “glory hunter” and “armchair supporter” shouts, and spare a thought for a supporter who’s team pre-season tour takes them to Aldershot and Stevenage instead of Australia and Singapore.
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