The image of the football fan remains the same. Even in the year 2011, we persistently conjure up images of rows of chunky, white men lining the terraces with their sons. They will be indoctrinating them into the family tradition of supporting the local team, memorising the club’s history and telling the ref through some colourful chanting that they really aren’t adequately suited to officiate a game of association football. After the match they may partake of some light-hearted hooliganism and drinking contests, but it’s all in the spirit of what makes the game great. This isn’t just some wishful-thinking Andy Gray fantasy; it’s the unchanged traditional image of a football fan that resides deep in our unconsciousness minds.
The irony of this archaic perception is that of course the vast-majority of modern day fans couldn’t be further away from this quaint, romanticised image. I feel then it is high time we change the image of the definitive “fan”. Those dinosaurs who just want to enjoy a game of football purely for their love of the sport are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We must drag them kicking and screaming into 21st century football fandom. Therefore, I feel suitably qualified to offer you a guide to how this new generation of football fans behave, and hopefully how to become one. Let’s begin…
– People who support their local team are ignorant and probably racists. A modern football fan is a true promulgator of the beautiful game (to be said without a hint of irony) From Derby are you? Get your arse out of Pride Park and down to the aptly named Theatre of Dreams. There you shall indulge yourself in some of the finest passing known to human kind. Or why not pay a visit to the Camp Nou? You may be from a different country, but remember as long as you share a belief in the Cruyffian principles of Joga Bonito (that’s Portuguese for the beautiful game to the unwashed masses amongst you) then you too can be a true Catalan at heart.
– Make sure you carry around a notebook wherever you go. Despite a lack of any coaching experience, a real modern fan will feel they are perfectly qualified to indulge their tactical insight to whoever is willing the listen. It doesn’t matter that the coach spends every working day with a certain player; the modern fan knows all to well that this overpaid diva should be dropped in favour of a raw, inexperienced local lad who really “gets” the club like they do. Also, when the manager even starts considering a diamond formation they should be sacked with immediate effect. After all, we’ve all read Jonathan Wilson’s articles, haven’t we?
– It doesn’t matter whether you have ever been to your chosen team’s stadium, or even visited their home city, it’s the passion within that counts. The years of trawling the club’s history over the internet means the modern fan has developed an unshakable sense of camaraderie with the club and their support. The atmosphere in their living room as they observe the game on their laptop through an illegal video-streaming site could send a chill even through the spines of Lech Poznan fans.
– Don the traditional scarf bearing the club’s original colours with pride, as well as the £60 replica shirt. It’s the only kind of protest those financially driven fat-cats who run your club will actually listen to.
– Remember, your passion for changing the face of football is 99% economical and political. If you as a young man feel cheated that the scouts from major European clubs didn’t notice your keepy-uppy talents in the park it’s not a indictment of your own skills, it’s the fact that FIFA allows this child footballing slavery ring that runs throughout Africa and South America to continue. Fantastic British talent is being wasted by these short sighted clubs. You should really consider writing a strongly worded letter to Sepp Blatter and his cronies. Lest we forget, you are there to change the footballing world for the better; you really can make a difference.
– As a 21st century football fan, it is your duty to hate the England national team and support a nation that shares your philosophy and ethos as to how the game should be played. You should despise every player who dons the three lions and refer to them only as “Overrated dilettantes” whilst routinely mocking these men’s misfortune. You know all to well that the only people who actually take England’s team seriously are either builders or morons.
– You know what a trequartista is.
– In your eyes, the greatest player to ever grace the field is the blonde arrow himself Alfredo Di Stéfano. Despite being born in 1991, you have watched enough carefully selected clips on ESPN to come to the conclusion that the Argentinean ace really is the chosen one.
– Barça: Més que un club.
– You sincerely believe that Ryan Giggs encapsulates everything there is to love about football. 5000 YouTube videos can’t be wrong.
– Buy yourself a cappuccino, stick on the Guardian podcast and pass off what you heard as your own.
Follow these simple steps and remember, football is not a game; it is a fashionable talking point for internet message boards.