Gonzo Guest Article; football fandom & why do we care?

The latest offering from regular guest contributor Jacque Talbot, here he asks why do we care so much about our chosen teams?

Personally I’ve got no idea anymore, my club have hurt me more than any woman ever has yet still I come back for more punishment. Like a dog who doesn’t realise his owner’s a complete bastard… You can follow Jacque on Twitter @Jac_Talbot.

My companions or family will often complain about the amount of time I spend watching/interacting/speaking/reading/thinking about football. They ponder as to why I can be so obsessed by something to which I have no involvement or control over. My yelling abuse at the players on TV regrettably has no impact and I am unfortunately still no more telepathic than I was before. Yes, it is true that our unwavering love with our clubs would seem rather peculiar to the average spectator, but it begs the question: Why do we care?

Most academic scholars have agreed that the pinnacle reason behind supporting a football team, is that you are giving yourself way to let your masculinity run wild. Though this argument is somewhat benign nowadays, considering one-upmanship is more derived through, say – someone who can make a wittier and degrading meme on Twitter, rather than someone who possesses raw brawn.  Surely anthological theorems cannot singularly account for justification of fandom?

I recently got stuck in a YouTube whirlpool of watching England fans sing songs such as Vindaloo and Three Lions in foreign stadiums. I had absolute Goosebumps – that’s our fans I thought, that’s our team, my team. I was proud, even though there wasn’t any reason for me to be – I hadn’t done anything to merit an inclusion in the fan’s camaraderie on screen. I was merely an outsider spectating the scenes. I happily imagined people from around the world talking to one another: ‘that England lot are a barmy bunch’. ‘Yes we are’ I thought, glowing in admiration for myself.

I believe that we can autonomously find ourselves attracted to our chosen clubs by way of their virtues and ideals, with this being particularly apt when people choose clubs which are far away from themselves. For example, our conceptions about a bloke from say – Cumbria, who is fairly new to football. He decides his club to be Chelsea FC and in doing so, he will establish himself among other fans as one who, to put it lightly – perhaps chooses pragmatism over heart and soul. This judgement cast upon him may be of some substance, but his support still must be dignified as with any other. As it is Chelsea that he feels a connection with, it is that club who he feels embodies his character. He has chosen this particular club because it will warrant a conception from others about him, of which he feels is positive.

On a local parameter, supporting football teams is a way of exercising unity. A city’s football team gives a representation of its cultural ideas, and in the action of being supported by a particular person there is an embracement of the club’s core beliefs by the individual. This person will see himself as in alliance with the club, and act in keeping with its personal values – something called ‘group mentality’ which actually is in the domain of ‘cult’ theory.

I believe the nature of our relationship with our club’s is truly sacred, as we see a quality of ourselves in them of which we pride. Don’t let others scrutinise it – of course it’s a bit a ridiculous to so get emotionally ingrained over something of which you no control, but that’s probably the magic of it, right?

If you’re wondering why the ‘weird news’ picture has been used, that’s just because the good folks at Google like pics and I want to keep them happy.

Follow/abuse us on Twitter @GonzoSportsDesk, we’re not fancy we follow back.


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