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[Blog] The Curse of the Modern Football Fan.
Written by Weekender on Thursday, 22nd Oct 2009 16:52

Football fans really are a strange bunch, investing not inconsiderable sums of time, money and energy into watching 11 men kick a ball. This has probably always been the case but lately I am becoming more and more convinced that there are an increasing number of football fans that are not just strange but also rather stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I don't profess to be an expert on the game, far from it, but I am aware of my own self ignorance and am prepared to place my trust in professionals who, having spent many years in the professional game, I'm certain do know more than me. However, there appears to be a significant number of fans that don't follow this way of thinking and believe they know best and that other fans should view them as some sort of football oracle.

I used to think these type of fans primarily belonged to teams like West Ham and Spurs but, but probably because of the expansion of media allowing more fan opinion to reach the masses, I think that most if not all clubs have a number of these type of followers a lot of whom fall into the passionate but not very bright category. Earlier in the season, I heard a phone in on 5Live just after Spurs had signed Peter Crouch, a Spurs fan called in and the conversation that followed was confusing to say the least.

PRESENTER: So what do you think of the signing of Peter Crouch?

SPURS FAN: (insert broad cockney accent) Well I don’t think we should have bought him.

PRESENTER: Why’s that? He has a goal scoring record, formed a good partnership with Defoe at Portsmouth and Harry Redknapp knows all bout him.

At this point I was expecting maybe a point about the potential for more long ball tactics or maybe a point about how Crouch wouldn’t fit into the team or how the money would have been better spent on other areas of the team but instead the reply was…

SPURS FAN: Yeah but he’s, well, he ain't a Spurs type player is he?

Or in other words, I don’t like him because he’s tall and lanky!

I think these fans are also the type you find following England, football is probably the major passion in their lives. The problem is these fans are, I believe, are the vocal minority (I'm not yet pessimistic enough to believe their views are that of the majority) and their views tend to be heard above most others.

Take England for example, every time we win 606 is full of callers stating how England will win the World Cup etc, etc. When they lose it is exactly the opposite, even if the game is only a friendly or relatively 'meaningless', the recent game in Ukraine is a case in point. These are probably the people who booed Hargreaves when he first broke into the England team because they didn't know anything about him.

I remember sitting in the South Stand when England played at Portman Road and being utterly perplexed by a fan who started shouting abuse at the announcement of the attendance! I think for him the ground capacity was some kind of affront to the national team.

Ipswich have their share of these fans, and while their passion is very welcome, their opinions can be rather frustrating. At the moment I think a lot of these fans are in the ‘let's sack Keane now brigade’. Their argument largely seems to translate to 'I want the team to be winning right now and I don't want to wait and I'll scream and scream until I get my way!'

They either can't or won't analyse the finer points of the game such as performance or tactics (I suspect can't is probably the case) and all they look at is recent results, a very short sighted view.

Maybe Keane will fail, maybe he won't but nobody can know until he has had a decent amount of time. I guess the issue comes down to an individual’s perception of what is a decent amount of time but for me too many modern fans expect instant results. The concept of a long term strategy along the lines of the now famous five-year plan that led to success under Sheepshanks and Burley seems be becoming less and less fashionable.

I'm as disappointed as anyone with our season so far BUT I realise I'm not a football expert and the right thing to do is to trust the people in charge of the club. The club has gone through a large number of changes on and off the field and the results of this will take time to filter through, one step back before two steps forward. Long term success comes from stability, changing managers every few months does not breed long term success; that is a fact. Just ask Newcastle fans.

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MCGOODERZ added 18:57 - Oct 22
Best blog I've read on here. I agree with everything, you've got it spot on.

jpr_23 added 19:13 - Oct 22
Whilst I think that you're right about the impatience of modern fans, I think that Keane brought some of the pressure on himself by making some inflammatory quotes at the start of the season.

His saying that a mediocre manager can get to mid-table in the championship could come back to haunt him...

He certianly encouraged the fans to have big expectations. When he first took over he said about making a few key signings, and how good he thought the squad was. That I think made people expect that we could improve on last year's performance.

As he was planning a pretty big overhaul of the squad and team, he might have been better to try to limit the immediate expectations and encourage the fans to think of this year as a process of change and experimentation.

6fish added 19:34 - Oct 22
Sorry but I think you're being rather pompous there and I would also say rather insulting. Just because someone doesn't agree with your "in Keane we trust" views doesn't make them stupid. Quite frankly if you look at the facts regarding Ipswichs start almost any other club would have sacked Keane already and its not unreasonable to think that there will be quite a few fans that think we should too.

tommyblue added 19:36 - Oct 22
so did brian clough bring pressure on himself...keanes worked under argubly the two best managers ever (clough and fergie).

tractorboybig added 19:59 - Oct 22
Fans are the club. When mangers are gone along with owners and cheif execs, the fans are still there.Always belittled written off as ignorante uninformed morons who have no understanding of the game.How insular and aloft are those professionls who think they know better. Still keep putting the plebs down , just in case they have a point. At the end of the day with out the scum and salt of the earth football and its clubs are nothing. Let them have their say, let them be proud of it.

62WasBest added 21:03 - Oct 22
Though I can understand the tenor of the article I think it is a huge mistake to believe that only the professionals that have been in the game a while can understand it and know best. Would you apply that philosophy to the banks as well? It is well known that folk within a closeted profession can be quite delusional too and make irrational and bad descisions. How else would we have seen the fall of Leeds and the problems at Accrington to name but two.

I think it more likely many fans are impatient and that is because of the age we live in and also because of the absurd amounts of (notional) cash sloshing around the game. It is as if they are in a giant kind of "Footbal Manager" game where they can they believe throwing money at a problem will solve things things. In real life you cannot just scrub that game and begin again if things go wrong. As with all walks of life there is an enormous amount of hard work that is done and often large doses of luck, that make clubs succesful. And like most things it can be all thrown away much quicker than it can be built, so please - no revolutions just evolution.

WREXHAM_BLUE added 21:55 - Oct 22
Another interesting blog. We all have opinions, rightly or wrongly and I guess that's very much a part of why we love football... and IPSWICH so much. Some people do make me laugh though. I remember someone ringing 5-live after the Champions League Final this year. He was a Villa fan and said something like "to be honest, I thought Barcelona were very poor." Need I say more!?

dirtydingusmagee added 23:09 - Oct 22
well if we lose Saturday sh;t will be flying in all directions,when keane had his two end of season games [which they won ]he said he would notbe bringing in loads of players,but then went on to shuffle things around as he has, leading us into the danger zone .

UEFA81 added 23:14 - Oct 22
Yep, there was nothing wrong with the squad until Keane messed with it.

nthstd added 07:17 - Oct 23
Mr Keane has done it the wrong way round. He hould have brought in a striker , a centre back and a left back not the wholesale dismantling of a mid table championship team. He should have then created his team in the January window when we had this seasons mid table obscurity more or less in the bag. I am hearted greatly by Watford on Tuesday night, but lady luck is still not smiing on us. I liked what I saw and I am coming of the fence in his favour, but he has made no friends in the process.

stiffshorts added 09:12 - Oct 23
all say what you want but;
Keane's in for the long haul. I don't like the brand of football we play presently (long ball, not enough use of wingers, lack of pass completion, too many players as indivduals and not as the "team" etc) however Roy's attempting to bring it round (Tuesday night showing we have the ability we just lack cutting edge and 94 mins concentration) and I think he will do it.
I'm a Town fan first and foremost and will grudgingly accept relegation (yes, I said it) if it means in the long term we become an established Premier league club.
I agree with having at least a three year plan and I hope Roy is central to it. If the board (or Marcus or whoever) don't take that approach and lose Roy early then I, for one, will not be able to continue going to games week in and week out not knowing who's in charge and where we're headed.
Roy will deliver, it may not be soon!

HuntingdonBlue added 09:34 - Oct 23
Nothing wrong with the squad until keane messed with it...... don't remember hearing much of that when Jim was in charge!!

SouperJim added 11:03 - Oct 23
There is no way Keane could have just bolted a couple of players onto Magilton's team and brought us success. There were fundamental problems with Jim's team and the way the club was being managed. I don't agree with everything Roy has done, far from it, but I also realise what kind of a manager he is and as the saying goes, you can't make an omlete without breaking a few eggs!

In my opinion, recent performances (not results, performances) have shown that given time Keane will turn us into a good promotion chasing side. I've come to this conclusion by watching us play.

leagueonescum added 11:32 - Oct 23
I'm impressed with how articulate our fans are: premier league.

dirtydingusmagee added 14:16 - Oct 23
enter C G S stage left !
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