|[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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