As the new season approaches, fans across the country will be going through the customary emotions of excitement and dread, as well as lying to themselves that they’re not going to buy into the hype this year. But for many fans, the environment in which we watch games is as important as the action on the field. I’ve compiled a spotter’s guide to the sorts of fans you can expect to encounter this season, either at the ground, the pub or wherever else you find yourself watching the beautiful game. Below is just a snapshot of a cast of thousands …
1. The Gambling Fan: Spotted at pubs and grounds nationwide, this fan takes seemingly no interest in the events unfolding in front of him. Instead, he is managing to source scores from around the country either on his smart phone or (if he is really authentic) through a radio earpiece. You can spot this fan because this week, as with every week since F.C Nazareth unexpectedly lost at home in 83 B.C, he’ll be complaining that he was one result out from winning £3,000 on an accumulator.
Will be heard muttering: ‘2-0 Shrewsbury.’
2. The Fantasy League obsessed fan: The natural successor to the above, and an increasingly prevalent breed of fan. This is the fan that will miss his team’s last minute winner because he was desperately trawling the BBC Sport website to find out whether Ricardo Fuller’s consolation goal was set up by Rory Delap. Will also spend his Friday nights establishing who his friends have selected for the forthcoming weekend.
Will be heard saying: ‘Blackburn kept a clean sheet did they? You don’t know if Gael Givet started by any chance?’
3. The self-loathing fan: Despite vast amounts of time and money invested in his club, this fan will claim to despise his team and everything about them. The self-loathing fan may well be affecting his hatred, designed to delude himself that he is almost happy when his team falls short yet again. You’ll spot this fan hurling insults at his team from the first minute, and if his team mange to score or win a game, he will grumble something along the lines of ‘about bloody time’. The self-loather often targets one player for particular invective, and will pounce on any mistake the poor right back makes with a torrent of personal abuse.
Will be heard saying: ‘For 30 Fuc*ing years, I’ve been paying to watch these clowns.’
4. The eternally optimistic fan: The natural antidote to the above, this is the fan that follows his team with a blind devotion and will not hear a bad word said about them. His optimism will fly in the face of current (or even long-term) results, and any poor displays can be attributed to injuries/poor refereeing decisions/Nick Clegg.
Will be heard saying: ‘We’re only 5 or 6 big signings away from a push for Europe this season.’
Interestingly there is some overlap between this fan and no.3 as the self-loather may often become hugely defensive of his team if an opposition fan has the temerity to criticise the team he claims to so virulently despise.
5. The corporate fan: Has no real interest in football and to be fair is probably ‘more of a rugby man’. Understands that having at least a rudimentary knowledge of football is essential lest he is left out of a conversation at an event or in a corporate box.
Will be heard saying, with an affected weariness: ‘Yeah I’m a bloody Gooner. For my sins.’
6. The niche fan: Perhaps a slightly rarer breed, but someone who has carved out a niche for himself amongst his friends, by having an exceptional knowledge of a competition other than the Premier League. This could be someone whose travels to South America spawned an intimate knowledge of the Copa Libertadores , or a fan whose youth spent watching James Richardson enjoying ice creams led to a lifelong fascination with Serie A. It may even be that this fan, by dint of actually supporting his local club, is the oracle on League 1. Either way he is safe in the knowledge that he’s the go to guy should conversation ever steer away from TheGreatestLeagueInTheWorld™.
Will be heard saying: ‘De Gea? Yeah, he is good, but slightly susceptible on crosses.’
7. The smug, self proclaimed ‘expert’ fan: The sort of person with an assumed superiority based on nothing but an inflated sense of self-worth. Prone to imposing his views on others, and the sort of person who‘d write a blog and think that others would actua… oh.
Here’s to a great 2011/2012 season.