After a recent trip to North Yorkshire, I couldn’t help but notice the number of Chelsea kits worn by kids and adults around the town. Growing up, it was very normal for Manchester United and Liverpool kits to be seen in every part of the United Kingdom, and especially since Arsene Wenger’s success at Arsenal, there have been more Gooners spreading from outside of the Capital.
However, before 2005, I rarely spotted Chelsea tops outside of London. Surely this is down to their success and that for one reason or another, these fans from outside London have chosen to follow a highly successful football club in the current era.
I can accept that some of them may have been Londoners who’ve moved away and their support for Chelsea is…genuine, but I saw enough fans to know that the Blues have joined the Glory Hunting fan base goes hand in hand with the top 4 clubs.
However, it did get me thinking about why we support the football teams that we do. What causes us to say, this is my team, because once you make the declaration and dedication, there usually isn’t no going back. And if you are one of those whochanged clubs, then you must’ve not been serious about the first one.
Of course, the most common reason for supporting a football club is that it is in the family. The Dad or the Mum, support the club, maybe because their parents did the same and it is passed down from generation to generation.
This way of supporting the club is made easier if the team is in the top flight of English football. Those parents supporting Football League clubs have it tougher trying to persuade their children in supporting the likes of Rochdale or Brentford when there are Manchester United and Chelsea fans in their class room.
Perhaps that is another reason for why some of us support our football club, peer pressure. I faintly remember the first few years of Primary school in the early 1990’s where I wore my Queens Park Rangers top into class. I was the only QPR fan in the whole school, and did get some stick. I remember most kids at that time were Nottingham Forest fans, only to be Manchester United and Blackburn fans years later.
It was easier for me to stick with Q.P.R. because I was actually going to the games and seeing them play. I think once a kid sees the team in action, then it’s more engraved into the heart than just watching your team on T.V. or following the status quo in the playground.
I do feel rather fortunate, despite the misfortune of supporting a club like QPR over the years, that I was able to go to live games from an early age and be brought up in that football atmosphere. Most of my friends growing up and a lot of football fans I know and see now, have rarely been to live games and their experience of football is and has always been in front of a television screen.
I also have a different appreciation for the Glory Hunter. As a QPR fan, in my school days, the ‘glory hunter’ tag would be in my defensive mechanism if anyone tried to ‘take the Michael’ out of my club but as I’ve got older, I realise that some fans of the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool were brought up in areas where there were no professional football clubs.
On one side, a part of me feels they should follow their non-league side but it takes a very special person to dedicate their support for what looks like a lost cause. Plus, if they are a football fan, they want to be entertained, so why wouldn’t they support the best entertainers?
I often wonder, if I hadn’t been brought up in London, or if my Uncle had never taken me to QPR games as a kid, who would I have supported?
Personally, I think I would’ve been attracted to a club like QPR anyway. With the unique name and kit, it’s something that would’ve appealed to me now, and as a child, despite the attempts of my Arsenal supporting mates trying to tempt me to go to Highbury.
On a personal note yes, the success of being an Arsenal fan would’ve been nice, but despite that and they’re great history, it’s not just QPR and that’s why I am a QPR fan. We are a unique family and maybe that is another reason why we are attracted to certain clubs, it gives us an identity.
This point of identity is made easier in the UK for those of us who don foreign club shirts. Commonly you have the Barcelona shirt wearers, who love the passing football and frown at a long ball on every occasion. Or you have the Real Madrid shirt wearers, fascinated by the history and the glamorous players.
Just like those of us who have national shirts of countries other than our own. The Brazil and Argentina shirt wearers, who enjoy the samba style of football opposed to Holland (like myself) and Spain shirt wearers, who love the pass and move, total football homage’s we see today.
We associate ourselves with our football clubs.