Whilst watching the Community Shield game on Sunday I had a strange, sour feeling towards the whole affair which spread to thoughts on football in general.
It probably didn’t help that the game was being contested by two of the most repulsive clubs in the country/the world, but it was the fan’s behaviour that I found somewhat depressing. Throughout the game there was constant swearing, abuse, booing of the ref and obnoxious, irritating chants from both sets of fans. Typical Chelsea/City fans. But then we’re no different really.
Ok, it may just be a side effect of watching a truly glorious Olympic Games. An event that totally took me off guard in terms of how proud I’ve felt watching the athletes perform and, more importantly, the British people coming together to support not just Team GB but everyone involved. I was extremely cynical before the games but am happy to have been proven wrong about most things. The atmosphere in London has been palpable, even though I’ve not been to a single event.
There's been a lot of debate about the difference between footballers and Olympic athletes, but I think a lot comes down to the fans.
But football’s football right? It’s nothing new. Pretty much all of the things above (shouting, swearing etc.) are the reason I decide to sit (stand) in Park Lane lower instead of the Paxton or East Stands. It’s every fan’s right to stand on the terrace and act like a pleb for 90 minutes. It’s a laugh being loud and obnoxious at football.
There’s been a lot of debate about the difference between footballers and Olympic athletes, but I think a lot comes down to the fans. Football is never going to be athletics or Rugby or Cricket, but there is definitely a fine line between terrific support and just being horrible for the sake of it. It’s sort of childish and pantomime really.
I always prefer to sing songs supporting our own team and players rather than slagging off the opposition. Much like at the Ultras event at Charlton. But then, in the heat of the moment we all become hypocrites. If John Terry or Jack Wilshire come within 10 yards of me I feel compelled to hurl all sorts of abuse at them because I feel they deserve it.
It’s hard to say how I’ll really feel until I arrive at the Lane on the 25th. Chelsea and City’s success last season already really dampened my faith in the sport. But I’m worried that after seeing the amazing and generally positive support throughout the Olympics, I won’t take the same pride and pleasure from being a football fan.