Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I like my football on a saturday...

What exactly is it that makes someone a fan of a particular team? There are lots of different ones I’ve heard over the years, from born and raised (usually a family devotion to the team) to they were winning (or challenging for) the league when I first followed them. There are many other reasons in between these extremes as well – a good example of which being an old school friend who had an unnatural love for Les Ferdinand and so became a devoted Newcastle United fan.

True Fans?

All very well you ask, but why do I question this in blog form? I want to know whether the reasons behind following a team affect the strength of that devotion and indeed the likelihood of abandoning the club in dire times (the word relegation is not to be uttered as we approach the business end of the season!).

As many will know I am a Nottingham Forest fan. As we appear to be staring down the barrel of the ‘R’ word yet again it saddens me to think that we are not fighting to be restored to the top flight of domestic football, it pains me slightly that we may be destined to be the only former European champions in their countries third division (for the second time!) and it is a bitter reminder that we are unlikely to regain the glory days of the past without handing over ownership to Sheikh somethingorother. BUT, I cannot imagine not being a fan. I would not dream of abandoning the team no matter what depth they sank to. Am I though an exception to the general rule as a follower of non-league football – a habit inherited from my dad, also a forest fan and season ticket holder of 30+ years, who can regularly be seen at local non-league games when the reds are not at home.
Would others continue to follow a club into the 1st, 2nd even 3rd division (Championship, League 1 and League 2 for those unfortunate enough not to remember the times of sensible names for the divisions). And if ‘fans’ would abandon their team is that because they were never really true fans, merely glory supporters? Can you then adopt another team, perhaps performing better? Or is the measure of a fan how long they would continue to follow a team (honourable mention for Darlington fans here given current circumstances). 

If you support a team, is the reason you do strong enough to keep you there through thick and thin, or like my friend, would the movements of Les Ferdinand cause you to decide maybe the team wasn’t right for you after all?