With the release of the BBC’s Price List last week the true cost of supporting your football team became vividly apparent. Fans will spend hundreds and thousands on that commitment to the team they support above all else and that passionate fervent support is what gives fans the right to complain when a player leaves for a rival, or a manager is not doing their job to the best of their ability or if one player just isn’t putting the shift in on the pitch.
But is it possible to be what I term an ‘ambiguous’ football fan. For me I support Everton. Based mainly on a love for Andrei Kanchelskis growing up and a misunderstanding over the meaning of Everton’s FA Cup Final win of 1995. As an Everton fan of the past two decades many memories stick with me. Duncan Ferguson’s header against United at Goodison, Gareth Farrelly’s half-volley against Coventry City or being consistently disappointed with the performances of Mark Pembridge.
However supporting just one team never seemed likely for me. While Everton remain the major object of my affection I also have more than a soft spot for my home-town club Reading or Southampton, due mainly to being my Dad’s side and a stint at University in Saints territory.
It doesn’t make me a bad football fan that I will cheer on Reading if sitting in the Madejski Stadium and doesn’t make anybody a bad football fan if they do similar.
If you want to know I also keep an eye out for the performance of Crystal Palace, Oldham Athletic, AFC Wimbledon, Arbroath and Rangers every weekend for various different reasons.
I just adore football in all its guises and even when a neutral watching a game I most likely will adopt one of the sides in action as the game progresses. Whether that be the plucky underdog or the master class exerting favourites sometimes it is nice to forget that allegiance for one second.
I have always hated the term ‘real fan’ as I don’t think it truly makes a difference whether you were there when the team was in League Two or whether you started supporting a side when a rich tycoon took over just as long as you can justify it then being an ambiguous football fan doesn’t seem a problem to me.
In my area I can go watch many teams within a £20 radius travel wise including any London side, Reading, Southampton, Aldershot, Oxford United, Swindon Town, Crawley Town and many non-league teams trying to join the higher echelons of English football.
While doing so it might make me a bad Everton fan, but it doesn’t make me any less of a football fan to enjoy taking in all sorts of football across the length and breadth of the UK.
Is it possible to be an ambiguous football fan? If so will one team simply always hold a special place, like my beloved Everton?
image: © nicksarebi