Exactly, exactly!!!!

8 02 2012

During  today’s internet travels I came across an interview from several years ago .

The interview featured Tony Evans, the Liverpool fan and Times journalist, and he was talking about the book in which he documented his trips around Europe to watch Liverpool play. I really enjoyed one particular part of the interview because it managed to highlight two things –  the problems with football and the joy of being a football fan that goes to matches – at the same time. It was this part;

Question: Travelling long uncomfortable train journeys across Europe to get to a game is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, with most fans these days either preferring to catch a plane to the match, or to stay in the comfort of their own home and watch the game from 57 different camera angles on the likes of Sky Sports. So are the type of passionate fans who made those long arduous treks to support the team throughout the 70′s and 80′s also becoming an endangered species in the modern game?

Answer: Yes. It will get worse. People are not forming the bonds with the clubs that we have. When I was 9, I’d go up the ground for 12, be first in at one and hanging over the fence at the front of the Anny Road for the rest of the afternoon. When Stevie Heighway took a corner, I could hear him grunt when he hit the ball. I was there, I could touch the atmosphere, was part of it. Why do I still love it? It’s because of that. Because I believe it’s my culture. Because it’s part of my identity. Can you get that from a telly?

The same with being at games. Even when you lose, you have adventures you can talk about for decades – you should come out and be bored by me an my mates still abusing each other about incidents half a lifetime ago. What adventures can you have in front of the television?

The bit that did it for me was “..you have adventures you can talk about for decades”. This phrase is nearest you’ll ever get to distilling the essence of being a fan. Being a fan is not about allowing Four Four Two to go travelling for you, or repeating what you’ve heard on the internet, or sending abusive tweets, or being the first to wear a new polyester shirt in Llandudno’s cultural quarter, or indulging in Sunday afternoon banter in Llandudno’s cultural quarter, or shouting at a television screen.

Being a fan is about the flights you’ve nearly missed, the songs you’ve invented in minibuses, the impromptu 14-a-side matches in Denmark, the time you pretended to be a journalist and got in for nothing. It’s about the countless little things like booking tickets, getting time off and remembering when you’re supposed to be leaving. Being a fan is about the people you meet and the memories you’ve gained

Being a fan is not about the banter, it’s never about the over-excitable, execrable, excruciating banter

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