In defence of “Football Hipsters”

9 02 2013

A few days ago I was intrigued by a thread on the When Saturday Comes message board, it was entitled “25 Steps to Becoming A Football Hipster”. After I clicked on the link in the thread’s  first post I was faced by a list on an Irish website;

25 Steps To Becoming A Football Hipster

1) Get a zany football shirt. Not a St Pauli one as they’ve become too mainstream. This year the shirt to have is Real Oviedo’s (preferably Abel Xavier era one). It will show you’re in the know and care about the little guy and that you follow Sid Lowe.

2) Do not under any circumstances miss the Guardian’s Football Weekly with James Richardson. From now on; you worship James Richardson. If anyone asks why, get misty eyed, stare into the distance and recall him “years back” on Channel Four holding up La Gazzetta dello Sport. Say it’s one of the enduring images of your childhood.

3) Tell people you were into the Zonal Marking back when it was Mantoman.com.

4) Buy Inverting The Pyramid. Read it cover to cover. Take shorthand notes to remember important terms like catenaccio, regista, trequartista and manager.

5) Inform everyone around you that Spain are playing with a false nine and yet, in your opinion, also a true ten. Allow yourself a smirk.

6) Set up a twitter account with a clever obscure football handle. For example: @JavierClementefirstsaidtikitaka

7) Consistently pour scorn on the Premier League. Say it’s the ‘Hawaii Five-O’ to the Bundesliga’s ‘The Wire’. Say it has utterly lost the art of defending and that the perfect game ends 0-0.

8) Your favourite Barcelona player is no longer Messi. It’s Busquets. Claim Michael Carrick is Manchester United’s most important player and that Andrea Pirlo should have won the Ballon d’Or.

9) Hype up South American derbies like they are the biggest games in the world. Tell the world you cannot believe people are looking forward to Super Sunday on Sky when it’s only six hours until River and Boca play.

10) Despise all football pundits except for Gary Neville and Pat Nevin.

11) Say ‘Revista de La Liga’ has lost something since they sacked Mark Bolton.

12) Actively root for AVB and always, always refer to him as AVB.

13) At all times defend Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This is only tricky when talking about his time at Barcelona as he comes into direct conflict with fellow hipster God Pep Guardiola. In this instance, defend Zlatan’s record, cite his scoring and assist record, but also cite that perhaps he was too much of an individual in the ultimate collective and that Pep needed to free Messi.

14) Adore everything about Borussia Dortmund. Visit the Westfalenstadion. Rename you cat Klopp.

15) Set up a blog. Write 4000 word pieces on how Falcao scores and stuff. Tweet every football journalist on twitter and ask for a RT.

16) Engage in a twitter argument with Ken Early over the six-second rule.

17) Live tweet The Sunday Supplement pointing out why it’s silly with every sentence.

18) Assert that this Barcelona team is decent, but nowhere near as good as Sacchi’s Milan.

19) Only discuss Newcastle United en francais.

20) Play FIFA 13 using the Brendan Rodgers possession game.

21) Pay a fortune for a Norwegian satellite feed to follow the progress of Molde.

22) Set up an African Cup of Nations twitter list for the duration of the tournament.

23) Wake up every morning and remember the great Yugoslav team that never was.

24) Only ever pronounce team names in the language of the country they’re from so it’s Reeeber y Boca in the Bombanerrrrrrro, Pareee-san-jyrmah and Ireland’s Euro 88 game was in Ghel-sin-kirssshhhhhhh-en.

25) State with confidence that ‘Off The Balls’ football show was better with ‘Parker & Lovejoyyyyyyyy’ on Friday nights.

As soon as I read the title of the thread I knew that there would be something based around lazy generalisations and à la mode “satire”. I knew that I should have avoided it but my chronic need to be offended took over.

From one angle (a very narrow one) I’ll concede that the authors had a point. The people who like to wear “wacky shirts” probably have the same narcissistic urge as the people that turn up at local authority all-weather pitches with pink boots and stockings pulled up like JT. From any other angle the list is a load of broad brush bollocks.

The first point of irritation is a personal one. If I was being judged by this list I’d probably be derided as a “Football Hipster”. James Richardson and his papers on Channel Four is one of the enduring images of my childhood, I like Borussia Dortmund, I’ve owned a few “wacky shirts” in my time, I pronounce “SA-NT ET-I-ENNE” like someone who lives by the Loire (extra hipster points for knowing their home département!!) and get this, I not only read Inverting the Pyramid I found it interesting.

Much as I try to be fascinated by Rooney, van Persie and CR7, or the machinations of the champions league elite I will always be more interested in that the “Great Lost Yugoslav side”, or Hungary 1950s team, or Bangor City’s 1980s side. I don’t say this because this is what someone has decided “Football Hipsters” should say. I am more interested in the past because quite frankly the past is often more interesting than the present. It’s more mysterious and doesn’t take place in the glare of hype and tedious forensic evaluation.

If fans have to be divided between “Hipsters” and “Others” I will wear the term “Football Hipster” with pride. In fact I was a “Football Hipster” several decades before smartarses devised the concept of “Football Hipster”. What’s wrong with a wider gaze? It’s a weird person that doesn’t like a touch of exoticism in their lives. While I have no objection with being outed as a “Football Hipster” I object to the pejorative use of the term, but then again I know there’s nothing wrong with me simply because I know the difference between Puskas and Puyol.

Now let’s turn to the second point of irritation; is there anything actually wrong with any of the activities on the list?  Are French-speaking Newcastle fans or the purchasers of Norwegian satellite decoders doing anything wrong? Are these people indulging in anti-social behaviour? There’s something wrong with virtually the entire list.

Are you a “football hipster” just because you happen to find most pundits are irritating, clichéd or sensationalist? Since when is caring about a historic Spanish club a bad thing?, and while we’re at it, what’s wrong with Borussia Dortmund? To most fans they would seem appealing; sensible ticket pricing, Europe’s’ biggest terrace, an attractive kit.

The third point of irritation is that the list isn’t quite as funny as the authors think it is. From the banter inspired laugh at Newcastle’s transfer policy, you know as if  fans have actually started discussing their club en Français last week, to the irritating comedic exaggeration of “paying a fortune for a Norwegian satellite feed to follow the progress of Molde”?  Yeah, very funny!!! It’s all shite. What makes it worse is the creative process behind the Molde joke; an author scouring wikipedia for an authentic oddity of a club name. Oh comedians, just fuck off and rest.

The biggest problem with the list is found in its most telling line;

7) “Consistently pour scorn on the Premier League. Say it’s the ‘Hawaii Five-O’ to the Bundesliga’s ‘The Wire’.”

So it turns out that the reason that “Football Hipsters” are tossers is that they aren’t interested in football that’s spoonfed to us by the one-eyed media. The authors of the post could have just typed “SUMBIT TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE BECAUSE RUPERT TELLS US TO. FORESAKE ALL OTHER FOOTBALL FOR IT IS SHITE.” and saved themselves 4 hours.

Mind you “Football Hipster” is not merely a well-honed putdown, it’s seems to be a protest slogan for the braindead football fans, the people that go to a match once every 18 months because they “can’t get tickets”, the people that assault packed super duper Sunday pubs with hectoring opinions. The not-so-silent majority are finally fighting back!!!  They’re sick of the likes of me looking down on them!!!! They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take any more!!!

Jesus, the utter gall of these fucking chancers. They capitulate to Murdoch’s version football, absolve themselves of blame and guilt for ruining British football then say the rest of us are the problem because we’re “pretentious” for finding the   “championspremierleague” pantomime off-putting. Oh let us quake before their easy catch-all term!!!!

Well lads, how is “supporting” Man Utd, Liverpool or Arsenal from the comfort of a barstool morally superior to having an interest in Borussia Dortmund?  You may not like pretension I don’t like bovine stupidity.

After reading through this post I realise that I may have been unduly harsh on the article. Actually there are only two things wrong with it; the conceit – “We watch football on TV so we’re proper fans entitled to an opinion” and the delicious irony of people from outside the UK moaning about people forsaking England’s premier league for more exotic fare.

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2 responses

9 02 2013
Kowalski

The trouble with things like this that they may look like tongue in cheek exaggerations but they have roots in real feelings. The sense of “how dare you like anything that’s not premier league” runs right through the list.

9 02 2013
Josh Cockburn (@JoshCockburn)

I think you’ve misjudged the tone of the article. I think the author(s) probably indulge in plenty of the things they mention and it’s self-deprecating in-joke rather than a taunt from EPL obsessed dullards.

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