Recent events in football—despite their dark nature—have managed to unite all supporters under one roof. Talk of what makes a committed football fan shouldn’t always be determined by how long a season ticket has been in your family, how much hatred your have for your rivals, or the amount of miles you clock up in a season following your team around. Instead, it’s the willingness and desire to want to be part of a club—in any capacity—and finding your place alongside many who share the same enthusiasm.
Many new supporters jump on to the bandwagon of the latest craze: Barcelona and Lionel Messi, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, or even the success of this modern Manchester City. But in a way it might be the losing streak or the poor run of form from a team that keeps it’s fan base so strong and eager for more. It’s the dark days that make the victory at the end of the tunnel even more special for most. Capturing an FA Cup over a giant could make the years or even decades of misery worth it for some.
…for decades suffered…
The Boston Red Sox for decades suffered at the hands of the New York Yankees and that deal that took Babe Ruth to the Big Apple—the curse of the Bambino. But it didn’t deter fans from continuing to flock to Fenway Park. Their World Series win in 2004—defeating the Yankees along the way—made the occasion even more significant.
But aside from the wins and losses, it’s the tribalism of football fans and the participating in tradition that creates such a bond between supporters and football clubs. From the away days in Europe all the way down to drinks in the same pub for the last decade, there can be no mistaking the feeling of a match day and keeping a tradition going.
…create a stronger foundation of support…
The problems Arsenal and Arsene Wenger suffered for parts of the season and, specifically, in the summer, only managed to create a stronger foundation of support from most. Yes there were cries to get rid of the manager and freshen up the club from top to bottom, but those who have seen darker days pre-Wenger only made sure that their support never wavered. Again, it was the poor run of form that led to many wanting to continue to show their support, with the attendances at away games never budging from 100 per cent sold out.
In much the same way that everybody wants to ‘be a part of something,’ football fans continue to create a sense of brotherhood and togetherness. Possibly something that only experiencing it first-hand can do it justice.