Barclays Premier League starts this Saturday but there’s still enough time to join the thousands of fans that are bristling with excitement. Amina Ahmed (recently converted to football), with the expertise of Arron Greenway, brings you the top ten steps to becoming a footy fan
Step 1: Can You Stand the Heat
Football is often called the beautiful game but the life of a footy fan can sometimes get ugly. You must be competitive but be able to take defeat with your head held high. Every team, in every league, in every country has its rivals and whether you’re winning or losing you will get attacked.
When Manchester City won the 2014 Premier League Trophy, rival teams claimed that because the club had been bought by wealthy sheikhs – and therefore they could buy the best players – their title was bought not earned.
Step 2: Choosing a Team
This is when things start getting exciting – choosing a team can be hard especially if you’ve got friends around you that are trying to influence you into choosing the team they support. What you need to make sure is that you don’t become a “glory hunter” – go for a team just because they’re top of the league. Remember: that team won’t always be at the top and if that is the only thing keeping you loyal, you will be disappointed.
There are a few legitimate reasons why you might choose a particular team:
- The club/team nearest to where you were born and raised.
- Your local team.
- Deciding what level of football you want to go for – people who go for premier league teams will be able to see matches on TV and get all the latest gossip in the national newspapers but will also have to pay a small fortune to go and watch a game. Those who go for local teams can get to the game easily and not have to pay as much.
- Supporting a team that your father and his father supported. Football heritage.
Step 3: Know Your Team
The obvious would be to watch every game. This will not only help you learn more about the game and the players but keep you updated with the latest about your chosen team. There is no shortage of material though, when it comes to education. You can download the club’s app, visit their official website and of course, read/listen to sports news especially if your chosen team is in the premier league.
Step 4: Buy Some Merchandise
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive – items like pens and phone covers are quite cheap. However, if you want to be a proper hard-core fan then you can buy the kits but beware that the shirts will change every season. That’s not to say that you can’t wear shirts from old seasons – with this step, it’s really up to you how much you want to spend.
Step 5: The Coveted Off-Side Rule
Fans have their own language when it comes to football and the worst term is the dreaded off-side rule. Learn this and you have truly embraced football.
Step 6: Know Your Jargon
As well as the off-side rule, there is much to learn about football. Team nicknames, different rules and regulations on the game, names of players and just random jargon that you will need to learn to live a life as a fan. The more you know, the more you can interact with other fans and that way you will learn more about the sport. That’s the path to take to become a fully-fledged fan!
Step 7: Football Manners
When I joined the world of football fans, I was told one important thing. No matter what happens, how badly you beat another team don’t go around rubbing it in other’s faces. If your mate supports another team and they lose against you, maintain your manners and be polite about it. People are very sensitive when it comes to football.
Step 8: Choose a Favourite Player
Though this isn’t necessary to be a fan, it’s nice to have a favourite footballer. After watching a few games, you will be able to tell who you find the best – it might even be more than one player.
Step 9: Enjoy It
This is a fun experience that you can share with family and friends and have a bit of competitiveness in your life. It’s a great way to start conversations if you’re out, a nice pass-time and just another item to add to your list of hobbies. Enjoy watching, discussing and following your team.
Step 10: Stay True to Your Team
From this point on, your chosen team is a part of you and your life. Stay true to what you believe in and stick with it through thick and thin.