“M a gunner 4 lyf”
If you follow football (the real kind, not hand-egg) you definitely must have heard these phrases during a match, on the internet, or while talking to fellow football watchers. While watching and avidly following football is a sight for sore eyes in the cricket crazy nation that is India, these days, there’s a particular breed of sports watchers that’s proliferating, and is particularly annoying-
Years ago, there was only cricket. Then people got bored and they began to watch football. More channels have now begun to telecast football matches, most of them live. The culture has flourished so much that some people find it essential to follow football and have know-how of the happenings in the football world. Consequently, club cafes and bars came into the picture. Today, being a follower of football is a matter of pride for many. Club allegiances are defended, argued, and held in very high regard. The beautiful game has enamored many Indian youths.
The growth of this football club culture however, has led to a pretty annoying side effect. Football watching, like any other pop culture phenomenon, has its shares of hipsters, and its share of posers.
What’s a poser, you ask? Simply put, posers are the kind of people who follow a particular trend just to show off, to annoy, or just to blend in with their peers. They can endlessly speak senseless things just to make it look like they know what they’re saying. They will “celebrate” if “their club” wins the match; in their club’s cafe/bar. (Please get help if you refer to the team you like as “us”)
With the advent of social networking, it is now possible for these guys to voice their opinions louder than ever before, as anonymity means that they don’t have to confront others face to face. These posers, call them “plastic fans” if you will, have neither the knowledge of the game nor the will to learn it. To hide and make up for their lack of knowledge, they try to disrupt proper conversations by any means necessary- also known as trolling. Winning or playing well isn’t important- what’s important is gloating. They’ll miss no chance when it comes to rubbing salt in the wounds of losers, and saying things like “a win is a win” if the team they “support” wins.
The best way of dealing with these people is to go against the natural inclination of insulting them. Such bandwagon jumpers aren’t just hated by others, but genuine supporters, who don’t hesitate to criticize the team they support, are also embarrassed by them.
Supporting a club isn’t a choice one should make by short listing teams and randomly pledging or changing allegiances based on form and success. It’s more than just researching club histories and spouting trivia and factoids at the drop of a hat. Posers, glory hunters or plastics may spend thousands on merchandise and what not, but to be a true supporter there needs to be a connection with the club at a deeper, emotional level. Whether it is something as simple as the colour of the jersey, or something technical like the style of play, you really need to feel a bond, to rejoice in their successes and to support them through misfortunes.