The indefinable magic that is "supporting your team"

Posted by Hinesy on July 15, 2004, 04:08:26 PM

There is a religion that regularly gets tens of thousands people attending it's weekly service.

It's a faith that has no reason, no rational logic, no real purpose and no belief in the hereafter. It is blind prejudice that in any other area of life would be verging on the discriminatory. It demands a tithe from us all - a pretty high one at that and its rewards are life enhancing but its downsides are mood wrecking.

One would imagine such a biased, blinkered belief would draw its congregation from a minor source, but no, unlike any other religion in the world, its members are universal, global, passionate men and women who irrespective of race, colour, creed, geographical location, language and religious belief all love that one thing.

Their team.

But what is it that makes us support our team? I ask because when I try and think what it must be like to support another team, I give up. I just can't imagine cheering on any other team in the world. Sure I have soft spots for some teams but can you really consider what it must be like to listen out for say, Lincoln Town's ( to keep it non-premiership) results. Or try for a minute to think what it must be like to be a Manchester City fan. Or worse and support the lesser team in Manchester. And yet we all think the same about our team.

Some posters have written that Liverpool chose them. Well, I can't remember choosing Liverpool. I was an 8 year old, early 70's glory hunter I suppose. Though we hadn't won too much to shout about when I think about it.

Christened in Birkenhead into a family of Reds (south of the river but it's close), that's the way it was for me. No argument. I recall some of my pals switching to Forest in the late 70's. SWITCHING TEAMS! I'd never heard of such a thing and I certainly to this day can't imagine changing yer team. It just doesn't happen.

But how bizarre is this loyalty in an age when every single advert, every choice we make, tempts you into changing your brand : of car, of washing powder; agony columns say change your friends, your partners. But you don't change your team. What a hold Liverpool has over me. But I love it.

I'm one of those fans who doesn't believe my loyalty is proved through stats or through remembering team line ups from certain games. My magic and reminiscing comes through moments of magic - a crackly wireless at two minutes past eight on Radio 2, the commentator saying "Welcome to Sport on 2, I won't tell you the score, I'll let the Kop tell you it".... 12,000 or more voices singing 6-1, 6-1 as we beat Grasshoppers Zurich; watching Tommy Smith head in from the corner v Borussia Munchengladbach - still my favourite game. A Five Live commentator squealing "OOOOOOOHH" as Owen tucks his 2nd v Arsenal in the FA Cup, leaping with madness as Gary and Geli conspire to bring the UEFA CUP to an end. Arriving at Anfield for the ROMA match, hearing 44,000 fans going mad.

It's these up moments that make the frustration worth it, the down moods acceptable, the grumbling short lived. I love my team, I can't wait for the new season, once again, like a kid, all optimistic, unable to wait for the first match to grab yer seat in the Kop.

Days may have changed, players and managers come and gone, but I'm proud to admit that this faith has got me bad. Oh Lord, real bad.

© hinesy 2004

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