I'm a person who knows nothing about football: I don't play the game, don't watch it and (shockingly!) don't support a club which operates 2000 miles from where I live.
For this I have been made to suffer. Grievously. A disproportionately large number of conversations I join in abruptly turn to whatever football tourney is underway, leaving me with the delicate task of showing just enough interest in the thing to not be doubted ("you're a guy and you don't watch football? ...Huh!") while also appearing disinterested enough to not be asked my opinion on the matter. Not an easy task, as you must realise.
It, therefore, gives me much pleasure to share this little write-up about how being a football club fanboy means you’re nothing more than a mindless, retarded twit who can’t separate fact from fiction:
Being a fan, particularly in the hardcore club-loyalist sense, is in many ways a matter of deliberately sustaining a set of fictions. When players let us know that they see the game as a set of skills they practice for money, rather than as a midnight war of meaning waged for the soul of the universe, or whatever the guy says in the latest Adidas commercial, it becomes harder to sustain some of those fictions, so we get mad.But the fictions themselves are basically childish, aren’t they? I don’t mean puerile or selfish, exactly just basically congenial to the consciousness of a child. Childlike. After all, that’s the consciousness that many of us possess when we first become sports fans and that we frequently turn to sports to help us sustain.11 There’s a comparison to be made here with the way American sports have evolved a sort of secondary mythology of “getting paid”—the kid from the projects winning the max contract and buying his mom a house. That might not make it easier for fans to take a star leaving their team, but it gives the star a sort of existential defense against charges of greed. The fantasy of the game is the dream of lifting yourself up and winning incredible riches. Obviously hip-hop culture has had something to do with formalizing that narrative, which is also obviously basically a version of the American Dream. But it’s still interesting it doesn’t seem to have any real equivalent in soccer. You can call the Fever Pitch model of fandom—the OMG ARSENAL ARE THE GREATEST CLUB EVER AND I HAVE THEIR POSTERS AND I LOVE THEM model—a lot of things, some good and some bad. But in its preoccupation with heraldry and its belief that the arbitrary group you happened to join possesses uniquely redemptive qualities as compared to other arbitrary groups that are self-evidently almost identical to it, it is paradigmatically nine years old forever.
Of course, what the author doesn’t realise is that the “belief that the arbitrary group you happened to join possesses uniquely redemptive qualities as compared to other arbitrary groups that are self-evidently almost identical to it” is pretty much held by all of humanity. Not necessarily with respect to football clubs but other stuff like nations or faiths. Which sort of means were all mindless, retarded twits who can’t separate fact from fiction.