Am I Two-Timing My Team?

March 11, 2015

An article on one team loyalty...

The signing that left many United fans at a loss
Consider this you are a Manchester United fan who over the years adored Cristiano Ronaldo, you enjoyed watching him grow, and develop. You enjoyed what he brought to your team, but even more so you admired his technical skill and the meticulous execution of his goal-scoring. And then one day, out of the blue, this player moves to another team. We are lucky to live in an age where satellite television allows us access to football all over the world. Real Madrid, Ronaldo’s team of choice appear on your screen at least once a week. You find yourself listening out for the scores; you try and catch every game that you can. You go on a Spanish summer holiday and proudly placed on one of the hotel notice-boards you spot a day trip to the Bernabeu. So you go and you soak in a game, cheering as Ronaldo scores yet another hat-trick. At what point does taking an active interest in a player develop into supporting a team? Is there a difference? How can we be exposed to so many international leagues and not end up taking a preference to which sides we watch?

I know that Dortmund has quite a large following from Arsenal supporters. Similarly, Chelsea fans seem to enjoy watching Atletico, even before the return of Fernando Torres. Is this due to the Courtois connection or because we secretly enjoy revelling in the success of other sides? Perhaps we are curious about clubs that have beaten us in the past, or at least that is the case in these examples. Whilst you are the supporter of an elite side, you are bound to meet a fair few more elite sides. Generally, teams who play very attractive football and secretly (but not quite kicking and screaming) you are carried away in amour.

It has been much discussed that we are in the era of the individual. When the El Classico rolls around twice a year, it is always Ronaldo vs Messi mentioned first. With awards such as the Ballon D’Or we celebrate one individual’s efforts above all else. Whilst I understand awarding players a place in the team of the year, the Ballon D’Or is completely different as proved with their attempts to make Neuer compete against Messi and Ronaldo. How can you ever compare a goalkeeper’s accolades to the large score tally of a striker?

I look forward to seeing the players I love interact with each other

Do you follow a team or a player? I enjoy watching Zlatan play, but I find Ligue (*ughhh*) 1 incredibly dull. I don’t even enjoy watching PSG play. Yet I always look for their results, and I usually make it to half-time before remembering I need to watch some paint dry on the other channel. Of course there is the David Luiz factor too, which I will discuss later.

There is an age-old tradition of supporting your “real” local team. For example I moved to Southend-on-Sea when I was ten and though I have never really taken an interest in going to watch them play, it’s always nice to know how they’re doing. 

There seems to be a lot of Southend based West Ham fans that still follow both sides. This isn’t seen as being disloyal, not even if the two teams were to meet in a cup clash, as it is simply considered a novelty. The same generous understanding does not quite extend to a follower of two elite European teams. For some reason to follow two big clubs means “you don’t understand football”.

Keeping Up With The Chelsea Loanees - An idea for a reality TV show?

Football may be compared to religion, but at the end of the day we as spectators watch matches because we enjoy it. I don’t see why it’s such a crime to enjoy watching more than one team. Players can move more freely between countries than ever, so come transfer deadline day, a shock move sees your favourite player move somewhere else. 

These clever folk at Sky/BT Sport are more than ready to monopolise and pounce on fan’s morbid curiosity and coincidently we can now see Mo Salah scoring goals for Fiorentina, or switch over to see Torres being Torres at Atletico. They try and rub in the (perhaps mistakenly) early releases of Paul Pogba at Juventus and Kevin De Bruyne tearing up the Bundesliga. Particularly whilst supporting a team like Chelsea where we have so many hot prospects out on loan it is silly to reduce fans to a disloyal status for enjoying watching more than one team play.

I think we all have to stop acting like the jealous partner in the relationship. It’s just flirting for the sake of flirting. I’m excited for PSG to visit Stamford Bridge, as I will be making my own European debut tonight. I’ll be looking at Zlatan, but my heart will be with Chelsea.

Schadenfreude – I still want to fit this word in!!!!!!! (If Zlatan scores the goal that knocks Chelsea out, having written this article Elle, then that will be schadenfreude! ED)

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1 comment:

  1. I'm from Sheffield, and Sheffield United is my team, it's the one in my chest, the team I have the most visceral and immediate reaction to. When we're up the pitch there's that feeling around your sternum, excitement and anticipation, when we score I'm just in the moment, don't care what I look like, who I'm with, whether you can see my pants when my arms are up in the air etc.

    No other team gives me that feeling, not the national team either (because they're pretty crap, let's face it) but I've always liked other teams too, you're just depriving yourself of getting more from football if you don't in my opinion. When I was little I had a friend who was a massive Arsenal fan, so I've always kept an eye on them, I like Wenger, and the teams of my formative years were great, Adams, Seaman, Pires, Bergkamp, Ljundberg, Viera, Henry, so they were a fantastic watch too.

    Liverpool is my second team, there's a lot in common with Sheffield, working class city, great history, amazing ground and fans, and unfortunately a tragic association with Sheffield too. Liverpool are probably the closest to United as any other team will get emotionally.

    Continental teams though, why not, I think the only logical barrier to supporting two or more teams is if they regularly play each other, if you're lucky enough to have a successful team as your number 1 like Chelsea, you might meet up in the Champions League, but week in week out, they operate entirely separately, it's just more football, more chance to enjoy yourself, see world class football and appreciate the sport.

    I also follow F1, and that's an interesting comparison I think, because that too is a team sport, but hardly any of the diehards support teams, there are obviously the Man United glory hunter types who suddenly support Mercedes because they can't stop winning, but for me and most other long time followers, we just like the racing, follow a couple of drivers if they're good/funny/liabilities and see the teams as something in the background.

    It's a fact that the Driver's world championship is more important than the Constructor's world championship despite the drivers being the smallest part of the whole operation really, that'd be like golden boot being more important than the EPL title. F1 shows that you can follow and support something without limiting yourself to a small section of it, and without being chastised for not having 'a team'.

    tl;dr Why not support more than one team, that's just extra enjoyment. Great article. Soz for the novel.

    PS. French football sucks.


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