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How do you define a real fan?


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Interesting....

http://www.cfcnet.co.uk/2011/02/18/what-makes-me-a-real-chelsea-fan/

WHAT MAKES ME A REAL CHELSEA FAN?

Posted by Tony Glover Features, News Friday, February 18th, 2011 • 282 views

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On Monday night I settled into the sofa, remote in one hand, drink in the other, ready to watch return to form after the Liverpool debacle. We were up against an in form Fulham, who haven’t hit last years Hodgson inspired heights but have become a tough opponent for any team, as Spurs will testify to.

After yet another dull first half, no better than the dire Liverpool display I thought I’d detected small flickering signs of life in the dying embers of the worst title defence seen for some years. I was rather hoping for a better second half, almost convinced a stiff half time bollocking from Carlo would liven the lads up and see us hit them for 2 or 3 goals. Well we dominated yet another second half but despite vast amounts of possession and being camped in the Fulham half for all but a few minutes, we could only muster 4 shots on target from the whole game. It was dismal and exciting in equal parts, apart from the finishing and the snail like pace of our midfield, Ramires aside. But enough has been said elsewhere about the season thus far including the Fulham game.

After the game I continued to follow and contribute to the comments on Twitter. I thought mine were perfectly sensible criticisms of our performance, the season thus far and Carlo Ancelotti. All comments which I feel entitled to say, both as a 40 year plus fan and someone who has splashed out £850 for a season ticket and more for Megastore stuff. None were personal or insulting but all were opinion based on my perception, knowledge and logic. This stirred a few people into slinging accusations at me and others involved in 140-character reasoned debate, that we couldn’t possibly be ‘real’ fans.

And this is my question. What constitutes a ‘real’ fan? This could apply to any other team but lets keep it blue. I can’t describe the average fan, because no such thing exists. I can usually spot the casual fans, the people who are there for a day out or the glory hunters who would follow any team in order to be touched by success. But I can’t spot a real fan. It seems to me there is a faction out there who define being a real fan as someone who goes to every game, home and away including Champions League, who watches CTV all the time, who goes to reserve and youth team games and who spends all their disposable income on replica shirts and other Megastore tat. You’ll be accepted if one or two of those criteria aren’t met, but you would be instantly dismissed for any other indiscretion or wayward comment.

They have a jihadist attitude to anyone who dares question any player on skill or attitude, anything the manager does or anything emanating from the club official communications. These people see anyone with the temerity to question any aspect of Chelsea as some sort of non-believer heretic, and instantly accuse the likes of me of being disloyal or closet fans of other sides. I was accused of not getting behind the team, and one even said I was one of the ‘boo boys’ you hear at games. Dear God, if you ever sat near me at Stamford Bridge, or in my living room you’d know that not to be the case. But here’s a thing….I was accused of not being a real fan once because I publicly stated I would not sing ‘Murderers’ at the Liverpool fans, ‘Rapist’ at Robin Van Persie’ or that ultimate low point song talking about where Spurs fans were when Hitler gassed the Jews (I simply have standards of decency). In many ways these self appointed real fans share similarities with any political or religious fundamentalists who go to any length in order to ignore evidence in front of them, enraged at any variance from their faith, even to the point of using violence or threatening behavior to warn others of their undying belief.

I have an open mind, maybe explaining my own atheistic views whilst accepting that people should follow their faith quietly and privately, without the need to impose their beliefs on others. I believe in healthy debate, even heated debate that doesn’t get nasty or personal, and where the standard ending is an agreement to disagree and another pint.

I have loved this club for 40 years since I was 10, flying in the face of other Hayes based mates who supported QPR, working with people who don’t get football and socializing with those who think we’re all thugs. I’ve spent thousands over the years on tickets and stuff from the shop. I watch every game that I can’t be at. I love them and hate them in equal measure, have endured more heartbreak than joy and still I’m here. Isn’t that like love? I’ve cried openly in defeat and victory. I have 2 Chelsea tattoos; my kids support them because they see their Dad’s passion. At work my passion sets me aside – I’m known as ChelseaTony by colleagues, friends and relatives. It’s part of my identity. And I say what I think when things aren’t right. I criticize players often and I criticize the coach, but equally heap praise when it’s due. Credit where its due, criticism where applicable.

And that, after my earlier question, is my answer to what a real fan is. It’s me, and people like me. Not mindless, abusive, zealot puppets blindly following the club line, the players line or the coach’s comments. Not someone who lashes out at other fans because their opinion differs from mine. Not someone who thinks winding up other fans through racist or offensive morally indefensible songs is the right way to show my support. Tribalism …yes. Extremism…no.

So, where do you stand?

KTBFFH!!!!!

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Good article, he made some damn good points that i very much agree with.

Of course I'm probably not a "real fan" by most peoples standards either ^^.

Ie. I support chelsea, i want us to win everything every year. I also have no problems with any of the other teams in the prem. I don't hate tottenham, or arsenal, in fact my biggest rivalry team is probably liverpool, yet i found myself saddened by their recent downturn. I think I want every other team to do as well as they possibly can, that way it makes us even better when we beat them :).

Aka i'd rather us win the 100m final at the olympics then the 40m drunken stagger down at the pub. (well that and I realise that the people who support other football teams are also... people, just like the people that support chelsea, as a result i can't hate or not wish well of any other team).

All of which is much as in this article.

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Maybe it's easier to define a "real fan" by what a "real fan" isn't or doesn't do?

- A real fan won't stop supporting the team on the back of a few bad results

- A real fan won't start following some other team because they have a better chance of winning trophies.

Which can be summarised in one word: Loyalty.

Add a fair amount of passion for the club you support and there you have it. What all real fans have in common are loyalty and passion. There are different ways of showing loyalty and passion, just as there are disagreements as to what is the better way of showing these qualities, but without loyalty, without passion, you're not a real fan.

Is that fair?

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For Me, one of the crucial points he made in a very well-reasoned article was

I criticize players often and I criticize the coach, but equally heap praise when it’s due. Credit where its due, criticism where applicable.

The thing I am finding more and more,both in here and talking to people in the real world is that there are way too many people who are very happy to do the first bit, the easy bit, the criticising bit, but who rearely, if ever manage to do the second bit.

We have all seen, and many have commented on, the fact that the threads after a good win are much much shorter than those after a performance seen by some (or all) to be less than perfect.

But I'd agree with Hutch, up to a point when he says

- A real fan won't stop supporting the team on the back of a few bad results

- A real fan won't start following some other team {bit I don't think is necessary removed}.

Edited by yorkleyblue
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Yorkley, I was going to quote the exact sentence you did.

I often voice my own opinions opposing critisism of some players or the Manager or at least try to add my thoughts on the reasons why something went wrong or apppeared to start off wrong and not change but I never doubt someones loyalty or intimate that they are not real fans, the only occasions I might have dropped to that level are when I write a huge paragraph explaining why I think something happened to try an have a debate with someone who has just let fly with some abuse to the Manager or certain players and they reply with a can't be bothered and snidey reply again slagging off in the same way, I try not to but sometimes as I don't sit and think about what I reply and I just type as if I'm talking I type too soon.

The other thing that is a bit annoying is the way posters only return to the forum when things are going bad, they go missing in the good times and return with a told you so attitude when things are less than perfect.

I don't doubt their support or that they are fans I just wonder what they get out of being a fan if the main interest in coming on a Chelsea Fans Forum is to moan, I find celebrating winning and playing well would be a better reason to get on and post.

I must admit though when I first joined years ago I used to come on after a loss, mainly though to debate with like minded people who felt as miserable as I did and to try to find some positives while waiting what seems ages after a loss until the next game.

Another thing I find is when you're talking about the game in a pub with mates or strangers and someone says something that you think is wrong, its easy to laugh and say "mate thats Bollox" and then you have a little bit of banter and usually a laugh about the way you disagree and carry on as if nothings happened...I try to do that on here in that if I fall out with someone on a subject I will still answer them in another thread as friendly as I would had we not disagreed in the other thread, I think thats a big thing with the bitterness on here...people don't drop an old disagreement quickly enough and imagine the other poster is all twisted inside just trying to disagree again. maybe that isn't the case but it feels like it to me.

There are a lot of people that doesn't happen with and some of the posters I happpen to reply to most are posters I disagree with but its just opinions and I find it pretty funny, I don't think I have ever agreed with Bluebeard on anything football related apart from maybe who was man of the match here and there but we can have a laugh about it and there are never any bad feelings.

I don't know if any of that has anything to do with being a real fan or not but the original post looked like an attempt to justify all the down beat comments against the posters who don't like to hear them and I just got carried away with my own thoughts on why I sometimes reply to doom and gloom in a less than positive way and why to the posters I do that to I really don't mean too much harm by it, I think when things have been bad Football wise I just keep seeing all the moaning and think "not more of this".

Any way, Im a proper fan :)

Edited by Chippy
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Excellent write up ... I believe most of us here will share his views .. The classification of real fans and others is not something we need to worry . My point is another fan of CFC cannot decide whether I will make a real fan or not . Just being a passionate fan doesn't give a person any moral right to question another fan's loyalty.

Each one will show our passion in our own way and it could differ from person to person , country to country etc., For people like me outside england , it is about watching every match , understanding the team , the future of club etc ., and I may not even know what happened before 2002 because I started following club football only then. Before that it was only football world cup for people like me. The relevance of Chelsea football club in my life will always be from that point of time. I may not know the history of the club, but I know what it takes to be a fan of the club.

I would not also agree to the word often used here , "glory hunters" . For some fans, If chelsea wins a match, it will be a good weekend and they will start to worry about the next match. But if chelsea loses a match , they would want to vent their frustration and will look for avenues to discuss their disappointment and see what went wrong. Just because a person was not here to discuss a victory but came here to vent his anger on a loss does not make him a glory hunter. we will have to move on thinking it is his way of life. We don't have to question the rationale behind his posts and classify him. I , as a fan , will like to take part in all discussion forums in a fan's site and its my way of life. So it is always better to leave it to the person himself to decide his loyalty to the club

Saying that , if you find fans of other clubs coming here and get involved in mud slinging , then we can report them or even fight fire with fire. But lets not get into classifying our own fans and drive away people from expressing their opinion and thought points.

Edited by sizzler85
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I would not also agree to the word often used here , "glory hunters" . For some fans, If chelsea wins a match, it will be a good weekend and they will start to worry about the next match. But if chelsea loses a match , they would want to vent their frustration and will look for avenues to discuss their disappointment and see what went wrong. Just because a person was not here to discuss a victory but came here to vent his anger on a loss does not make him a glory hunter. we will have to move on thinking it is his way of life. We don't have to question the rationale behind his posts and classify him. I , as a fan , will like to take part in all discussion forums in a fan's site and its my way of life. So it is always better to leave it to the person himself to decide his loyalty to the club

But lets not get into classifying our own fans and drive away people from expressing their opinion and thought points.

Fair statement but the point I would raise and put forward is that the change in stance and attitude of fans is the issue here. A lot on here come from supporting the club where we lost more than we won and for a lot of years our season was over in by February and the closest we got to European football was playing in the Channel Island cup or pre season tours in the lower reaches of the Arctic Circle. We seem to have attracted , due to our success , a new breed of fans who have seen Chelsea win more games than they lose and our now a major force in English / European football . This has also attracted , in my view, a short sighted mentality from some were everyone should be sacked or sold on the back of 2 bad games ? If you feel like that after 2 games the question I have in my mind is where would you be when we are in a relegation dogfight or even in the Championship ? Yes you should be able to vent your spleen when we play very badly and lose but at times this season we have been subject to really bad luck in front of goal and some very doggeed and effective teams working there bollocks off as a unit to stop us playing . It happens , that’s football,

To me 42 points is the be all and end all of a season so we can avoid relegation . Anything after that is a bonus and should be enjoyed and seen that way . We have no right to win every game we play or every cup we go in for …………

Edited by Tea Bar Boy
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To me 42 points is the be all and end all of a season so we can avoid relegation . Anything after that is a bonus and should be enjoyed and seen that way . We have no right to win every game we play or every cup we go in for …………

I'm sorry but that is quite frankly ridiculous. The current Chelsea squad has some of the very best players in the world and we have the highest wage bill in English football. Ancelotti is reportedly earning £6m a year for managing a football team. If avoiding relegation was the be all and end all then why is the club wasting all that money? We could do it on a fraction of what is being spent now.

You don't pay 50m for Torres, 150k a week to top earners and 6m to managers to be out of the title race in January.

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This has also attracted , in my view, a short sighted mentality from some were everyone should be sacked or sold on the back of 2 bad games ? If you feel like that after 2 games the question I have in my mind is where would you be when we are in a relegation dogfight or even in the Championship ? Yes you should be able to vent your spleen when we play very badly and lose but at times this season we have been subject to really bad luck in front of goal and some very doggeed and effective teams working there bollocks off as a unit to stop us playing . It happens , that’s football,

TBB , I agree to what you say about short sighted fans . I don't agree to that view about people judging a player after just 2 or 3 games. But many of our folks had reservations about Ramires ,not just the people who joined recently. Those people even accepted to doubting ramires' credentials and now they are happy.At the end of the day it is his opinion and we can enter into a reasonable debate but not immediately question his loyalty to CFC. My point is those 2 things should not be linked at all. If you don't accept his point , question the point and not his passion towards the club and players.

The success of CFC world over is because of its success . We cannot have 2 opinions about it. The same can be explained that only the big four in england have worldwide fans. If the club is in championship , Will I still support CFC ? Yes I will but i won't care if some people chose not to follow chelsea in championship. It is a different matter altogether. Again I would like to say following chelsea staying in england and following chelsea from a different part of the world is very very different. And if you are in london area , you would have grown with chelsea club. It is a certainly a different thing for people supporting a football club in england from a different country. Just try to appreciate the difference , We will not get into classification of real fans and related stuff.

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I'm sorry but that is quite frankly ridiculous. The current Chelsea squad has some of the very best players in the world and we have the highest wage bill in English football. Ancelotti is reportedly earning £6m a year for managing a football team. If avoiding relegation was the be all and end all then why is the club wasting all that money? We could do it on a fraction of what is being spent now.

You don't pay 50m for Torres, 150k a week to top earners and 6m to managers to be out of the title race in January.

I support Chelsea football club not Ancelotti , Torres or even John Terry for that matter . So long as Chelsea football club is still in the premiership I am happy

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It really is confusing these days. I have no idea if I’m a real fan – nor do I really care. I do know that I support Chelsea FC as opposed to any other team and I hope that they will play well and be successful. And I guess that’s how I’ve seen it since my dad first took me to see them in April 83 at home to Rotherham Utd. The small details like my personal opinion of whether Kalou is any good or not is purely my personal opinion and is not related to my level of ‘fan realness’.

But since the end of the 90’s the cost of watching football coupled with the far greater planning involved now, plus changes in my life have meant that watching on TV and just attending 2 or 3 games a year is my lot now. Sadly for me this roughly coincided with the clubs period of success. But I am still a Chelsea fan.

But I am certain that back when I did attend more regularly we did debate in the pubs, on the minibus or at halftime the affairs of the team and club but, I have no recollection of debating who was the most real fan or any of the other stupid post 2000 debates like whether a club is a big club or not.

One thing that has changed about me and my attitude in recent years is that I do have higher expectations than I used to. After all, when your club has large resources and good players and coaches it is only fair and natural to have higher expectations. Where Chelsea are today I do expect them to maintain a top four birth and I do expect a serious attempt at one or two trophies. It boils down to expecting them to do their best. And I just don’t think that they are collectively quite doing their best right now. But I don't mind if another fan thinks we are exceeding expectations right now. I wouldn't agree but hey ho.

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I'm sorry but that is quite frankly ridiculous. The current Chelsea squad has some of the very best players in the world and we have the highest wage bill in English football. Ancelotti is reportedly earning £6m a year for managing a football team. If avoiding relegation was the be all and end all then why is the club wasting all that money? We could do it on a fraction of what is being spent now.

You don't pay 50m for Torres, 150k a week to top earners and 6m to managers to be out of the title race in January.

Well, I would suggest its ridiculous to criticise how someone defines supporting Chelsea as 'ridiculous' in the first place.

Young or old, everyone has their own different way of seeing things, their own values and their own expectations.

Thats why defining what a 'proper' fan is, ultimately is a fruitless exercise.

Each to their own and lets not ram our values , however different, down each others throats - we are after all, together fighting for the common cause.

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Well I'm only 19 so I didn't get to experience the old days where it was rough, I did however start following and supporting Chelsea in 1999 so been a faithful and loyal supporter for around 10 years now. The blue blood is in the family as my dad has supported Chelsea since the 80's and got me into it.

I know 10 years wont mean much especially since I was around 9 when I started following Chelsea and as a kid I wasn't really all that grumpy about results and such but the last 5-6 years its been pretty damn serious especially since a result nowadays can and will affect my whole day and I will most likely turn into a pmsing woman after a bad result.

Been spoilt over the last couple of years with lots of trophies and good results so the recent bad spell is quiet new to me if you don't go back and look at when Scolari was in charge of course.

I don't think I ever will truly understand how grateful you older guys must be for the stuff we have achieved during the Abramovich era especially but I know damn well that I will be Chelsea till I die even if it means that we'll play in the championship or even lower.

It happens that I slag off some of the players or the manager at times, especially as our results have not been that great the last few months as we know because frankly I think that with this squad and manager we should be able to do a lot better - I guess im just so used to being at the top fighting for the premiership and also never had to think about fighting for the 4th spot for awhile, it just feels so natural to me that we belong up there.

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It happens that I slag off some of the players or the manager at times, especially as our results have not been that great the last few months as we know because frankly I think that with this squad and manager we should be able to do a lot better - I guess im just so used to being at the top fighting for the premiership and also never had to think about fighting for the 4th spot for awhile, it just feels so natural to me that we belong up there.

Agreed, I think we've been spoilt in recent years and it opens the team up to a lot more criticism.

It was only a few years ago where we needed a Champions League spot to guarantee financial survival. When Gronkjaer scored against Liverpool to put it at 2-1 and therefore ensuring survival for another year I was delighted.

Real fans are passionate about the team, which is perhaps why people sometimes go overboard on criticism when the going gets rough. It's wrong to label fans as plastic without knowing them.

Nobody likes us but we don't care! ::ChELSeAFaN::

Edited by cfckeane
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You go to Real's games? :rolleyes:

I don't know exactly what "a real fan" is but there are some very old cliché's about it that is for sure. And it is very sensitive subject which I find amusing.

I'm not born to love any team. I have made my choices for various reasons for the club's I cheer for. When I was younger I looked up to players and that naturally led to follow the team he played in. Chelsea's case it was Gullit. I didn't even follow prem before he moved to Chelsea. I have been a fan since. "Real" fan or not, I'm a fan. In football Chelsea is the only team I follow passionately. I'm also a sports fan so I have things to follow.

The kind of fans I don't understand is the kind L*verp**l fans are told to be. Monkey's. I mean more of animals than humans. Ideas are programmed to their heads. No own ideas or opinions just opinions that makes the other monkey's go "hell yeah!". Tongue in the cheek of course but you get the idea.

I think this is an interesting topic but a little naive. People are too sensitive about this subject as I said before. Why? It is a hobby for me that I love. You have your bad times when the team loses but mostly great times.

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Well I'm only 19 so I didn't get to experience the old days where it was rough, I did however start following and supporting Chelsea in 1999 so been a faithful and loyal supporter for around 10 years now. The blue blood is in the family as my dad has supported Chelsea since the 80's and got me into it.

I know 10 years wont mean much especially since I was around 9 when I started following Chelsea and as a kid I wasn't really all that grumpy about results and such but the last 5-6 years its been pretty damn serious especially since a result nowadays can and will affect my whole day and I will most likely turn into a pmsing woman after a bad result.

Been spoilt over the last couple of years with lots of trophies and good results so the recent bad spell is quiet new to me if you don't go back and look at when Scolari was in charge of course.

I don't think I ever will truly understand how grateful you older guys must be for the stuff we have achieved during the Abramovich era especially but I know damn well that I will be Chelsea till I die even if it means that we'll play in the championship or even lower.

It happens that I slag off some of the players or the manager at times, especially as our results have not been that great the last few months as we know because frankly I think that with this squad and manager we should be able to do a lot better - I guess im just so used to being at the top fighting for the premiership and also never had to think about fighting for the 4th spot for awhile, it just feels so natural to me that we belong up there.

Exactly what I'm thinking. I'm around the same age as you, just a year or so younger, went to my first game at the Bridge when I was 9, and I think the first season I can properly remember was 1999/2000, when we got into the CL for the first time, and my Dad has lots of Season Reviews (for some reason, 98/99 is my pick of the bunch, perhaps just for Goldbaek's goal v. Spuds...) and I've seen most years of the Premiership years, bar maybe a few. Being this young has disadvantages in the real world, where because of my age, people assume I only got into football when Abramovich came to Chelsea, and I push the statements away because I know they're not true. I've grown up with Chelsea thanks to my Dad, and I don't ever intend to stop. I look forward to the days when I can say I've supported them since I was 10, raise my kids in a Chelsea environnment, get their first kit. Hopefully we'll remain in the best league in the world for decades to come, but football can do strange things. If we get relegated 3 seasons in a row, I'll stick it out, no matter how gray the days become.

Basically, I'm Chelsea till I die. I don't think I can put myself in the same class of fan with the likes of yorkley, Chippy, Loz, Mod, dkw et al because they've been at it for years. However I can say that I will eventually be in the same bracket as them after I stick it out for the coming century.

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To fully understand what a real fan is I recommend reading Chuck Culpepper's book "Bloody Confused" He is an American sportswriter who went to England and fell in love with the beautiful game.

When he moved to England despite his attraction to Arsenal he decided to support Portsmouth. He covers the travelling, drinking, chanting and die-hard fans seldom seen in MLS. He taps into the sport that makes the EPL so popular.

So a real fan is not a die-hard follower of Real Madrid but a Culpepper follower of Portsmouth.

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- A real fan won't stop supporting the team on the back of a few bad results

- A real fan won't start following some other team because they have a better chance of winning trophies.

Which can be summarised in one word: Loyalty.

::clap2::

That about sums it up for me. Chelsea til I die; NO. MATTER. WHAT. After that there's varying degrees based on your finances, location etc, but that's the bottom line. I saw them through three trips into the second division (almost into the third! :shok: ) and not once even considered myself not to be Chelsea.

I think if the bad run continues we'll lose a lot of previous "Real Fans" , and I'm ok with that.

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