Thursday, 3 January 2013

I've become THAT supporter

Who's that supporter? Well me, obviously, the clue's in the title. But that's a recent development. He's actually been around for ages and until this season I thought he was just plain weird and not a little wrong.

He's the guy who you see in the crowd after we score, just sort of casually clapping his hands (he's usually wearing quite big gloves, I think), smiling, standing still, maybe swapping a couple of cheery words with his equally relaxed mate standing next to him. Enjoying the moment but not engulfed by it.

I never understood this guy. He bemused and, frankly, kind of annoyed me. I didn't get why he wasn't hurling himself around, celebrating 'properly', going nuts. Clapping? I never clapped a goal. Goals were celebrated by screaming, by jumping, by falling over four rows of seats, by hugging, by punching (the air), then more screaming.

When Robbie Keane scored the opening goal against Arsenal in our last match against them at Highbury, I made a noise so loud, so inhuman and so troubling that over in Africa a dying wildebeest fell silent, pricked up his ears, sought out the medical treatment he needed and learned to use a mobile phone just so he could text me and ask if I was okay.

Arsenal equalised, of course, and the season, like that match, ended in disappointment. And maybe that was when I started to become that guy. It wasn't immediate, but I think it's now nearly complete.

Goals are great, but they're not full stops. The narrative continues. Same goes for wins. Same goes for trophies, in fact. Chelsea won the European Cup very recently but are, sporadically, still something of a laughing stock and their internecine struggle intensifies week by week.

There's an argument, certainly, for being what I believe people call 'in the moment', and I will, obviously, be sound tracking Sir David Attenborough's new series, rather than clapping, should we do something crazy, like win the FA Cup, or get three points at Stamford Bridge.

But there's also an argument for, most of the time, being that guy: for enjoying and appreciating the goal, and then not really enjoying the equaliser. Then going home and doing something else. A slight swing rather than a manic lurch.

That said, by the end of our game against Sunderland I had turned off the TV and was pacing the kitchen, because, I thought, with the logic of the lunatic, that if I watched the game it would 'invite them onto us'; but if I didn't, nothing would happen, time would simply pass and we would win. Oh I don't know. I think it had something to do with trees falling in forests, or maybe cats locked in boxes. Anyway, it worked, didn't it?

And all the time my heart was, to quote Dr Peter Sellers, going Boom Boody-Boom, Boody-Boom, Boody-Boom, Boody-Boom, Boody-Boom, Boody-Boom-Boom-Boom.

That guy wouldn't have been such an idiot, or so close to death. He'd have been 'enjoying' the last five minutes. Of a Spurs game. I'm not quite that mad/sane yet. But I will buy some gloves.


  1. We wouldnt have beaten Utd had I not turned the tv off at the 90th minute so they couldnt score the equalizer.

  2. Well played Krubs. A crucial intervention.

  3. throwing yourself about is just copying other crowd members and no causal link between event and action and for all that it is accepted within soccer people, is still a strange, needy act for an adult

    perhaps the politely clapping person has a better grip on reality and the importance of your soccer voyeurism in life

  4. Well said!! I can relate completely... Football fan superstitions/rituals, there must be loads...

    Back in the days of Mabbutt I used to watch him run out and if one of the balls he kicked towards the home end as he came out of the tunnel went in the back of the net we'd win... I never quantified it

  5. I refused to watch manu spurs at old trafford in my local as we always lost. I listened on the radio. We went 2-0 up in no time. I thought this was the game by the time I got to the pub it was 2-1. Left right away! Got home 3-1. Stayed in and we won. Brillant cant wait for motd! Yid army.coys