Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Support your local team!" - it's just not that simple!

The idea that someone should support their local team and, if they don't, are somehow a "disgrace" or a "glory hunter" is one which I find both perplexing and mildly irritating.

Wouldn't it be nice if every kid grew up supporting the team down the road? If this same kid followed in the footsteps of their parent or grandparent who will have supported that same local community club before them?

Things just don't work like that though, do they?

If a child grows up with a father and grandfather who support Celtic, why should that kid be given a hard time or accused of being a glory hunter just because they live in say, Kirkcaldy or Arbroath? 

Should that kid immediately dismiss what will most likely have started as a bond between parent and child just because of where they accidentally grow up? 

For me, the hostility towards those who don't support their local side is extremely harsh at times.

Those dishing out the pelters tend not to factor in basic things, like family tradition or demographic change, and seem to expect every fan to embrace their own "ideal" profile and support the community club,

There is also a real inconsistency within the "local team" argument. Generally speaking, and I am happy to be corrected, only supporters of Rangers and Celtic take it tight for not being true to their local roots. It is certainly my observation that Old Firm fans are most commonly accused of some form of ghastly betrayal against their community for following a team which, more often than not, is simply part of their family history.

Aberdeen fans who grew up in Ayrshire when Aberdeen were dominating in the 1980s don't get a raw deal for not supporting Ayr or Killie and I've rarely heard of a Fife-based Hearts fan given a hard time for not supporting Raith or Cowdenbeath. 

Of course, there will be fans who have consciously decided to support Celtic instead of Forfar with little reason other than Celtic are the best side in the country which, I guess, is far from ideal.

Nonetheless, I'd also far rather Scottish-based supporters continued to follow Scottish teams, even if it doesn't happen to be their local team, as opposed to a worrying trend among the very young where Man United & Barcelona are quite often seen as the team of choice.

The loss of fans to the Premiership or La Liga is, for me anyway, a far bigger problem than someone in Inverness deciding to follow Rangers or for someone in Dumfries to opt, in the absence of family tradition & because they like the colour orange (!!) for Dundee United as their team.

When it comes to football and the passions and emotions associated with the game we all love, it isn't as is simple as just supporting your local team.