What is the point in supporting a football club?
What is the point?
What is the point in supporting a football club? Is it simply the desire to watch athletes perform to their highest potentials? Is it the voyeuristic pleasure of watching success manifest itself at a distance, feeling oneself as part of that success? Does that feeling of connection exist in concrete terms beyond a status of consumer, subscriber and parasocial affiliation to a brand? Does it matter if that parasocial relationship, wherein we are encouraged to know a football club and its players as if they were a romantic partner, our brothers, our sisters, our closest friends, concretize a loyalty felt towards a football club?
If we saw a child act as passionately towards an Instagram influencer or Peppa Pig, would we, as football fans, empathise with that passion? If the Pig regularly told its viewers how much love it felt for the children watching, would we believe it? If the Influencer told their child followers how all of their success was down to their support and that they cherished them for it, would we believe them? When Tottenham Hotspur livestreams happy messages to their millions of supporters, would we believe that?
If the game is about glory, does Manchester City epitomise the game? Isn’t the greatest glory of our game in 2021 to be found at the Etihad Stadium? Do many football fans respect City’s players performing to the highest of their potentials? Has City not garnered the awe of the football community for their athletic supremacy? What is more gloriousness than leaving the entire football pyramid trailing in their shadow?
Would we not want our own clubs to aspire to reach the same heights?
Would we not want our own striker to provoke orgasmic, ecstatic cries from Martin Tyler as we won the league for the first time in decades with the final kick of the ball that season? Would we not want our own club to sign Jack Grealish for one-hundred million pound sterling if they could? Would we not want our own club to aspire to the heights of athletic supremacy if they could? Has it become a fact that success such as City’s must come with investment? Were Paris Saint-Germain fans happy to see Neymar sign for 222 million Euros? Were Liverpool fans happy to see Virgil van Dijk sign for £79million? Were Real Madrid fans delighted to see Luis Figo sign for £37million?
Were Newcastle fans happy with Alan Shearer signing for £15million? Were Spurs fans happy that Jimmy Greaves was signed for £99,999? If success comes at least in part from this sort of investment, should the City fans sing the name of the billionaire, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour, member of the Al-Nahyan royal family?
As the City players go up to collect their winners’ medals every season, should Martin Tyler congratulate Mansour on his productive investment? Should Vincent Company tearfully have thanked the lucrative capital gains and business practices of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for the glory of their many successes?
Are the City fans wrong to sing the glorious tale of the Emirates Investment Authority’s glorious investment into the modern game’s most coveted football manager (“Sheikh Mansour went to Spain / In a Gold Corolla, / Brought us back a manager, / his name is Guardiola”)? Do the migrant workers of the gulf region share in Manchester City’s glory?
If the game is about glory, can Harry Kane be blamed for wanting to join Manchester City? What is more glorious than lifting trophies every season? If Harry Kane can score the highest number of goals and assists in a season at a Tottenham side that finished 7th, what could he do at the Etihad? Will Harry Kane become the greatest English striker to ever play the game at Manchester City? Will Harry Kane become the most decorated English player in football history at Manchester City?
Did Harry Kane even dare to dream he could achieve such glories when he missed a penalty at White Hart Lane against Hearts, or when he sat on Norwich’s bench for a whole season on loan? Does Kane hold Tottenham in deep personal contempt for denying him such glory? Does he now regret signing a £200,000-a-week, six-year contract in 2018 that committed him to his bitterness until 2024? Has the joy he remembers feeling putting Spurs in front in the North London Derby in 2016, him ripping off his protective face-guard, him screaming in unconfined ecstasy, ring hollow compared to the glory of what he could have at Manchester City? When City have won their sixth-consecutive League Cup, would Kane be able to scream so joyously again?
Should I care at all about Harry Kane? When I have stood in front of a classroom, telling students Kane’s story – his ungainly physical stature, his speech impediment, his struggles, his triumph through adversity, his humble, sincere, quiet professionalism in his persona – and how it inspired me to believe I could be more than what I appear to be – did I get the wrong end of the stick? Should we see footballers as anything more than athletes? If footballers are athletes, then what inspiration could I possibly lose by Kane’s departure? Is there just no rational basis for despairing at Kane’s ambition, even if that ambition is at the cost of my club?
What is the point in supporting a football club? When watching my club brings me joy, who do I have to thank? If they bring me despair, who do I have to blame? Should I not choose to support a club that brings me as little despair as I can? Do I even have that choice? Could I share in the glory of Manchester City’s multiple trophy wins if I simply chose to?
Will my own joys of being a Tottenham fan (making it 1, 2, 3 against United, of Crouch sending my brother, my Dad and I into bedlam and the Champions League, of watching Gareth Bale’s incendiary rise matching our own, of watching Mauricio Pochettino’s tears at our last game at White Hart Lane matching our own, of screaming uncontrollably, dancing incoherently, singing and crying unashamedly as Lucas Moura sends Tottenham to a place we never dared to dream we would ever reach) fade to grey in my memory, burn bitter in my mouth, at the thought that we didn’t do what Manchester City could do? Will sharing those joys with my closest friends and family, even those no longer with me, through the communal, absurd myth of Football, be made lesser?
Was it all for nothing?
All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.