Is it every okay to dump your football team? For some, it’s the greatest crime.
To follow a team your whole life and then, after careful thought, dump your football team and change to a more successful, maybe more glamorous club. We hear from one person who switched and another who thinks it’s a lowdown dirty deed.
- Is changing football team that great a sin?
- What are the benefits
- Why do people hate you when you do it?
- What could go wrong?
- Just do it once or yearly?
dumping a team is just like dumping a girlfriend. If you’re not happy, you need to get a new one.
Peter – Dublin.
When I was nine my uncle brought me home an Inter Milan scarf from Italy, where he lived. I’d been a non-commital Liverpool fan for the sake of it in school playgrounds and such, but suddenly for some reason I really burned with love for Inter. It was around then Channel 4 started showing Italian Football every Sunday and I got to watch Inter parade their stars most weekends. Inter always had stars. But they never seemed to win. At least not when it mattered. But I understood well the rule of supporting a team. Thick and thin. And how in fact, going through the tough times only makes the good times better, right? As time passed, I actually went to see them a few times, traveling over, and I lived a while in Italy, so got the chance to attend more regularly. But they still never really won. I mean, they won cups and finished second and might take the points in a Derby, but they only started to win leagues when Juve and Milan were punished for Calcopoli, a game-rigging scandal still in dispute and since which Inter have also been implicated. Then came the glorious 2009 / 2010 season. With Mourinho, Sneijder, Milito, Samuel, Eto’o, Cambiasso and players like this, we won it all, we took the treble, the first Italian side to do it, beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. It was huge. It was momentous. It was historic. But it somehow wasn’t enough. I’d had 20 plus years of hurt. Of disappointment. Of frustration, checking football scores only to have my hopes dumped on. Two decades. The biggest possible win in club football, it just wasn’t enough.
Following that, Inter fell apart. Mourinho left for Real. All the players were sold and second rate replacements followed. Ignominy, mid table existence. Lack of ambition, call it what you will. I endured it for 6 years. This summer I dumped Inter.
I’ve never felt better. I’ve found a new team. Juventus. I check football scores now and get good results. I get delightful transfer news. I think I’ll also start supporting Barcelona. Maybe Manchester United even, if they win. Because life is too short to subject myself to heartbreak over something which doesn’t even matter to begin with. Why wouldn’t I change? If I’m unhappy with a girlfriend, someone I once thought I loved, who I had sex with and bought gifts for and cooked for and all that, I dump her. We split up. How is a football team somehow more of an emotional investment? It just isn’t. Be with the girl that makes you happy. So why is it shallow to follow the team that makes you happy? There’ll still be losses, disappointments, dramas and tests of loyalty. I’m not suggesting you switch every season. But I think I should make teams want my support, not expect it blindly. Dump your football team. Go ahead.
I’m a consumer. Football isn’t a religion, or a flag or a soulmate. It’s a sport and a product. I’m taking it and using it to be happier.
Supporting a team is all about the tough times.
Imagine how it must feel for a Real Madrid fan. Waking up every morning, checking the news to see which new star they’re going to buy just to bench. Watching your team win inevitably week after week. Glamour, success, victory. But here’s the thing. Real Madrid isn’t about its fans. Real Madrid is about its stock value, and its market share, and the value of Real Madrid as a brand. How much money they get from which sponsors and the cut of which star’s image rights (we know which one). Real Madrid will never care about who is stood in the stadium, come to watch them play with their son or daughter, shelled out for a scarf, bought a poster. You’re just another number to Real Madrid, to Manchester United, to Chelsea.
I support Dundalk. I’m from the town. I support ‘the town’. This is what real football is. You support your local team. Lads, I can tell you, there’s nothing like it. You feel it on a level like you wouldn’t believe. The wins, the losses. Tonight we just got scraped past by BATE, but I reckon we can take them in Tallaght next week. The whole town feels it, the butchers, the bus stops, lads just standing on street corners with cans, and it does bring people together. I don’t understand why you’d support a foreign team, just because they get featured in FIFA ’16 or they sign some young hopeful next Ronaldo. What can it mean to you? It’s just another ting to check your phone for, right? You don’t show up, week after week. You know your money is paying player’s salaries. Your shirts are helping improve the facilities. Your interest is getting them advertising revenue.
How could you ever dump your football team? I couldn’t ever ‘dump’ Dundalk because it’s my home town. How could I dump it? I know there are people from Liverpool, from Munich, from Barcelona who feel likewise about their towns, and they feel it every week, but it’s still different. This is grass roots. This team needs me. I support it. Think what the word support means. It doesn’t mean hit the road when there’s a change of fortune, it means contribute. You’re crucial to the team existing, to it doing well. It’s an important thing. You can feel that at Oriel Park. You don’t feel like a customer, or a spectator. You’re a part of it.
Everyone has a local team. That’s the team you need to support. Anything else, trust me, is a dead end. And the idea of dumping them for a more successful team will just never occur. It’s who you are.