First of all, let me start by a simple acknowledgment – football is a great and beautiful game. Only a fool or someone who hasn’t seen that Maradona goal against England in the 1986 world Cup will disagree with this statement. Secondly, I enjoy watching football. I even played football, both in school as well as in college. Not as well as I’d have liked (or my captains would’ve liked either), I admit – but I had passion enough for the game to bunk classes and be caned by the school principal for such truancy on more than one occasion. Our gang spent numerous sleepless nights cheering for the exploits of Romario and Bebeto in medical college hostel. And I took a leave from my hospital to watch both the 1998 and the 2002 world cup finals.
The point of this rather pointless introduction is – I like football. I’m not mad or crazy about it – if you give me a choice between getting laid with Katrina Kaif or watching the FIFA world cup final live, the boys from Brazil would simply have to win it without my encouraging presence in the stands. But I like the game – playing and watching.
Now among the youth of India on Facebook and Twitter, there are a sizable number of people who say that they’re crazy about football. They claim that they go to sleep in a Messi jersey, and the girls claim that during their orgasms, instead of the ubiquitous “Oh God, Oh my fucking God!”, they scream “Oh my Ronaldo!” or “Oh my Nani!” Even while discharging their excretory functions, they practice balancing a football on their head. Such is their devotion to the beautiful game – or so they claim. I however believe that the overwhelming majority of these devotees are what we know as ‘Fake football fans’.
A large number of these people happen to be Manchester United fans. Whenever they watch Man U play, they make sure that the world knows through tweets and Facebook updates. The tweets are not what you’d call particularly witty. Sample a few:
FUCK YOU REF! THAT WAS A PENALTY YOU CHUT!
PASS YOU IDIOT!!! PASS
FUCK YOUR MOM LINESMAN! THAT WAS CLEARLY AN OFFSIDE!
As you can see, the tweets are in all caps. You can also find these young men and women in bars in all the major metros of the country, keeping up an uproarious ruckus in front of a TV in a place where most normal men come for a few quiet moments of romance with alcohol.
Some of them are a little smarter than the rest, in that they actually know how to Google. So instead of being foolish enough to spoil their night, they Google the result of the game the next morning and put up the result as a status update on Facebook. Something like: ‘Yayyy!! The reds won 3 goals to nil!! Up yours Chelsea fans!’ They seem to believe that unless they proclaim this fact, the rest of humanity will be deprived of this stupendously important piece of information.
I humbly request these MU, or Man U, or Man Utd (or whatever the fuck do they consider it cool to call their club) fans to go to any of the maps easily available on a search engine called Google. They’re very easy to access – so easy, that even Rahul Gandhi has been known to access them. There they’ll find – to their immense chagrin I believe – that Manchester United FC is based in Old Trafford, which is an area of Stretford, in the Trafford Borough of Greater Manchester, England. That’s right. It is not a part of India. In fact, it never was. Not once. IT’S IN ENGLAND!!
Now pause for a moment and exert your grey cells, my dear fanatic fans. Is there really a point in being so devoted to a football club that is based in England? Can there be any earthly reason for being so emotionally attached to a foreign club? Yes, yes, I understand that the lads have played well on many occasions. In fact, they’ve been a great team. And they often have had some world class players. So go ahead, and admire their game. But such emotional upheavals that you pretend to experience with the rise and fall of the team’s fortune are, I’m sorry to say, completely artificial and contrived. Freud might have been able to give an explanation for your illogical behavior – maybe something like being stuck at the anal stage of psychosexual development, or some such highbrow stuff. I won’t even attempt.
The point is, if you love football, then love football. Enjoy the good football that Manchester United play. Or Chelsea play. Or Barcelona, or Real Madrid, or any of the numerous European clubs that play delightful, exciting football, play. Love the Tiki-taka of Spain AND the beautiful game of Brazil. By all means, admire the players and the clubs. Wear Manchester United T-shirts if you must. Idolize Robin van Persie if you feel like. It’s a free country. But please don’t pretend that Manchester United (or Chelsea for that matter) is your soul. Don’t think that pretending to be fanatic about football elevates you above the average, philistine Indian cricket fan. Don’t abuse the supporters of other teams and players. And for those of you who think that pretending to be a football fan will get you laid, don’t be deluded – only a moron gets laid with a pretentious idiot.
So my uncalled for advice to you is – don’t be so pretentiously fanatic. Someday we may hope that an Indian team will create a sensation in world football, and then your fanaticism will be justified. Then even I will be fanatic – but that will be because I will be supporting my country’s team. Till then, I will enjoy watching and supporting football – not any particular foreign club.
NB: I’d like to advise football fans that calling me a chut or a cunt or an asshole or similar cute names will not change the veracity of my beliefs (advise: Google veracity)