Ah the good old ‘support your local team’ saying is sometimes drummed into us by our parents, or we just happen to stumble across our local team and fall in love. However, we all have our reasons for supporting our team.
My story? Well, I’m a Swindon Town fan which I’m fully aware isn’t anything amazing! However, in my time I have created memories with my family, and have truly seen some wonderful times. I remember beating Stoke away in the cup 4-3- James Collins goal in the last minute of extra-time to win it, having Paolo Di Canio manage my club and never fail to amuse Town fans, playing out a thrilling 5-5 draw in the play-off semi-finals against Sheffield United and seeing Preston North End humiliate us 4-0 at Wembley. Point is, you don’t get these experiences watching a team miles away on TV.
(Photo Credits: Swindon Web)
I often walk around Swindon and see people in Manchester United shirts etc but in a way almost pity them. They might have seen success, but the likelihood of them seeing it live is very small.
While the best it’s got for me is seeing Swindon lift the League Two trophy in 2012, I would rather that then sit at home watching my team. I obviously understand that fans can’t make it to games due to the unreasonable prices in the top-flight, but why not support your local team?
You often see people go on about how lower league football is ‘real football’. While the football isn’t pretty at the best of times, you are able to experience watching a team live.
The atmosphere is almost always better as you get real, proper fans instead of tourists visiting and taking photos for the whole game. I understand big clubs draw in tourists, but there’s no doubt in saying that atmospheres in grounds in the Premier League have suffered due to more tourists instead of fans
(Photo Credits: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
However, when supporting your local team, ‘fans’ of top-flight teams who have never gone to a game have a tendency to mock you for supporting a ‘bad team.’ If you’re one of these fans than I urge you to think again. Fans of these clubs stick with their team through thick and thin and will be there week after week.
Though a big danger in supporting a lower-league club is you can easily get screwed over in terms of owners. Coventry City, Blackpool and Charlton Athletic have all suffered from poor ownership which has resulted in fans boycotting games. Blackpool only brought 5,000 fans to Wembley for the League Two play-off final in 2017 which shows the damage the Oyston’s have done. This has left fans feel like the FA offer no protection to lower-league clubs.
You see fans like Manchester United demand the Glazer’s leave, but they don’t know the real struggles. It must be so hard to see your team constantly get into the top-four and play in Europe while fans in the lower divisions are forced to see their beloved clubs be torn apart and fall down the football pyramid.
Fans of big clubs often turn a blind eye towards grassroot and non-league football which at least for me is irritating. They fail to see the real English game where you’ve got your muddy pitches, hungover players and a crowd of around 100 each Saturday. Instead their perception of the English game is money being splashed everywhere, and soulless grounds.
(Photo Credits: The Soccer Store.co.uk)
This article has turned more into a rant, and without a doubt I’ve angered some fans. To those fans my message to you is, I’m not having a go at you as I’m sure you have a reason for supporting your club, but just think about mocking someone for supporting their local team as they’re bad. Instead, respect them for deciding to be loyal and stick with their local side.
Other articles you may enjoy:
- Success with a Cherry on top – AFC Bournemouth’s rise to the top – Part One
- Auditing the Beautiful Game
- Sky high costs: How Sky’s dominance of football increases ticket prices.
- Man City Aren’t That Great
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