There’s been a lot of comments regarding silverware recently, which got me thinking about supporters in general. I’m retired so I have time to think.
I had just become a teenager when I first went to ‘The Lane’. From that season and a while longer Spurs won virtually everything, or so it seemed. Maybe if I hadn’t started going to the Lane in 1960 the Double would not have happened! Who knows? As the seasons progressed the winning-everything became winning-sometimes, and then became winning-far-less-often. It occurs to me that, given those early successes, I should have spent every season that followed demanding more success. And I should have been devastated when it didn’t happen. I guess I just accepted that it’s the nature of football to share the spoils …. at least between the top few clubs.
And then another thought occurred to me; why do clubs like Barnsley, Leyton Orient, Lincoln, Falkirk, etc, have supporters? What’s in it for them? How do they survive without trophies and boasting rights? How do they manage to continue to support their club, season after season, with so little to show for it? How do they manage when all one obscure club has to look forward to is a match against an equally obscure club? How do they become so passionate? Because passion for the club is something all supporters can relate to, even if they can’t explain it. There has to be more to it.
I have to say that I mean no disrespect to the clubs mentioned above; it’s more about having respect for their supporters who, through their passion for the game, elevate football to be the greatest show on earth.
Whatever it is that attracts supporters to football has to fulfil some kind of need. Millions of fans all over the world flock to watch their team play every weekend. That’s what they choose to do. That they flock to see some teams is not surprising, but you have to wonder about the majority of teams they follow.
I guess part of the answer is; love of the game, optimism, and hope. There is the opportunity for promotion to a higher division. There is the possibility of FA Cup or League Cup glory. And, if the season goes pear-shaped, there is the intriguing battle to avoid relegation. If it’s a fairly small-town club, there is the sense of supporting the community and, often, continuing a family tradition.
Football, as with most sport, gives us an emotional outlet in a socially acceptable manner. That’s pretty good for a start. It’s never a bad thing to let off steam without suffering any disastrous consequences. Socially, it gives us an activity that can be shared with friends and family who enjoy the same passionate interest.
Supporters of Premier League clubs enjoy all of the above, and more. Being one of the top clubs in the PL means Spurs supporters also enjoy watching a high standard of the game each week against clubs with a world-wide reputation. We also get the opportunity to enjoy top European opposition and world-class players.
Whether a supporter is heading off to see Stevenage play Port Vale, Madrid to play Barca, or Spurs to play Arsenal, the match-day feelings are the same for all of us with, basically, the same optimistic expectations …. that today we will win and we will be entertained!
When you think about it, as Tottenham supporters, we’re quite lucky really, aren’t we?