5 Football fan stereotypes

Words: JJ Dunning
Images: Geograph.org.uk/Wikimedia Commons

Forget the game – how many of these matchday stereotypes have you spotted in the crowd?

About 1.1 million people attend football matches in the UK every week.

This means that, even if the game is dull, stadiums are a great place to people-watch. 

Next time you’re suffering a dreary nil-nil, why not pass the time by playing a game of I Spy instead? 

We’ve picked out five matchday stereotypes and how to deal with them. They should be easy to spot at your next game.

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1. The Die Hard

Characteristics: The Die Hard rarely sits down during the match. They’re most notable for their distinctive singing, which is extremely loud, regardless of the score. In poor conditions – for example, if their team concedes a goal – watch out for a magnificent display of foul language.

How to handle: Do not make eye contact. The Die Hard may turn their attention on you and demand to know why you’re not singing. If this happens, have an answer prepared: bear in mind that, “Because we’re losing 3-0,” will not be deemed acceptable.

2. The Tourist

Characteristics: The Tourist usually appears in a pair. They are delighted to be here, which is reflected by the sheer number of selfies they take before, during and after the game. They also take a lot of video footage, regardless of their tremendous distance from the pitch, on an unfeasibly large tablet device that may block your own view of the match. The Tourist is also liable to cheer wildly at unexpected moments; for instance, if your team wins a throw-in.

How to handle: Avoid being stuck behind The Tourist(s), either at half-time or full-time. Remember that this is their first visit to the stadium and that they have no idea where they’re going. They are also likely to be lugging several bags’ worth of goodies from the club megastore. In extreme cases, you can expect delays of up to an hour.

The 5 types of five-a-side player

You meet a lot of characters at five-a-side football. Once a week or so it brings together players of every attitude, ability, attire and age for 40 minutes of shin-kicking, ball-bouncing, toe-poking chaos. Come rain or shine, sleet or snow, in estates or on that really nice pitch just behind the Co-op, everyone's welcome, and nobody's that good.

3. The Corporate Guest

Characteristics: The Corporate Guest is easy to spot once you know what to look for. They wear office attire, a glazed expression and are prone to bouts of Sudoku during lulls in play.

Their seat will be vacant for five minutes after kick-offs, and ten minutes prior to half-time and full-time. When a goal is scored, rather than losing their shit, The Corporate Guest will simply stand up and clap like they have just witnessed a lovely forehand winner at Queen’s.

How to handle: Make them feel uncomfortable by idly chatting about last week’s game, or by asking about made-up/retired players. For example “I can’t believe Scholesy’s not even on the bench for this one, can you?”

4. The Secret Away Fan

Characteristics: The Secret Away Fan has taken an extreme course of action to attend today’s match. Tickets in the away end have sold out, so they have been forced to pay over the odds for a seat elsewhere in the stadium. The result is that they’re bricking themselves. If the home team concedes a goal, watch out for their attempt at a muted, private celebration.

How to handle: Quietly reveal that you’re onto The Secret Away Fan’s private misery, but that it’s just your little secret. This way, if your team loses, at least you can take comfort in their discomfort. Make sure to celebrate wildly in their face if your team scores.

5. The Bored Child

Characteristics: Disinterested children have usually been dragged along by an overzealous parent who wants to force them to like football. They might be watching their PSP instead of the match, but in years to come at least they’ll be able to say with impunity that they’ve been watching their team for 30 years. 

How to handle: Regularly compliment the parent on their child’s gaming skills. Then ask if they know of anyone who might have a spare ticket for next week’s game. Eventually, they’ll sell you the seat just to shut you up.

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02/2017 The Red Bulletin

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