Football is emotional. Visceral. It doesn’t do logic. It’s not predictable and as sure as hell doesn’t follow any scientific law.
Play a top-six side, expect to get stuffed, end up winning 2-1 against all the odds. Explain that. That’s what football does. It drives nominally sane people completely bonkers.
Now as one of those bonkers people, I’m asking – why do we put so much faith in the statistics offered to us by specialists of the genre? Do we really believe that Dave Prutton, with his weekly Championship predictions on Sky, has a better or worse chance of getting the result right than your elderly aunt? (although I’m now in my 70s, so Prutton probably has a better chance than my aunt unless I get a Ouija board).
It’s belief. I believe we are going to win every game until reality pokes its unnecessary head in and we are outplayed, outscored and then it’s ‘well that was obvious wasn’t it?’ Bloody fickle football fans are us.
When the next game kicks off a part of me still believes we can win. Come on, admit it, So do you.
Why are we so tribal? And why, once hooked, are we stuck with the first team we had an affection for?
We all like to be part of something, it feeds us knowing that others feel as we do, and it comforts us. We have people around us who don’t challenge our mindset. I could go all Jung and Freud at this point and use them to justify my ideas but suffice to say, we are the Canary tribe for better or worse, until death do us part.
Now that last phrase is used somewhere else and football fans are more likely to get divorced than stop supporting their team. And I don’t think that’s a fact I just made up either. Look around your circle of friends, and I bet there are more divorces than changes in football alliances.
So why is that first game we go to so important in forming our allegiance for life? Is it because Dad took us to the game and we as kids wanted to support the same team, a sort of loyalty?
Normally kids kick off against their parents in most things – bedtime, suitable boyfriends or girlfriends, junior politics, etc – but football seems immune from this rebellion. So do we get an endorphin release from a crowd of thousands cheering when our team scores? And do we have a parent-child bond that is really reinforced by the next goal?
Whatever it is, I was taken to the Carra in the late 1950s and was hooked. Twas the time of Terry Bly.
I’ve never had a second team. I couldn’t see the point. It’s draining enough supporting City, although I have lived outside the county and always keep an eye on the results of Chippenham.
Back in the day, the only way to follow City was via Grandstand and the ticker on the bottom of the screen, or the marvellous Sports Report on the radio, so was I chuffed when I passed my driving test as it meant that, among others, Ashton Gate, Eastville, and the County Ground were reachable for away games.
Back in the present, our next game is against Hull. In a way, they are a bit like us, a sodding long way from anywhere else. It’s nothing less than tribalism, in reality, and we humans are no further advanced since the time of the Iceni and the Brigantti looked after their own little empires.
Anyway, feel free to tell me I’m talking small spherical objects in this rant. I’m now off for a lie-down. But not before I say that display against Bristol Rovers was awful. And that’s being generous.