By Ankit Sharma
Being a football fan in India is difficult. Awkward match timings, Star Sports Network expecting you to enjoy Tamil Nadu Cricket Premier League during EPL hours, lack of availability of quality club merchandise and Palika Bazaar retailers being better at bargaining than you, and of course, the ‘friendly’ banter that the supporters of other clubs shower on you. The last one may range from clichéd to savage, depending on the banter-giving guy’s:
1. Age: Inversely proportional to the amount of cuss words that a person uses in the banter.
2. Intellect: Apparently not very high when one keeps on asking for high-fives from his fellow supporters after saying “What? Man City has fans?” 30 times in a 90-minute screening of a game.
3. The club that he supports: e.g. a Liverpool supporter can point a finger at a Man city fan for his club spending oil money, whereas a Chelsea supporter can’t. In fact, we often wink at each other every time someone says “he’s going to refill his car tank”.
Having established that, let one humble Manchester City Football Club fan come to the Dias and try to give suitable rebuttals to the multiple allegations levied at his club and fan-base.
ALLEGATION 1: MAN CITY HAS NO FANS. ALSO, YOUR STADIUM IS EMPTY.
Well, I’m here. I know a few others too. You guys may be more in number, but pretending that a live person in front of you doesn’t exist is wrong. That should only be done to Fabian Delph by every manager.
About the stadium being empty, if you won’t believe the 3/4th highest attendance statistics, and are only interested in posting kick-off and half-time photos of empty seats, then as a humble fellow countryman, let me ask you about your contribution to that full house at your club. Now I totally believe that if you can point out your city on an England map, you will tell me how you went to that one match when you visited England. I’m impressed. You made a 0.00001% contribution to your team’s attendance over the last 10 years.
ALLEGATION 2: YOUR CLUB SPENDS ONLY OIL MONEY, MY CLUB IS SELF-SUSTAINING. ONCE WORLD OIL WILL BE EXHAUSTED, YOUR CLUB WILL BE FINISHED.
Yes. I believe it is an initial investment, that is building my club and also providing entertaining players. I’m sure your club also had an initial investment (no matter how small) because I don’t believe in Djinns and/or buried treasures. Also, once the world oil will be exhausted, I’m sure laughing at my club will not be a top priority for anyone in this world.
ALLEGATION 3: YOU ARE ALL GLORY-HUNTERS. SUPPORTING CITY BECAUSE IT BECAME SUCCESSFUL.
Of course! I don’t live in England. I will support a club without patriotism only if it gives me entertainment and happiness with some good football and trophies, much like United under SAF, Wenger’s years around the invincibles season, Liverpool’s CL win in 2005 and Chelsea after Roman’s takeover. Most of you started supporting after those years, and kudos that you’ve stuck to your club. I plan to do the same. If you beg to differ, say, you started supporting United under Moyes, or Arsenal any time during the past 5 years, you’re either too brave or too stupid, and that is not my problem.
This post is not meant to offend anyone. Just ‘friendly’ banter, mates!!
[The article was originally published on The 12th Man Times]