What Turns a Follower Into a Fan?

True BlueCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MARCH 11:  Colorado State fans Lester Murray (L) and Lesley Murray of Colorado cheer during a game between the Air Force Falcons and the Colorado State Rams during the first round of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center March 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Falcons won 71-67.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Are you more of a supporter if you attend matches, or does that not matter?

Seems like a simple question, and those people who have reasonable reasons for not attending regularly, or indeed never attending their chosen teams' games will say that it doesn’t matter if you turn up. However you get involved, it doesn’t matter as long as you are loyal.

But there are limits, and I thought you might like to know where they start, so let’s start at the top:

1.  If you attend EVERY game, home or away, buy all of the team's merchandise, and are willing to argue in favour of your team, no matter what, then you are a "fanatical supporter."

Now don’t go patting yourself on the back here, as you are also likely to be bad for your team. Fanatics very often abuse those who don’t agree with them—even those who also support the same team.

If you are a fanatic it is not OK to use your permanent, almost distressing attendance of every game as a weapon against other fans who can’t quite manage that (e.g. because they have a life), although an exception to that rule is explained later.

Fanatics can, of course, claim to be proper supporters.

2.  If you attended games for many years but can no longer manage it—whatever the reason, be it distance, money, or family...then you are a REAL supporter. You have laid the foundations of your support, done the donkey work, and should never be abused by the fanatic because of a change in your circumstances.

If you fall into this category, then please feel free to describe yourself as a proper supporter.

3.  If you have attended sporadically, but regularly over many years and have been unable to really commit to going through the turnstiles, then don’t worry. You are OK as far as I am concerned.

I’m sure the club would like you to do more but as long as you try, you too can say you are a proper supporter.

However, if you have managed only a handful of games over many years, I have some bad news for you. Unless you live abroad, or if you or a member of your family have a serious illness, then you’re not doing enough to be considered by others as a proper fan.

If you DO live abroad or illness comes into play then you can consider that those few games mean enough to be thought of as a proper fan.

5.  And, if you have NEVER attended a game at all, the I’m afraid you are outta luck, you are NOT and NEVER can be consider a proper fan.

If you feel that this is harsh then tough.

It is unquestionably necessary to have attended a game to be thought of as a proper fan. And there are NO excuses or reasons I am willing to accept.

By way of example, if you claim to support Manchester City, but say that living in London means you can’t get to a game, then what about the opportunities over the years for the away games? See, you could have gone if you had wanted to.

If you work weekends, then there are always evening kickoffs in midweek.

Family commitments can be frustrating but do not constitute a permanent inability to attend.

Please don’t say you can’t afford it. SAVE UP.

If you dare say you can't get tickets because you don’t have a membership card or loyalty points, then prepare to be defenestrated—that excuse simply proves my point.

Folks, the simple fact is that in order to claim to support a team you have to have been to games in any weather, at any time or at any cost. There are degrees of that rule that end up at fanatic, but you have to attend, no question about that.

If you have never attended or attended so few games that your commitment barely registers on the scale, then you FOLLOW a team.

Following a team is simply something less than being a fan.

Fanatics ARE allowed to treat these types as second class ‘fans’.