Chelsea Fan: Football Tribalism Can Be Ugly But It Makes Things Interesting
Anyone who has the misfortune of following me on Twitter will have realised that I be not the nicest. When I’m not littering people’s Timelines with four-lettered-expletives or displaying a worrying lack of empathy to the human race, it’s caustic barbs directed at people who happen to be on my s**t list. And in the grand majority of cases, those on the list are on there for the most petty of football reasons. Welcome to the wonderful world of football tribalism.
Let’s start with two poor characters that get victim-blamed by me an embarrassing lot - Cheryl Cole and Wayne Bridge. I frequently group these two together because both suffered at the hands of Ashley Cole and John Terry’s alleged infidelities. Now, sane-thinking people pity them and reprimand Terry and Cole for their caddish ways. Not this bolshie little madam. As far as I’m concerned, Wayne Bridge can go cry a river A) he wasn’t even dating Perroncel at the time and more pertinently, B) he’s now dating the beautiful Frankie Sandford from The Saturdays, so it’s hardly like he did badly out of it. The fact that he ruled himself out of England in the fallout just highlights what a b*llock-less bellyache he is to me. As for Cheryl Cole, her appearing in a Piers Morgan interview to sniff about Cole destroyed any fleeting sympathy I had for her, not least as that little sob story came the week her album was being promoted; funny that. In my unfeeling, bespectacled, and too-small-because-I’m-Chinese eyes, both Cheryl and Bridge are drips, and both need to get over it.
This ugly habit I have of criticising anybody who Chelsea players have clearly wronged doesn’t just extend to spurned spouses. Rumours have it that Andre Villas-Boas was practically chased out of Chelsea by Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, because they were irked that he didn’t play them for the away tie against Napoli. Most people point their fingers to Lampard and Cole’s egotistical behaviour. But in my deluded mind, those two are my heroes, whom I refuse to hear a word against, and therefore the fault must lie with Villas-Boas, and cue lots of mirth whenever Spurs fail and immature name-calling from me at the Portuguese’s expense; Andre Village-Idiot.
Then there is Charlie Morgan, that 17-year-old ballboy who Eden Hazard served a three match ban for kicking. If I weren’t a Chelsea fan, I would have made like the sober broadsheet Media and joined in with criticising Hazard for his dangerous actions. Instead, purely due to the choice of team I support and the fact that I’m kind of a b***h, I condemn Charlie Morgan. With acerbic and merciless cruelty, I hounded the lad on Twitter, asking him repeatedly why, if his father was so rich, he hadn’t bought his son liposuction yet. Years in the future when I have a fat son of my own who gets bullied at school, I will look back at those tweets with shame. For now, though, I’ll just revel in my own evil sense of humour.
Those are just a few examples of what an irrational, slightly crazy Chelsea fan I am. Rio Ferdinand is also loathed by me, for, amongst other things, his calling Ashley Cole a “choc ice”. That incident also inspired some hypocritical behaviour of my own; I am Chinese, but frequently make unkosher jokes about my race (there’s already been one in this piece). Yet I’m not above the race card now and then at my whim. This conduct, quite clearly, was influenced by the supreme-campaigner-against-racism-when-he’s-not-comparing-Cole-to-frozen-goods, Mr. Rio Luther King.
Even Chelsea players feel the brunt of my callous idea of comedy. Frank Lampard, my all-time favourite footballer and now just four goals shy of breaking Chelsea records, is unofficially titled “The Hunchback of Stamford Bridge” due to his crooked posture (although, in Lampsy’s defence, it sure hasn’t impaired his ability to carry us.) Gary Cahill, my most fancied Chelsea player, isn’t ridicule-proof either just because I think he’s fit; the Englishman has made his fair share of mistakes this season and when he does, I’ll dish out a cheap shot about him needing to spend less time whitening his teeth, and focus on his game. And these are the Chelsea players I like, so just imagine the harsh words I have to say about Torres and John Terry; the ones I’m much less fond of.
However, even the most wretched of souls have their redeeming moments, and there are occasions when I exhibit what my boyfriend would call my “gooey” side when it comes to football - I often brood over the adorable toddlers of Fernando Torres and Santi Cazorla, despite despising both players. Perhaps it’s my maternal instinct coming to the fore, but footballer’s children is one aspect of the game that unleashes the kinder qualities in me - care, protectiveness, love - that is all too lacking when I’m busy being a drunken mess hollering abuse at Chicharito during Chelsea vs Manchester United, say.
And, of course, there are lines that even this #Chelseab***h doesn’t cross. The shameless brand of scapegoating I reserve for Cheryl Cole, Wayne Bridge, AVB, Charlie Morgan and every single Guardian football hack who’s dissed Chelsea, doesn’t extend to Anton Ferdinand. No matter how one spins that strand, one cannot gloss over that Terry screamed “f**king black c**t” at him across the pitch. There are the odd Chelsea crazies who will somehow find fault with Ferdinand for that, but that is something that even I, one of the more rabid fans, cannot condone.
No matter how much fans will deny it, football tribalism is prevalent in the game today. At its extremes, it’s not so great; deep down, even I know that the excuses I make for Ashley Cole philandering on Cheryl are just that - silly, flailing excuses, stemmed from my loyalty for Ash. But that’s the thing about football - humanity and common sense commonly go out the window. While it’s all a bit silly and childish, it does make supporting our teams more fun. I watch football because I love Chelsea. But love is such a strong emotion that it’s only natural that it also inspires hate, and with that, a complete lack of decency, morality and logic. In a troll like me, at the very least.