They say that hell is other people. That may be a negative view when it comes to attending football matches, which should be one of the great communal experiences. Yet, there is nothing that can spoil your enjoyment of a game more than being sat or stood next to a particular type of spectator, although, in many cases, to call them a fan is a contradiction in terms.
Here are five types you might want to avoid the next time you go to a match.
Despite all the progress we have made in society and laws we have passed, there are still those, particularly in the older generation, who still harbour prejudices when it comes to the colour of somebody’s skin, and think it funny to make monkey chants, offensive gestures, or throw banana skins on to the pitch.
Sometimes they like to dress this up with humour, but there is nothing funny about any of this. It is the same when it comes to homophobic remarks, comments that, were they repeated outside the confines of the football stadium, would get the offender in trouble with the law.
You don’t have to be black or gay to be offended by these people – in fact, all you need to be is a decent human being.
There is no point engaging with these people – they are not worth your breath or time.
For fans of the top clubs, getting a ticket for a big game can be a struggle, with thousands missing out each week. Yet, at the same time, hundreds of seats will be filled by tourists who have bought their tickets through a travel company, who has done a deal with the club.
These tourists are not fans of either of the teams involved in a match, but simply want to go to a game for the experience, much as they will visit other local attractions during their visit to a city, like museums, monuments and zoos.
Normally wearing all the merchandise they can buy in the club shop, a half and half scarf is a tell-tale sign. Any true fan knows you cannot be neutral and support both sides.
Unfortunately, there is always a small element of football supporters who like to attend matches for the chance to cause problems and stir-up trouble with visiting fans and even their own supporters. The authorities have taken measures to cut down on this, but it can never be completely eradicated, either in the stadium, or outside the ground.
The best advice – stay away from these people and don’t get involved with them.
The Phone Addict
Some people are so obsessed with their cell phones that they feel the need to constantly check them for messages, or even to chat with friends whilst the game is in progress. And that is not to mention those who will be taking photos constantly, raising their phones to their faces whenever somebody takes a throw-in or corner in front of them. Perhaps the most irritating among these are the kind of individuals who bet on the ongoing games and are not bothered about the match; it’s all about the money! The sooner they get paid by the Pay Pal Betting Websites the better for them.
Such people are to be pitied more than anything else. If they cannot enjoy being in the moment and experiencing the action as it happens, they are the ones to miss out, not you.
The Eternal Optimist
Football fans are, by nature, inherently pessimistic. They know, from bitter experience, the ability of their team to mess things up, even when they seem to have things under control.
They have seen too many last minute goals conceded, open goals missed, or dodgy penalties given against them to never feel confident about a win until the referee has blown the final whistle.To be a true fan an element of masochism and a gallows sense of humour is a pre-requisite.
That is why the eternal optimist is the most annoying type of football fan of them all. They may insist that, if your team is four goals down at half-time, they can still come back and draw or even snatch a win, You know different, and you know that it is the hope that kills you. That is why, on the very rare occasions in life your team does mount a spectacular comeback, the joy is the more pronounced.
Founder and editor of Footiecentral. A voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to the history of football. He’s an ardent supporter of Manchester United and rarely misses a match.