As you may, or may not, have noticed in the past three months the new posts on Goalmouthmelee (“GMM”) have been few and far between like Premier League trophies at Anfield or trophies of any variety at The Emirates/Highbury in the recent past.
The main reason for this sabbatical was that Mrs GMM and I recently welcomed Mini GMM to this world in April 2012. For the uninitiated amongst you, little people take up a significant amount of time and energy which has meant that I have been unable to dedicate the necessary resources to GMM.
Do not be a feared! The new football season is almost upon us and the posts shall pour forth freely like Olympic gold medals into the Chinese camp.
I am a huge fan of the round ball and of Liverpool FC in particular. Therefore, it was natural for me that Mini GMM would also follow in his father’s footsteps and become a supporter of Liverpool. As I mentioned at the time, Mini GMM can support any team – as long as that team is Liverpool. A sign of how the democratic process works in our household. I have started singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to the little person and my lovely baritone rendition seems to be very much appreciated by Mini GMM.
Since then, numerous friends and acquaintances have stated their “horror” and “disgust” at what they refer to as my brainwashing of this poor young, innocent and untouched young soul. Why would you subject your child to a lifetime of mediocrity, they ask? Surely, the kid would be better off supporting a team with a culture of winning?
It is an interesting viewpoint, and one that made me think about the reasons why people support the teams that they do.
Silverware – naturally, a lot of casual supporters prefer to watch the team that is winning. Hence, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and more recently Manchester City attract a lot of new followers every season. That is partially why I started supporting Liverpool – when I was a growing lad in the 80’s Liverpool were the dominant team and almost every weekend game on The Big League (there was only one game a week people!) would feature Liverpool.
Style of play – a lot Arsenal fans fall into this category. At one point, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal teams played a swashbuckling, pass-and-move attacking game that won them many admirers and quite a few pieces of silverware. Since then, the silverware has dried up but the passing style has remained and many Arsenal fans rely on the “at least we play attractive football” school of thought to provide them with comfort at the end of another trophy-less season. Once again, part of the reason I supported Liverpool was based on their possession- based style of play that was part of the Liverpool culture.
Charismatic individuals – Jose Mourinho is a prime example of a person who attracts supporters to a team based purely on his impact at a particular team. With his culture of winning, allied with expert man management and his renowned “mind games” Mourinho has won a lot of supporters who believe in him, and indirectly in the teams he manages. Players such as Eric Cantona, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez are examples of players who engender similar feelings and draw a lot of supporters to a particular team. A good friend of mine is a huge supporter of Newcastle United, based purely on the fact that she felt that Alan Shearer was the best thing since Nando’s chicken.
Location – in the “old days” (pre satellite television), the majority of a team’s support came from the local people who lived near the stadium and went every week to watch their team. This type of support has been replaced (relatively-speaking) by the rise of the global supporter – the people from China to Zimbabwe, who gather in pubs or at a friend’s house wearing their replica jersey to cheer on their favourite team.
There are a myriad of other reasons why people support the team they support. For some, it could be that they simply like the colour of the team’s uniform and for others it could just be that they love the city where their team of choice is based.
I admit that it is a tough time to be a Liverpool supporter. There has been a huge amount of staff and player turnover during the past twenty years, there has been boardroom chaos and infighting, indecision over a new stadium and frustratingly a lack of consistency in challenging for the league title.
For a certain older generation of supporters, it is extremely frustrating to have descended so low from the highs of our history. For a younger generation of supporters, they have never known the taste of constant success and maybe questioning why they even support Liverpool. For both generations of supporters, it may take a Herculean effort to even watch the team week in, week out when the players seem to be unable to even string two passes together.
The only thing that I know for certain is that Mini GMM will never walk alone.