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My Football Club Isn’t Doing It for Me Anymore, Can I Switch?

Wednesday 15th March 2017
In 2017 you can commit as much or as little time to anything you like. You can change your car, partner, beer and even your gender. But so much as think of changing your football club and eyebrows will be raised.

Based on a deep meaningful conversation with a friend, it's the ultimate taboo amongst football supporters. Changing team, or for the ultra-elitist so much as following the activity of a club which isn't your favoured club. “Why do you watch Juventus, too?” – Well, I like football and their pretty good at it. Does it make me a fan of Juventus, no. Do I wish Arsenal played more like Juventus; yes, I do.

Yet, what happens when Saturday comes and it's just not doing it for you anymore? Football is supposed to be escapism for the masses; not sadomasochism. It's an outlet of enjoyment; you follow a team which you're happy to follow in that it will ultimately reward you with happiness. Much like you drink beer you like at the pub, for me that's a craft beer – preferably something dark. Although at any given point I can switch and nobody grumbles. Sometimes; especially with summer on the horizon, I just can't hack a 9% Scandinavian Fig Stout – I'll have something more palatable for the season. Now football wise, you can't just choose another team for the season. Using the same metaphor, you've got to drink that watery-lager for the rest of your life – and hope the taste gets better with age.

Life is full of discovery; and why should your former opinions bar you from developing your interests? The hand me down footballing supporters go as far as to let previous generations define their football interests. But why? Your father might support Sheffield Wednesday, but that doesn't mean that's the club for you at all. After all, your father may have witnessed the days of Hirst and Bright as they took the club to two cup finals, but that will mean very little to new generations. By the same token, your father may have voted Brexit because he didn't want to be in the Common Market the first time around; did you really vote that way because he did? (That's altogether a different story though *facepalm*). This self-limitation of football fans is rather jarring and one dimensional. You may even go the other way and stop supporting Real Madrid and find to love the amateurism of Villalonga F.C. The warmth and community of the 2,000 seater stadium may be a better experience than the Sky Sports Red Button coverage of the top teams in La Liga. I personally went on a pilgrimage to Japan and found a fondness for the J.League; way beyond my interest of the Premier League as a whole.

I know with this article, I am promoting such responses as: “a football club is for life” and “football is bigger than anything else, so it can't be changed” – but what if your club goes through unthinkable actions which not only test your taste but moral standings. Sheffield United went through a real ordeal when the club allowed Ched Evans to re-train and use their facilities. Local businesses and advocates of the club planned to pull their backing should be allowed any further into the club. Whilst now his sentence has been expunged, at the time it would have been incredibly testing for fans to see it happen.

Even more, taxing would have been the several heated moments that Sunderland has gone through. Not only have they been playing rather terribly, but they employed Paulo Di Canio who described himself as a fascist. In addition to that, they also served as the employer of Adam Johnson who is currently serving prison time after having unethical and intimate relations with a minor. Whilst the club can't be blamed entirely for their actions, they are still associated with them and (in my eyes at least) Black Cats fans would understandably seek a different club to support after these testing circumstances.

Although these are very extreme cases; and such immoral standings shouldn't have to serve as scapegoats to change clubs. You should be able to switch on footballing grounds too. I.e. You're a Liverpool fan but really dislike Klopp. You think his style of play is terrible and you don't like his personality in post-match interviews. Why would you put yourself through it? What are you gaining from this sacrifice of your own enjoyment and time? It's like going to shop and buying waffles when you really wanted pancakes. You wouldn't do it. By the same merit, you see Leicester City doing so well; this bright new product at the bakery section it's also on offer, and you're spewing at the thought of that same brand of waffles you've been buying for the last fifty years. Go on, buy both this week. You might even like them.

In conclusion, support who you want. Switch or add when you like, to who you like. Whether that's all 92 teams in the football league pyramid, Manchester United or Canvey Island F.C. Or if you really want to keep making yourself upset every weekend, please continue your sadist subscription to Loser and Morally Objectionable Athletic.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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