The Life of a Modern Day Football Fan: Main Stream and Social Media

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Article by @rossic89

Football can be an intense, incredible and pretty short-lived experience at times. Intervals of reflection are very rare to come by. We live in an extremely knee-jerk society and if like me, you spend most of your time on the internet you’ll see it more often than not.

Over the years at Redmen I’ve become pretty immune to some of the wild calls, narrow-mindedness and the torrent of needless abuse aimed at players, opposing fans or just anyone that pipes up with an opinion.

The international break is one of those rare periods of reflection for me, it doesn’t really interest me and I’ve grown up watching England sides that have consistently failed despite the hype or the quality of players that were involved. They also played some disgustingly turgid football. Just no appeal at all. I’m also half Scottish so it’s not like I had any international football to fall back on, the less said about that the better.

Finally, I’ve never been a fan of getting pissed up in a town or City across the globe at 10am before launching a plastic chair from some al fresco café at an opposing fan shouting “We’re fuckin’ England”. That can get right in the bin. I digress.

Growing up as a football fan in the 90’s appears so much less stressful than it does nowadays. OK, now it’s part of my job, which I am absolutely fine with, but there are so many elements that have changed in such a short period of time. I’m aware that I’m looking back with a certain degree of nostalgia here and I also sound like an old man talking about “the good old days” but life in general seemed simpler then too.

Long gone are the days of me playing football in the street, commentating on myself in my Ronaldo shirt pretending I was the real deal beating four or five players before chipping the imaginary goalkeeper. Ironically I did end up looking like the Ronaldo, just the forty-year-old with three chins. Life comes at you fast, kids.

I’ll concentrate on the football.

Transfers are the big one for me. Picking up the paper to discover Liverpool had signed someone was like Charlie getting the golden ticket. Maybe a little hype a few days before, a whiff of something on the teletext rumour mill. You would read about it, how it happened, a little background on the player and then you’d move on.

Often under the Houllier era it would be someone that you’d never heard of and often labelled as the next big thing, not sure why. It must have been the equivalent to click bait back in the day. But did I lose my mind at the sight of Liverpool signing the likes of Bernard Diomedé or Eric Meijer? No. Did I stop talking to my parents because Abel Xavier trotted over and brought his mad hair style with him? No. Did I abuse friends because Jean-Michel Ferri didn’t cut the mustard? No.

Was it just me, was I just a young naive football fan or was everyone like that? Honestly let me know in the comments below, I need closure.

I’m aware it’s a generational thing and I won’t be a hypocrite and start picking on a younger group of football fans, that wouldn’t be right. They were born into this on demand, here and now culture which has established itself in recent history. Another gripe of mine.

The aforementioned culture has been peddled by the likes of Sky Sports News and TalkShite. Sensationalising every minor detail within our game, making things out bigger than they need to be. Jim White and his fucking yellow tie. Get in the bin. I stopped watching long ago for various reasons.

First of all, they just regurgitate the same content on a loop, would you watch the same film back to back for hours on end? Secondly, the “Sky Sources can reveal” bollocks. Twitter. You can get information hours before, if not days before they catch onto it. Save yourself the time and stick Paul Joyce, the gospel of Liverpool transfers, on your notifications. You won’t regret it. And the biggest gripe of them all is those stories which you don’t see which they “break” to you. Here’s an example;

Liverpool have been linked with a move for Luca Modric in an audacious move to tempt the Croatian International away from Real Madrid etc…….

……

Modric is currently 3/1 to join Liverpool over on Sky Bet..

Oh is he now. How fucking convenient for you. Knowing full well they have a reputation for being resourceful, reputable and relied upon when it comes to news to millions of fans. For me, this is exploitation of a fan, punter, customer whatever you want to call them. Having a news corporation and a betting company is a clear conflict of interest for me and I wish more people were wise to it.

To top off the sensationalism they even had a deadline for Bolton and Bury. How low can you get? Think about that process for a second. Someone had the idea, others will have had a say and many more will have been involved and yet not one person decided to use a moral compass. Why? Because it’s content? That’s not football for me and I feel so sorry for what Bolton and Bury fans have been through without it being made into a circus.

Same goes for Talkshite. People are vetted. “Got a rational opinion on a player or team? Sorry the phone lines are full. What’s that, Arsenal are better man for man than Manchester City? Fill your boots.”

“We are now joined by Sam Allardyce who thinks Liverpool need to improve defensively.”

Do me a favour.

I could tolerate this to a point, but so many people buy into it. This might be a wild claim, but it’s bullying. Abusing callers to make a mockery of them before cutting it up into social clips to show the world. That’s not football either, not in my eyes.

I’m aware there maybe one or two that are on the wind up but surely you can have an entertaining show or discussion about football without saying something controversial? This exacerbates tensions between fans, it pigeon holes’ entire fan bases, it disparages those with a different opinion and more often than not it just winds people up. Again, why?



 

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The Around The League Podcast, available on www.theredmentv.com which is free for your first month, is a breath of fresh air. We are able to sit down and just talk footy with opposing fans about their club, their thoughts on topical matters and what they think about Liverpool. Are there a few digs along the way? Of course there is, that’s all part of the camaraderie of us all enjoying the same sport.

And that works both ways, I’ll happily go along with some of those punches because I know full well I give it. “Gerrard slipped” yeah sound, “Lost in Kiev” yeah ok I knew that happened but thank you. They are football based facts, can’t really argue with them but I can certainly throw something back at them. United fans have gone pretty quiet recently…

Twitter can create a perception of events or views which might not be a true reflection on what is really happening nor does it give you the chance to expand your thoughts on a subject or let you formulate your own opinion at times. For example, when team sheets are announced, I’ll share it and someone somewhere will be annoyed. I quite liked Gini before but now eight people with Firmino AVI’s and trophy emoji’s have confirmed he is in fact shite, I’ll second guess my thoughts on him. Why? It shouldn’t matter at all.

You could have the same conversation on there, or even just voice your opinion and you can guarantee someone will take umbrage with it.

Will they counter argue it, maybe point out where your opinion may be flawed, come back with some statistical analysis on the matter or just smash that caps lock button quicker than you can say “oh here we go again”.

I remember a few months ago I posted Liverpool’s goal v Man City from last season at the Etihad and quoted it with something along the lines of “What a goal”. Nothing offensive, nothing towards City fans and certainly nothing that concerned Everton fans.

Fuck me, you should have seen some of the replies.

City fans pointing out we lost the game. Nice one, I knew that. City fans saying they’ve scored loads like that. Ok we are an independent Liverpool site so I don’t think that would go down well with our fan base if I start tweeting Aguero goals. An Arsenal fan piped up about their goal versus Norwich. Again, all well and good if we were an Arsenal channel and I fully appreciate it was a fantastic goal but not appropriate.

(I’ll come to this later, but I’m not having a go at all City or Arsenal fans here. That’s another issue.)

Can we not just appreciate good goals anymore? Why does everything have to have a subliminal meaning or context to it? It was a good goal! I know rivalry comes into this and that things like this will happen again and again.

Sometimes social media managers of official club pages do some cringe-worthy shit and that really doesn’t help matters. If you aren’t the likes of AS Roma or Leverkusen, then don’t bother.

I’m all up for ‘banter’, rivalry and all the nonsense that comes with that but some people don’t half cross the line and for the life of me I cannot understand it.

I mentioned before about football facts or events that have happened which we all use to windup other fans, that’s fair game in my opinion but it is often overshadowed by ill-informed, nauseating and quite frankly, lazy slurs across social media. And I would like to soften the blow by suggests it’s just kids, but it’s not. Fully grown adults are part of this societal problem too.

You know what I’m talking about. “All Chelsea fans are racist”, no they aren’t. “All Liverpool fans are victims”, no they aren’t. I could go on.

Now I’m not excusing those Chelsea fans that have been caught hurling abuse at players and fans and I’m not denying the fact that there are Liverpool fans on Twitter that are a pain in the arse. But when did we start labelling whole fan bases?

I might not like particular teams in the league when it comes to playing football but to brand millions of people under the same umbrella because of a group of individuals, that’s really not my thing and something in which we need to eradicate from our culture. Things will never be rosy and I’m not expecting a situation where we all play happy families but surely common sense prevails at some point?

Despite me writing several hundred words on all the things wrong with modern day football culture and the bits that do my tits in. Life as a modern football fan does have its plus points.

Having just spent some time in Norway with a Liverpool fan group, I saw first-hand how modern technology, social media and football can bring people together. This this is happening all over the world with many a club. Seeing football, and in particular, Liverpool football club, from their perspective opened my eyes to a whole new world. Their commitment, enthusiasm and love for the club is not to be questioned.

They have a natural desire to support Liverpool and they all have their own reasons behind that. Social media bridges that gap for them and it connects them to the club. The nuances of Liverpool culture, history and the Anfield atmosphere can be consumed hundreds of miles away and can give them their fix of football which we get right on our doorstep.

If like me, you enjoy your football and don’t take it too seriously you can appreciate all the memes that exist in the Twittersphere, something which does really lighten the mood and can drive a topic of debate between friends.

We as Liverpool fans are also spoilt with a plethora of content across websites and social media platforms. Something which wasn’t available as a kid during the 90’s. Ok maybe there were fanzines knocking about but I wasn’t really aware of them until I was a teenager and I had zero chance of someone buying one for me if I was. I had to go out and talk to friends about football when I was having a break from throwing a football at a kerb.

And the content just keeps coming in just about every form you can think of; video, podcast or written. It’s all covered to suit your needs. The very best thing as a modern day football fan is the ease of access to all the content; the engagement, the consistency, the price. You’ll have certain people you go to specific things. Transfer news, Joyce. Liverpool news, Pearce. Long form and wonderfully written content, Reddy.

If you like a bit of everything, Redmen TV, obviously.

Elements of main stream media and social media will always provide positives and negatives and it will always be a subject for debate. I’ve not even mentioned ticket prices, the cost of kits or the price of a Sky subscription. Maybe I will write a second part. I have also neglected elements such as the atmosphere, all the work done around the club, BOSS nights, Hotel TIA. I’ll come to those at a later date.

I may look back on football as a fan ten, fifteen, twenty years ago with rose tinted glasses, a certain degree of innocence and may see it through a different light to you but there are ways in which being a modern day football fan could be improved.

Being a Liverpool fan right now is amazing so things could be a lot worse and I appreciate there are much bigger problems in the world, it’s just something I wanted to share.

Ross – @rossic89

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