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An Idiot's Guide to Watching Football / Soccer.

Updated on April 16, 2013

So you've picked your team, brought the shirt and invested in a season ticket. But there are many obstacles in your way if you want to follow football.

To truly watch the beautiful game there will be mental and physical stresses and strains. However fear not, for I have many years of experience supporting a mediocre team and I'm about to pass this knowledge on to you.

Whether it's viewing football from the comfort of the sofa, or in between two fat men on plastic seats in the stands, read on and I'll provide you with a beginners guide to watching the most popular sport on earth.

It won't be easy, you'll have to master the location, the lingo and even the art of convincing the other half to stop watching the television, but if you're committed and determined enough I promise that you'll find yourself as out of shape and poor as the rest of us football fans. Just follow these steps and you too can live the dream.

This is the circle of hate for my team Bournemouth. Note the hatred of Southampton and Portsmouth. Curse them for being so convenient to get to!
This is the circle of hate for my team Bournemouth. Note the hatred of Southampton and Portsmouth. Curse them for being so convenient to get to!

Proximity is not your friend

First things first. Get a map of the local area of your chosen club. Put a pin where your club's ground is. Now draw a 30 mile radius around this point. Right, from now on you hate any other team this exists within that circle. Don't question this, you just do. Maybe it's something to do with the phrase "Keep your friends close and keep your enemies even closer," I'm not entirely sure but if you're going to watch football you need to know that all teams around you are all evil.


You wouldn't go into a battle without ammunition would you? The same applies to football. Now we've picked our local rivals we must now do our research to hit them where it really hurts - that's right, singing songs at them. The material is key, no matter how good a team is there is always something to criticise them about. Let's take the most successful teams in the Premier League for example:

Manchester United = The most successful English team of recent times BUT all of their fans are from Surrey.

Arsenal = Play the most attractive football in England BUT haven't won a trophy in ages.

Chelsea = Consistently challenging for league and cups BUT brought this success with Roman Abramovich's money.

See, it's easy. Try it yourself. Once you've got a few of these flaws noted down about your rivals you're once step closer to the turnstiles.


Now we have our material ready it's time to insert it into some chants and songs for full effect. The formulas are simple, all you need to have done is the easy research shown above. Let me demonstrate. Here is a popular song for any club to sing and I've put it in a template format that will allow you to hurl abuse at other fans whenever the moment strikes you:

♫Build a bonfire, build a bonfire. Put the [Rival A] on the top, put the [Rival B] in the middle and we'll burn the fupping lot.♫

Obviously don't say fupping when you're in a football ground, that would be embarrassing. Unless your at Fulham where that kind of language is classed as very offensive.

Here is another song that can be used at any match to taunt multiple rivals (regardless of whether or not they are there):

(To the tune of Land of hope and glory) ♫We hate [Rival A], we hate [Rival B] too (they're sh... a really bad team!). We hate [Rival C] and [Rival D] but [Your team] we love you.♫

Again the Fulham rule does apply to the language I've had to tone down, but use your imagination.

It's not all about slagging other teams off though, there are some chants that can be used to cheer on your own side! This one is classic, especially in cup games:

♫Keep the flaaaaag up in the sky, we'll keep the [colour of your team] flag flying high. From [stadium of your team] to Wembley, we'll keep the [colour of your team] flag flying high.♫

Some people may say 'how can it matter which club you support if team chants can be simplified into generic templates and to those people I say "fupp off".

This fan is demonstrating move no. 54 in the supporters guide 'the aggressive point'. One of the many moves you need to be familiar with at a football match.
This fan is demonstrating move no. 54 in the supporters guide 'the aggressive point'. One of the many moves you need to be familiar with at a football match.

Stock Phrases

These are very important. They can be used anywhere at any time. In the Pub, at home or in a stadium it doesn't matter. They are perfect for making it seem like you know much more about the game than you actually do. But use them wisely my child, overuse may result in an amateur fit of jargon that will expose you as the fraud that you really are. However when used properly you have the potential to be the next Alan Hansen.

1, Accuse the officials of having poor vision. E.G - "Oi! Ref! Leave you glasses at 'ome?!"

2, Imply that elderly relative could have scored an easy opportunity that has been missed by one of the players. e.g - "My nan could 'ave scored that." For added effect use the lack of vision theme from statement 1. e.g "My nan could 'ave scored that with her eyes closed."

3, Suggest that the whole game is a farce, played out the crowds amusement. e.g "You've got to be jokin' ain't yer, that was never offside" It can never hurt to throw in statement 1 e.g "You've got to be jokin' ain't yer, that was never offside, is the linesman blind?"

These are just a few examples of phrases that could blag you a hug from a sweaty man during a goal celebration down the pub, but there are many more. Keep practising to ensure you become king of the cliché.

These men have just been told by their wives that they are allowed to watch football.
These men have just been told by their wives that they are allowed to watch football.

Watching football at home

There are many problems to negotiate if you want to watch football at home, the most likely one being that you don't have a subscription to any channels airing football. If this is the case then you need to invest in a friend that does or be prepared to re-mortgage the house for these channels.

Once this is sorted it's time to negotiate with the other people you live with. If you don't live with other people, great! You can fill the void loneliness brings with hours upon hours of football. If you are unfortunate enough to have to share your life with people, then be prepared to compromise. Should you have children then this isn't a problem, feel free to use the line "This is Daddy's/Mummy's time now" to dissuade them using the TV, safe in the knowledge that they have computer games to teach them the morals of life.

If it's a partner you have to contend with this becomes tricky. If they enjoy watching football then there isn't a problem, enjoy it together and consider this a cheaper alternative to a date. The more likely option is that they absolutely detest the beautiful game and would gladly sacrifice one of their own children to never see it again. If this is the case then haggle with them for your TV time. Say you'll do some DIY, cook dinner, take the dog for a walk or make up your own lie. Anything will do, as long as it gives you the chance to dominate the TV for the chance to watch a pre-season friendly featuring Accrington v Morecombe, who cares if you have no interest in it, its football!

Don't forget...

Now my child you're almost ready to step over that white line and start watching football like never before. But always make sure you warm up before hand. Hand exercises are important for gripping alcohol, aggressively pointing at officials and handling the remote. Prepare your voice for cheers of excitement, shouts of disbelief and screams of anger as someone walks in front of the TV. And Most important of all be ready to protect your wallet as it's about to take an almighty hammering. Heed this advice and - which is more - you'll be a fan my son!


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    • CoryGreiner profile image

      CoryGreiner 6 years ago from Virginia

      Ha... I really enjoyed this hub. I was seriously laughing at the stock phrases.... so true

    • moiragallaga profile image

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Excellent article mtalbot2987! Humorous, well written and a very good guide for those wanting to learn the proper way to watch a football game. My husband is among the lucky ones as I love the beautiful game myself.