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10 Funny Habits of English Premier League Football Fans
EPL Football and Its Fans
EPL football fans are constantly trying to kick their bad habits and lead normal, sensible lives. But the odds are against them. Why? Simple. Football is addictive and the English Premier League gets into the blood.
The problem is they, the football mad supporters, don't see them as bad and continue as if blind, oblivious to other things going on in the world, like wars and fuel shortages and the price of fresh mushrooms.
The late great Bill Shankly - who built Liverpool FC into a giant club - summed it up neatly in one unforgettable crazy statement.
'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'
The most popular game in the world, 'the beautiful game' Pele said, has a lot to answer for. Men, women and children from all classes, all backgrounds, flock to stadia each week of the season in the age old quest for a modicum of glory.
I dedicate this brief article to all those souls braving all kinds of weather and ridicule to watch their team perform on a rectangle of closely cut grass.
EPL Embarrassing Moments
The Ten Habits of English Football Supporters
The following habits are in no particular order, follow no set pattern and can be way off the mark. Like many a premiership attack.
1. Fancy Dress
Grown men prancing around in wigs, face paint, suits of armour and other selected costumes and drapery? The habit of donning flat cap and scarf has long since vanished (or has it?) and nowadays you can see all sorts parading to the main stand, dressed in a variety of what look like tribal throwaways. Or is that top hat and wig influenced by Alice in Wonderland?
Some supporters look far more relaxed in fancy dress and just aren't content in a club shirt and hat. They want more, they want carnival, they want ........! From mature full length bananas to uniformed air hostesses the premiership attracts the most bizarre 'acts'. I blame the Scots for influencing English football supporters. Their Tartan Army started all this nonsense in the 1970s, invading Wembley in Campbell kilts and Tam O' Shanters with long flowing ginger wigs. Soccer has never been the same since. Open up the costume cupboard Jock, I want my paint, lipstick, props and that nice frilly piece you bought me for the Champion's League final.
2. Drinking It In
A few pints before the match is a time honoured habit especially for those supporters who like to drown their sorrows before watching their team get thrashed 6-1.
Beer, ale, stout, and that strange stuff called lager flows out the pub pipes like Lethe juice on match days and give some sections of the stadium that wonderful 'lived in' appeal of boozy fumes and sodden smiles.
Having a few too many can distort reality however and trap supporters in a hazy underworld where tackles, tactics and even goals pass them by and they end up having to ask daft questions like, ' Has our No9 just scored or am I imagining it?'
I've never seen a truly drunken man at a premiership game - they're not allowed in of course. I've seen referees who have performed as if they're drunk but that's quite normal.
3. Pie In The Eye
The word pie originates from mag-pie, the bird that's supposed to collect shiny objects at random and place them all in one nest, a bit like Abramovich at Chelski FC.
Eating a pie before the match is a habit as engrained as drinking a beer and the two sometimes go together, combining to form a deadly partnership up front. Highly nutritious, a pie is as English as Sir Alf Ramsey ( he won the World Cup for England in 1966) and is best eaten hot outside the stadium near to red brick and paving stones, to make the pie feel at home.
The pies at English football stadiums vary in quality, shape and size. What's your favourite? Take your pick from steak&kidney, steak&onion, chicken&mushroom. That's it. Choose any 1 from a vast selection of...3.
Rectangular or circular? (There's no such thing as a square pie. Don't ask me why). Large, medium or small? Sorry. there's only pie size.
Liverpool FC are famous for their Scouse Pies, wonderful solid creations full of meat and other inspiring ingredients. Occasionally you'll see a banner or poster at premiership games declaring WHO ATE ALL THE PIES? This is a rhetorical question aimed at all those with overhanging pie bellies, tattoed or not, hairy or not.
4. Completely Taking Over The Road
When a football supporter gets within 1 mile of a stadium pure instinct takes over and roads as we know them cease to exist. Observers have noted that adult males and females and their children will, en masse, take over the tarmac in a bid to get to the stadium or eateries before their rival species. Like birds that fly right in front of oncoming traffic, narrowly escaping death, the supporter will dash out or amble in front of approaching traffic, seemingly unaware of cars, trucks, buses and police vehicles.
A single male with enough bravado may step out in front of a taxi for example, confident in the knowledge that dozens more will follow him and halt the driver in his tracks. This is a tactic the average fan has tuned to perfection over generations. Some say it is an art, others a mindset triggered by the keywords football, pie, beer, stadium.
5. Shout,Shout, Let It All Out
Outside most premiership grounds on match days are sellers - of scarves, hats, shirts, badges and other paraphernalia including fanzines and if you're lucky, framed photographs. Most of these tradesman are accomplished in market banter and bawling. At Anfield there is one particularly loud seller who always starts off with high note high volume SCARVES, HATS, BANNERS then finishes with a wide mouthed long low Liverpudlian and SHIRTS. If he catches you in the ear you're deaf for a second or two. Luckily he doesn't appear anywhere in the stadium but 45,000 other loud voiced supporters do!
Of course not everyone shouts. There are timid supporters who make do with a whispered rant, others who want to shout but are too busy eating pies. Some remain mysteriously quiet, as if they're plotting a coup. Some girls scream and shout which is reminiscent of Beatlemania and always occurs when the opposition nearly score or one of our heroes gets upended. At the end of the day (glad I got that cliche in) it all adds to the electric atmosphere.
6. Most Heavenly Singing
Football supporters in England are renowned for their singing, which is nothing short of a miracle. Go to any match with a crowd attached to it and you'll hear a choir. It may not be the most harmonious of sounds but you won't be able to criticise the spirit in which it's sung.
This is one of those strange inexplicable habits that fans (the world over) get into then cannot get out of. To hear tens of thousands of full voiced adults singing as one is a moving and impressive experience. The good thing is all those individuals with absolutely foul out of tune voices are drowned in the sound of those able to sing in tune and the result as a whole is a well rounded rendition.
At Liverpool we are rightly famed for our singing (if not our results at present). You'll Never Walk Alone, which must be audible for miles around on match day, is a beautifully emotional song and carries in it a message of deep hope and passion. It contains no obscene language whatsoever, unlike other witty, unrepeatable songs that spring up every so often.
7. Bear Hugging A Complete Stranger
You could say this habit was a speciality of the football supporter. A blatant bear hug from the quiet person sitting next to you following a home side's goal is not uncommon. It really is surprising to witness normally placid people suddenly explode into wild, gleeful joy as they try to squeeze all sense out of you. It's as if they've been waiting all season just to impersonate a long lost member of your family.
8. Macho Posturing
The I-Must-Endure-Another-Home-Defeat expression is buried beneath layers of masculine bravado, adrenaline speak and hollow optimistic waffling. The football supporter's habit of refusing to believe his team has a crap attack, donkeys in midfield and over the hill thugs in defence, plus a raging bull in goal, is a sight to see and hear. Chest out, head nodding, voice like someone calling in the wilderness the mucho macho ends up silent as a monk when the truth finally hits home.
Time to sack the manager he thinks, and the owners.
9. Celebrity Spotting
The Premiership is such a glamour magnet, all kinds of celebs turn up to watch a football being kicked around. Or is it for a different reason? Could it be they'll get global coverage for the price of a seat ticket? Just for looking good and enjoying themselves? Oh no, could it be free publicity that keeps them coming and not the art of the wall pass or the manly tackling?
They'll still get spotted no matter their reasons. Leonardo di Caprio ( Jack Dawson in Titanic), Sylvester Stallone,(Rambo) Noel Gallagher,Oasis) Mick Jagger,(The Rolling Stones) Robert Plant,(Led Zeppelin) Delia Smith (English Cookbooks) and many others just can't leave the game alone.
10. The Habit Of Addiction
You have to realise that most football supporters are helplessly in love with the beautiful game even if it drives them half mad in the process. The buzz, the rush, the orgasms as the pre match rituals all come together and meet on the halfway line, dead centre of the pitch, in the shape of a ball. Kick off time has arrived. All those habits are now encapsulated in one human individual, watching, hoping, praying, prepared for battle, for glory. Bring it on.
English Premier League 2016/17
Which teams will finish in the top four of the EPL this season?
© 2012 Andrew Spacey