There are many things that can bring together like minded people at university. Shared interests and passions can be the framework for our friendships and who we choose to socialise with. For myself, it was always finding friends who shared my passion for football. It’s not just the love of the game. It is also the sense of community that football brings which makes it perfect when trying to establish a social circle at University. However, one thing that always surprises me when I engage in some good old football chat is how many students don’t support their local team. For me, this has always been a bit of a thorny issue. 

I would never suggest that students are coerced into supporting their local team. There are plenty of other reasons why people support certain clubs. Family is often the main reason. Of course I fully understand that families do not always stay in the location of their chosen club forever and I would never suggest that they should abandon their team.

I myself moved away from the city of my local team last year, but could never dream of supporting anyone else. In spite of this, the reasoning behind why certain individuals don’t support their local team goes well beyond family and, I’ll be honest, I can’t understand it. 

Photo by Fleur on Big club mentality

I have walked into a pub at university on many occasions when a big football match is showing on the TV screens. I tend to look around at the supporters of the teams who are playing and I can’t help but notice something. If either Manchester United or Liverpool are playing, the number of fans increases immensely. I know these two teams are the biggest clubs in the country but, even then, it simply doesn’t justify the increase in fans.

Furthermore, if you listen closely you can hear the difference in regional accents which indicate that these fans are not from the towns that their supported club resides in. So surely the term ‘glory hunter’ could be seen as appropriate here, and that is the term which is often used by other football fans who support their local clubs. 

Now you could say that all of these fans are once again simply supporting the team of their families and may just have been born away from the location of their team. However, there is one high profile example of where this is not the case. The rapper Stormzy frequently states his pride in his south London roots both in the media and within his music. Despite this, he supports Manchester United, a team which is several hundred miles away from his home. With no family ties to the club, it is likely that Manchester United were simply picked by Stormzy as his team. In my opinion, this is one of the many examples of fans picking a team from elsewhere instead of choosing to kiss the badge of their local team.

Local pride

The last thing I want to do is vilify people for their football team. After all, football is very much everyone’s game and always will be. Yet when I come across a football fan at university who doesn’t follow their local team, and has no family ties to the team they do support, I’m left bewildered. The sense of community, local pride and the connection between the football club and the town or city is lost. And for me, I find that rather sad.