Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenals and Liverpool are no more alien but quite familiar to my eardrums now. Thanks, to the middle class and upper class dude and dudettes who have been following these European football games and clubs ardently almost everywhere – From bedrooms, classroom, offices to lounge bars, sports bars and even social networking websites.
The die-hard fans of these clubs support their favorite team in masses by forming communities and groups so as to experience all the sensation while witnessing their beloved club in action. Their love for their club is so immense and pure that they are even ready to go bananas to prove their loyalty. Yes, by showing middle fingers to the fan of the other clubs or by verbal spats. Such is the allegiance that they can even go to the extent of physically harm each other while cheering for their team at the local sports bar. I am sure, if any European would see this madness, he/she would no doubt call these crazy fanatics absolutely ‘morons’.
And why not, these self proclaimed “football lovers” who actually claim their love for the sport are never seen watching the local I-league (the country’s top football competition) match or supporting it. Besides, I doubt whether the so called football fanatics would even be aware that every year, starting from October till May, I-league teams come together to play 182 matches in one season.
Everyone seems to be talking about teams like ManU, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona but no one even care to acknowledge the fact that the oldest team of I-league, Mohun Bagan A C was founded in 1889 way before than their favorite team – Liverpool (1892), Juventus (1897).AC Milan (1899), FC Barcelona (1899), Real Madrid (1902), Bayern Munich (1900), Real Madrid (1902), Chelsea (1905) and Inter Milan (1908).
The enthusiasts even are aware of the reserve squads of these teams but sadly fail to even identify with the pivotal 11 of the national football panel. Many of these football frenzies do not even know who captains the current Indian national football team.
Besides, none of these football games lovers are ever seen in the stadium where the Indian Nation team is playing matches. Ironically, the dudes and dudettes only know about two of the much decorated Indian football players. One is Bhaichung Bhutia and the other is Sunil Chhetri. Fans are aware of Bhutia due to his stint with the League One English club Bury F.C. (1999-2002), and Chhetri mainly because he is playing in Sporting CP ‘B’ for Portuguese side and has earlier even played for Kansas City Wizards.
So, what is the reason behind the obsession with the European Football Games?
Well, supporting European Football games and their clubs in India has now become a fad and it is going viral. If you follow the league you are urbane else you are not from the classy set of the society. Guys coming from small towns to metropolitan cities who have no idea about the game start cheering Barcelona, Arsenals and Chelsea just to prove that unlike the metro kids they are not less. So, even if they do not know the game they may utter, I support Manchester United just to appear as “cool” and “dude” among the urban boys. Yes, anything foreign is always in vogue and is the best seller while a local product, even if is on the same level with its foreign counterpart is mocked heavily.
Do you think they are in love with the game or loving the sport? Absolutely not! It is just that they want to be one amongst the hip crowd. Besides, it’s a win-win situation because chances are they might even gain an entry in “that” happening gang of their college or hostel which everyone wants to be in and who knows even get a chance to impress the most talked about chick in the town.
This is the deploring state of Football fans in India. It is not a sport here but a fashion statement, a trend which is highly in vogue at the moment and our desi football admirers seems to be obsessed with their favorite brands(European Football Clubs) be it Chelsea, ManU, Barcelona, Liverpool or Real Madrid.
Image Source : IANS