Many Manchester United fans are criticised as 'glory supporters' - but does locality really matter in modern football?
I support a team who have won the Premier League and whose home stadium is 188 miles from where I live today and 137 miles from where I grew up.
Obviously from these distances you can probably guess that the tag ‘Glory Supporter’ is something I have come across once or twice, even when at the games in person.
The most textbook example of the ‘glory supporter’ concept is the classic jokes and online posts about Manchester United fans all being from London, such as ‘How do you confuse a Man U fan? Show him a map of Manchester.’
While I take a moment to stitch up my sides which have of course split due to this hilarious line, I would like to point out that I am not a Manchester United fan so I am simple using this as an example.
I understand that this belief in local fan supremacy stems from the birth of football, clubs were forged from villages, factories and churches which then grew and blossomed into some of the giants in today’s game. But the teams themselves are no longer local.
Sponsors from the Middle East, Japan and the US flood the Premier League each season, bringing with them international advertising, a worldwide fan base and huge funds.
If the fans should be local then surely so should the money and investment which pours into the club? Ok so most fans don’t care about the sponsors and the money it’s just a name on the front of the shirt to them, but what about the name on the back of those treasured shirts?
Robin Van Persie, Sergio Aguero, Oliver Giroud, Fernando Torres, are these the names of local lads born and raised in Manchester and London? I think not.
Does this stop the fans from screaming their names, buying the shirts and in some cases getting the tattoos? No. So where does this ‘local’ love for the team finish?
Surely it is hypocritical for ‘proper fans’ to talk down to a fellow supporter based on where they happened to be born or live but then demand that the best talent from all around the world comes to play on their doorstep and wear the teams colours?
We are used to foreign stars gracing the Premier League with their breathtaking talent, it is accepted as part of the game and celebrated by everyone, so surely now we can accept fans to our teams from all over the world and all over our country? Can’t we?
image: © wuestenigel