On Fandom…

Well, we’re right back to where with were — just six points separating Chelsea and ManU. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a 4-1 win against Bolton. Eight matches to go in the season, and with Gary Neville out, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but skeptical now. Neville’s been critical for United in defense, and made some excellent runs across the right wing. Alongwith Ronaldo, he’s been critical for United this year. Patrice Evra hasn’t had a good year, and Heinze has been sorely missed. Both Vidic and Carrick have contributed immensely, and with Van Der Saar, we know what we’ve been missing for the last few seasons.

Anyway, I just read about a fantastic goal from Paul Robinson. Video clips below, followed by a goal by Beckham, who, in my opinion is still a damn good player – just that his fame works against him.




If you read the comments to that last video – interesting how people have said that they were fans of the game once, but no longer are. I wonder if they were fans of particular players, who’ve since retired, because of which they’ve lost interest in the game? That happened to me in case of Basketball and Michael Jordan…

Do you think fandom can be separated into different kinds? Here are some categories I’ve developed, on the fly, while writing this post:
1. Proximity based fandom (Clubs/Country): because you’re born there, and its your club/country, so you’re emotionally attached to the club/country and support it no-matter-what.
2. Performance based fandom: You back a winner. They win the championship, you back them. They do well, but don’t win the championship – you still back them until they start losing badly, in which case you decide that xyz is a better team, and you back them. You’re a neutral.
3. Personality based fandom: You watch the sport for the star, who may or may not be a performer. The star retires, and your interest declines. I think that happened to basketball with Jordan – and it will happen to cricket when Tendulkar retires.
4. Rebel’s day out: Everyone in your family thinks Death Metal is from hell. You’re a rebel, and you become a fan.
5. Ideological synergy: I was a fan of Everton (football) three seasons ago, of Bolton and Wigan last year and of Reading this year because the teams fought it out for each and every game. Some aren’t as passionate anymore, and I’m not much of a fan of theirs. In contrast, I wasn’t a fan of Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City, because they had an all out attack philosophy, which I didn’t agree with.

So..why are you a fan? Any more categories?

While on fandom, do read Henry Jenkins’ Confessions of an Aca/Fan. I haven’t read much of it (work increases with each week), but I do like what I’ve read so far. Jenkins’ book on convergence culture is on my wishlist…Also, I believe in niche markets more than I do in mass markets. I think we might just see a switch in mandate for mixedbag. 🙂

You may also like


  1. Briliant post, accurate observations.

    For me:

    1. Proximity based fandom (Clubs/Country): Mumabi and India, in cricket and most other sports.

    2. Performance based fandom: Doesn’t happen with me, if I like a team / player I’ll back in spite of performance.

    3. Personality based fandom: Brilliant example, I’ve stopped following basketball since Jordan too. For a time I thought that might be true for F1 and MS, but I think I’ll still watch this season. Though I believe personalities are dead. Cheering for Lewis Hamilton (but not McLaren, tifosi for life!) this year….

    4. Rebel’s day out: Ah not my cup of tea… Very pseud way of thinking, but I’ve seen it happen.

    5. Ideological synergy: hmmm…. Works with players too, which is why Steve Waugh and Stephen Fleming are liked, I guess.

    I suspect that more often than not it is the intersection of two or more categories above that make people a fan… and also that it works differently for team sports and individual ones.

  2. Interesting classification!

    I think the kind of maniacal fans that the Beatles had – what with girls screaming and threatening to kill themselves etc – would fall under ‘Lack of self-identity’ based fandom in my not-so-humble opinion. This kind wears out with age usually or as life gets more busy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *