Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Passionate Prawn Sandwich Fan by Iddy

Growing up I heard my friend’s stories of how their dad remembers standing in the Shed at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea beat Fulham in 1970 something blah, blah, blah…… BLAH.

I was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, some 200 miles away from the team I support now, Liverpool. Amongst my friends, people have their reasons for supporting their clubs - one supports Arsenal because she is a 4th generation Gooner; another supports Villa because he is from Birmingham. My reason for supporting Liverpool was as something as trivial as picking them out from the sticker book, because they had Robbie Fowler.

I wasn’t a Liverpool fan at first - I was actually a West Ham fan. From the ages of 4 to 7, I was a Hammer. My older brother told me that we had to support different teams, therefore he told me to be a Hammer, while my two other brothers were Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. I still remember my times as a West Ham fan - my auntie screaming at me ‘Don’t speak to strangers’ for asking a random man for the West Ham score. My tenure as a West Ham fan came to an abrupt end when my eldest brother told me that West Ham were going to get relegated and were going to sell my favourite players Trevor Morley and John Moncur. From that day onwards, I have been a red.

I am not a Scouser and I never make out I am. I am happy to realise that I am a Londoner Liverpool fan, but to me this is no deficiency, nor does it make me any less of a supporter. If I had the choice of either Everton or Chelsea to go down, I’d pick Chelsea, just because I know more Chelsea fans than Everton - that’s me being honest. I am a proud Londoner and at the same time proud Liverpool fan. It seems people are happy to realise that I am a Liverpool fan when things are going wrong, yet any time success come our way, they are quick to come out with things like ‘Glory Hunter’ or ‘You should support a London team’. In reply to those two quotes, I was supporting Liverpool through the nineties when we won two trophies, moreover, I have no moral obligation to support a London team.

Most people’s parents tell their kids whom to support, yet mine didn’t. My dad isn’t a sports fan, he thinks every player is David Beckham and a team should score when they are inside their own half. I go to football matches on my own accord, I could never expect my dad to drive me all the way to Liverpool, because he doesn’t see the fuss in football. He recently decided to make Fulham his team, however I doubt we will be having lengthy discussions about Brian McBride. I have never been to Anfield - I’ve only seen Liverpool twice, against Crystal Palace and Southampton. If that’s what you call a ‘prawn sandwich’ fan, then that’s fine but I am a passionate one.

I write this piece before the Champions League final and I know the deal. If we lose, text messages from people who are happy to see us lose: if we win, a whole load of gloating and then I am accused of non-patriotism towards the big London! I don’t feel the need to justify my position as a Liverpool fan, yet I know I will have to time and time again. On May 25th 2005 sometime between 10.30 – 10.40, I fought back the tears, as Liverpool were crowned European champions. I wasn’t in Istanbul, I was at home in my Liverpool top, and, at that moment, I felt I had more right than anyone to be a Liverpool fan.


MotM said...

This piece is written by one of my students, who, as I am sure you can tell, is younger than the average patron of the Taproom. I think it raises interesting points about the generation of football fans growing up knowing only the Premiership and its Media hype.

I respect Iddy's right to support Liverpool, but it somehow makes me uneasy.

mimi said...

Mouth: I don't really understand your comment or your uneasiness. I have no football heritage, but I have strong links with Liverpool through my friends and having photographed the aftermath of the Toxteth riots. I was asked to do this as an outsider and I was amazed at how welcome I was made under the circumstances.
Since those days, I have supported the boys and tomorrow night, I will be unashamedly on the edge of my seat for the duration. And if we win, I will sob my little heart out!

DoctorShoot said...

Good on you Iddy. Thanks for the contribution.

I supported leeds when harry and the duke were playing cards at the front, and now I think I am a Pool supporter at least for tomorrow pathetic is that??
Perhaps I am just a fickle prawn who loves a good game and can't resist the hype either.

duncan said...

Iddy, you have inspired me to write a piece about what it means to be a supporter and who are the real supporters.

To paraphrase Chumbawumba when they were Norman Tebbit's Public Enemy Number One, "Support who you you want to support, and support how you please."

offside said...

Iddy, well done and welcome to Pseuds' Corner. One of the many advantages of our taproom is that you can step into it for an initiation drink even if you're underage

The geography of English football loyalties never ceases to amaze me.

guitougoal said...

Thank you for telling us about yourself and what you believe in.
Bravo to liverpool too, 2 finals in 3 years it's a great accomplishment. You are better off with west ham anyway.
Good luck for tonight, please watch with the pen, we love to read your post game comments.

greengrass said...

A good piece of soul-baring, Iddy. Hope you're happy tonight!
If Mouth brings you to the taproom, watch out for a shifty bloke in a loincloth. I'll gladly treat you to a glass of sarsaparilla!

guitougoal said...

what about un petit peu sarsaparilla with a lot of whisky for me?

file said...


good piece, it's so true isn't it, that folk will diss you for your lack of heritage and than dig you when 'your' team loses

don't worry about it, have a great time tonight and I'll be rooting for the reds too, even though they arn't my team I'll be banging my fists on the plexi-glass around my TV if Gattuso even breathes on Stevie G.

it's interesting too there have been a few articles trying to get to the bottom of this modern phenomenon, it didn't used to be true that folk followed other towns clubs but I see it as a symptom of globalisation and so it will grow so everyone might as well get used it

possibly millions of Thais here love Liverpool with a burning passion and they all understand exactly what you mean

bluedaddy said...

Iddy, the big brother thing is spot on. Me too. My older bruv is a Chelsea fan and didnt want me supporting them too. He wanted me to be a Leeds fan. But Chelsea were cooler and had a better kit.

But any allegiances back then probably had as much to do with who was in the FA cup final (the only live game on TV) as anything else.

You seem to have passed the one test that counts. You stuck with your team.

BTW by chance I went to Anfield to see Pool play Charlton. The send off for your boyhood hero Robbie Fowler brought a lump to my throat. The Charlton fans were clapping almost as hard as the scousers. A great player.

If you ever get the chance to go to Anfield before they move to the new stadium take it. When poked into action those reds do generate a fearsome noise.

PW75 said...

MOTM - I don;t see why you should be uneasy, this was always the case in the London suburbs. I grew up in Sutton in the 80s, which should be staunch Palace/Chelsea territory, but the playground was full of Spurs and Arsenal, and many, many more who supported Man U, Liverpool and even (!) Everton. The Big 5 dominated completely, as the Big 4 probably do today. Plus ca change.

One of my best friends from that era remains a staunch Liverpool fan, and even though I rib him for the fact he has no reason to identify with Liverpool (and has been to Anfield less times than I have), there's no doubt that he does feel a genuine bond, and he is actually one of the most knowledgeable and understanding football-supporting friends I have.

greengrass said...

This really is the confessions column, isn't it?

Iddy started it, then guitou confessed to enjoying a dash of sarsaparilla in his whisky (cringe, connoisseurs, cringe!) and PW beat the pair of them by confessing to have grown up in Sutton.

File has confessed his love for Bruce Forsyth elsewhere.

What next? Come on, kick open your closet doors!

Web said...


My name is Ebren, and I am a lapsed Kingstonian fan.

I fell for them at about 17 (late, I know, but I come from a rugby home), after living in the big smoke for my whole life, after getting swept away in a 7-1 win.

My girlfriend at the time supported Arsenal "Because Ian Wright is fit". The relationship didn't stand the test of time.

But with many cities hosting many teams, there are a multitude of options and no "right" choice.

Additionally, as ticket prices rise children are not introduced to clubs with their parents (normally dads) as they once were. So attachments are more likely to be formed with players and teams seen playing on TV rather than in the ground (the only way to see football regularly for decades).

One of my friends supports Spurs, his sister supports Arsenal, another is a London Baggie, and another a Stamford Bridge Blue. My boss (from Wycome) supports Man U, a couple of colleagues support Milan (both Londoners with Italian dads), another West Ham.

Does it matter how we met our clubs, or how deeply we feel?

It's not even a new thing. My (retired) uncle supports Blackpool. This is because his dad was an Arsenal fan and he decided as a child he would support the first team to beat them.

In retrospect he might have chosen better, but in 50-odd years he has never re-considered.

Ebren said...

Oooh - I'm signed in as "web".

Seems odd to be able to comment on behlaf of the entire internet...

mimi said...

ebren: I think that was a freudian slip! We all know how your yen for power grows and grows.

MotM said...

I guess my unease is that if support is free-floating, rather than geographically determined, it might concentrate around the media-hyped clubs who win things and we'll have the equivalent of 75000 at Old Trafford and 1500 at Gigg Lane only it being Newcastle and Sunderland or Birmingham and Villa or, gulp, Liverpool and Everton!

guitougoal said...

don't you think it's the globalization effect-
Clubs are traded on the market as commodity,most of them are owned by foreign conglomerate importing foreign players-during the process of acquiring a global image they loose some of their fans at home-Most of all they lost their identity.
btw one of the liverpool games which impressed me the most as much as the 2005 c.l final was the uefa cup they won agains Alaves...5-4 or 4-3 in extra-time

Anonymous said...

Excuse my butting in. I'm new here.

I totally support Iddy's right to redness. I grew up (in football geography) half-way between Forest and Norwich, but I don't know any Forest fans, and only my Dad is a canary. I became an Evertonian. Why? To tee off all my red-nose schoolmates. But after 20 years "Why?" becomes irrelevant.

However. Come on Iddy, you can make it up to Merseyside once can't you? It's not the end of the earth. Even I've managed to haul myself up to Goodison a couple of times...

Anonymous said...

Excuse me again.

I meant to add my name at the end.


offside said...

Rooto le niçois? Hey, nice to see you here.

Speaking of canaries, I'm sorry Nantes are going to Ligue 2 but I don't mind if that means Nice are staying up. Purely geographical. Or almost.

PW Alert PW Alert PW Alert PW Alert

andrewm said...

Iddy, very nicely put.

Obviously I sympathise, being a Scottish Liverpool fan (half a Merseysider genetically and culturally, true, but still Scottish).

I don't put any money into the club and I can't afford to go to the games, but I've loved them all my life and I know what they mean to me. Win or lose I'll be proud of them tonight and I'll feel part of it, as I always do.

mimi said...

andrewm, iddy and others: shift over to the Tavern.
We're watching the match there.

MotM said...

I've just had a bittersweet moment as Milan fluked the first half goal. Bittersweet because I know of the depth of Iddy and Andrewm's support (very touchingly put Andrew) not to mention countless versions of Hannibal of whom I am thinking tonight.

But I do want Everton to finish above Liverpool in the Premiership and I do want the Big Four to be a little less distant - ergo, I want Milan to win.

gg said...

Hard luck, Iddy - and a bit of a Bennett ref.

pipita said...

Nice article Iddy
When I was a kid in England I first supported Leicester City because I liked a player of their's called Allan Clarke. Then I changed to Leeds because he was sold to them, but couldnt come to terms with supporting a team in an all white kit and therefore a week later changed to Everton, after seeing a great documentary on them. They won the league that season,1969-70, and I was really proud of that decision. They didnt win a trophy again for fourteen years....In Argentine I support River Plate because my dad supports them, it usually works that way over here.
Congrats on encourging your student to post here. However, you dont seem to exert much of an influence on him, you'll never get him to adopt Everton by the looks of it...
Felt really sorry for you, hannibal, kokomo and masch. Mind you I also detest Inzaghi, and was bitter about him turnin into the cup final hero

andrewm said...

Thanks pipita.

I'm glad Pseuds has been united in our hatred of that wanker upfront for Milan.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the welcome offside. I just stumbled in, and will have to learn the house rules.
I thought of you the other day, as I'm going to lose my Stade du Ray virginity on Saturday. I'll let you know how it goes.


Rooto said...

I have a name now. The equivalent of a good pint glass in my hand. Aaaah!

I see the discussion has moved on, but even so this needs to be said:

Kuyt was a yard offside!

offside said...

Rooto, the best place to learn that this house has no rules is to step into the Tavern.

iddy said...

Hey everybody and thanks to replying to my piece, it’s nice to see it has brought up a debate. Well here I am, still very depressed after last night, I guess it wasn’t going to be our night when they nicked that goal before half time and gerrard missed that chance.

On the subject itself, in primary school and secondary school most people were Manchester United fans as we grew up at a time when football was becoming increasingly commercialised, English football had to change its image after Heysel, people like Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen became heroes to many, as the media were able to build up their personality. Therefore it became easier for people to support who they heard the most of, or saw the most of on telly.

I never really understood the idea that support had to be determined by the geographical location, maybe it is growing up in a cosmopolitan city like London, it didn’t really have as much of an effect. Being a first generation sports fan, I had to find football as opposed to the other way round. At 7 I had no idea where Liverpool was, it could have been in London for all I cared. Football gains a lot on hype, more so in recent times. Clubs are always going on pre season tours of places like America and Asia as an opportunity to gain money and the chief executives to brag about how many fans they got. Sure traditionalists will like to keep the hope that people will support teams which are closest to them but the generation after me, will be looking at whos hyped up the most as well but that’s modern football, a phrase which will be used quite frequently in years to come.

Good to see a k’s fan on here, Kingstonian are my local club, shame we haven’t reached the heights of the FA trophy winners of 1999 and 2000 again. I saw them in January against Croydon and they were terrible, looked out of sorts. Would love to see the glory days return, when Eddie Akuamoah was still there.

HannibalBrooks said...

Great piece Iddy

It doesn't matter where you come from, so long as you support your team in the right spirit. I know lots of so-called Evertonians who's alleged support for their team is defined by their hatred and bitterness towards Liverpool, which is just missing the whole point!

Don't tell anyone but I was a originally an Evertonian. My mum's family practically raised me when I was a baby and they were/are all Blues.

It was only on the day that Everton claimed the league title in 1970 that I switched my allegiances (at the ripe old age of 4) and so certainly can't be called a 'Glory Hunter'. My Evertonian uncles, my mum's brothers, were gloating and giving my dad some stick in my nana's living room over tea. They all said to me, 'tell your dad which team are the best', expecting me to say Everton, just as they had schooled me to say, but I stuck up for my dad and said 'Liverpool', I don't know why, I just remember thinking that gloating was somehow wrong. I've been a Red ever since.

Looking back, I think I made a very good choice. Because I eventually became such a fervent Red, my mum, a lifelong Blue, switched to Liverpool too.

The first time my dad took me to Anfield I was about six years old. The first thing that struck me was the shear volume of noise, which to a six year old was quite frightening, yet thrilling at the same time. It was and remains the sort of sound that you feel throughout your whole body, rather than the kind that you just hear.

Here are two seperate clips of the same thing; The Kop and the rest of the ground (which also makes a decent noise) just before kick-off in the CL semi against Chelsea...

You've got to get to a game at Anfield before we move.

MotM said...

Hannibal - Good to have you back. Were you there? Can we expect Ebren to receive a piece from you?

You'll forgive my wry smile about switching to Liverpool to avoid the being with the gloaters won't you?

I don't have much time for those fans who define their support by their hatred of "The Other", but, outside Glasgow perhaps, is that not done more often between Liverpool and Man Utd than any other two clubs?

The support on Wednesday night looked magnificent - and the reaction of everyone connected to the club did it proud. I don't know about what went on outside, other than the fact that there would be hundreds of journalists with a brief to find trouble and report it in as anti-Liverpool a way as possible.

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