Ask 100 Irish people what football team they support and chances are, 99 of them will say they support an English team. Ask those 99 people who they want to win the World Cup this summer and chances are, 98 of them will say something along the lines of : “I just hope England don’t fuckin’ win it.”
It is one thing I have never understood as someone who goes to watch his favourite team, Bohs, play every Friday night. Why barstoolers, as they are more commonly known, “support” an English team week in week out, yet when it comes to the English national team, all they want to do is see them fail.
An Irish Manchester United “fan” would simply adore a player like Wayne Rooney every weekend by wearing their replica jerseys with “Rooney 10″ on the back, however when it comes to Rooney lining up in the white of England, they want to see him lose.
It is a sad fact of life that as thousands upon thousands of “football fans” in Ireland sit in the pub every Saturday afternoon to “support” their favourite team from behind a TV screen, the majority of League of Ireland clubs continue to struggle to attract more than 3,000 people to a game every Friday night.
The majority of barstoolers will blame the quality of the league as the reason why they don’t bother spending €15 to go and actually watch a game of football. “Ah, I watched a game on the telly last week and it was shite” is something I hear quite a lot. These people think they know everything about the club they “support” from behind a TV screen. They refer to the likes of Liverpool as “we” and they go on talking about why Rafa has to be sacked for weeks on end.
The large majority of Irish people have absolutely no connection with the English club they “support” and yet they still refer to the English club as “we”. It really does sicken me when I scroll down through FaceBook on a Saturday evening looking at my friends status updates and I’ll I can see is : “Rooney, you absolute legend” or “Come on Liverpool, we have these pricks.”
I have no problem with an Irish person having a favourite English team but the thing that really gets to me is the fact they simply can’t be bothered getting of their arse on a Friday night to go and support our domestic league. I don’t understand how they call themselves football fans when the only time they ever actually watch a game of football is on the telly.
Barstoolers will never feel what a proper football fan feels. They will go over to Old Trafford or Anfield once a season and think they are great because they travelled so far to support their club but in actual fact they are just customers.
They will never feel the heartache of a real fan when his side concede in the last minute to be knocked out of the cup. They will never feel the jubilation of a real fan as he runs onto the pitch to celebrate with his heroes after his side have just won the league.
Even as a Bohs fan, I have far more respect for a Shamrock Rovers fan than I do for a barstooler.
The League of Ireland will survive for the simple reason that some people in this country actually enjoy going to watch live football and not just sit in a bar or sit at home, pretending to be a real fan.