Monday, October 05, 2009

Fanning the flames of obsession

A funny little story on the BBC website the other day.

It seems 20 year old Frazer Boyle from Coltness had taken the dramatic step of changing his name to Motherwell Football Club, the better to prove his unwavering loyalty to the Steelmen’s cause.

For just 33 quid you can change your name to anything you like and, apparently, the UK Deed Poll Service think "it’s a good idea and we are always happy to help people change their names to a football club or celebrity."

"Good idea" is not what I had first thought when I read the story. "What a fecking plonker" would be more like it. Which is inevitably going to be what Mr Motherwell Football Club says himself when he wakes up one morning and realises the stupidity of what he’s done.

Strange ways of proving your support are nothing new of course. And Mr Motherwell Football Club deserves some credit for inflicting the damage on himself rather than waiting and calling his first born child something like Steven "Maxwell Nijholt Paterson McCart Boyd Griffin Angus O'Donnell Cooper Ferguson Arnott" Boyle. Maybe it’s just me but people that do kind of thing deserve their children to grow up and support another team as revenge.

Still names, tatoos and car registrations are all ways of asserting your place in the fandom firmament. Football makes us do silly things. For an illustration of that the next time you’re at a match take a look at the number of heavy set middle aged men who have crammed their gargantuan guts into overpriced sweatshop produced polyster as way of displaying their support. Take a close look at those wearing full tracksuits, they’re probably wearing shorts and socks underneath just in case there’s a player emergency and the manager decides what he really needs is a fat fifty year old to turn out for the side.

For me a scarf is enough. The money spent going to the game and the emotional attachment of a lifetime supporting the same side through thick and thin is evident to me and those that know me and I’m quite satisfied by that.

But there’s definitely an interesting type of supporter that we me might call "the competitve fan."

Never short of a boring anecdote about the lengths they will go to follow their club, the penury and deprivation that they’ve suffered to ensure they’ve not missed a reserve game since 1963. These self styled "super" fans look down on us mere mortals as simply pretenders, playing at being dedicated fans.

You’re best to either humour them or ignore them. You can’t really tell them to get a life because the team they support is their life and they would have it no other way. The most diehard among them would make the most ardent Trekkie look like a novice in the obssession stakes.

In Scotland for now, however, Mr Motherwell Football Club has put the rest to shame. He is now the "super" fan’s super fan. Numero uno.

That is until the copycats start. And I can’t wait to meet Mr Queen of the South.