Thursday, 11 August 2011

Criticism #2. "Why can't fans support both?"

Photo: The red of Muangthong is beginning to replace the red of Man U and Liverpool in Thailand.

Critic: "What's wrong with Asian fans supporting an EPL club if they also support a club from their domestic league? It's possible to do both."

SEPLCiA: Certainly that scenario is preferable to just 'supporting' an EPL club. Of course, it is possible for fans to support both, and many do. Whereas yesterday's criticism regarding the J. League was met with cold statistics, today's argument is more a matter of personal opinion. Put frankly, I simply don't understand why fans who support a club in their own domestic league also feel the need to claim to 'support' Liverpool or Man U or Chelsea or Arsenal. I'm not saying that just for effect: I genuinely don't understand it and would be grateful if such a fan would post a comment on here or on the Facebook page to explain his/her motivations.

I think it's probable that as fans elect to support one of their local clubs, and follow that team home and away, their support for an EPL club will start to wane. It stands to reason. Staying up until the early hours to watch a match taking place on the other side of the planet on your TV in your living room can surely not compare or compete with the human experience of being at the stadium and being part of a local community of fans and supporting a club that represents where you live or where you come from. Comments made by recent converts to the Thai Premier League in THIS ARTICLE seem to bear out the view that fans will be less interested in the EPL if they follow one of their local clubs. Some telling extracts:

Interviewer: Why Sisaket?
Sisaket fan: "They’re my home town team. I’m so proud that we’re cheering for a local team, not for foreign teams, like the English premier league. I also like their style of playing."

Interviewer: What do you have to say to those who haven’t attended a game yet?
Muangthong United fan: I’d ask them to try. It’s not nearly as dangerous as they might think. Supporting local teams is way better than cheering for foreign leagues. You can see them for real, not just on a screen. We can touch them.

Interviewer: How does the football affect your life and your business?
Food vendor: It relaxes me and gives me something to do. Before this, I watched the English league. I wasn’t into it that much because I could only watch it on TV. But being able to see the real thing live is a superb experience. Not to mention I can sell a lot more, so it makes coming to work a lot more fun.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the Thai League?
Thai Port fan: I like it better than other foreign leagues because it represents Thai-ness and I get to be involved fully. It’s something tangible. I feel I can touch it.


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