Recently Betway produced a video ‘Over Land and Seas | What Makes A True Football Fan?’ and a competition which you could reply to the video with your answer. I nearly entered but didn’t as the truth was, I didn’t know.
As for the title of the video, I’m not from ‘over seas’ but there is quite a lot of land between my front door and the turnstiles I enter for most home games, about 550 miles. I have always been a bit skeptical about it all as my accent doesn’t fit and I wasn’t born around the corner from Upton Park. I was born in Aberdeen and have always lived in a village or town 20 miles or so from the city centre. However my father decided to become a West Ham fan, why? I have no idea.
I have never asked him and it has never bothered me as to why and it meant I knew no different growing up. Myself and my brother were just West Ham and that was that. At school I was surrounded by Man Utd fans but had attended more games at Old Trafford than my classmates and that was only twice!
Every birthday I was given the latest West Ham kit and a trip to go and see West Ham. Every Christmas it was a trip to go see the Hammers, one home game and one away game every season plus an extra one if circumstances allowed. I stopped going for a few years as a teen as it was no longer cool to go with my dad, my social life had began to dictate.
Once I had a part time job, I was able to head down myself, or with company, for a couple of games per season. Then one day I had an event in my personal life which saw myself and another write our bucket lists and on mine it read, ‘Have a season ticket at West Ham for one year’. I’d always assumed having that ticket would necessitate moving to London or thereabouts.
But that was wrong, I got one 3 years ago, when my personal life allowed me to with likes of work and disposable income aligning, and I now just travel overnight to London. I enjoy my day then travel back later in the evening, 1,100 miles and about 44 hours all in for 90 minutes of West Ham.
It’s not just 90 minutes though, the football itself is but West Ham to me is about the people and the fans and for myself, that lasts all day. 3 years on and I am off to my 3rd game of the season with my season ticket in my wallet once again.
So, what makes a true football fan? For me, it is your love and passion, wherever you are. Is the Hammer in America getting up at silly o’clock to watch the game, less of a fan that the local chap who is a 20 minute train ride from the ground? Not for me. Is the Aussie who reads 2 articles a day and chats to his mates non stop about HIS football club less of a fan? Not for me.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, so why should fans be judged with the same measuring stick? They shouldn’t be. Do whatever you can to support your football club in a way that suits you, as long as you are happy then that is plenty.
Anyway, as I said at the start, Betway made a feature on this with West Ham’s trip to China, it is well worth the watch and wherever you are in the world, keep supporting YOUR football club, COYI.