Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Football Fan: An Exploited, Idiotic, Sadomasochistic Depressive - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Football Fan: An Exploited, Idiotic, Sadomasochistic Depressive - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Football Fan: An Exploited, Idiotic, Sadomasochistic Depressive

I can’t be the only human being obsessed with 22 men kicking a sphere of leather about a field that has never, and I mean never, enjoyed watching my team.

It is the most nerve shattering, nail devouring, sweat inducing, cardiac arresting hour and a half of my entire life. The stands are full of men, woman and children who descend into a fiery rage as soon as the sound of the whistle alerts us that the game has kicked off.

Is this down to the fact that I support Sunderland, a habitual underachiever and expert at false dawns? As much as this theory seems acceptable there are thousands of fans who leave their homes and depart from their earnings in order to see clubs of the same stature as mine.

Something that really made me realise that football fans are completely insane was the fact that during the 2005-06 season, which saw Sunderland bomb out of the top flight with 15 points, we recorded an average attendance of 33,904. We won one home game all season, and that was mainly down to the fact that the original fixture was snowed off while we were 1 – 0 down.

That is an astounding average given the fact that the side was ritually humiliated home and away. Even in the relegation season of 2003 where we finished with a paltry 19 points (including a game where we scored three own goals in one match) we had an average attendance of over 40,000. Were we completely insane? I’m complicit in this – I never gave up my season ticket or my incongruent belief that we would recover.

Nick Hornby came closest to summing up the attachment between fan and club in Fever Pitch but at least his side were eventually playing for silverware. We in the mid table/relegation battler’s clan have even less with which to explain ourselves.

Why would someone get into a car in order to drive the length and breadth of the country to watch his team play out games which ultimately achieve nothing but abstract points and which they, more times than not, loose. It’s more than love; at least you can fall out of love, its obsession on another level. We love something that hurts us constantly but we keep coming back.

Derby in 2008 was relegated after winning just one, yes one, game the entire season. They had an average attendance of over 32,000. Going back to Sunderland, that season we finished three points away from relegation and recorded the 5th highest attendance average in the league. It is mindboggling the sheer faith people have, the devotion, the lunacy and the helplessness.

Evidence holds no substance with football fans, if they are beating Wigan 1 – 0 away from home they will sing that they are the greatest in the World and really mean it.

My clubs’ season, like many others, is looking like another trophy barren, bottom half disappointment but I already know that I will attend every game possible. I know that I will go into each game, rather incredibly giving the reality of things, believing that we will win. Why? Because I am the same helplessly devoted, unquestionably loving, exploited, idiotic, sadomasochistic depressive as you.  

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