The Definition of a ‘Real Fan’

Premier League

After reading a debate on Twitter recently about who was ‘a real fan’ I decided to give it all some thought. I put pen to paper and decided to see if I could thrash out what defines ‘a real fan’.

Five minutes later I realised it was a ridiculous argument and compiled this handy guide instead. Enjoy!


The most level-headed group. They like football, they’ve even got themselves a club but they’ve still got their sense of perspective.


Seldom seen wearing a stitch that isn’t emblazoned with the crest of his beloved club, oft seen without a stitch but still bearing the crest as it adorns his left man-breast. Most likely to have a ‘Theatre of Dreams’ sign nailed to his shed. You’re 56 years old, Dave, for god’s sake.


You went to watch your team in Europe? So did our Superfan. Direct flight to Lisbon? You must be joking! He caught the ferry from Dover to Calais then thumbed a lift but somehow ended up in Madrid didn’t he, the rascal! Several hundreds of miles and man diversions later and he arrived at his destination. Don’t get him started on the £3 per night hostels he slept in along the way.


He’s seen Liverpool home and away for the last 25 years… from the comfort of his front room in Dublin. You’ve seen him on facebook ranting about ‘we’ and ‘us’ despite never having set foot on Merseyside. Probably has a ‘We Won It 5 Times’ mug on his desk at the office.


Your country has qualified for its first major tournament in 30 years and he’s all in for it. He’s got all the new shirts, his flip flops are in the case and he’s even squeezed a bottle of buckfast in there. Beyond your start striker and a goalkeeper who’s been retired 5 years, he couldn’t name a player on the pitch. In fact, I’m fairly certain he’s never even mentioned football in the 10 years you’ve been mates…?


He threw the head up around December time. A long, emotional facebook status declaring that he won’t watch another match until Arsene leaves. Enough is enough. Until FA Cup final day and he’s gone and changed his profile picture back to an Arsenal crest. A 2-1 victory and some quick social media revisionism: “In Arsene We Trust”, quite.


He can tell you what Naby Keita is likely to provide your team if they make that crucial signing, he talks fondly about how Juego de Posicion and gegenpressing are the future of football. Regista, Enganche, Raumdeuter? You know it. He’s spent 20 minutes lamenting how George Byers should be considered a legend for leading Reading to a fourth consecutive European title before realising he’s lost track of the line between fantasy and reality.


Scourge of the true football fan. They’re ruining our game by having the audacity to travel hundreds of miles to come over a watch 90 minutes of football, all the time sitting on their bloody smartphones taking photographs, hallions! “What’s that? A stag weekend in Berlin, ace! Do you reckon we could get tickets to a match while we’re there? What do you mean I’m a hypocrite? Hello…?”