There is really nothing quite like a live match experience when it comes to football. Standing in the stadium with thousands of strangers all chanting and singing, your energy all being harnessed and channelled in one united direction. The emotion in the air twisting and turning as the result changes back and forth. It's truly one of the last pure live experiences left in the world when it comes to entertainment and long may it stay that way.
But no matter how good it might be, there are certain types of people who you just don't want to run into at a football game. Really, it's any live sports, but this is a football blog, so if you're looking for five people not to be in a table tennis crowd, then you're in the wrong place! However, no matter how bad as it is to meet one of these people at a game, there is nothing worse than being one of those people and spoiling the days of everyone around you. So for this little piece, here are five people you should try to avoid being at a football game.
I had the joy of this today as I watched Leeds United fall to relegation candidates Wolverhampton Wanderers. Football is a passionate game and it invokes opinions from everybody regardless of the result. No opinion is louder or fiercer than the one of a die hard fan when their team is losing. The number of people who are suddenly coaches when the team is under performing is staggering, and it doesn't take long to see people standing up and screaming helpful advice like "GET IT FORWARD!!!", "WORK FOR IT!!!" or "WAKE UP!!!" (all of which I heard today.) The thing is, I do get needing to vent but be mindful of those around you. If you're screaming at the top of your lungs, then the person in front of you is being deafened by your every blast, as are the people around you. If there are children close by, there's a good chance you're yelling is scaring them and making them wary of coming back.
Most of all, the stuff you're shouting isn't going to work! I know it makes you feel better but you can scream all you want but the player on the pitch is going to give you the thumbs up and change his game for you. He's going to listen to the man who is paid to tell him what to do and so you're opinions are falling on deaf ears. Which are probably the people around you. Who are deaf because you keep shouting. So stop it.
Guy who Swears around Children
This one is another I've had before and as a father I've no qualms telling people to stop. If you see a kid near you, watch your language. Football is a family sport, something for everybody to enjoy people don't want their kids exposed to foul language. If your team has a family stand and you're in it then you've no excuse to continue swearing when you've chosen to be in there. The best fans in the world are inviting and inclusive, so I'd extend this homophobia and racism too. Even if you don't understand the outrage, if a group of people are telling you that what you're saying is offensive, you stop saying it, and you don't say it again. No ifs, no buts, no coconuts.
King of the Throne
It's the 57th minute. The game is getting really good now. You're team is winning. Maybe they are losing but on the verge of a comeback. The ball heads forwards towards the goal and now suddenly there's somebody stood in front of you. He's standing to go to the toilet even though we've just had half time. You have to stand up, move out of the way and then do it all again when you're on the way back. I know the queues can be long, and sometime it's a pain, but plan your toilet breaks people! You're disrupting everybody for something you could have done during half time.
I think it's called manspreading these days but whatever you call it, its rude. Yeah, some people are bigger than others and of course some stadiums cram the seats in so they can maximise the numbers in the stadium but watch how much space you're taking up. You're sat for two hours, and if you're not comfortable, then you're not enjoying it, and you're probably not going to want to come back, and you don't want to be the reason a fan doesn't come back. I believe in you, you're a good person.
Fan Au Natural
Just...don't. You can't go that extra day. Trust me. Shower before you go. Please. We're begging you.