I am a plastic fan. This is my defense. Our defense.

I am what you call a plastic fan. Of Arsenal. And Barcelona. I am from Bangalore, India, and here’s my defense. And that of the millions that you ridicule every day.
I love the game. Having been initiated into football via the magical skills of Diego Madarona in ’86, I cannot think of life without the game. I have played the game at a reasonable level, and still try to manage a game every weekend. Not very different from you, am I?
I have an Indian club I love, Mohun Bagan AC. I don’t stay in my city of origin, Kolkata (Mohun Bagan is from that city), anymore, so I don’t get to go to the stadium too many times anymore (Bangalore to Kolkata is 2000 miles, yes, that was 2000 miles), I used to be a regular. I wept after a defeat, especially to our eternal rivals, East Bengal FC. I was jubilant after wins. I still am, watching the matches on TV. I am what you call a normal football fan, I love my club.
Just like you love Huddersfield. Just like you love Bradford, just like you love Derby.
But I also love the game itself. And I am honest enough to accept that Mohun Bagan, or East Bengal, or Dempo, or Mahindra Utd. , don’t really provide that kind of football. That does not make me love my club any less, that just makes me want to get a chance to watch and enjoy better football too.
And therefore came the Premiership. And therefore came the Primera Liga. I love how well they play the game I love in your country. And in Spain. There is the television, and I don’t miss a match.
I am watching the league from 1998 (that is about the time when the Premier League started being aired regularly in Indian TV, thank you Star Sports / ESPN), I was 18 then. Tony Adams is my hero, and Dennis Bergkamp is only second to Diego Maradona in the God-stakes, in my book. I HATE Luis Figo, he’s the real Judas. I am jubilant when Arsenal wins, I am dejected when Arsenal loses. I follow every match, I follow the post-season, and just like you, I wanted us to have a holding midfielder too. And no, I didn’t want Alonso, I wanted Toulalan. Ah, wishes… I am a fan.
And yes, I have been to your stadia (not to the Emirates or Highbury, sadly. Never stayed in England long enough to manage that yet), and I know that the tears that you cry when your club loses will never be the same as my sadness at an Arsenal defeat. But I know the tears, I have cried them after a Bagan loss.
But does it mean that our sadness at an Arsenal defeat counts for nothing? We came to the premiership looking for great football, we found a club we would like to follow, and we followed the club. And devoted we have been, for the last ten years. And yes we don’t have perspective; they started showing the Premier League on TV only ten years ago. I thought we did the best we could as fans. Where did we go wrong?
I thought it was the universal game.
– Godof86 (don’t ever say ‘third world’ again without knowing what the word originates from), Arsenal, Barcelona and Mohun Bagan.


6 thoughts on “I am a plastic fan. This is my defense. Our defense.

  1. Plastik fans are those who support their team, but not the game. They dont really enjoy football, it’s just a lifestyle, a means of belonging. Their opinions are created by the media. They are consumers who have been dragged into the game since Murdoch pumped in the cash and turned footbal into Pop Culture.

    He has done this by creating ‘ superstars ‘ like Beckham, Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard and then Ronaldo, Fabregas, etc. They have very good agents. 🙂

    Then we created ‘ WAGS ‘, a way of force feeding the public useless info about the girlfriends of footballers.

    Rooney and his missus, Beckham and his missus
    , Gerrard and his missus

    If you read British Tabloids which are the main sources of info for most football fans, you’ll see a plethora of useless info based around football Pop Culture. Football now just forms part of an overall political agenda. Gordon Brown talks more about football than he does about what his government is doing. lmao

  2. Hi Pat, welcome to this blog, and thanks for your comments.

    I agree to most of your points, my basic opposition is to terming every fan who is foreign-based as a plastic fan. This is mostly perpetuated in the Football365 newsletters.

    Also, how about those fans of small teams in England or anywhere in the British isles, which necessarily do NOT provide good football? How is that different from the foreign based fan’s?

    I agree that for a few premiership fans in other parts of the world (including India), it is mostly a fashion statement. But it is wrong to paint everyone with the same brush, and infact if you look carefully, you would realise that many (infact most) of the foreign fans are not drawn to the Premier League, or the La liga for the status, but indeed for the football.

  3. Being plastic is a mentality and has absolutely nothing to do with where you come from imo. It has to do with why that person follows football.

    I didnt mean to say that the only reason there are fans all over the world is because of Pop Culture.

    What I meant was that there are lots of people in general who never cared for the game of football who have recently taken an interest in the entertainment aspect of football because of hype, pop, etc.

    Believe me, there are tonnes of plastic fans in England

  4. Why does one have to justify *why* one likes a team, or follows it? Why is location the primary consideration?

    Why is Arsenal the property of North London, when they have a French manager and a predominantly foreign team? Do I think Carlos Vela knows of Arsenal’s proud tradition or who Herbert Chapman was? Probably not.

  5. I know nothing about football and had not heard about plastic fans until now, but the post made complete sense. I always wondered how people in India, where they hardly play football, could be passionate about the game. I thought that people who didn’t like cricket, for all the attention it got or whatever reason, took to football! Like you have the mostly mutually exclusive group of cat-lovers and dog-lovers, I thought there were the cricket-lovers and the football-lovers! What was the article that led to this post?? Was there one?

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