Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Second Team Syndrome

JJ here,

How we all arrive at the team we support tends to have its root in some childhood decision and can quite often lead to years of hurt. I know Everton, Wimbledon and Luton fans that all began supporting their side after moments of glory in the eighties only to suffer flirtations with relegation, actual relegation and financial collapse respectively in the years since.

But they’ve soldiered on (though the Dons fan now supports Wimbledon AFC – the offshoot club who started up after Wimbledon were renamed MK Dons) and in the case of the Everton supporter things are certainly looking up.

The decision we all have control over though is the oddity that is our ‘second team’. This tends to be a side that you just take a liking to later in life, watch out for their results and generally hope they do well. Sometimes they’re foreign, often in Ireland it’s Celtic and very often it’s not even a side that plays good football. One fella I remember from school supported Oldham as his second side during their halcyon period in the Premiership back in the early-to-mid nineties. He didn’t quite have the stomach to support them when they dropped down a few divisions and that’s what separates the team you actually support from the one you choose to like. There’s no commitment, it’s just a passing fad, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

With Oldham, it was just that this usually shit club on the outskirts of Manchester had a certain charm to them for a while; for those with short memories, even Bolton had this air for a short period when they first came up; before Fat Sam opened his gob a bit too much and turned everyone off. It doesn’t have to be a struggling team either, as everyone’s positive reaction to Spurs’ victory on Sunday proved, and indeed I know one Man United fan who happily admits to Arsenal being his second side.

Meanwhile, most of Ireland waits anxiously for Sunderland’s results every week because we all loved Roy Keane so much. The logic is often scattershot and the affection is generally fleeting but like an alcoholic locked in a pub for the evening, we’ll just never know when to say when.

So after that meandering intro here’s a few sides that might just qualify as a decent ‘second team’ for this particular fleeting moment in time…

Boro: Controversial one here as ODF fans of old will know that myself and Mark have said that Gareth Southgate’s side were simply pointless in the past. However, as the season has gone on they’ve scored some cracking goals and have some genuinely good footballers in Downing, Alves, Arca and Boateng amongst others.

Spurs: Obvious one, though just thought I’d warn all that this time next year – after Magic Juande has opened that rumoured ‘war chest’, he starts talking to the media in English and the player’s get genuine ambition – they’ll be just as disliked as ever.

Wigan: Just to not be a run of the mill Blunderland supporter why not get on the Wigan bandwagon? Antonio Valencia’s barmy army. You know you love it.

Rangers: Just to annoy every Celtic fan in Ireland. Brian Laudrup was way better than Henrik Larsson anyway (cue plenty of abuse)

Queens Park Rangers: Richest club in the world… kinda. Get behind them before they become the new Chelsea and even if they don’t it should be an entertaining few years at Loftus Road so why not start keeping an eye on them now and getting a seventies jersey while you’re at it.

Any other suggestions?


Mark said...

wigan!?!?! Steve Bruce maanges them so that's out

I'm partial to Real Betis, Inter, 1860 Munich, Shelbourne & St . Pats, Reading

JJ said...

I knew Wigan would be controversial alright but even Steve Bruce and his open necked shirts haven't put me off. I think it might have been Zinedine Kilbane's sterling performance for Ireland against Brazil that got me on board. Good call on 1860 Munich though.

Mark said...

i think Emre visits this site: