Welcome to Mythbusters, where Myths are busted of course!
It’s true I am afraid. Something happened, not sure when, but national team success really means very little to the average fan and I like so many others have long since given a damn about how the national team does and have a far greater love for my club side and would frankly rather see my team lift a trophy as meaningless as the Carling Cup than watch a team of players who don’t really give a damn win the World Cup.
It seems there is a correlation between the level of effort some England players show whilst in the national jersey and the amount of enthusiasm England fans show towards their national players. If you can find me one football fan who would claim to have more of a love for his national side than his club side I will give you a large sum of money.
Yes when there is a World Cup on a great many people get excited but a large portion of these people don’t give a damn about football but only come out of the woodwork because it’s a spectacle, in much the same way as you see people picking up a tennis racket for two week as Wimbledon is on.
Every friend of mine who shows a close affiliation to their club side has done so for pretty much their entire life and if you asked them if they would swap success as club level over their country they wouldn’t think twice before telling you their preference. This doesn’t make them any less patriotic (and I mean that in a non nationalistic or bigoted sense) but rather shows just how deep their ties to their side go.
A fan’s love of the team they follow on a day by day basis is something that is intrinsincally linked to their entire lives. They live breath and bleed their support and whilst World Cup’s and European Championships are great fun and can leave fans in a tizzy of excitement it really pales into insignifcance when contrasted and compared with the emotional rollercoaster that only a club supporter rides.
Supporting your country can be a marvelous thing and in some ways it does have its role to play in bringing warring factions of fans in close proximity to each other without the need for riot police. There are some people out there, thankfully very few, who mistakenly believe that National success is the be all and end all of the footballing food chain.
Now what might be an even more interesting debate is whether footballers themselves feel that a Champions League Winners Medal is more coveted than anything that can be gained on the international stage?