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As one of the most popular sports in the world, football attracts millions of people to the stadiums and television sets. It is especially big on the European continent, like in the United Kingdom where even the clubs from lower tiers gather plenty of dedicated fans. But what makes us root for a specific team?
Of course, the geographical aspect might be the main reason here. If you’re born in a certain area and have a lot of friends there, naturally, that makes us involved in the neighbourhood affairs and entertainment. That’s how an emotional connection starts, and the sense of regional patriotism emerges. Such things could (and often do) take over our opinions, beliefs, likes and dislikes. Besides, everybody wants to feel like they belong somewhere, and the local community can provide that. All the above can manifest in various manners. Supporting a specific sports group, and sometimes, even uniting against the common ‘enemy’, is as good as any. Strong and deep-rooted sentiments stay with us for life and could lead to becoming a die-hard fan called an ultra.
A crucial ingredient in the mix here is the kind of family we grew up with, especially our family ties and traditions. Take, for example, in the United Kingdom especially, where the rituals of being a football fan are well-known and commonly recognized. Parents who assimilate into certain backgrounds and assume certain habits more often and to pass it all to the next generation. Why the love of football should be any different? Fathers taking sons to home and away matches is an excellent way to bring them closer together and create memorable moments. It also works the other way around when the sons introduce parents to football because a hobby is one of the best gifts to get for dad, especially if it involves doing it together.
If, however, there is nothing specific to tie us to a local club, then the reasons why we become fans might involve various factors. Yes, as admirers of the game, we could go after the biggest clubs in the country, backing the national teams in European competitions or even change our minds after big wins or embarrassing defeats. We could go after our favourite players or managers, admire one side’s style of play or get drawn in by the brand and public relations efforts. But one thing is for sure: We will not run out of great clubs to give our support to, nor the reasons why to do it.