Desmond Morris reckoned fans fall into a number of distinct categories:
- Loyalists – those who have devoted their lives to supporting the club.
- Experts – those who know more about the team than the manager …
- Jokers – those with caustically amusing comments shouted out during pauses in the game.
- Barrackers – Like Jokers, but more angry shouts like “You’re a load of rubbish”
- Martyrs – those who just moan quietly and shakes his head sadly.
- Eccentrics – odd characters who regularly turn up wearing some outlandish costume.
- Outsiders – those not included in the ‘regulars’
- Tiddlers – young supporters, just old enough to attend on their own or with parents.
- Novices – Slightly older children who watch the actions of older fans and learn the chants etc.
- Fans – Wearing team colors, have their own territory on the terrace
- Leaders – like chant leaders, travel organizers etc.
- Hooligans – I like to think we don’t have any …
- Toughs – ordinary fans look up to them as dominant members of the main group
- Nutters – those who give the game a bad name.
- Drinkers – older fans who gather in pubs before the kick-off and turn up drunk.
- Creeps – pseudo-fans who pretend to belong to the main group.
- Straights – Those who attend only to watch the game and position themselves away from the mass
Of course, no-one on the fans forum wants to own up to fitting into any category. I shall be studying the spectators, though. Most of these ‘types’ are surely present.
Referees are another element that fall into distinct categories, too. Take last night’s FA Cup match between Man Utd and Fulham. The ref, Mark Clattenburg, was remarked on for his exaggerated miming of handball and other fouls. Falls into the Flashy Ref category.
- The Blind Ref – the friend of the fast flowing game. Appears to have lost his whistle and lets anything pass.
- The Whistling Ref – chronic whistleblower. Disliked by supporters, he blows his whistle for every minor infringement and fragments the game.
- The Homer Ref – appears to believe that the home team don’t cause fouls, but the visitors do. Appears timid, nervous, inconsistent and agitated. For some reason usually has lily-white legs.
- The Headmaster Ref – treats all the players like naughty school boys. Does the ‘Come Here’ with much finger wagging and stern lecturing.
- The Flashy Ref – immaculate turn out, always knows where the TV cameras are. Uses flamboyant gestures and often acts out the foul in mime. Is said to wear hairspray.
- The Smiley Ref – usually one of the older men and given to much athletic sprinting to prove he is not. Nearly always smiles when giving a severe warning. Has seen it all before.
- The Perfect Ref – firm but fair. Restrained but decisive. Can tell a trip from a dive at fifty yards. A rare species, but not yet extinct.