Wasps lost to Leicester last Sunday, despite playing some great attacking rugby, and creating numerous try scoring opportunities. I kept a close eye on social media afterwards, especially with regards to how supporters responded to this setback. As expected, this was very mixed, with some declaring it was ‘the worst performance of the season’ whilst others took a more measured and less emotional approach.
This got me thinking about Matt Symons, who has done some brilliant blogs during his injury recovery. The one that especially captured my interest was regarding different personalities within a rugby team, which was a genuinely funny read (link here). I thought I would have a stab at doing something along the same lines, but with match going supporters in mind.
- The Expert. We have all met them, the supporter who without invitation will shout hysterical nonsense to anyone who will listen about the match. They have always (but in reality never) played to a high level, so staunchly believe they are well placed to offer advice to the players and fellow supporters about what is going right or wrong. My personal favourite was attending an England game back in 2002, when the national side boasted a back row of Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill, and Neil Back. According to the expert behind me, they ‘weren’t good enough, and I should know, I’ve played back row’. History has shown that was a watertight statement!
- The Player Stalker. These fans are obsessed by a player, either in a positive or negative way. If it is positive, they will defend their player to the hilt, so any drop off in performance is entirely due to the team not playing to their strengths, or getting dragged down by performances of others. I become a positive player stalker whenever Wasps players represent England. If it is negative, it does not matter how well that player performs, this fan will tell you they should not be picked again, and any good performance was purely due to others making them look better than they are (note the theme). I became an official negative player stalker of all of the second rows that were picked ahead of Joe Launchbury for the British & Irish Lions, and remain fully committed to this role until 2021.
- The Eternal Optimist. The team sheet, form guide and in game score does not matter to this person. Their team is going to win regardless. These fans are dangerous, as they are often very charismatic, have had at least six pints of cider, own all the Rocky plus Lethal Weapon films, so can fill you with unrealistic hope. We all know what hope does unfortunately.
- The opposite to this fan is the Eternal Pessimist who will ignore all of the factors mentioned, and convince you it is all going to go wrong at some stage, even if your team is eighteen points up with thirty seconds to go. If their team wins one week, that is just as a anomaly, as they will get found out next time. Avoid if possible, especially on forums for two hours after a defeat, as they will pounce on the vulnerable to try to add to their numbers and ideology.
- The Corporate Fan. They will let you know their tickets are free if they are sitting amongst you. They will stand up ten minutes in to get another drink. Same again fifteen minutes later, and probably twice more after half time. They often (but not always) have zero interest in the game and are only there because it is free. If you want to find around 59,000 of these people, hang around Twickenham in November, February or March. You will not be disappointed.
- The Rugby Convert. Sit by this person and they will tell you excitedly that they did not used to watch rugby, but love it now. They have gone to football games in the past, but now have abandoned that nonsense and seen the light, possibly on the back of a corporate freebie. Pleasant to a point, but may need some help with the rules as the match develops, especially if this conversion is recent and they are on their own. In this scenario, give it a season then arrange to meet up again for a game.
- The Analyst. If I go to Wasps without the kids, I will try to seek these fans out as they know their apples. Can often be sat behind the posts high up, analysing how the game is developing. Will be found with other like minded supporters, and will regularly call a move before it is executed. Always insightful, and rarely inaccurate in their pre-match predictions, which rules out Stuart Barnes comparisons on both counts.
- The Die Hard. I doth my cap to these people. Cost, location, and kick off times are merely details, they will be at the game regardless. Love their team, will stick with their side with unwavering support, and find it odd that others cannot join them on their adventures. Tend to know the players and will have some funny stories to tell about their travels. The core of the fan base.
I am sure there are loads I have missed and these are only based on my experiences. It would be a very boring world if we all thought and acted the same way, all of the time. This is just a bit of fun and should not be taken at all seriously! Thanks for reading, feedback welcome…..