THE BLOG
25/11/2013 07:33 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 05:59 GMT

What Kind of a Fan am I?

A bad one, I know. I'm sorry. Things have been hectic and desultory lately, and I've not been able to devote the quality time this relationship deserves. But I can change, baby.

And to pop my head up again after Spurs suffered such a calamitous defeat.

But really being busy is only a small part of it. I'll be straight: I definitely thought it would be easier, that I could just switch on the telly and watch my team play. I mean, it's the national sport, an essential part of our history, culture and identity... surely it's on free to air telly?

But as a friend explained, stooped over his laptop and modem trying to breathe life into an indifferent internet connection, it doesn't work like that. Often, you have to watch the game at a friend's house, one who has Sky Sports or BT whatever. Or you have to watch via some dodgy website. Or you have to go to a pub full of people watching football.

And there was me naively thinking there's something democratic about a game enjoyed by people of all ages, races and social classes.

So no. I'll be honest. I've not watched any Spurs games. Until yesterday, when it was really unavoidable on social media, I didn't even know who we've been playing, or how we've been doing. In fact, I haven't really earned the right to use the word "we".

But there is a deeper reason for my reluctance to engage. Partly, I'm giving up an aspect of my character: I talked before about how being someone who doesn't follow football can mark you out in a negative way. But a distinguishing feature isn't always a bad thing, and this non-engagement has been a part of my character for as long as I can remember. And yes, once or twice there's been a note of smugness to my declaration that I don't follow the sport. Tedious snobbery I suppose, the narcissism of small difference - but there you go.

The other, larger part is a simple but profound fear: I don't want to become one of those blokes who talks about football.

I'm serious. Is there anything worse than the pushy, over-amped braggadocio of two men talking about football? Goodbye reason and moderation, hello aggressive, sweeping statements that seem calculated to offend and annoy.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity".

So and so is the worst striker in English football. Wotshisname isn't worth a penny. That's the worst £x million anyone's ever spent. Such and such should be shot.

Of course it's always the fanatical fans, the ones with the biggest mouths and the most outlandish opinions who attract all the attention, and feed the confirmation bias of the uninitiated like me.

I suppose then I should remember that I'm free to be a fan in the way I want. My objective here is to think and talk about football and fandom as a newcomer and outsider, rather than become another pundit.