What started me thinking about what it is to be a fan is, a fortnight ago today, my friend and colleague Andy passed away. Let me tell you about Andy. I can’t tell you the last time he actually went down to White Hart Lane. I have never seen him in a Spurs shirt (not even when we had to wear our own shirts for 5-a-side because our sponsored ones hadn’t come back from the printers). He did not, as far as I know, have a chicken tattooed on any part of him. And yet he was the most fanatical Spurs fan I have ever met. What Andy would do was, whenever Arsenal went behind by a goal, against anyone, he would send me a mocking text message telling me my team were a load of shit. Not just shit, but a lorry load of mixed animal ordure studded with the rotting turds of a martian penal colony.
If Arsenal should happen to lose (doesn’t matter to whom) he would search me out and proceeed to harangue me about just how rotten to the core Arsenal really was. He would explain it in a calm and orderly way. We were French. We were gay. Some of our players were both French and also gay. One thing was certain: None of them would get near the Tottenham first team. None of the were even worthy of being rendered down as shoe polish to be applied to one of Robbie Keane’s boots.
Read Are you a fan?.