Football’s Strange Allegiances

As a football supporter, I have my principal allegiance to my hometown team; the team I have supported since boyhood, through thick and thin––mainly thin––rain and shine––mainly rain.  I won’t tell you the name of this team, since it may prejudice you either for or against me––mainly against.

Most football fans will have a similar allegiance to their own team; an allegiance forged by proximity and family and history.

However, I also have some more inexplicable allegiances to teams in overseas leagues; allegiances, which are more random and which have nothing to do with the town where I was born or the club my grandfather supported.

Why is it that I follow Hibernian in Scotland; Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain; and Torino in Italy?  Are they just blindfolded pinpricks on the world map, or is there some subtle direction at work in my psychology, which has led me to choose these particular teams?  An analysis of the thought processes behind my selection might reveal all.

Hibernian: liked the name.  Simple as that.  It conjures up images of heather-clad moors and age-old Highland traditions.  Haggis and cock-a-leekie: for me, it’s all there in Hibernian, and this despite the fact that Easter Road is about as far removed from the image of a wild Highland idyll as it is possible to picture.

Similarly, Deportivo de La Coruña: liked the name; liked the shirt.  A nice shade of blue and white, evoking the spirit of Drake––Sir Francis not Aubrey Graham––and long sea journeys beneath a cloudy Atlantic sky.  I was fortunate enough to watch La Coruña play Barcelona in their La Liga winning season in 1999-2000 and, although the city has a grimness to rival Easter Road, and their recent footballing fortunes have been dire, my support has not wavered.

Regarding Torino, it was a case of backing the underdog.  With local rivals Juventus winning all the plaudits and all the trophies, I offered up my allegiance to their overlooked neighbours.  I am too young to remember the great Torino team of the 1940s and the awful Superga air disaster that befell them, and so my support for Torino is simply a case of championing the little man.

So, can I glean any lessons about my own psychology from these choices?

Basically, I my biased towards a team of pleasant-sounding, sartorially-elegant serial-underperformers.

Makes me wonder why I don’t support QPR?

© Donnie Blake

Donnie Blake discovers some strange footballing bedfellows.

Check out Donnie’s World Cup Detective series of books on Amazon.

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