It is generally said that the supporters act as the twelfth man in a game of eleven, and it is true. Why else would there be “home” and “away” matches… Football is probably soon becoming the common language in the world. It, not only is “a beautiful game” to watch and play, it’s more than that; it embodies the spirit of a particular community, it represents vast herds of people united behind the ideal of one team. All those unheard voices amongst the many, now behind in support of their team, heard; vividly, fiercely and unanimously. It truly is a gesture of conformity in the face of the “visitors” and the pride in the sense of belonging by calling home “home”.
Fans are the source of life for a club; they are the epitome of loyalty, displayed. Players may come and go but the fans are the ones who stick around, the ones who sing till the fat lady’s done her part, even yet, till much after, just to show that they care and “in sickness or in health” they shall never leave their team’s side. What a bond there is between the players representing a club and their supports, one could almost say it’s like a marriage and why not for in “death shall we part”; for there is no turning back when you have committed to this cause, sure you may stop watching altogether or following but a true fan always cares, will always have a sparkle in their eye when their own “home” team is absorbing all the attention and claiming all the highlights, the term “faithful” has to be earned and it has been by most if not all. It however is not one way traffic either, fans expect their support to be rewarded and when it isn’t, they’re never shy to express their disgust at a performance or if a player acts in a spurious manner, how they love to gnaw at his back constantly…”I may now pronounce you man and wife” a match made in heaven right.
There is a massive advantage playing at “home” for any team. It’s contender on the other hand can never be overwhelmingly confident irrespective how well they may be performing in the season, points won away are usually what decides title aspirations. Supporters have the ability to be the extra man on the field, as human beings we are always driven by emotional experiences and thus are prone to be inspired or discouraged depending on the experience, and this is what supporters bring to the match for their team. On many occasion even professional athletes get tired, get subdued under opposition pressure and within those times if the fans have “your back” one feels re-invigorated, it seemingly feels that a cache of energy has been opened which you didn’t think you had in the first place, and that is what makes the difference on so many occasions; those extra ten yards or that one more tackle.
Fans are an invaluable asset to any club, without them there is no Sport in the first place, so let’s hear it to all of you out there for being the twelfth man on the turf.