5 New Year's Resolutions For The Average Football Fan


The new year, a time for reflection, a time to make some changes. Today Ethan Dean Richards offers 5 new year's resolutions for the average football fan.

Some news. Rather than deal with the consequences of my actions from this year, next year I’ve decided not to move into 2014: I’m cutting my losses and sticking with 2013. I may see you in 2015, but I make no guarantees, suckers!

However, others are less fortunate than me and don’t have this option available to them; they will pass into next year whether they like it or not. And football fans are major losers in this regard: quite understandably, they want to see what happens in 2014 – how Manchester City win the title, the true extent of the conspiracy theory Brendan Rodgers has constructed in his deranged mind, or how close Alex Ferguson can get to sitting back in the Manchester United dugout without technically being in there – so they’ll have to move with the times.

To help them in this difficult moment (2014), my editor thought it best that I half-heartedly throw together (he insisted on the half-heartedly) a series of five New Year’s resolutions for the Average Football Fan. I agreed because he looked menacing as he said it. So here they are, five New Year’s resolutions for the Average Football Fan:

#1. Continue Wearing Trousers And Pants To Games

We begin with a note on consistency. When advising someone or some group on how to improve themselves for next time, it’s only fair, and sensitive, to commend them on their previous strengths and achievements. Wearing trousers and pants to games is one example of praiseworthy behaviour from football fans; for the most part, they have been fully dressed in 2013 and if they can maintain that form into 2014 then they will be doing a notionally good thing. Sorted.

Some people, of course – heartless cynics – would insist that wearing trousers and pants to games is no kind of strength or achievement. Instead, they might suggest, it is merely a minimum standard of behaviour, and to even recognise it as a strength would be to inadvertently question its status as ‘a given’ and open up the possibility of casual nudity at football games. These people are being unfair and here’s why: there are no minimum standards where football fans are concerned – come now, be reasonable – and thus: keep up the good trouser-and-pant-wearing, football fans.

#2. Watch The Games, For Real, All The Way Through, Before You Construct Your Opinion.

The first genuine piece of advice to football fans for 2014 might initially seem quite novel, but go with it. It’s this: if every football fan actually watched half the football they insist on talking about, then the world might start to become an a lot more cohesive, friendly place.

For instance, if everyone who talked about how well or badly Andre Villas-Boas had done at Tottenham had watched them at least a couple of times before doing the words bit, then, yes, the disagreements and variations in opinion would still remain, but there might at least be some more overlap in the different sides of the conversations – some understanding or even ‘agreement’, in rare circumstances. What do you think? As I said, it is a novel concept.

For most this will be a step too far, I understand. Agreement is a disgrace in the eyes of many and acquiring information before forming beliefs and opinions is counter to the life philosophies of the vast majority of people, myself included. If you are indeed struggling, then, here is a segue reason for watching games in full: think of it as a way of making your idle musings far more potent. You can still talk as much nonsense as you want – nobody can take that away from you – but this way you could be more convincing as you did it; you could be talking informed rubbish, making the arguments all the more violent and destructive.

It’ll never catch on, of course.

#3. Make Sure To Watch Malky Mackay Whilst You Still Can

As we all know by now, Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay has found himself under pressure in his job of late. Combining no little talent with a quiet dignity, there is a widespread belief that Mackay has been treated with far too little respect by club owner Vincent Tan, who has undermined him at every turn, lately by openly touting the notion that he’s for the sack. This man has done everything in his power to make Cardiff work, he has battled through difficult circumstances and he deserves some recognition for it: watch him manage whilst you still can.

Unfortunately, because of the time delay between this piece being commissioned and its release, Mackay has been sacked since that paragraph was written. In a further unfortunate event, I had no inclination to rewrite it. In what has become a spate of unfortunate events, it turns out to be a lie that I even wrote that paragraph in advance, I just said I did to try and set up this bit. You get the idea.

#4. Don’t Rush To Make Your Mind Up About People. Give Them A Chance.

Here is a subtly didactic story, the lesson behind which I will reveal shortly.

When I was seventeen-and-a-half, I said to someone at my sixth-form college ‘Don’t rush to make up your mind about people. Give them a chance.’

To decode this a little, what I wanted to come across from this story was my feeling that a lot of people rush to make up their minds about people, and they shouldn’t. Rather, they should give them a chance.

To translate this mumbo-jumbo and apply it more straightforwardly to football, I think what I’m trying to say is that football fans shouldn’t rush to make up their minds about people, they should give them a chance instead.

I’m not sure this has come across as clearly as I’d have liked. I was never good at telling stories, or writing as a whole, in the eyes of all internet commenters., but the message here, ultimately, was that if possible: don’t rush to make up your mind about people. Give them a chance.

#5. Don’t Rush To Make Your Mind Up About People. Give Them A Chance.

Still don’t think I was fully clear. I’ve had time to clear my head now and think I have it. Football fans, in 2014: Don’t rush to make up your mind about people. Give them a chance.

Nailed it.



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Follow Ethan on Twitter: @SurrealFootball