The secret (college) footballer: The Fans

In my opinion, fans are overrated. I’ve never seen the appeal of having thousands of strangers hurl abuse at you for 90 minutes. It’s one of many reasons I’ve never handed in a transfer request to my college bursar stating my desire to move to a better supported club in the Premier League. In fact, I’m confident that my college is all the stronger as a club for only really having one person who can be counted on to turn up and cheer us on, week-in, week-out – our 12th man, so to speak. 

There are certainly plenty of advantages to low attendances. I really enjoy being on first name terms with our fan, and I’m sure he appreciates the opportunity to rub shoulders with his playing heroes both pitchside and on our nights off. I never forget to give him a wave before I head into the VIP room of one of Oxford’s hottest nightspots.

This intimate player-fan relationship simply doesn’t exist at bigger clubs, where the closest the fans can get to the players is to follow them on Twitter. Which isn’t to say that our fan doesn’t follow me on Twitter, of course. 

All of which meant I was a little bemused when I saw a story in the papers a couple of weeks ago celebrating the loyalty of the single Udinese supporter who made the trip to watch his team play away at Sampdoria.

If unwavering commitment to your team in the face of abject loneliness and the promise of disappointment is newsworthy, then I can think of several college football fans who more than deserve their fair share of media attention.