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A Football Fan's Etiquette: An Open Letter To First-Time Attendees

Fans cheering on the players and adding a zing to the atmosphere, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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Attending a football game for the first time? Here are some do's and don'ts you should follow to soak in the spirit of the match, from one fan to another

Dear first-time Football fans, 
 

You might have watched Manchester United's surprise defeat to Brighton, a reinvigorated Inter Milan faltering away to Sassuolo, and Arsenal and Chelsea serving up a thrilling London Derby. As the weeks go on, ups, downs, goals, and banter will become an unavoidable part of your life. You begin with watching the 1 odd game a month which pretty soon turns into 3-4 games a month, as you become perpetually glued to your TV screens waiting for the kickoff.  Before you know it, you are a season ticket holder and going to attend your first live match. 

Madristas, the devoted Real Madrid fanbase, in full swing before kickoff

 
As you enter the stadiums, you'll find yourself surrounded by home supporters bellowing the anthem of the home teams. Whether it be the Kopites of Liverpool, the Gooners of Arsenal, the Cityzens from Manchester, or the Madristas of Real, you can be sure that these super fans will drown you in their passion of support for the teams. They carry the pride of the clubs on their chest, the history on their shoulders, and the love in their voices. So, rule no.1, do not get overwhelmed by these extremely zealous group of individuals. Maintain your composure or even better, join them as they parade their affection for their team. Another tip I would give you would be is to establish a cordial relationship with these fans. They are the reason why you probably are here, as it is the awe-inspiring atmosphere they create that captures your imagination. 
 
Fans sing their club anthems before the match begins to create an intimidating atmosphere for the rival team
 
Just before kickoff, the stadium comes to life as every nook and cranny of the sporting extravaganza is filled to its brim. Home supporters string together in harmony a performance of the ages as they sing the anthem of their clubs. Glory, Glory Man United echoes beyond the roofs of Old Trafford on match-days. Sing along if you happen to know the lyrics. 
 
Group of fans cheer exuberantly as their team scores a goal
 
Once the match begins, stand up for every opportunity where the home team advances towards the opposition goal. Fill your screams with a oooooohh's and aaaah's  as the ball whizzes past the post or when the goalkeeper pulls off an outstanding save. Jump off of your seats as the ball rustles the back of the net and the players rush toward you to celebrate. Leave your phones and immerse yourself in the magic that comes about when the home team plays with an exceptional fervor. Do not, and I repeat, do not, ever tell another fan to sit down if you do not wish to stand up yourself. 
 
Rivalries in football are so intense that when a player leaves one team for its biggest nemesis, the fans blacklist the athlete and he's always given an apathetic welcome filled with chants of boos. Out of courtesy, do not disrespect the athlete. While sport has the power to bring unyielding happiness, it also has the strength to showcase the ravage side of human spirit. There have been incidents of banana peels and a pig's head being thrown at a player—this is a strict no for all of you entering the amphitheater of sports for the first time.
 
Embody the positive spirit of the super fans and you'll fall in love with the sport. Supporters have the power to take the game to its pinnacle. 
 
Yours truly,
 
A super fan
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