Its fair to say my friend, a Fulham fan, has not seen too many trophies, well ever. The other day he sparked an interesting debate, he said that he would rather the club he supports had good fans, who created a brilliant atmosphere than win trophies. Me, as an Arsenal fan, disagreed completely saying that, at the end of the day, its the trophies that make the difference.
There has been much conversation, between us, on who has the better fans between Arsenal and Fulham. (I personally believe the tales about Arsenals atmosphere are extremely exagerated). Then, it the heat of the discussion, I brought up the fact that Fulham have never ever won a major trophy. Now I am not necesarilly saying this is a really bad tihng, as Fulham are a small club but simply pointing out the fact so he would stop posting $amir Na$ri says Arsenal fans aren't passionate on my FaceBook wall. It's fair to say he wasn't too happy but the thing he said that struck me was -
"At least our fans are louder, thats more important"
So I thought surely, if the fans were so important to everyone. Then Stoke would have a larger fan base than Barcelona. But it is obvious, that a great atmosphere at a football game is a very nice thing to have. It is like having a really cool case for your phone. It's a nice thing to have, but who really cares if the case is a bit less shiny and fancy. However, fans are the basis of the game. Without fans, there would be no football. For fans of mid-table clubs such as Fulham, it is often the case that a great atmosphere is all they can ever hope for, meaning that, yes the atmosphere is probably what means the most to them in the game.
For me, at the end of the day, it boils down to one question. Would you a rather watch your team lift a trophy, or would you rather see a tremendous atmosphere at every game, with fans that are so passionate that they are willing to do everything for their team? Personally there is no question. A Champions League or a good atmosphere? Yet for him, he sees football differently to me. He sees going to games as a chance to get behind a team, but have a great time whilst doing so, and an atmosphere plays no small part in making a football match more enjoyable. However when i go to Arsenal games. I see it as a desperate stuggle to win every game we possibly can, because at the end of the seaosn there might be something nice and shiny to boast about. I believe that, for ninety minutes, its us against them, and all that matters is getting that goal. Maybe this is just because he supports a mid-table team whereas i support a team fighting for trophies, or maybe this is just a difference in fan mentality.
There were two things we agreed on however -
1) Football is very much about taking the p*ss out of other fans, and
2) Football changes the way people think. It is about competition, and thats why we love it.