Yes, You Are A Bigger One Than I am
Information: This is an article I wrote for The Eagles Beak and has been published here 1 month it was published on their website. This version may differ slightly from their version.
So, you think you are a bigger one than I am? This is a common expression thrown around when Palace fans start bickering on social media and well, unless you mean talking like a twat, you are wrong!
But no, the people throwing that expression around are talking about how much of a Palace fan they are compared to the next person. For example, they seem to think that they are a bigger fan of the club than I am because of a variety of things they assume rather than gathered facts.
People assume a lot about me because I live in Sweden. Am I Swedish? How long have I lived here, why did I leave England, have I even seen Palace play and so on. People don’t bother to ask for any background, they just assume I am and have always been an armchair fan viewing things from afar with no idea what it is like to go to games or live in London.
I hear this so often that it has become worse than boring. For the record, I was born in south London, grew up there and moved away when I was 31. I attended my first Palace match when I was 10 years old, started going on my own when I was 13, was a founding member of Lifeline, season ticket holder, saw every game home and away for a couple of years, trained with the youth team, played for the supporters team, been beaten up by baseball bat wielding fans at an away game, saw us lose 9-0 at Anfield, saw us win 4-3 at Villa Park, queued up for 9 hours for a cup final ticket… to cut a long story short, I’ve earned my Palace stripes.
But that doesn’t make me more of a Palace fan than someone who started supporting the club 2 months ago. The only difference is I have is the mental scars and the experience of seeing the club conspire to screw things up when we are doing well whereas they have the naivety and optimism of a new fan. Our opinions are equal.
It really does piss me off when people think they are a better supporter of a club because they attend more games. Back in the mid 1980s, when my brother was living in Germany while serving in the army, I was going to every home game and naturally he couldn’t. Was I more of a fan than he was? Of course not. In fact, I remember in 1979 when we played Burnley he called me two or three times to find out the result.
In my opinion, the same goes for what you spend in the club shop. If you, just like I used to do, buy the full home and away kit every season are you more of a fan than someone who wears a 4 year old home shirt? Is ‘Bob’, who has a season ticket but brings sandwiches to games, less of a fan than his friend Peter, who sits next to Bob buys a burger and a tea at ever game? Maybe to the clubs accountant but not to me.
I really don’t like the culture we are developing at our club. We need more fans to return to the club, we need new fans and we need a bigger fan base around the world and telling people they can’t have an opinion because they have supported Palace for “5 minutes”, they are ‘big time fans’ or they opinion is worthless because “you left the country and gave up your right to an opinion” (this was actually said to me) isn’t enticing people to our club.
I spend money, a lot of time and effort into making my website and podcasts (soon vodcasts) but that doesn’t make me better than someone who lives in Australia and ‘only’ looks for our result in the paper.
We are all fans with one equal voice. Some voices are louder but that doesn’t make them more important. Some voices are older but that doesn’t make them more rational. Some voices are young but that doesn’t make them wrong.
We all have our own opinion about transfers, the manager, the players and so on. No one of us is factually correct in our opinion, they are just opinions and I would not deny anyone’s right to their opinion. I might, however, disagree with the reasons they have built their opinion on but that is another thing.
As we get older we have different priorities in life. We get jobs that mean we can’t make it to games, get families that mean we can’t afford to make it to games or maybe something else? That doesn’t stop us being massive fans of the club we love.
Disagree with each other but don’t disrespect each other as fans of the club. Be careful how you classify a ‘real fan’ because you don’t know what situation you’ll be in 5 years time.