What Kind of Soccer Supporter Are You? (And What Kind Annoys You The Most?)

To the casual observer, soccer supporters might appear to constitute a kind of undifferentiated mass, a gathering of people (male, by and large) strangely mesmerized by a sport commonly featuring score lines as seemingly absent of drama as 2-1 and 1-0, or a crowd distinguished only by their local, tribal custom of donning jerseys colored red or blue or white.

To the outsider, soccer fans are both inscrutable and hard to tell apart. (I was once asked, for example, by a kind, elderly woman if I’d ever taken my son to “Trafford Bridge.”) But if you spend a little time in soccer circles, you’re sure to develop a more nuanced perspective on the committed soccer fan, and before long you’ll recognize that they are by no means all the same. To the contrary, you’ll see that they fall into a variety of types.

Indeed, if you spend a good deal of time pitch side, or in the pub, or in the online discussion groups dedicated to the game, you’ll come to the inevitable conclusion that there are, in fact, precisely four kinds of soccer supporters.

Which leads to two important questions: which kind of soccer supporter are you? And which kind annoys you the most?

Here’s a simple taxonomy to assist you in formulating your answers.

1. The Pragmatic Supporter
This soccer supporter has an almost uncanny ability to take the positives from each match, no matter how dismal the result for his team. He can comfortably offer balanced analysis of his team’s strengths and weaknesses over the office water cooler, and he seems genuinely interested in observing the long-term process of building an incrementally more successful team. He demonstrates respect for opposing sides and admires talented players no matter what team they play for. Other soccer supporters find him a bit bewildering.
Where he sits in the stands: In the family section.
Preferred pub: Enjoys visiting pubs supporting rival teams when traveling for work.
Weekend soccer league position: Central defender in an over-40 league, known for his calmness on the ball.

2. The Divine Right Supporter
More common than the Pragmatic supporter is the Divine Right supporter. You’ll recognize him by his habit of believing that his team possesses a God-given right to win every match. You’ll notice his fondness for blaming referees for calls they’re likely to make before the match has even started. This supporter hates the opposition – all opposition – as well as TV commentators and the press in equal measure. Negative observations made about his chosen team are considered an affront to nature.
Where he sits in the stands: Behind the goal, adjacent to the visiting fans.
Preferred pub: Frequents the same supporters pub exclusively. Only. Ever. Always. (The one nearest the KFC.) Sometimes naps in a spare cot in the back room upstairs.
Weekend soccer league position: Insists on playing striker despite being five foot two.

3. The “Little Abramovich” Supporter
This variety of supporter is marked by his bottomless loathing for everything about his own team, including its kit, manager, first team players, reserves, chief executive, mascot, stadium, and sponsor. He’s easy to spot because he has crazy transfer window dreams involving the most unlikely convergences of star managers and international players. After the window closes, he wants to fire the manager even if the team is in first place.
Where he sits in the stands: Way, way up in the middle section so that his endless directives to the “idiots” on the field are sure to drown out the voices of the TV commentators nearby and be heard by millions.
Preferred pub: Those where swearing is actively encouraged.
Weekend soccer league position: Fancies himself a play-making midfielder. Routinely kicks the ball out of bounds.

4. The Schadenfreude Supporter
Frequently to be found offering up zippy one liners in the comments section of the online sports pages, this soccer supporter is okay with his team losing the majority of their games provided its nearby rivals are doing even worse. He actively roots for all other teams to fail in lieu of rooting for his team to win (since they almost always can’t), and exhibits a boundless enthusiasm for discussing the misfortunes of other teams’ stars – including injuries, criminal cases, tabloid scandals, and red cards.
Where he sits in the stands: Never actually attends matches, only sort of watches them on television, and blogs snarky comments the entire time.
Preferred pub: Doesn’t leave the house much, to be honest.
Weekend soccer league position: Has never actually played the game himself.

Notwithstanding the extensive research I put into developing this piece, you may feel that my list is neither comprehensive nor error free in some of its details. Feel free to offer up your own alternative descriptions of soccer supporters below. But don’t forget to tell us which one you resemble, and which one you least enjoy having to sit next to at game time.

16 thoughts on “What Kind of Soccer Supporter Are You? (And What Kind Annoys You The Most?)”

  1. There is one other rare form of fan you find indigenous to one geographic region and often overlooked: The Newer American Fan (est. population 383,000 but new colonies are being found almost daily).

    Often found supporting a Big 4 Club (mainly by wearing a 6 year old 3rd kit bought on from eBay for $6.23 plus shipping), they can be more intelligent than they let on.

    Rarely commenting on the sport for fear of being mocked, they also have radical, forward-thinking opinions about the sparing but necessary use of video replay, financial fair-play, and salary caps (most all of which have been fairly well-developed in the US).

    Where he sits in the stands: In a bar that has MLS DirectKick package or in his living room at 7am to watch the first ESPN match.

    Preferred Pub: One with at least 12 beers on tap, comfy booth seating, and Scotch Eggs.

    Weekend Soccer League Position: Played baseball and basketball growing up, never soccer so… Goalkeeper.

  2. Two types of soccer fan that annoy me. Both are American sub-species.

    1). The soccer fan who spends a LOT of type worrying about what clubs other fans support and WHY they support those clubs.

    2). The American soccer fan who would prefer the sport to remain small and niche so that they can remain the big fish in a very small pond.

  3. I would hope that i fall more into the pragmatic supporter zone more than the other ones. though, as a newcastle supporter, im finding it hard to be taking too many positives out of any of the recent games. and my mouth at live games would get me banned from any family section.

    and i dont have to leave town to go to a rival’s pub/bar. the bar i frequent in houston has a strong chelsea presence and a fan club meets there regularly. Considering today’s news – again, im a newcastle supporter – going in there today ought to be interesting.

  4. I’m not sure I fall into any of these categories. While I do support one team in particular, I appreciate good football from any team and I’ll spend the entire weekend watching games from all the different leagues. I guess that comes from playing in various countries.

    I also prefer my couch to the local pub that shows the games…too many “Little Abramovichs” in attendance, usually, and every one of them knowing more than the other “idiots” there.

  5. Spot on. This was hilarious. I fall right into the pragmatic fan and my friend falls right into the divine right. He’ll love reading this.


  6. Me? The Pragmatic Supporter – but I wish I was more calm with the ball when I actually play at fullback.

    I HATE The Divine Right Supporter.

    (Fun article!)

  7. 4. The Overzealous Supporter
    Knows everything there is about every club in the world. Knows the transfers, the players, the manage, the owners and knows far too many details that any normal human would. Watches every in every league.
    Where he sits in the stands: Right next to the home manager to shout out advice.
    Preferred pub: The one with the most TVs and serves up the most “authentic” fish and chips. Only drinks Guinness and looks down on everyone else who doesn’t share in his taste of beverage.
    Weekend soccer league position: Wingback. He’s the guy who runs up and down the whole field for the full 90. Not much skill but all hustle.

    Me? Definitely the “Little Abramovich” Supporter. Kill me.

  8. Funny stuff.

    Pragmatic for me but with the GIGANTIC exception of having an almost Taliban-level of hatred for the main rival of my own club. And for any supporters of same who TALK JUNK TO OTHER CLUBS’ SUPPORTERS.

    I mean, support whoever you want, but if I hear “oh, MWAHAHAHAH, ‘WE’ win trophy number 400 so you people are inferior to me. Well no, then I ridicule you and call you a 13 year-old Miami Heat fan. Which you probably are. But all other clubs and supporters? Nah, cool with them. Just love the game in general. See those guys as people like me.

    I’d never sit in the family section because I hate kids. But I do play centre-back on the weekends, so this is even funnier to me.

  9. I don’t support an EPL club but I will still answer, I am one of those fans who love it more when the clubs I hate fail than if my club succeeds 😀

    Hate pubs/bars, would rather watch the games in my own home or computer. I watch everything from EPL, Bundesliga, MLS even to stuff like the African Cup of Nations or U17 FIFA World Cup

  10. I’m a Frankenstein Fannatic – made up of a variety of a few of these types – and something else. I’ve played the B-game since I was six and grew up with very close ties to an NASL Team – and played at very high levels…I try to follow MLS, but it’s a bit sl-o-o-o-w for me and my team isn’t in a soccer spec stadium. I’ve been to a world cup, and travel to see my Prem team at least once a year, sometimes two on a good year – it ain’t cheap! I have a local supporter’s club pub that I find it hard to attend because I am virtually the 3rd commentator and can’t control my inner monologue during my teams match. I can’t miss my team, in any competitions (or they lose), and have to plan my weekend nights out around what time, channel (or streaming link) is carrying them (have to find links in advance) love those 7:45 AM matches (NOT!)- and if my team loses or only gets “a result” – my week is pretty much ruined – and I can barely read the news. I can’t stand it when the “color” commentator played for the opposing team and it’s obvious. I can’t stand it when certain refs are doing my game – and know which ones have it in for us…(i.e. Phil Dowd) My team is a top 4 team but I must say I got there in a different way – I have been exclusive with my affection and sometime adoration for 14 years now. This has been difficult at times due to TV coverage / or lack there of, in the States. Although Liverpool was the in vogue team when I was in my teens, I became romantically involved with my team due to a certain style of play – that I was brought up playing in. (Funny thing is I now live in Boston, MA and LP is everywhere) Johan Cruyff was one of my early idols (along with Beckenbauer, Best and Cubillas) and I have followed him through his playing and coaching career – and total football means everything to me. Ok – I have to run now because Sat. night is already ruined due to Sunday Morning. Cheers… (GFL!!!), PS: Expecting great things from Klinsmann & Tab!!!

  11. I would say that among the four I’m closest to the Pragmatic Supporter with a bit of all the others thrown in for good measure.
    I’m not a fan of the divine right supporter, especially on the pitch since striker is my position (and I’m not 5’2″)!

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