But what about those non-league fans who have become disillusioned with the Midland Combination League, for example, and do want to be treated like a valued customer? Yeovil Town happen to be two places below Charlton Athletic in the second-tier of English football, and you’d have to be mad to eat a prawn sandwich from any of the suspect-looking food outlets scattered about the home ground, Huish Park.Those fans who have grown weary of huddling with 20 other anoraks in a leaky stand the chairmen cannot afford to renovate, watching 22 part-timers kick chunks out of each other? On reflection, perhaps I should have swapped for Chelsea, currently sat top of the Premier League – it's never too late, I suppose.
If someone had asked me in December which football team I support, I would have proudly declared myself a lifelong Charlton Athletic fan.
I would then have laughed politely at one of a possible two jokes that any football supporter worth the polyester on their back can be relied upon to make: “Bad luck” or “Ah, so you’re the other one”.
Even the fans – so often referred to as the victims of all this – are not blameless, merrily forgiving the latest Judas to cross some unspeakable divide...
just as long as said Judas starts scoring regularly, of course.
There was just a Tuesday-evening text message in late-January to a fellow Yeovil Town fan reading: “Good news for us, Charlton getting stuffed.” Yeovil Town was no longer just my bit on the side. This is football’s last great taboo, even though loyalty in the sport died years ago.
Clubs swap players and managers like Top Trumps cards; agents hold chairmen to ransom; owners focus ever more on the bottom line, without so much as a thought for such lofty conceits as ‘heritage’ and ‘tradition’.In 2010, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney publicly courted Manchester City, his employer’s bitter and very wealthy rivals.A mob of angry Manchester United fans turned up on the striker’s doorstep, demanding answers (which incidentally never came).Those who do should not be hanged from the nearest floodlight by the burning scarf of their new club.In years gone by, when the overwhelming majority of fans did actually support their local teams, jumping ship would have been interpreted as a betrayal of one’s history, a dismissive two fingers to the area in which you grew up and to the community that shaped your personality.Change colours, and people will question your loyalty, or use it as shorthand to suggest you might not be the most trustworthy.” The problem with that sepia-tinted argument is that fewer people support their home town teams nowadays.