7 Reasons to Support The Referee
Well, that’s it, another domestic football season is over and now we’ve got the World Cup to look forward to. Next season, however, we should do things a little differently than we usually do. We should stop supporting our football teams and support the ref. Now that might seem like a strange and unusual thing to do, but if you consider it carefully, it’s quite logical really. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Colours. When you support your team you only get the choice of home and away kits to wear. When you support the ref, you get a veritable rainbow of shirts and scarves to choose from. Do you know what colour the ref’s going to be wearing this week, or next? You could justify donning a technicolour dreamcoat to support the referee and who wouldn’t want to wear one of those?
2. See More Teams. I need a football team to use as an example so if you could imagine that you support Bury FC, that would be a great help. Don’t worry, this will just be for a moment and you should be able to forget about it later, perhaps with therapy. As a Bury supporter next season, you would have to go to Gigg Lane every other week and watch Bury play League Two football. And then, should you wish to attend away matches too, you’d have to travel all over the country, at great expense, to watch Bury play League Two football. Your life would be dominated by League Two, and by Bury, and you wouldn’t really want that. If you supported a referee though, you wouldn’t have to see Bury-plus-other every week, you’d see two different teams. And if you chose a Premier League referee, you wouldn’t have to watch League Two football at all. You’d get to visit a lovely, well-appointed stadium for most matches, and you’d get to watch football played to a terrific standard every time. Brilliant. You may stop supporting Bury now.
3. Chants And Songs. When you’re a supporter of a popular club, you view matches amongst thousands upon thousands of other people, and it’s hard to express yourself. Most of the songs and chants have already been written. When you support the referee though, you can compose your own: “A rope! A tree! Enshrine the referee!”, “Who needs Mourinho? We’ve got D’Urso”. “He’s tough, but fair, he hasn’t any hair…Steve Bennett. Steve Bennett.” You can sing anything you like, you’re autonomous and creatively free.
4. Save Money. Now, you might be thinking that supporting the referee will cost you more than supporting a team, and you’d be correct. But you could offset some of the extra cost by supporting a local ref – one that lives near you. Then you’d be able to car-share with him because, after all, most refs drive to matches, and it’s not like they’ve got any friends to take up space in their car. They’ll probably be glad of the company.
5. Fair Play. Fed up of watching overpaid prima donnas fall over when an opponent is within three feet of them? Tired of watching aggressive gangs of players surrounding the man in the middle attempting to bully him? I know I am. You can register your protest against it by supporting the ref. Cheer as he pulls out his cards; spell the player’s name out for him as he writes it in his notebook, it’s usually “D-A-V-I-E-S”; shout “exemplary decision, Lino!” as the linesman makes a good call; praise the fourth official for his fabulous grasp of timekeeping. You’ll be sending out a message to sulky, petulant players and managers and you’ll feel good about it. The whole atmosphere that the game is played in will be improved and I’m certain that everyone will thank you.*
6. Heckling. Football, by its very nature, is an immensely partisan affair. Often when following your team, you find yourself allied with – and even supporting – people that you usually wouldn’t have anything to do with. If you’re at the Chelsea vs Newcastle fixture next season, you’re liable to be a supporter of one of those teams. Which means that you’re going to be cheering-on the Chelsea players, or the Newcastle players. If you support the ref though, you’re aloof from all of the partisanship and you can do what any reasonable, right-thinking individual would do. You can shout abuse at both Joey Barton and Ashley Cole.
7. Be An Individual. Everyone with a passing interest in football supports a team, usually it’s Manchester United. If you support the ref though, you’re not one of the herd, you’re an individual. You’re your own boss, blazing a new trail, setting your own rules of behaviour and taking a novel approach to your sporting involvement. You don’t even have to wait until next season. You can adopt a ref during the World Cup. I’m supporting Howard Webb: He may well be England’s best chance of reaching the final. Who’s with me?
*7 Reasons bears no legal responsibility for fans of the referee.