FanPost

The Best Thing about Luke Shaw being a Chelsea Fan is not Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw is a Chelsea fan and that's cool.

Seriously, it IS cool. Not because of Shaw, who is a fine, young player and him being a fan would be helpful should we ever try to sign him (and we might). He's not the only one, I've seen a lot of young players in the last couple of years attest to being Chelsea fans (and not necessarily Chelsea targets). Lukaku is a great example. I've noticed that in my time as a fan, the number of Chelsea supporters has gradually risen, especially among younger people. Why? Gloryhunting.

There are basically 3 ways you become a fan: Legacy, Gloryhunting, Chance. The legacy people are born into football-loving families where someone is a huge fan and brainwashes you into doing the same when you're a child. That's why a lot of families support the same club and why there are a lot of die-hard fans who are much too young to know anything about the club. They started young. I will do this to my children. They will watch Chelsea on TV. In fact, I have already started forcing Chelsea on my nephews (my niece knows the Chelsea anthem and doesn't bat an eye when I ask who the best team in the world is when answering 'Chelsea'). She will outgrow it, probably, but that probably wouldn't happen with my own children, who will be exposed to it every weekend frokm the time they are born to the time I die (assuming I'm still an active fan, and I probably won't be).

Chance are those that become fans by a random occurrence. A guy I know, for example, is one, since he started to like Barcelona when he visited the country as a child. It has nothing to do with the team itself and just him liking the club. Another guy I know is similar, since he told me he started supporting Liverpool because he simply liked 'the guys in the red shirts better' or something like that. At one point or another you start to like a club for a random reason and sometimes it just sticks and you become a staunch supporter.

And then there are gloryhunters: people who start supporting a team because it's winning and when they stop winning they move on to another winner. I constantly saw this growing up it was always seen as something despicable even though it isn't really (unless you're a grown-up gloryhunter). Gloryhunters basically have a casual interest in a sport but are not particularly invested to it so their alliegances are easy to change. They go where they feel more rewarded, and that's where the winners are. I knew a kid when I was growing up who claimed to be a Madridista for years and got taunted for it, but he defended them. Until Valencia won the league and UEFA double and Madrid finished 4th. Then he switched to Valencia. Everyone jumped on him and he admitted to being a gloryhunter and everyone was sure he would switch back the next year, so did he. It's been nearly 10 years and he still supports Valencia quite avidly. At some point in that year as a Valencia fan he really embraced football and formed a bond with the club that made him a real fan.

I, personally, didn't like football until I was about 14-15. I mean, I liked it, but I didn't watch it or follow it or really know much about it other than some famous players and playing FIFA. As a kid, I 'supported' 6 different teams in Israel, ManU, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Bayern, Inter, Deportivo, Real Madrid and Barcelona. By support, I mean that if someone asked I would claim to support that team. Then when I got older I started liking football more and so I watched it more on TV. At that time the Prem got a lot of coverage on Spanish cable and so I watched a lot of the emergent Mourinho-led Chelsea. They won a lot, they had a lot of players with funny names on their shirts, so I started supporting them. And, by chance, that stuck. I started as a gloryhunting fan who didn't care if his team lost and became an avid supporter who spent 3 before an important exam playing Chelsea vs. ManU over and over again on the PES to ease the pain of Moscow. From not caring that Chelsea had reached the CL semis and lost to Marseille to seeing Drogba take a half-step to see Neuer dive to the left before cooly sliding it to his right in Munich being one of my happiest moments.

That's why you shouldn't be too hard on young kids for being annoying gloryhunters. They're young, they barely care about the sport,they just want to win. One of two things will happen, either they will never care and keep being gloryhunters (or abandon the sport altogether) or at some point they will start caring and adopt a club forever. It's a part of growing up. Not everyone is born into a football-loving family and not everyone gets to see go to the Camp Nou as a kid.

How does this relate to Shaw? Well, as I said, I have noticed more and more Chelsea fans over the past few years. It's easy to explain. People my age, in their early 20s, are not familiar with a poor Chelsea. Even when I was a kid, there was Zola and UEFA adventures and sexy football. Lukaku himself is a big Hasselbaink fan. But now, every year more and more kids are maturing having grown up with Chelsea as a top club. A lot of them were gloryhunters who have stuck as Chelsea fans. In 10 years, if Chelsea can maintain a Top 4 status, the new Hazards and Gotzes and Messis of 2023 will have been born in the 2000s. That means that for them, joining Chelsea would be like joing ManU and Barca has been to many fopotballers in the last decade. They would DREAM of joing the club. This is a club that was huge and successful when they were just toddlers. Fast forwards to 2030-2040, and a lot of these new football legends will be born into families which support Chelsea, and that's how, thanks to gloryhunting and a sugar daddy (and a few decades of success), a club can buy itself status as one of the biggest clubs in history.

More and more players are emerging, like Shaw (who, admittedly, might be a legacy fan (he probably is)), who see Chelsea as a 'proper' top club. In all likelihood, every year Chelsea will have more fans and by extension, more players who fancy playing there. It hasn't even been a year since we first won the CL, and not even a decade has passed since our first Premiership title (2nd after the league win in the 50s).

This might be a very laboured way to make a rather easy point, but I just really love the fact I have seen with my own eyes how the club I love has established itself as a top club not only on the field, but in people's minds as well. I look forward to bemoaning Exeter City's sugar daddy ruining football in 2050 as I reminisce about clubs with proper history like the Blues.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any sort of approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions held by the editors of this site.

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