Dark Mode

We all know that being a football fan comes with, for better or worse, a sense of tribalism. However, there is something transcendental about our beautiful game that makes us change. The most sensible, rational and mellow of characters always possess the capacity to morph into a frogfish.

Let me explain. First of all, did you know that the frogfish’s mouth can expand up to twelve times its resting size? If you’ve ever managed to endure an online episode of Arsenal Fan TV, then need I go on? If not, think of that Liverpool fan at work who you’ve been seeing a lot of lately. That should do it.

The frogfish can extend part of its body to act as a lure; this bizarre apparatus resembles a group of worms that can effortlessly replenish if chewed off by prey. Think of talkSPORT’s Adrian Durham, who relentlessly rides the wave of controversy every week, by voicing opinions that go against mass consensus – a blindingly obvious trap set for a raging Dave from Stockport on his way home from a mediocre Old Trafford performance. Durham impressively receives more bites than Andy Bennett, the reigning champion of “Fish’O’Mania” 2019.

The most sensible, rational and mellow of characters always possess the capacity to morph into a frogfish.

There is a shared delight among fans when voicing blind biased opinions and most of the time it’s harmless. But there has been a memo echoing across social media platforms in the past few weeks: there is a line. Recently, we have seen Eric Dier hurdling the seats of White Hart Lane with the intent of a lion and the grace of a mountain goat to angrily confront a fan dishing out abuse. Additionally, the mistreatment of Jesse Lingard after Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Derby County has drawn lots of criticism from the footballing world. It was upsetting and disturbing to watch a video of a small group of “fans” – for want of a better word – waiting around after the final whistle with the sole intention of making a young professional (I know the joke) feel bad about himself. It leaves a particularly sour taste in the mouth after Lingard’s admission of the recent problems he has been experiencing in his private life, including the illness of his mother. What has the message been recently? Be kind?

Most of us are kind. Most of us repeatedly ask the same question: why do some fans think this is acceptable? Please consider another fact: unlike many species that use camouflage as a form of defence against their predators, the tropical frogfish uses its ability to attract prey. Clearly, some football fans assume that there is safety in numbers; that there is no risk of being called-out for abusive neanderthal behaviour whilst blending into the attendance figures. Personally, I was proud of Dier for breaking professional protocol with his outburst, it evidently makes a bigger statement and I’d put money on that particular fan keeping quiet in future. No-one is perfect. We all enjoy an ounce of shithousery and a risky chant from time to time. But don’t be a dickhead.

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