“People who claim to have a huge interest in a football team they very rarely watch and when they do, it will only be when that team is on TV”
So who in their right mind would want to name their blog after this pretty insulting footballing term, you’re probably wondering?
Well, it was back in around 1997 where I knew I was destined to be an “Armchair Supporter” for most of my life. My mother’s partner at the time had two brothers – one supported Manchester United, the other brother and his son both supported Arsenal. At the time, United and Liverpool were by far the most popular teams in the Country and Arsenal were a team I knew very little about but I was intrigued just by the name and the crest/badge. It took very little persuasion to join them – after all, how could I not support a team who’s attackers’ names were Bergkamp and Overmars?
Everyone I knew from Primary/Junior School supported either Liverpool or Manchester United so it was a chance to try something different. Now I don’t know how far Highbury was from Ystrad Mynach at the time, but our family wasn’t the most “well off” financially so I knew trips to London would never be regular, if at all – in fact, my only visit was later in ’97 when I had the Stadium tour.
If truth be told, my memory of supporting Arsenal from the age of 6-13 isn’t great and I’m not sure when or why my passion for it waned – although maybe seeing Giggsy scoring that goal against us in the 1999 FA Cup Semi-Final had something to do with it? I was actually watching it in Argos, Caerphilly at the time, too!
My love for football was re-ignited back in 2003-04. All the boys in school were collecting the Panini Premier League sticker album and I went from not even knowing who was in Arsenal’s team but to also knowing who was in every other Premier League club’s squad.
Coincidentally, Arsenal didn’t just win the league that year, they didn’t lose a game! My love for football was back and just around the corner was Euro 2004, the first tournament I can remember fully (I have vague memories of the ’98 World Cup, can’t remember Euro ’00 happening at all and all I can think of when trying to remember the ’02 World Cup was Ronaldo’s barnet).
Up until this point, I’d still never actually been to a football game in an actual Stadium. The only football that I’d watched was either on BBC or ITV – how times change, eh?
2004 was also the year another team caught my eye,a team much more local. I always remember seeing one of my cousins wearing a Cardiff City shirt but never thought anything of it and probably didn’t even realise who they were but on the 19th November 2004, I made my debut at Ninian Park in the Family Stand to watch Cardiff play Preston. I couldn’t believe it!
We lost 1-0 due to a first-half header from Youl Mawene. Looking back, it was probably one of the worst games I’ve seen but I didn’t care, I was just over the moon to be there. As it was my 14th birthday the day after, my mother even bought me my first ever football shirt, the Cardiff home shirt (the one with the white collar) – life was good!
Since 2004, I’ve followed both teams religiously and although I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not someone who goes to games regularly (there’s been seasons where I haven’t been to any), that doesn’t necessarily mean I have less of an interest in football (although I’m sure ardent supporters would disagree).
The reason I wanted to name this blog “The Armchair Supporter” was because there are probably hundreds of thousands of people across the UK who are in the exact same boat as me who share the exact same views but love football just as much as I do, maybe more.
I’ve actually turned a corner in recent years and these days, I’m not a full-time Armchair Supporter. Despite supporting both Arsenal and Cardiff, my biggest passion for football lies with my National Team. I watched every Euro 2016 home qualifier at the Cardiff City Stadium and myself and eight of the lads have planned a trip to Nice in June to watch the boys away in France (we didn’t get tickets to the games in Bordeaux, Lens or Toulouse, so we’re going to Nice for the sun, sea and beers).
I can’t believe it’s actually taken me this long to start writing about football, my Twitter is full of football related tweets and I’ve started to interact with the Twitter community far more in recent times so I’m very excited to start my own personal blog page but also a new chapter in my life.
Who knows, maybe my Euro 2016 edition of the blog can be called “The Sun-lounger Supporter?” or even “The Armchair Supporter Abroad”?
Until next time..