27 October 2010

Some Malaysian Football Fans

It was probably around this time last year when my other half's friend had a visit from her boyfriend/soon-to-be fiancee, all the way from Malaysia. Let's call him...Jimmy. As would be expected of most good Malaysian husbands, I was coerced volunteered to come along so that said friend's boyfriend, Jimmy wouldn't feel left out when surrounded by all the ladies.

At dinner, after all the pleasantries, knowing that I and another male guest were big Liverpool fans, Jimmy's girlfriend mentioned in passing that Jimmy too was a Liverpool fan. Two pairs of eyes were suddenly fixed on Jimmy as the girls left us guys alone to continue with our male-bonding.

That Rafa's an idiot.

Jimmy announced boldly, looking to get our attention. He certainly had mine. There was absolutely no doubt about that. The other male guest looked at me, hiding a wry smile in anticipation of a salvo of facts from me towards Jimmy about Liverpool's manager, at the time.

I looked across the room and there was my other half staring straight at me. Those lovely eyes I fell in love with might as well have been Superman's with red laser rays directed at me, boiling the grey matter in my head until it all burst out like Old Faithful out of the top of my skull. Yeah, I got the message: Don't.make.a.scene.

Hmmm...we've had a bad season...

I managed to mumble something out through clenched teeth. To me, it was unacceptable for one to claim himself to be a Liverpool fan but at the same time attack the club's manager in such a manner. Especially one who has proven himself on many occassions and was due a bad season at some stage. Criticise his tactics? Yes. Ridicule the manner in which he deals with the media? Probably. But, to call him names just because the team was going through a bad patch? No.

Then again, Jimmy wouldn't be the worst there is. Only a season before, Liverpool finished second in the league with a points tally that would've won the league in any other season. Unfortunately, like the saying goes, second is the first loser. So, it wasn't surprising for a knee-jerk, Sky/Star Sports-fed fan like Jimmy to expect nothing less than an all-conquering Liverpool side in the season to follow.

No, Jimmy certainly isn't the worst. One fan comes to mind. Back in my college days in Malaysia, there was this one so-called United fan that used to go around referring to Ryan Giggs as Brian Griggs, Ronaldo (the fat Brazilian one, not the one currently at Real) as Rolando, Mark Hughes as Mart Huge etc. This went on for some time until a couple of us finally confronted him on the matter. We soon discovered that he had based his entire football knowledge on a video game (Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer or something like that). Basically, as the games couldn't or plainly couldn't afford the naming rights for the various football players, the game's designers decided to substitute the real players' names with similar-sounding names. Normally, when setting-up these games, most fans would use the customise option to change the names to the real ones but for this one dude, the in-game names were the real ones and everybody else was wrong or had some form of dyslexia when it came to football players' names.

Or, you might want to consider another Malaysian-based fan who started supporting United (they all seem to claim to support United) because he was so into Beckham's haircut (the semi-long one with the middle parting). Huh? Give me glory-hunting Chelsea fans (post-Abramovich, of course) any day. At least their reasons have got something to do with the game.

Fortunately, for every fan out there who would swap his/her club's jersey at a drop of a league point, there are still a few out there who actually take the time to understand the beautiful game and apply at the very least, some degree of reserach and more importantly, common sense when supporting their respective clubs. If you're one of these people (you know who you are), keep it up...Malaysia needs you!

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