This article was written for the Chelsea FanCast team and the full article can be found here….Chelsea FanCast site
One of the truly great pleasures in life is bringing your son or daughter into the world. Teaching them how to do the practical things like walk, talk and shoot.
Then there’s the emotional and moral side of things you try to instil in them. You want them to be strong, resilient, tough, yet kind, respectful, compassionate and make good decisions. You try to teach them to shield themselves against the world’s evils and know when to not get caught out.
Everyone has their own way of approaching these tasks, usually shaped by their own childhood – either to try the opposite approach or copy the same way their parents bought them up. I’d like to think I try a mixture and use the things in my childhood I respected and thought taught me right from wrong. This has often led to leaning towards my Dad’s stricter approach, especially around discipline. Mum was the facilitator; she allowed us to make our decisions and helped us learn from them. Dad was my older brother’s football manager and was the opposite of biased towards his eldest son. He would rule with an iron fist but stick up for his own fiercely. This is where I’ve got a phrase I’ve said to mine a couple of times, especially when I’m in discipline mode. ‘I’m their Dad, not their friend. If we’re friends too then I’m more than happy.’
One of the things growing up that Dad instilled in us from the start is football. And we supported Chelsea. It helped that 99% of both sides of the family are Chelsea. Mum was even bought up in Chelsea, Ixworth Place (one of my auntie’s babysat Nigella Lawson). The only non-Chelsea were John’s, one either side of the family and both glory boys who supported Liverpool, from a far. With the odd game attended. For us, we were local in West London and very much match going fans, when Sandgate or Brook House weren’t playing anyway. We were the quintessential football household. Father & 2 boys played football, watched football, talked football and collected the stickers. Mum washed the kits.
A part of parenthood for football fans is that of teaching them about loyalty, passion, unswerving love and support for their team. More and more frequently nowadays, parents are letting their children choose who they support. Part of this is due to parents not being fans but with football becoming more popular with every generation (don’t get me started on the majority of foreign fans of English clubs – I don’t get that unless they’re ex-pats, but all welcome as it is what it is, some are amazing fans such as some famous CFC in Sweden & the States) they’ve got to start somewhere. If they (English based fans that haven’t’ got football parents) think like I believe I would have in their situation, they’d go for their closest geographical club, perhaps swayed by mates that they’d actually go to the games with. I’d say this trend of supporting for non-geographical reasons started in the 80s when I first saw examples of people choosing teams they had no obvious connection with. But I suspect it’s always happened. This practice is dangerous as it promotes glory hunters. Sometimes they will stay with their team and thus lose the glory hunter tag in my eyes (mate from school still supports Everton since the 80s, and I’m pretty sure he’s not a scouser) but more often than not they will change like the wind (another school mate went from Liverpool to Arsenal and ended up with United from the age of 6 through to 12).
For me, I didn’t understand having a choice like that. I supported Chelsea because I was bought up that way. I thought you’re born with 2 things – your surname and football team, everything else is a choice.
Now read the rest of this article, with pictures, at the fantastic Chelsea FanCast site