If love is blind, then love for a football club is blind, deaf, buried under seven tonnes of soil in a secret location outside Ulan Bator with corks stuffed up its nose and a do not disturb sign stapled to its face, lest any outside sensory input disturb its serene ignorance.
The last few weeks seem to have been a relentless slog through the gutters of behaviour for footballers and football clubs, and outside observers must be constantly baffled at how fans can continue to profess their devotion in the face of such contemptibility.
John Terry and Ashley Cole have been caught – if not red-handed, then certainly with deep-pink fingers – indulging in racial abuse and perjury respectively. And yet when these players take the pitch a Stamford Bridge, a vocal proportion of the crowd sing their praises all the higher.
These people are, of course, idiots – taking tribal loyalty and siege mentality to ridiculous heights as they support the unsupportable.
The more common, and more psychologically interesting, reaction among the fans is to applaud the shirt but stubbornly refuse to pass comment on the man occupying it. Those supporters are simply compartmentalising their feelings towards those individuals as they have done for years.
After all, the average fan will have silently loathed a fair number of the players who have ever run out in their team’s colours…
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