First Published 20.06.13 WeScoreWhenWeWant

Vintage Fred Perrys, check. Superga 2750s, check. Choosing to support your local club over the money soaked Premier League behemoth you’ve loved since you were a boy because really, nothing gets more authentic, post-modern street cred than that. Check…

My first ever Thistle game – indeed the first live game I ever attended – was a dreary rain-soaked afternoon tie against the mighty Gretna. It would later turn into a four goal thriller but my family and I contrived to arrive twenty minutes late, miss all the goals and leave moments into the second half when my little brother started crying.

When I witnessed Manchester City’s capitulation at the hands of Wigan Athletic a few months later it did not have much to beat to be the most exciting afternoon of all time. That was back when Manchester City were shit. Yes, I was there. A fact I feel the need to repeat whenever my allegiances are questioned. Not a glory hunter, mate, honest.

Manchester City used to be a hipster team. Everyone’s favourite losers who never failed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Then they became football’s most hated when Sheikh bin Mansour (bin monster) and his billions rolled into town.

I was now a member of that breed of football fan eternally supporting everyone’s worst enemies. Any  kind of underground cool surrounding my exclusive one-man Manchester City supporting ‘scene’ I like to think I created at the back of my registration classroom, was now sadly gone.
By general consensus I was now no better than a Leeds, Millwall or Glasgow Rangers fan. Ew. Although today the hated football fan is less wife beater in fake Sergio Tachinni and more bumbling tourist clutching prawn sandwiches.
On a side note I hate both prawns and that stupid saying. Roy Keane spawned it, and that’s bad enough. There’s nothing wrong with eating well at a football match. Manchester City do a lovely line in spicy chicken breast ciabattas. Seriously right, if you’re ever in the area, it’s amazing. 
In terms of finding a new hip team to assign my support to I flirted with the obvious. Dortmund, Malmo, St Pauli, Penarol and Torpedo Moscow were all dismissed for different reasons; meanwhile the Sporting Lisbon top I bought on holiday when I was eleven proved nothing short of useless, much like Sporting Lisbon.
But then I went to Firhill and had an epiphany.

As a Londoner raised in Glasgow with undeniably dubious ties to Manchester I was, for all my pre pubescent posturing, a member of the dreaded prawn sandwich brigade. City may be losing to Wigan but they still represented the glitzy Premier League, miles away from both my area and my own kind.

So what could be more hipster than switching allegiances to my local team and forming a true, intimate, personal connection with them? Whilst I don’t honestly go around wondering what’s the most ‘hipster’ thing to be doing – contrary to popular belief – it dovetails nicely.

Many Partick Thistle fans in the North Stand appeared to dress out of Byres Road’s myriadvintage stores. Sheepskin coats, desert boots, 80s Adidas. My kind of people. Similarities don’t end with my fashion sense.
The draw of Manchester City in the first place was stupid kits, stupid hair and stupid history;maverick playershopeless players; fans loyal to the end of the earth and back; a mawkish black humour keeping spirits up; an anti-establishment agenda; superior neighbours; underdog status; intense mediocrity; and a history of winning sweet fuck all with spectacularly competence.

Doesn’t that all sound just a wee bit familiar to those down Maryhill Road?

Manchester City will always be those things for me and generations of other Blues. Mansour’s millions have given us all a welcome break from the bullshit. Aguero’s 93rd minute goal against Queens Park Rangers last May did indeed send me into fits of delirious tears. Finally it seemed, the heartache and long old slog – 8-1 away at Middlesborough.. away at Middlesborough!! – was worth it. Everything following, however, was flat and unsatisfying in comparison.
If anything though my disillusionment has shown me exactly why I went into the business of football supporting. Much like the way cinema goers find their emotions reflected back at with unsettling clarity in the movie theatre, you get back from football what you put in. Emotional investment.

Perhaps it goes then that an oddball, vain and socially frustrated nine year old slightly too clever for his own good was always going to attach himself to Manchester City circa 2005. We pick our football teams in line with our identities. That’s the point of them. If we have one already, that’s perfect – get your Old Firm shirt, you’re bottle of Mad Dog and your criminal record from cashier one. If we don’t, we have to craft it ourselves.

Firhill is my home for the next season.


One thought on “Hipster Heartache

  1. Pingback: NEAR POST – HIPSTER FOOTBALL TEAMS | No Standing

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