In this wonderful piece Brian Phillips claims he is here to save your life. While that may be a stretch, he does speak bucket-loads of sense.

The modern football fan accepts their teams faults (in some cases they celebrate them), but reacts with “furious anger” to any slight from an opposing team (the depth of this anger grows exponentially when it’s their local rivals).

The problem is (and again, I’m not the first person to notice this) that for a lot of people, that rage-tap is getting harder and harder to shut off. Anger is increasingly becoming a default element in how people interact with the games they follow

We’ve probably all experienced this at some stage, whether we are the angry party, or merely in the same county as one. A knee-high foul goes unpunished — the referee is biased; a marginal offside call — the assistant is biased; a blatant dive wins a penalty — the perpetrator is more evil than unicorn hunters.

Rather than accepting these calls as part of the game, supporters go in search of evidence to support their beliefs that their team is being targeted. Soon, they are in conspiracy theory mode, a slip is dive, inches are miles, and two or three players becomes the entire team.

… soccer has devolved into a realm a little like politics, a realm where fans’ access to preconceived explanations that suit their emotional allegiances is drowning reality out of the discourse.

Rather than trying to apply any common sense, they react sub-consciously, fueled by the ever greedy media-machine, and leap to join their army of equally deluded peers.

The problem is that by doing so, you condemn yourself to a life of always being at least a little angry about a thing you supposedly love, a life of storing up slights and spinning them into bitter little stories, a life of basically hostile, suspicious, and un-fun commitment to a thing that only exists to give you joy.

Ask yourself, does football make you happy or angry? If it’s angry, maybe it’s you that needs to change and not the game.