Football is now a global sport, a sport of billions as they say. But the opinions of ‘foreign fans’ are often undervalued in social media.
I am a Chelsea fan – but this isn’t about the club I support or even the country I come from.
I originate from a South Asian country sandwiched between India and China. There is no reason why football should be the most popular sport in my homeland. My neighbors India follow Cricket like a religion; China is more interested in athletics.
For some reason, though, football is embedded in roots of every Nepali.
I grew up in a city very close to India. Naturally, I loved cricket at first. I idolized Sachin Tendulkar.
My instant connection with Frank Lampard
But the World Cup of 2006 made me love a player that played for Chelsea. Frank Lampard was all I knew – yet, it was enough.
I began following football more closely and began studying the game. The history books were opened, and pages were turned to find more about the club.
I started watching TV programs to learn more about the game. I read articles from reputed journalists all around the world.
The desire to know everything I could made me more informed about football – and the game became a part of my life along with the club.
The inner me considered myself a football fan first and then Chelsea – but it was subject to a world of two paradoxes.
One love, one club
I could have chosen any other club in the world. I could easily switch allegiance whenever I wanted considering; am neither from London or nor was I born supporting Chelsea. Fandom, support and passion work a different way, though.
My story is synonymous to a lot of fans all around the world. For some reason, though, the local fans seem to believe we are less passionate about our club just because we weren’t born in the same city.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the sentiments. The local fans have spent far more money and time on the club on the pitch than I have – and it is something I appreciate.
At the same time, I envy their privilege to get to support the team week in week out. I wish I had the same opportunities to root for the club I love tightly.
A global sport
One day, I will surely be at Stamford Bridge vying for the Blues. However, I won’t be able to watch them for a whole season considering I am not English and neither will I be working in England shortly.
But, I am a part of a Chelsea community which has grown past the select few English fans.
Football is now a global sport – and my opinion counts as valuable as anyones. So, don’t put a slate remark like “You’re not even from England” or “I don’t think you’re a Catalan” just because we are miles away from the club. In our hearts, we love the club as much as you do and we have a right to support our club as much as anyone else in the world.