Taken by Nina on her wedding day. Lymm, Cheshire March 2014 View image

Being a fan of something, be it a football team, an actor, a band or just about anything, is to have a deep emotional involvement with the subject of that fandom. lt makes us feel part of that particular tribe of devotees. It can even help you in your professional and person life!

Being a fan of something can literally change your life!

I’ve put my fanatic behaviour down to the fact I’m naturally pretty emotional and tribal. I love the association with a tribe that you believe in, the fact that it is really emotional and you can openly feel the highs and lows when you find a football team (or any sport) or band you can associate with.

The association goes beyond “like”- it is that you value what they value, the connection is at a deeper level, there is something special that binds you together, sounds corny, but they become part of your family, your identity, your community.

It also has a level of stress that is addictive; the technical term is eustress and it's good stress.  I think of it as a stress workout, if stress was a muscle then being a fan makes sure it gets a 360 boot camp!

Football is a global community with a global language. Barriers are broken down the minute you can talk in a language that crosses all cultures and feel the emotion that every other fan has felt.

I’m a Manchester City fan so I’m an expert in eustress, endless highs and lows.  My dad is a Manchester United fan, so that stress has been well worked between us over the years.  Football is part of my life and has been since I first went to Junior Blues many blue moons ago.  It’s not just a hobby, it helped my International career no end, being a girl that can talk football removes all barriers wherever you are!

Why?

Football is a global community with a global language. Barriers are broken down the minute you can talk in a language that crosses all cultures and feel the emotion that every other fan has felt. There is a connection that you have, even though you have only just met and might not have anything else in common.

It’s not just sport…

Let’s take music and my fandom of The Stone Roses.  I didn’t go to Spike Island (my sisters went without me) and had never seen The Stone Roses live, I always seemed to miss them. I live in the same village as Ian Brown but I’d never seen him, he’d always just left the pub when I walked in, and when tickets for the reunion went on sale, I was mid-air going to Australia – I just wasn’t meant to see them.

The Stone Roses get back together!

They always said they would reunite when Man City won the Premiership (sarcastic red response of course) but in 2012, they did (City in heart stopping fan drama) and at the last minute I bought a ticket on Ebay to go to the opening night at Heaton Park in Manchester (more heart stopping fan drama).

The next day I flew to Portugal with my head full of that amazing concert. That reunion wasn’t just about 4 guys getting on stage and playing some music. It was about reliving an era and reconnecting with people who were there too.

Now a field of 40 & 50 somethings, mostly married with kids and sensible jobs – all could be forgotten as we touched a time when Manchester ruled the world with its music and the crazy individuals that made that happen. The ability to touch and move people in that way is something I will always be in awe of and something the corporate world could learn from in bucket (hats).

When a big moment happens, as a fan you just want to talk about it with someone who also gets it. I was in a bar in Portugal when a guy in the bar put a Stone Roses track on, I turned straight round to tell him I was at the amazing gig the night before.

That guy is now my husband, Chris, and of course we had The Stone Roses and Manchester City as part of our wedding.

As for Ian Brown, I saw him on the morning of our wedding, told him our whole story and he loved it, even got a selfie to prove it. There is a special magic that comes with being a fan that shouldn’t be missed, try it, you never know where it will lead you.

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