There are other people, you know

Along comes the third autumn test, this time England versus New Zealand, and I’m reminded why I find fair-weather supporters irksome. When I say ‘fair-weather’ I don’t mean clement weather, and when I say ‘supporters’ I don’t mean those who watch from the stands on a wet and windy afternoon – I’m not that hardy; rather I mean those who watch on television.

No, I refer to the blokes who only seem interested in the sport when the team is doing well, which should probably be known as Reflected Glory Syndrome, or something like it. The sport in question is rugby, by the way, if that wasn’t clear.

Along I popped, then, to the pub – I do not have Sky TV – and I could barely move for the bodies, most of whom were students, cluttering up my television room. That’s right, so uncluttered is the place usually that I see it as my alternate TV room. It’s been fine the last two weeks. I could even make it to the bar for a packet of peanuts. But it was definitely not fine this week.

They all turned up, practically every student in the city, barging and putting their heads right in front of the screen, seemingly oblivious to the presence of anyone else who might want to watch the game. It’s not on, really it isn’t.

The problem, however, is not that they were there. I welcome genuine supporters. The problem is that half this lot didn’t seem all that genuine. They only seemed to have turned up because the English were on a bit of a roll and looked as if they might be able to beat New Zealand again (although they did not). And because they’re fair-weather supporters they didn’t mind obscuring my view of the screen, which, of course, is the thing I find irksome.


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