I've wanted to for a while talk about a rather peculiar phenomenon that I've found while perusing many different websites for a long time about Liverpool. Specifically, I found that most fan attitudes can be grouped into three different groups: the Apologists, the Critics, and the Pragmatists. I find it incredible, because this doesn't just apply to Liverpool; it applies to every team out there, for every single sport. I simply wanted to share my findings and thoughts with you all.
There are many articles out there that will tell you all about sports fans: which sport fan you are, what the different types are, that there are as many types of sports fans as sports, such as the Glory Chaser, the Front Runner, the Pink Hat, the Devotee, the Rabid Fan, the Casual Fan, the Super Violent Fan, the Real Fan, the Blind Follower, the Coach, the Teacher, the Statistician, the Uncle Rico, yadda yadda yadda. I can go on and on about that. Everyone who is reading this post, however, already falls into the category that I am targeting: the committed fan. But inside this category, there are 3 types of fan. They don’t have to do with pregame preparation, amount of games you attend, or the amount of money that you spend. No, they simply describe the attitudes and personalities of committed fans towards the manager. And this applies everywhere, but I’ve noticed that it applies perfectly here, on this website. And every single type of fan is legitimate: they are truly committed fans that love the team like any other. They just show it in different ways.
The first type of committed fans are the Apologists: those who, no matter who the manager is, love their team and will love their manager, whoever it is. These fans acknowledge criticism when it is placed on the team, but will never go any farther than that. They will never call for the head of the manager; they will never call for changes in the formations, the starters, the assistants, etc. See, they will accept criticism where it is due, but hesitate to criticize the team. They speak up for the team at every opportunity and only focus on the positive aspects and usually downplay any negatives that come up because to them that is irrelevant. What is important is "we are the best team to play for, we are the most fun team to watch, we are the team everyone should root for!" But they will never show their back on the squad, because those are their men, and gosh darn it, they’re going to enjoy every second of it. And nothing needs to change because they believe that it will get better if they give it enough time. And that is perfectly fine.
The second type of fan is almost the polar opposite. They are the Critics, and you never change them. Ever. If you win 3-0 it should have been 7-0, if you win the league you should have the treble. Those fans consistently call for the firing of the manager, not necessarily because they don’t like him, but because they want the team to succeed so badly that they are willing to go by (almost) any means necessary to succeed. If a player doesn’t have a good game, it’s the manager’s fault. If they concede a goal in the final minute, it’s the manager’s fault. If they don’t win the game, it’s the manager’s fault. The manager is always going to be the scapegoat for this type of fan, because he loves the team so much that he is going to avoid placing the blame on the players as much as possible, because they are his guys and they are going to win him games and they are going to be loyal and they are going to be the best dang person they can be. And that is perfectly fine.
The final type of fans are the Pragmatists: those supporters who will accept the manager, but to earn their respect he will have to be successful to get these fans on board with what he’s doing. And the managers know this. They know that they have to bring in results to win over the fan base. They know that it won’t come easy. And they know that if it doesn’t work, they can kiss their buttocks goodbye. These fans are always cautious about a manager in the beginning, since they don’t know what he is capable or not capable of. They love the team as much as the previous two types of fans, but they don’t immediately make a decision on the coaching one way or another. The jury is out until the manager has either proven himself to be capable of attaining the results that fans want, or has proven that he can’t live up to those measures. And even then, if the team starts to regress or progress under the coaching, the opinions formed can change. This fan can and will change his opinion on the manager’s ability to continue to lead the team. And that is perfectly fine.
I've never had a problem with any of these fans; in fact, I'd consider all of them my friends. I personally consider myself a pragmatist (I didn't think it was a great idea to sack Brendan Rodgers unless they could get Jürgen Klopp as his replacement, which thankfully they did, and it was entirely a gamble that paid off in the highest of dividends), but I know many others who fall into all three of these categories. And this doesn't just apply to Liverpool fans, this applies to Arsenal fans, Everton fans, PSG fans, Juventus fans, Green Bay Packers fans, Chicago Cubs fans, Alabama fans, Miami Heat fans, etc. The list goes on. I simply find it remarkable that every fan can be grouped into one of these three categories.
As I've said before, I love all of our Liverpool fans. I wouldn't give up on this team for the world, and I'm proud to call you all fellow Reds. YNWA.