The first time I heard the phrase “passive aggressive” was in The Smurfs film in 2011. Passive Aggressive Smurf, however, did not actually surface until the sequel in 2013. He was described by Smurfette as a nice Smurf but he always leaves you feeling bad when finish talking to him.
For the benefit of those of you who have not seen The Smurfs Movie, and those who don’t understand what “passive aggressiveness” is, I will try to explain this relatively new phenomenon, and what it’s relevance is.
Passive Aggressive (according to the Oxford Dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/passive-aggressive )
Of or denoting a type of behaviour or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation.
Ok. So what does that mean? And why am I so bothered about it?
Initially, I was going to call this article “Rise Of The Superfan” like Rise Of the Foot Soldier, as it too started with football (as opposed to the crime, violence, murderous intent and drug trafficking which it finished with – watch the first film, the other two weren’t so good). Once I started writing however, I realised that what I am describing is simply a sad indictment of the times that we are living in. A incogniscent society where people happily hide behind their little safety shield of the hashtag, not revealing their real identity and not accepting any personal responsibility for their 140 characters of indirect confrontational attention seeking.
It has become the socially acceptable norm now, for people behind their hashtag safety curtain to spout self righteous drivel in order to set their own little power dynamic going. I wish I could just blame it on the snowflake millenial generation, but even the older ones are doing it now. Some of these are well educated individuals, with sensible and responsible jobs or positions and families who would be shocked at their language. But once that little blue bird takes over, all the common sense flies out of the window.
Once those little piggies start tippy tappying, the whole of the universe gets put aside in the tirade of self absorbed blustering conflabulation. After all everyone is entitled to my opinion.
So what has this got to do with football, I hear you say?
I was sent a Twitter screenshot of someone calling someone else a “Superfan”. But Superfan wasn’t meant in the nice normal way, like in Superman or Super sized or Super Duper. When I think of Super, I think of something as being first class, outstanding, excellent, marvellous, magnificent etc. But the context that this word “Superfan” was being used was actually in a derogatory manner. It actually read that being a “Superfan” meant that you were in some way glorifying or basking in the limelight of being haughtily more superior than any other fan. The context in which it was used implied that a “Superfan” was actually something not very good at all.
The context was, believe it or not, getting away tickets… yes that old chestnut.
The less than 140 character whinge was basically stating anyone should be allowed to get an away ticket, regardless of the length of time that they had been “supporting” Leeds United. Contentious issue – yes. The discussion about how “loyal” someone is rarely makes any sense. Especially when the conversation is between people who have spent most of their entire lives/money/time traipsing up and down the country versus people who have only decided to come to a game since we have started to play well.
Truth hurts doesn’t it?
In the true spirit of this piece on passive aggressiveness, I should be saying “Sorry – not sorry” (I think).
This is passive aggressiveness. Where the way that some speaks to you, or indeed writes, although in the literal sense is ok, actually is quite the opposite and it leaves you with the impossible task of working out what the appropriate response should be. It’s all a bit uncomfortable. The tone is purposefully confrontational. It’s deliberately done to demand a response, but because it is indirect, how do you respond?
My initial response was F*** Off, you thick as s**t bandwagon jumper, but I calmed down quickly as I know that once I resort to name calling, the argument is lost.
I realised that this wasn’t the first time I had heard the phrase “Superfan”.
We all know about “celebrity” Leeds fans. That bloke from James, the one from Stereophonics, the one from the Office, Father Dougal, Colin Montgomerie and most of the Swedish tennis players in the 90s. We also know of Leeds fans who have written books, risked being interviewed on the telly or on the radio (without fearing that their words are twisted or edited to achieve the broadcasters aims) and the other familiar faces who turn up, week in, week out to games or those who come over from Ireland and Scandinavia etc. when they can and everyone turns out to say hello. Basically, just your normal fans then.
And then there are those who are on social media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, constantly seeking reassurance, by telling other people that they “really are fans”, that they are fans. Strangely enough, these people never existed in the 90’s and 2000’s, did they? Even in the heady days of The Champions League when we sold out to crowds of 38,000 plus, I can’t remember hearing a peep out of them. Where have they been in the last 10 years? Bizarre, isn’t it? Even with the old “Bates Out/Cellino Out/Orta Out” movements over the last 5 years or so, there has been little sight or sound of these “fans”. These, dear Readers, I have decided, in my opinion, are the ones who have elevated themselves to the giddy heights of Superfandom.
The fact is that the people who have dedicated their lives to following Leeds United are NOT “Superfans”. We are just normal fans. Normal fans who travel home and away to watch Leeds. In the case of those fans who can’t get to games, the ones who have a “no go” zone around them and the telly/computer/laptop/radio (delete as appropriate) from kick off until the final whistle blows.
There is nothing “super” about these people. This is what football fans do and have always done since the beautiful game came about.
To spell it out: Fans – short for fanatics.
Fanatic (according to the Oxford Dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fanatic)
1 A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.
- 1.1 informal A person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for a particular activity.
Most Leeds United fans can be described as being filled with excessive single-mindedness about watching the team, and do have an obsessive interest or enthusiasm. Most of us would give an arm and a leg to go watch the team, supporting them, getting behind the team and the coach 100%, never booing them off the pitch, staying to the final whistle, whatever the day of the week, whatever the time of the day, 1st team, reserves and the youth team.
Here is the polarizing comment, drum roll please…… not all Leeds United fans are as fanatical as the next.
Not all Leeds United fans can turn up anytime, any place, anywhere (like a Martini…look it up younger readers). Not all Leeds United fans actually go and watch the team at Elland Road, let alone away (especially not these last few games). Not all Leeds United fans would sacrifice their jobs, money, family time and health to follow Leeds. Some have higher priorities, like putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads. I completely commend them and I cannot, and will not, pass judgement on these people.
I do know people that can, and do, however. I do know people that have completely dedicated their lives to Leeds United, with single-minded zeal, obsessive interest and enthusiasm over the last half a century. The same faces who I see at most games, bringing their kids and their grandkids, their nephews and nieces and other halves over the years. The same ones who bring along friends, and friends’ friends and their families spreading the Leeds United gospel. The same ones who when they disappear abroad, still try to come back to the odd game or two. The same ones who aren’t from these shores, but love Leeds United so much they come to every game they can.
I am pretty sure fans followed Leeds United relentlessly around the country (and the world) through the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s but thanks to the absence of social media, only their friends and fellow supporters knew about it. Following Leeds United is not a new thing. It is and was the DONE thing, and no one ever needed to make a song and dance about it, until now of course. This is what it was like that before the advent of social media and how it will be once the likes of Twitter etc. have left this mortal coil. Being a Leeds United fan is NOT a new thing.
Publicly declaring how much of a Leeds United fan you are, well that is a new thing.
Not considering other fans feelings when you are publicly declaring how much of a fan you are, that is a new thing.
Telling people that they don’t deserve to continue to watch the Club they love and have devoted their lives to for the last 40 years, that is a new thing.
Telling people that just because they have given up most of their life following Leeds United, it doesn’t make them any better than you, that is a new thing.
Telling people that you deserve a ticket over the people who have spent years slowly, painfully and patiently building up their loyalty by going to the crap midweek long away games in the middle of winter, when no one else will go, that is a new thing. Yes – that is how everyone starts!
Assuming that the number of “likes” and “smiley faces” you receive when you are typing your nonsense makes you a better person, that is a new thing.
Checking on your device every 2 minutes, desperate for your dose of positive reinforcement “smiley face” or “thumbs up” gratification, that is a new thing.
Thinking you have the right to be abusive and resorting to name calling to get your own way, like a spoilt child, that is a new thing.
Thinking that you have the right to dismiss others because you shout the loudest (or TYPE IN CAPITALS), that is a new thing. (ok – not new, everyone hates a gobs**te)
Here endeth the passive aggressiveness.
As it says in The Disclaimer, you are free to stop reading this at any time (especially if you feel hurt by my words). No one is making you do anything right now. You can fume all you like and then block me or my posts. I really don’t care.
What I care about is the sad truth that I (and many of my friends) am being stopped from doing what I have done for more than half my lifetime, by people who basically have come along for the ride. Todays highlight at Elland Road, “You’re in my seat mate” , “No, these are our seats” , “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you – that’s my season ticket seat”. Says it all doesn’t it?
I know there are some moderates in the Twitteratti and Noseybook Land, but there are also some right idiots, this is aimed at them.
I was following Leeds United when we were crap in the 80s, when we got better in the 90s, when we over achieved in the 2000s and then fell flat on our arses halfway through. I was there in the dark days of Division 3 football and I am here now. I will be still here next season, and the season after and long after the rest of you part timers have cleared off, chasing down your next glory seeking project.
The time for mincing words has long passed.
I will Always be Leeds, I will Always be Loyal.
Where were you when we were crap? Not just in the last ten years either, where were you at Preston, Villa, Cardiff and Hull last season?
I can tell you where you weren’t.