‘Glory hunter’; a term used to dismiss football fans, predominantly on Twitter, which is, of course, not representative of match-going fans. Many Stretford Enders or Kopites won’t be found on Twitter.
But, really, there’s nothing wrong with being a glory hunter; which is, after all, simply supporting a club from a different place. Now, changing football teams to suit the time – the traditional joke being, and this is a direct quote, “quite a few empty seats at City…probably as they have all become Chelsea fans again…” – is obviously wrong. That is a glory hunter. Supporting Man United from Asia, Chelsea from the United States or Liverpool from Australia isn’t being a glory hunter, they’re not worse fans because of where they live. You’re not a better United fan if you live in Salford than if you live in Singapore.
There are people who slate foreign fans of Premier League sides without even considering why they support the club. Of course, success plays a part. But the reason they don’t support Tranmere Rovers is because the team on TV is Man United or Liverpool, the best teams in the country are shown. Now, every Premier League side is shown, but historically it was the top sides exclusively. A six-year-old from Malaysia only watching United is going to support United, that’s what anyone would do.
There are others who support the best team, they’re glory hunters. Many will be drawn in by the success of a club, but become fans who care deeply and passionately just as much as your standard English fan.
Foreign supporters often put much more effort than English ones
Singaporean United fans are often more of a “fan”, as the ridiculous and unknown definition of a fan goes, than someone in Salford or Trafford. Just like United’s away support set their alarms for 6AM to travel down to Southampton, the foreign support are getting up at 3AM to watch their team on TV. Doing that every week is showing more commitment than some Mancunian Reds.
— Ƒαяα Ƥσѕкιтт (@FaraIsle) April 11, 2017
English football fans tend to take a lot for granted; they simply assume that England should be the best side in the world, and are often deluded about the quality of the Premier League. On this topic, they take everything for granted. One foreign United fan on a club forum said, a few years ago, “You guys are lucky to have gone to Old Trafford.” He’s right.
Sure, walking down the Warwick Road from your house, getting the tram, that’s all part of your experience as a Red. But there are people who would give an arm to have that every week. Not only would they, but there are many saving up for years to come to Old Trafford, or Anfield or elsewhere, for one game. For one single game. And that hasn’t stopped while United have temporarily fallen from the top of football.
Some ‘glory hunters’ spend £1000 on one match
Think about it if you’re one of these English fans. Would you spend £1000 to go and see United or your team? This writer wouldn’t even consider paying such an extraordinary sum of money to go and see United at home to Hull City.
Finances is another argument why you should appreciate the foreign support. You may not like it, but top clubs’ foreign support make the club. Without it, Paul Pogba wouldn’t have been signed, Man United couldn’t afford Zlatan Ibrahimović’s wages.
There’ll be people who criticise foreign fans because they buy everything branded by the club; the mug, the phone case, the headphones, screwdriver (yes, these exist). Great. They do that because that’s their way of supporting the side. They can’t come to Old Trafford, they can’t leave their house an hour before kick-off and be at the ground.
One comment from a foreign supporter on a United forum said, “be thankful for what you have and don’t shove it in our faces.”
Too many self-righteous fans attacking ‘glory hunters’
These self-righteous fans who call anyone not from their area glory hunters are new. Just like how ‘glory hunters’ are new with modern football. But they’re not. Thousands of global football fans were drawn to United by the mystic of the club after the Munich Air Disaster. Since then, they’ve supported the club through the miserable 1970s and 1980s.
For United fans, it used to be “all as one” against Leeds, Liverpool and Man City. Now it seems there is a group of insecure fans with a superiority complex. They slate both the foreign fans for their support and Man City for spending hundreds of millions with “oil money”. Then they rejoice that United buy Pogba with money generated by the club, by the fans in Asia and elsewhere. The irony.
How can these fans not be proud that their club attracts fans from all over the world? That their club can attract fans who spend thousands to watch United once while they waltz into the ground taking everything for granted? Fans like this are much weaker supporters than those who would give anything to see United.