I am not "West 'am". No matter how much I love the team I have never and would never fight for its name. Whatever that means. My relationship is with the team and the team alone. I am not a supporter. I am a fan.
When I've been to matches I've felt conscious of people around me. But I get so lost in the game that what they're saying or doing doesn't interest me in the slightest. Chants are background noise. I'm there but it's as if I'm watching it on tv. I feel tuned in to what's going on on the pitch and I block out everything else. Even the annoying bloke with the loud voice in the row behind me.
I am a fan. A supporter is a different animal. He or she feels at one with their fellow supporters. At its extreme, this feeling translates into a violent pride in their own people and an antipathy towards others. All the more so if the others are as close as family. Family who choose to wrap themselves in a different flag.
All this bollocks about going back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s! Proud allegiance has always been and always will be dark.
Wave a flag and you've got blood on your hands.
2 hours ago