I tried this last year with Jack Grealish to no success. But never one to shy away from failure, I am here to try my hand again at speaking a transfer into existence for Arsenal. This time it's with one of my favorite players, Frenkie De Jong.
The Six Worst Fanbases in Soccer
I am fully prepared to seem like a hater for putting together this list in the order I have, but I must speak my mind. These fans can't keep getting away with it. From my perspective, here are the six worst fanbases in the game. Keyword, "my," so please, if you think I missed a team, write to your local congress man or woman and forgive me.
6. Manchester City
I don't blame Guardiola or the players for that Champions League collapse at the hands of Real Madrid; I blame the Manchester City fans. City go up 1-0 within a few minutes of the first leg and the energy in the stadium is average. Real Madrid make a minor comeback, City extends the lead back to two goals, and the noise level is mid, with most of the fans still sitting. To be fair, they've done this to themselves by expanding as a club too quickly. I don't doubt that there are real Manchester City fans out there, there are, it's just that they're drowned out by millions of bandwagon fans who have no real passion for the club. It creates an atmosphere where Manchester City fans reek of insecurity. They steal celebration from smaller clubs; they bite back at Guardiola for asking them for more passionate support; and they are guilty for creating the kind of atmosphere that doesn't allow the club to push on in key European moments. Maybe it'll change one day, but for now, Manchester City fans that attend the stadium might be the worst thing the club has going for them.
5. Manchester United
This team has the most toxic social media fanbase in soccer. They're constantly creating viral videos making fun of their own players, they have unrealistic expectations for their players to perform right away, and I hate to say it, but, as I wrote, I sense a bit of xenophobia disguised as passion in their criticism of the Glazer family. Off the top of my head, I can name five players the club's fans have outcasted at one point or the other: Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard . . . Alright, I lied, I got to four, but you get my point. This is also the most passion-merchant fan base of all the clubs. The fans lack any legitimate soccer knowledge, so if you run around the field and throw in a few hard tackles, you're well on your way to a club legend. "The players just don't want it enough." "Back in the Fergie days they would have fought for the jersey." "The guys quit in those last 10 minutes. They have no love for the badge." These are some of the generic passion-merchant phrases you'll get from these fans, and I'm tired of it and the way they treat their players.
4. Real Madrid
Ewwwwwww. Only this fanbase could boo and outcast Gareth Bale for his injury history despite giving them multiple iconic cup-final moments to go along with 14 trophies and more goals and assists than Zidane had for the club. But then again, they've also booed Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Chunky Ronaldo, Raul, and Zidane, amongst many. The fact that the players still care for the fanbase should be documented by Harvard University as an expert example of Stockholm Syndrome. Those fans have abused and battered their own players for so long that they've learned to love it. Not me, though. These fans need humbling.
3. Zenit St. Petersburg
Anytime a club signs a black player and a section of its fanbase displays a banner saying the club shouldn't sign black players, you've earned a Willy-Wonka-esque golden ticket to this list. Add that those same fans later came out and said they weren't racist, just wanted to uphold tradition, and man, it's tough to see how they weren't first.
It's hard to top Zenit, but the most racist club in England does it. And no, that's not hyperbole either. A study released in 2015 found that of all the clubs in England, Chelsea fans were the most involved in racist incidents on train rides to and from games. To be fair, most Chelsea fans aren't racist; it's a small percentage. But like, you know, only a small percentage of snakes are poisonous, but there's a ton of snakes in the world, so a small percentage of venomous snakes is still a f-ton of venomous snakes, so they have done enough to earn a generalized reputation that snakes are venomous. I'm not sure where I was going with that one either, but thanks for completing that journey with me. Either way, Chelsea might be the most villainous club in soccer. With a former owner allegedly dabbling in war crimes and a well-earned reputation as the most racist club in England, it'll take a GOAT-like performance to beat the Chelsea allegations.
1. All of the Serie A
Yup, that's right. All of the Serie A, the whole league, is wilding out consistently. Do I start with the monkey chants black players constantly receive? Or do I start with the racist anti-racism (I hope I said that right) posters the league released last year? Or do I start with the picture the official Juventus Women's Twitter account posted and quickly apologized for of a player wearing a large red cone and pulling her eyes into slits, to supposedly mimic an Asian person? Ooh, you know what, I know where to start! In 2019, Romelu Lukaku was racially abused by Cagliari fans when they made monkey chants at him after he scored a goal. But wait, it gets worse. A group from his own fan base, Inter Milan Ultras, released a statement directed at Lukaku that the monkey chants were not racist and even said they were sorry that he wrongfully thought he experienced racism. They clarified that the monkey chants weren't because the opposing fans were racist, they were because the fans wanted to cheer on their team and distract the other team's best players. That's expert-level gaslighting. I told you it'd be tough to beat the Chelsea fanbase, but by binding together to create their own special culture of racism, Italian teams were able to bond together and beat the odds ❤️.
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