Confessions of a Football Hipster

Only a few months ago, I became aware that I fall into the category of being a football hipster. I was horrified to learn that I was one of those people that I despise. Football hipsters have always been around. They are easily identifiable. They wear obscure jerseys (River Plate anyone?) and adore unusual players who traditionally shouldn’t be popular. But just what makes someone want to be a football hipster and why am I one myself? I wish I knew. This piece will explain the traits and methods of a football hipster.

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The internet has been a major catalyst in more and more people becoming football hipsters. The ability to create a blog has driven the trend more than anything else. Blogging has given football fans who don’t even have an opinion a chance to mimic the opinion of someone who has an one. Everyone is a journalist now, but not your everyday hack, people specialise in the most obscure football subjects. You’re thinking La Liga? No chance, more like blogs on Romanian left backs from the 1970’s.

Twitter is another prime reason for the rise of football hipsters. Along with blogging, twitter helps drive the fad. Everyone must know everything, denounce the norm, be one step ahead of the trend. Social media creates a platform for anyone to talk about how bad their team played. Maybe it’s just that now, because hipsters are expressing their views to a larger audience that people are now more aware of football hipsters.

Many view hipsters as a plague on the game, including me. Unaware to the fact that I am a football hipster, I slate them at any given opportunity. It’s odd, I despise football hipsters, yet I portray so many of the traits. Irish football website Balls.ie recently wrote an article on the top 25 football hipster traits. Some of my favourites were; ‘Buy Inverting The Pyramid. Read it cover to cover. Take shorthand notes to remember important terms like catenaccio, regista and trequartista,’ ‘Set up a blog. Write 4000 word pieces on how Falcao scores and stuff. Tweet every football journalist on twitter and ask for a RT’, or my personal favourite ‘Assert that this Barcelona team is decent but nowhere near as good as Sacchi’s Milan’.

One of the more recent hipster movements was when Real Oviedo began selling shares online. This gave football hipsters a chance to be different to your average fan. They now had the opportunity to part own a football club. I was one who bought shares in Real Oviedo being unaware that I was following a hipster movement. Am I ashamed? No, I merely embrace the life of a football hipster.

As with any trend, there are different severity levels of how far people are willing to push to be individualistic. They refuse to watch the Premier League or La Liga simply because they are too mainstream. Instead, they watch the Belgian League and the Brazilian league, or the Brasileirao as they’ll point out its proper name. Gladly, this is not something that I have to concede to admitting. (I’m not that bad, yet!)

There once was a time when having a Napoli jersey sufficed as being obscure, but not any more. Sydney FC or even a Corinthians jersey would qualify as a hipster jersey these days. (Thus why Pitchside follows Sydney these days) Hipsters are growing to be more ridiculous all the time and are becoming more extreme by the day, or so it seems.

Football hipsters love the Bundesliga and say that it is far better than a league in England or Spain. Atletic Bilbao is another favourite for a football hipster. In fact anything that is not the norm is a hipster movement in my view. That’s not saying that individualism isn’t good, it’s just that trying to be different for the sake of it is just plain stupid.

The only exception to the rule that hipsters favour things aren’t the most popular is Lionel Messi. Even hipsters agree than Lionel Messi is nothing short of magnificent. It’s not Lionel Messi though, it’s just Leo!

Nick-naming players and managers on just their initials is another trait that is just ridiculous in my view. AVB and RVP instead of Andre Villas Boas or Robin Van Persie just don’t fit in football. That’s something I’d expect to see in a sport like basketball.

Sergio Busquets is a huge favourite among football hipsters as is Hugely under-rated South Korean playmaker Yoo Chang-hyun of Pohang Steelers . I urge people to lay off football hipsters. They are just trying to be individuals. This is obviously difficult because football is such a global game. Hipsters are misunderstood in my view. Many find them unbelievably irritating and this may be true. The commercialisation of the game is hated by both hipster and normal football fan alike and I’m sure that both believe that Sky have ruined football, but that’s another matter altogether.

Ps, Jurgen Klopp is god.

Jamie Connor

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Nearly But Not Quite // Manchester United F.C. – November

Fulham 1-3 Manchester United:

United recorded their most convincing win so far this season in the league by scoring three first-half goals in the space of 13 minutes to blow away a struggling Fulham side. It was the first time in the league this season that we have looked convincing and had the game won by half-time, meaning an indifferent second-half performance and the consolation goal scored by Kacaniklic was irrelevant.

Performance Rating: Grade B; a performance that especially in the first-half was reminiscent of United under Fergie, battering a struggling team and having the game won by half-time – made for a relaxed second half.

Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United:

An average performance and a forgettable result to match – The only thing this game will be remembered for is another of Ashley Young’s best Tom Daley impressions, to win a penalty that van Persie missed, says it all really!

Performance Rating: Grade D; despite it being an away European tie, Sociedad are one of the weakest teams in the Champions League this season and a team you would be expecting us to beat pretty comfortably.

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal:

Super Sunday didn’t disappoint as United put in a solid performance to beat an Arsenal side that came into the match, several points clear at the top. The sort of game we had to win to stay in the title race and thankfully we did, due to van Persie making up for his midweek penalty miss by scoring a nice header from a corner.

There were to be no muted celebrations this time as RVP scored the winner against his old club.

There were to be no muted celebrations this time as RVP scored the winner against his old club.

Performance Rating: Grade A; a solid performance and the first time this season that we have beaten a team that is going to be up there, at the end of the season.

Cardiff 2-2 Manchester United:

South Wales is proving to be quite a tough place for the top teams this season, and it proved the same here as Cardiff fought back twice. Kim Bo-Kyung scored in injury time from a corner where Patrice Evra did his best impression of a plant pot. Rooney then missed a chance to win the game by trying to square the ball but his horrendous pass was seized on by the goalkeeper.

Performance Rating: Grade D; two points lost! Patrice Evra, I used to like you.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-5 Manchester United:

To beat a team like Bayer Leverkusen, by five goals away from home in Europe is a brilliant result. Qualification for the next round of the Champions League with a game to spare and by far Moyes’ best team performance as United manager to date.

Performance Rating: Grade A; Beating a team by five goals away from home in Europe, enough said!

Overall Rating: Grade B; some good results and performances from United, but we really need to kick on during December to ensure that we can at least compete for the title and secure a top four finish.

Michael Garvey

Moyes finding his feet // Manchester United – October

United headed into the month of October on the back of their worst start to a season in 24 years;  defeats in the league to Liverpool, Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion had meant new boss David Moyes found himself under increasing pressure as he struggled to maintain the standards that fans of this great club so desperately crave.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Manchester United (Champions League)

Eastern Europe is always a tough place to go and things were looking better than expected at half-time as United went into the break, 1-0 up courtesy of a Danny Welbeck goal. However Shakhtar hit back late on in the second-half through Taison. United managed only one shot on target in the whole game but would have settled for taking a point away from the Ukraine before the game. The match was also notable for Ryan Giggs who came on to make his 145th appearance in the Champions League, surpassing Raul’s record.

Performance Rating: Grade C; A gritty performance in a difficult European tie.

Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United

United went into the game on Wearside looking for their first away win in the league since the opening day win at Swansea City. Things looked bad early on in the first half when Craig Gardner seized on a defensive error to give Sunderland the lead.

Januzaj repaid Moyes faith scoring twice to knock off Sunderland. (Image Courtesy of huffingtonpost.co.uk; no copyright intended

Januzaj repaid Moyes faith scoring twice to knock off Sunderland.
(Image Courtesy of Match Photography; no copyright intended)

Half-time came round and United went in trailing to a side rooted to the bottom of the table with the Red Devils’ looking a bit worse for wear; up stepped 18 year-old Adnan Januzaj to score two goals in the second-half on his first start for the club to win us the game.

Performance Rating: Grade C+; got the result we needed, job done!

Manchester United 1-1 Southampton

Another frustrating game at Old Trafford as Southampton snatched a late equaliser, taking a point back to St. Mary’s with them in the process. Robin Van Persie gave United the lead in the first-half and we had a number of chances to kill the game off but failed to take them. Then a lapse of concentration from a corner allowed Adam Lallana to score.

Performance Rating: Grade D; Another frustrating afternoon as once again we played poorly and failed to finish the game off.

Manchester United 1-0 Real Sociedad (Champions League)

A sold, if unspectacular performance saw the Red Devils’ take the lead after two minutes through an own goal and maintain it for the rest of the game. Both sides had chances in the second-half but failed to convert them.

Performance Rating: Grade B; A good win in Europe and another step closer to qualification for the next round.

Manchester United 3-2 Stoke City

Late second-half goals from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez won the game for United as they fought back after going down twice to win the game at Old Trafford. Relief was the overriding emotion for all United fans at the final whistle as the team had looked lacklustre for long periods, but it was good to see the sort of fight-back that was trademark under Sir Alex Ferguson, giving the team a badly needed win at home.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Good to get 3 points at home, especially after coming from behind twice.

Manchester United 4-0 Norwich City (Capital One Cup)

A good comfortable win at home in the Capital One Cup, which might provide us a chance of some silverware this season. Two goals from “Chicarito” Hernandez and one each from Phil Jones and Fabio sealed a good solid win.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Good to win by four goals at home and will give the team much needed confidence.

Overall Rating: Grade B-; A solid month for the Red Devils’ after a very poor September. The main positive being staying unbeaten throughout the month, hopefully David Moyes’ team can kick on now and push towards the top of the table. Plenty of positives but still improvements to be made.

Michael Garvey