Fan ignores football ‘tribalism’ with touching tribute to late father


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One of the things which sets football apart from most other sports popular in Britain is the ridiculous degree of segregation fans inflict upon themselves on match days.

Apparently, there are days on the calendar when a select group of other human beings become one’s mortal enemy. Unfortunately, some ‘supporters’ are even willing to go as far as to verbally and physically attack strangers for affiliating themselves with a football team who happen to be playing their football team that day, or week, or soonish.

No instance of this tribalism is as telling as that between two local rivals – especially when it means households, families and neighbourhoods undergo a brief divide which, inexplicably, isn’t always civil or in jest.

But when the exception proves the rule, in this instance the result turns out to be one of the nicer things you will have read recently.

An anonymous Newcastle supporter made the trip down to Wembley at the weekend for the League Cup final between Sunderland and Manchester City.

That sentence itself will raise eyebrows, based on the ‘laws’ of football support touched upon above.

However, it turns out this man knows a thing or two about how football rivalries can temporarily divide households – or at least, he did.

This Magpies man’s father was a devout Sunderland fan who was in possession of a ticket for his team’s showdown with City’s all-star side, until he unfortunately passed away recently.

His son then made the decision, despite his Newcastle ties, to travel South and attend the match with his father’s ticket – even sporting a Sunderland shirt with ‘4 U DAD’ printed on the back.

Sunderland took the lead early on at Wembley but were overpowered in an eventual 3-1 defeat to City.

The fan’s story and picture was made known via Twitter. Had it been revealed prior to kick-off, there may well have been even more of us casting our own allegiances aside to root on the underdogs than there already were.

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