How do fans decide which team they support?

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Draftee
Jul 18, 2019
1
2
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Greater Western Sydney Giants
In Melbourne the teams are so densely distributed that it seems like every 20 minutes you drive you are entering into the "official" territory of an AFL team. Yet the MCG fills up to the rim every single game. I live on the Pakenham line and I see Richmond supporters everywhere even like down towards the very edge of the urban sprawl in the southeast. When I catch the Frankston line I see people wearing Essendon supporter's gear, and Essendon is on the complete opposite end of town.

So my question is how do people decide which team they support? For example Richmond and Hawthorn are based in the inner city and are pretty much right next to each other so their population catchment to draw fans from (from a geographical point) is tiny and wildly disproportionate to the actual number of fans they have. Supporting a team is a vastly emotional and carthartic thing and certainly not a cerebral activity where you can just say "Oh I want to support the Cats from now on" because realistically it's impossible no matter how hard you try consciously.
 

wadistance

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 17, 2011
5,238
4,772
Hamburg, DE
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
BvB, Boston Celtics
In Melbourne the teams are so densely distributed that it seems like every 20 minutes you drive you are entering into the "official" territory of an AFL team. Yet the MCG fills up to the rim every single game. I live on the Pakenham line and I see Richmond supporters everywhere even like down towards the very edge of the urban sprawl in the southeast. When I catch the Frankston line I see people wearing Essendon supporter's gear, and Essendon is on the complete opposite end of town.

So my question is how do people decide which team they support? For example Richmond and Hawthorn are based in the inner city and are pretty much right next to each other so their population catchment to draw fans from (from a geographical point) is tiny and wildly disproportionate to the actual number of fans they have. Supporting a team is a vastly emotional and carthartic thing and certainly not a cerebral activity where you can just say "Oh I want to support the Cats from now on" because realistically it's impossible no matter how hard you try consciously.

In an area with at least 6 good teams to follow, Ive had my daughter wearing BVB gear, singing the team song and drawing the logo since she can remember

Mostly it’s brainwashing. And I’m proud to say it


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bigfarter

Club Legend
Aug 15, 2009
2,890
8,324
AFL Club
Geelong
I think generally people support whoever their family/parent/friends supported when they were young. That's why you see so many embarrassing tribalistic shitfights like you do on this forum - people hear/read "(insert team) is bad" and their brain reconfigures it to "Your Dad is bad" and they fly off the handle. Only way I've ever been able to explain how weirdly argumentative people get about footy.
 

Engimal v3

https://www.stan.com.au/sport
Sep 21, 2017
10,572
22,741
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Tasmania
Dad goes for the Roos and he brainwashed my siblings and I at birth.
 

Bollox

Show Pony
Jun 29, 2006
19,655
20,847
Nthn Beaches
AFL Club
Sydney
Other Teams
BBGFC and LRGC
I know exactly how Tiges fans start.
Many in here have seen it happen, but never understood the significance. It dawned on me one day in a moment of clarity.

I was down in Hobart many moons ago and went to pick up one of my nephews at preschool on a hill up behind Salamanca. As I walked toward the place I could hear that beautiful sound of kids laughing and playing, and saw a whole bunch running amok in animal costumes, pretending to be those animals with noises and such. Very cute, but I could see a few of the boys were arguing over who should be the Tiger. The Tiger seemed to be the one all the kids wanted to be. The Lion was popular but nowhere near the Tiger. All the kids wanted to run around and making growling noises as a tiger.

The mystery was finally solved.
They never really grow up.
 

GUMBLETRON

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 1, 2008
14,724
17,259
NASA
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Coburg
I think generally people support whoever their family/parent/friends supported when they were young. That's why you see so many embarrassing tribalistic s**tfights like you do on this forum - people hear/read "(insert team) is bad" and their brain reconfigures it to "Your Dad is bad" and they fly off the handle. Only way I've ever been able to explain how weirdly argumentative people get about footy.
That and people without a lot else going on connect their self worth to the team they support.
 

Unique Name

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 16, 2014
10,229
23,049
AFL Club
Fremantle
My family moved over from Manchester, England back in 99. In a two team town we were massive Man Utd fans. United were successful and City were rubbish.

So when we arrived in WA we were all told about the mighty successful Eagles and how s**t the Dockers were. We decided to see how the other side lives and support the underdog. I was 12 yrs old... 20yrs later Freo still haven't had any success but thank God I'm not an Eagles supporter.
 

Numero Uno

Club Legend
Mar 28, 2019
2,645
3,937
AFL Club
West Coast
My family moved over from Manchester, England back in 99. In a two team town we were massive Man Utd fans. United were successful and City were rubbish.

So when we arrived in WA we were all told about the mighty successful Eagles and how s**t the Dockers were. We decided to see how the other side lives and support the underdog. I was 12 yrs old... 20yrs later Freo still haven't had any success but thank God I'm not an Eagles supporter.


we thank God you're not too

freo supporters are seriously the dumbest in the league
 
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parano1a

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 2, 2003
5,241
5,628
Melbourne
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Melbourne Storm
My father arrived in Melbourne with his family when he was 5 years old, and they lived in a flat on a street which bordered the suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy. As result my father chose to support Collingwood and his brother chose to support Fitzroy.
 

Chaisa

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 2, 2013
13,897
13,571
AFL Club
Sydney
Other Teams
The Exers
If your family cares about footy 75% of the time it's not your choice :p

Obviously where it begins in the family is another question, especially given there's 9 Melbourne teams and at least half of them only officially represent a small suburb (though zones also have a factor in this)

Location is often very crucial too.
 

telsor

Hall of Famer
Aug 29, 2004
33,437
32,588
Here
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Habs
They decide on Richmond unless they have a mental dysfunction.

If they have one, which club depends on what is wrong with them.
 

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Eternal Schism

Senior List
Feb 17, 2014
203
465
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Souths
I would have been a homeless child if I didn't follow the Dees like my old man. He was raised the same by his dad, who spoke of the glory years, only a short time before my dad was born. Since that fateful day my dad has waited 50 years to see his first premiership, thanks Grandpa! I hope I see one before I'm in my 50s!
 

HolyWars

Premiership Player
Apr 8, 2008
4,895
3,318
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Arsenal, Barcelona, Boca Juniors
Family went for Hawthorn and Essendon. However, during primary school all of my friends went for Carlton and they almost convinced me. And this was when Hawthorn were s**t-trucks in the early/mid 90's.

I feel I chose wisely.
 

dogspur

Team Captain
Aug 18, 2019
420
762
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Started barracking for North Melbourne early in my youth because in one of my prep school concerts, I was dressed as a Kangaroo, and I liked the animal.

My interest in football wavered for the next several years up well into adulthood. I didn't pay attention at all in 2007, but in the middle of 2008, my mad Bulldogs supporting mate dragged me to a North Melbourne vs Bulldogs game mid season. Was going for North in the first quarter, then for some reason switched to the Doggies after quarter time and been pretty diehard ever since. I remember Brad Johnson missed an easy set shot after the final siren that would've won the game.
 

PerthBoy86

Norm Smith Medallist
May 23, 2016
6,204
5,000
AFL Club
West Coast
For me, like most West Australians my age, it was fairly simple. Indeed, I was born in 1986, the year the West Coast Eagles were established, and as a young kid the Eagles were the only WA franchise in the AFL, so most supported it by default, as the Perth team, as they might support the Wildcats, Glory, Western Warriors etc. I don't remember a moment of 'choosing' to follow them, just grew up barracking for em cos everyone did lol. I got into footy around age 6, more cos thats the age many get into footy, more than because of the premiership. Some later switched to the Dockers for various reasons, but I was too much an Eagles fan at that stage. Most of my generation didn't follow WAFL much, AFL had pretty much taken over. I think for a lot of us the Eagles represent West Australian identity, which is maybe why the rivalry with Victorian is still there. It's the closest thing to state of origin nowadays. don't know if Freo fans feel it quite so much.

My family were from an immigrant background so if I wonder what team I'd have followed if I'd grown up in Melbourne.
 

PerthBoy86

Norm Smith Medallist
May 23, 2016
6,204
5,000
AFL Club
West Coast
I live in Melbourne now and while WC are my team, my 'Melbourne team' would either be North, always had a soft spot for them, or the Bulldogs, as I live in the scray. Always remember having an aversion to the big Melbourne clubs.
 

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