Those not infected with the football bug often look on in a mixture of dismay and disgust at fans of the game. This is a benign form of intolerance, usually ill-informed and of no consequence to those of us hooked on the game.
Then you read things that makes you wonder. Real Madrid are in tonight’s’ Champions League semi-final, having eliminated Paris St Germain in the quarters. PSG fans were so upset with their one-time idols that game which delivered the 10th league title in the club’s history was scarcely celebrated with a round of applause.
PSG ultras left the game early, not wanting to share the moment with the players, the others left within 10 minutes of full time, not even affording players time to do a circuit of the pitch. There is being upset and a defeat, and there’s being spoiled.
Football supporting is a contract in delight and despair. You will see both, if you are very lucky, you will experience trophies in the quantity you and I have enjoyed this past decade or so, but most football fans across the major European leagues will never see their side win a major trophy. Supporting the game is mostly a harsh condition.
We always knew Celtic could not win everything, although there is a real possibility our Generation of Domination could replicate across many generations. For me, last season’s losses make the prospect of this season’s success all the sweeter. Would I celebrate 11-in-a-row as much as a mere one-in-a-row? No.
For PSG, the Qatari money will continue to pour in for a while, but the brand has lost some shine. We may look back on their league winning game against Lens as the beginning of the end.