Are you catching the bug for football? With the England women’s national team winning a European championship recently and hopes growing for the men’s team, football fever is sweeping the nation. It’s a great time to get involved, and attending your first match could be the start of a long love affair!
Choosing your team is the first step, of course. You might pick your local club for convenience or make a bigger pilgrimage for your favourite players. Whatever the case, knowing roughly what to expect can help you get the most out of your first experience.
Read our tips for budding fans below.
Securing your tickets
First, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to get a ticket for any game you choose if you’re not prepared. Don’t risk turning up on the day for the bigger teams; instead, check for announcements online and aim to be first in the digital queue.
If you get a good choice of seats, sitting roughly in line with the halfway line usually affords the best view of the action.
Getting to the ground
Travelling to and from football matches can be tricky depending on where the grounds are located. Make sure to research your transport options and give yourself plenty of time for delays and getting comfortable once you arrive.
Some people leave games a little early to beat the crowds. Just be aware you could miss something exciting, plus some fans might judge you for not sticking it out!
Dressing for the occasion
From subtle scarfs to full kits, wearing your team’s colours is an obvious starting point. You could take things one step further and pay tribute to your favourite player, be it a global star like Mohamed Salah or a lesser-known local.
Crucially, factor in the weather too. Football grounds can be freezing in winter and sun traps in summer, and there’s no escape for 90 minutes!
Following on from the point above, wearing your team’s colours is a good way to ingratiate yourself with fellow fans. It’s important to be respectful of others generally, especially if you’re on the opposing team’s patch!
Avoid blocking anyone’s view or hurling abuse and try to keep a positive outlook; your team need your support.
It’s a rollercoaster
Finally, it’s important to prepare for things not going your team’s way. Football is a game of highs and lows, and spectating can be highly emotional. One study from the University of Oxford found that hardcore fans experience dangerous levels of stress!
Ultimately, the result isn’t everything if you can find a community you feel attached to.
Football is the most followed sport in the world. With the above tips in mind, join the crowd and enjoy your first game!