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In the early 1970s, I supported Chelsea. Then I switched to QPR. After that came Spurs for a few years, before I went back to Chelsea. I am a fairweather fan

By Gideon Rachman   July 2004

The European football championships reminds us again of the grip that football has over England. In the search for that elusive phenomenon – the unifying national experience – only the death of a major royal seems to rival an international football tournament.

But now that everybody claims to be interested in football, a tedious form of one-upmanship has evolved. The goal is to prove that you are a “true fan” – not one of these middle-class johnny-come-latelies, who only began taking an interest after Gazza and Nick Hornby.

The cult of the true fan has certain informal rules. It…

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