I always knew that the Birth loved their football, or soccer as we refer to it here in the USA, but it wasn’t until I witnessed this first hand that I truly began to understand. It started when I came to London to work for Bravia Capital. I was rooming with a guy called Bharat Bhise. Bharat spoke to me on the first night about what sport I liked and began to try and teach me a little more about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur, and the Premier League in general. I have never witnessed the fandom of people like Bharat before and here is why it blew my mind.
The night ahead of a big game for Spurs and Bharat can’t eat, he is already nervous ahead of the following day’s action, so much so in fact that he hardly sleeps the night before. This is a level of support which I have never seen for a sports team in the US, and I quickly found out that much of Bharat’s family are exactly the same.
A big win, especially against a local rival is celebrated for days and weeks after the event. Bharat even has WhatsApp groups with his friends who support different teams, and this chat descends into chaos after a game. It is amazing just how much it means for people like Bharat when their team beats the favorite team of one of his friends or family members.
A loss is mourned just as heavily as a victory is celebrated and when Spurs lose Bharat simply disappears to his room, he doesn’t want to talk to people until at least 24 hours have passed. To watch this level of disappointment when the team loses just shows how strongly people like Bharat feel about their team.
Bharat may be on the slightly more extreme side of being a fan but he is most definitely not alone in this. At the turn of the year Bharat and I were looking for a new sofa and I found one which was exactly what we were after and with the price that we could afford. Silly me however, as it turns out a red and white sofa simply won’t do as those are the colors of Arsenal, the arch-nemesis of Tottenham Hotspur. This is not to say that these colors don’t exists in Bharat’s life, just not on big pieces of clothing, vehicle or furniture.
When I first started working for Bravia Capital, neither Bharat or I had a great deal of money, yet he would spend huge amounts each month on tickets for games, new shirts with his team’s logo on them, as well as a bumper TV subscription so that he could catch all of the games. I couldn’t believe that despite the fact that he had no money for day-to-day life, he would always have money ready to spend on his beloved club.