The Anti-Fan within the Fan
Awe and Envy in Sport Fandom
Anti-fans are people with clear dislikes.1 They are people who, for a variety of reasons, hate or intensely dislike and have strong negative views or feelings about a certain text, genre, or personality (Gray 2003). This chapter looks at a particular category of anti-fans: those whose status as such is defined by the fact that they are fans. It looks at the anti-fan within the fan. It aims to demonstrate cases where fandom is a precondition of antifandom and to illuminate instances when for a fan anti-fandom is given and set. These are cases where two fan objects are clear-cut or traditional rivals, thus inviting fans to become anti-fans of the “rival” object of admiration. It suggests that under such circumstances, a fan becomes an antifan of the object that “threatens” his/her own, and of that object's fans. Thus, when A and B are the opposing fandom objects, fans of A are antifans of B and of B's fans, and vice versa.
The chapter argues that such anti-fans emerge whenever binary oppositions are established between two fan objects. It proposes that this kind of anti-fandom is fostered particularly in the realm of spectator sports and is embedded in the nature of such sports that promote incessant competition and ranking. Inspired by Thucydides (1920 [431 BC]), it applies the term(“antipalon deos”) to argue that it is a series of emotions such as fear, admiration, respect, and envy for the opposing threat that cause hatred and anti-fandom of this kind. More importantly, it demonstrates how fans participate in such bipolar structures.
The focus of the chapter is on football. It explores fans of the two most popular and famously rival clubs in Greece, Olympiakos and Panathi-