The Stepford Fans
Blackburn Rovers have a reputation for being amongst English football’s best behaved fans. Unfortunately we are also accused of having no passion and turning our Ewood Park home into a ground lacking atmosphere.
What most of us didn’t realise is Blackburn Rovers have been used as a ‘Truman Show’ style experiment since the 1990’s. This started when we became flushed with money, thanks to our benefactor, Uncle Jack. Along with money spent on Ewood Park and the playing side, Rovers brought along the appliance of science. As well as becoming the first football club in the country to open up its own TV station, one of our lesser known captures was a consumer psychologist.
This practitioner was surprised at the time by how music was used to inspire the new ice hockey team in Blackburn. Fans of the then Blackburn Blackhawks had a reputation for being as wild as the players. This was down to aggressive heavy metal and punk rock being played when the team scored or players were rolling around fighting on the ice. For a time you couldn’t hear yourself think in the Arena due to the crowd noise. Unfortunately the cheerleaders couldn’t keep up with the music and the fans were too busy shaking their own hair to follow the match.
Not all of these psychological experiments were successful at Rovers either. The first was with recorded crowd noise being played during the match. Unfortunately it was louder than the fans in the ground. It also confused players and annoyed the fans. Another unsuccessful attempt was to try and pacify Sweden’s Trelleborg fans when we first entered the UEFA Cup. Nobody told our psychologist, when you keep playing ABBA records to Swedish people, it winds them up and makes them angry. Our resulting humiliating defeat is well documented. Subsequent experiments, playing ‘The Smiths’ music to fans from Manchester, also supported this theory.
Since those early days, success has followed. The subliminal messages produced by the big screen during broadcasts have become an effective form of advertising. These involve micro-second suggestions during recorded highlights, inviting you to: ‘bring a friend’, ‘place a bet’, ‘buy a pie’, ‘have a beer at half time’ and ‘go to the Roverstore after the match’.
Some supporters aren’t happy with this form of advertising though, accusing Rovers of ‘1984’ style thought control. Nicknaming us ‘The Stepford Fans’, they claim we are being brainwashed. Turning us into docile, unthinking automatons, accepting everything Rovers give us. Rovers management retorted angrily to these accusations, saying the fans must be out of their minds.