There are many different reasons why people adopt a second team, a club they develop a genuine affinity for, without overtly supporting them.

One of the most common explanations is tied to the explosion in popularity of football management games in the 21st century.

On a whim a team is picked, perhaps from a lower league, and the slow process begins of constructing a side that can challenge for promotion, in due course even subverting the football odds by competing in the Champions League.

When countless hours are spent on an emotional – if virtual – journey with a club, experiencing enormous highs and devastating lows, is it any wonder that some of us forge a sincere connection that transcends into the real world?

Granted, we may be overly critical of their manager – because, after all, we won continental honours with them at the San Siro – but all told it’s an oddity that should be embraced. 

So a Newcastle fan, based in the North-East, follows Ipswich Town’s results because they won the Premier League with the Tractor Boys on a laptop. A Tottenham supporter living in the capital, roots for Rotherham.

Such quirks offer a layer of interest to what can be a fairly predictable existence when supporting one team from birth. Better yet, there is sufficient emotional distance to not have our heart broken every May. 

Another frequent reason can be split into two strands. There are those who holidayed as a child in a town or city where the second team resides.

Or we went to university nearby, heading down, mildly curious one Saturday afternoon just for something to do, before getting the bug. Before we know it, that familiar dread is in our bellies because relegation has become a real possibility. 

This latter reason can be rife with complications, for consider the plight of a Manchester United fan who shall remain anonymous, who has a lot of affection for Leeds.

He does his best to ignore the rabid rivalry that exists between both clubs and stays schtum when songs are sung in the Stretford End, deriding the Yorkshire giants. What’s the betting he wishes he went to Bristol or Exeter Uni instead? 

Which brings us to the biggest consideration there is when choosing to adopt a second team, in addition to your first and foremost love. That ideally never the twain shall meet. The confliction, otherwise, can be hard to navigate.

From a personal perspective my second team has always been Berwick Rangers, perennial strugglers in the Scottish lower leagues and now sadly dwelling in the fifth tier. 

Aged about ten and on a family holiday to a caravan park in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, my older brother heard there was a pre-season friendly one evening between the ‘Wee Gers’ and Middlesbrough.

Nothing about this fixtures comes to mind now, besides a vague awareness of how vast and empty the stadium was.

That didn’t stop me though from writing to the club, and to my great surprise I received a correspondence back, from the actual chairman of Berwick. 

Somewhat opportunistically he included a catalogue for the club’s merchandise. 

That was it. I was a Berwick Rangers semi-supporter and always will be. And one day I’m going to take them all the way to the Champions League.

By Ste Tudor

Ste is a sports expert, writing for a range of national and international media publications.

In addition, Ste produces content for 888sport and has interviewed some leading figures in the world of football, including Ian Rush, Jaap Stam and Teddy Sheringham.