Why did you choose to follow Fulham?

Discussion in 'FulhamUSA Introductions and Announcements' started by WestchesterWhite, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. WestchesterWhite

    WestchesterWhite New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Westchester County, NY
    Just wondering why fulhamusa members choose to follow Fulham? Particularly interested to know what an American looks for when picking an EPL side?
     
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  2. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Alamo City, Texas
    If you dig through the forums, there's probably a couple of threads on this from back in the day. But I don't mind revisiting it here.

    Back in 2006, we got Fox Soccer here in San Antonio and I was exposed to the Prem. It wasn't for the first time per se as I'd seen Prem matches randomly shown on other Fox channels over the years, but there wasn't a format to follow it consistently. It didn't take long for me to get hooked on the football and decide I wanted to pick a side to support. For me, the big four (at the time) were never in consideration as that was too easy. I decided to watch a full season, try to catch each team on multiple occasions and see if anyone selected themselves for me. At midseason, I'd narrowed my list to Everton, Spurs and Fulham in that order. For Fulham, I liked the atmosphere and unique feel of Craven Cottage. They had a good, classic look with the white and black. They were located in London, which would make getting over to see them easier and more convenient than a team like Portsmouth (for example). I liked their "fan friendly" reputation as I've always thought the firms and thugs nonsense was ridiculous. I liked the plucky underdog feel I got when I watched them, even though the football wasn't as impressive as Spurs and Everton. And I liked that they had some Americans (though that wasn't a major factor as players move on all the time). The big downside was that they were at risk of relegation and I didn't want to pick a team only to have them immediately disappear. The Championship wasn't on tv at all here back then.

    But then 2 things happened. Fulham signed Dempsey, who is from Nacogdoches (20 miles north of my hometown of Lufkin), that January. We don't get many players from that region playing professionally in any sport, so the idea of someone making it onto the biggest stage league-wise, in a sport that is all but ignored in that region, was a long shot beyond comprehension. Having watched Clint in the World Cup, I just had a feeling that the kid had something and could be that American outfield player who could really break through abroad. And I found this site. I can't understate how big a role FUSA played in my conversion early on. There's always been such a feel of community here, especially in the chat room on match days.

    I also live w/in 10 minutes of Hatter Don and we've been able to get together many times to watch or talk Fulham over the years. Throw in the exhilaration of surviving the drop each of the first two years, especially the Great Escape, and my fandom was cemented.
     
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  3. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Dempsey's play in the 2010 World Cup led me to them, but I didn't pick them on that basis alone. In fact, I purposely divorced myself from the fact that he played for them, and looked up and down the Prem before finally picking Fulham. I liked the fact that they were the little team that could (at least at that time), and the Cottage was just way too cool. I thought they were doing as many things right as a club in their position could, and it appeared to me that they could surprise and challenge for a CL spot with a bit of luck. And I liked the home kit.
     
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  4. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Found the thread, I think there may be a few others from the old site as well on why we chose Fulham. We kinda get asked this question every once awhile:

    viewtopic.php?f=5&t=528
     
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  5. sacffc

    sacffc Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    I grew up in Columbus Ohio, so I started following the Crew when MLS started up in the mid-90s. Brian McBride was the impressive young kid on that team. A few years later, when the internet made it possible to really follow a team In England, I was looking for a team to support, and I would no more support a team like ManU than I would a team like the Lakers in the NBA (sorry Justin :evil:). Fulham came over here to be the opposition in the 2005 MLS All Star game, and that's how I found out where McBride was now playing. That made the decision for me.
     
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  6. WestchesterWhite

    WestchesterWhite New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Westchester County, NY
    Some really interesting stories. Always find it fascinating to find out why people pick Fulham. The Fulham tale is truly a one-off. From the brink of relegation to non-League football...to playing Athletico Madrid in a major European Final...and 13 consecutive seasons in the PL. It's just been a non-stop fairytale all the way. :eek:bscene-drinkingbuddies:
     
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  7. tim

    tim Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    My story has plenty of elements that have already been shared, but here goes. Like Matt, my story starts with a cable TV upgrade. This was late 2007 and suddenly I had Fox Soccer Channel. I was a fan of the sport in general, so pretty quickly started watching Premier League matches each week, looking for a club to support. As almost everyone here has already mentioned, I wasn't about to support one of the big clubs simply because they were big, so latched on to what I could, clubs with American players whom I knew. Fulham had that in spades at the time, so it was first choice. That said, as I continued to watch each week, I realized how much there was to love about the club: its history and tradition, the atmosphere of the Cottage that came across on television. And I knew I'd be able to cheer the club's overachievements, rather than lament its underachievements.

    Well that, of course, was the year of the Great Escape. Needless to say, there was no turning back.
     
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  8. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    I dont mind revisiting this topic either. It's near and dear to my heart. At the beginning of 2006, I was one of those Americans who thought soccer was just plain stupid. Why would anyone play a sport where you cant use your hands? It made no sense to me. But my sons had started playing soccer and I thought they needed to watch it played at the highest level if they were ever going to learn how to play the game. So I subscribed to Fox Soccer and then organized viewings of the 2006 World Cup for my sons and their teammates. Watching the USA v Italy match in that World Cup changed my opinion of the sport on a dime. I had never seen so much drama, frustration, and sheer guts displayed in one game in my life. If you remember that was the match in which De Rossi did this to Brian McBride
    [​IMG]
    He had his face stitched up and then came back onto the field. After that, I had to watch soccer and I wanted my boys to see more of McBride because he was clearly a professional athlete worthy of admiration. When I found out McBride played for Fulham, we started watching Fulham games on TV. When Clint Dempsey came to the club and scored the winner against Liverpool to help stave off relegation, it left us anxiously awaiting the start of Fulham's next season. Since there was so much I didnt understand about soccer and the professional game in England I went to the internet and found FulhamUSA. Everyone here was very welcoming and didnt mind answering my questions so I stuck around. If you are not aware this site was started by American Mike who ended up moving to London, working for the club, and marrying a lifelong Fulham fan. It is a great story. The start of the 2007-08 season was dramatic with McBride amazingly scoring a goal while blowing out his knee and then Dio Kamara's late bicycle kick to tie Tottenham. These things all kept me watching Fulham but what made me a lifelong supporter is basically this website, all the nice Fulham fans I have met, the Great Escape Season, and the friendly way the club and local fans treated my family when we went to London to see a game. It also helps that so many Americans have played for Fulham and contributed to the club's success in the premier league.
     
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  9. tim

    tim Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I was definitely remiss in not addressing the importance of this site in my budding Fulham fanship. Like Mo, I found this community to be warm and welcoming, not to mention insightful. I learned a great deal about the club, the league, and football in general from this group, which was invaluable in those early days. I recall thinking, if this group is representative of Fulham's fans, well, then I've made a good decision.
     
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  10. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Newburgh, IN
    I came to soccer like many American parents through my kids. My oldest is now 25 and my youngest is now 14. The older ones played in recreational leagues. They had fun and I was glad to remain blissfully ignorant about the game for the most part with my oldest two. By the time my third started playing I found I liked the game and started getting involved in our local youth program. When my youngest began playing she couldn't get enough of the game. When we got to the end of one of her seasons a couple of years down the road and she was bouncing about this "free skills camp" one of the parents mentioned their kid was going to. The next thing I know my seven year old daughter was on a field scrimmaging with nine year old girls who had been training for half a year and not looking one bit out of place and after the sessionI have a coach telling me that if she has the patience for it I should spend some time watching professional matches with her for as long as she is willing to sit still for it.

    For me to do this with her and stay interested myself I needed to pick a team for us to watch because the game has pulled me far enough in that I really need a rooting interest. My first inclination was to pick my favorite USMNT player in the Prem and follow his team. Had I followed my first instinct, I would have selected Everton as my team since I was, and still am, a huge fan of Timmmmmy! However, I pushed that first instinct aside deciding that with player movement being so high I needed a better set of criteria for picking a team. The process went something like this:

    1. If I ever get to travel to England what is the city I want to spend the most time in? Easy answer was London and the London clubs that year were Arsenal, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham. Somehow, probably by divine providence, I missed that Chelsea was in London.
    2. Which clubs, if any, do you find a reason not to like? I could never pull for a team commonly called the Cheats so West Ham was gone leaving Arsenal, Fulham and Tottenham.
    3. Tottenham was next out because I always liked an underdog leaving Fulham in and if I was going with a front runner it would have been Arsenal for the style of play.
    4. From there I went to several fan forums and found Fulhamusa.com. The site just felt like home. The moment I logged on the board and began reading about the club history and family atmosphere I knew I found my club. AmericanMike, ChicagoTom and the FUSA posters managed to create a little piece of Fulham for me and that was all I needed to finish setting the hook. The idea of some day attending a match at Craven Cottage also has a big appeal for me since my home town has the third oldest active baseball stadium in the US. Maybe one day I'll get there to see a live match.
     
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  11. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Location:
    Walnut, CA
    I don't think it's inaccurate to say for the majority of Americans, the US national teams (Men's and Women's) were the 'first' team they supported. The MLS is growing and getting better, but it's still the country before club mentality here (hence, you can see how popular our yanks-abroad thread is). My favorite player is McBride and his arrival went along the same time the Prem became readily available on my tv. Between the Cottage, Cookie as the manager, and players fun to watch and root for (Steed, Boa, Volzy, etc.) it was clinched right away. Still haven't made the pilgrimage to CC, but it's near the top of my bucket list. Add in FUSA, which has expanded my knowledge of the sport, awareness of the history and makeup of the club, and even a match viewings at pubs with fellow supporters (Birmingham match during the Great Escape and the Europa Final were especially memorable) have cemented my love of Fulham through thick and thin.
     
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  12. LaxAttack

    LaxAttack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Like many others, McBride was one of my all-time favs for the USMNT. Then when I was deciding on a team to follow (around December 2006), Dempsey went to Fulham which made the choice a lot easier. But Craven Cottage was the last bit that pushed me over the edge into full "fandom" when it came down to them or Everton.

    And I have been happy ever since my selection despite the roller coaster ride of the last few years.
     
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  13. WestchesterWhite

    WestchesterWhite New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Location:
    Westchester County, NY
    The 'pilgrimage to the Cottage' keeps coming up...
    I'm going to be in London on Sunday 11th May for Fulham v Crystal Palace (3pm) - last game of the season. This could be either our last game in the Premier League or the game that keeps us up (or we're already safe - yeah right!). Assuming it's a Category B game (£40/$66) being a London derby and could be an important match for both teams. Will be in Hammersmith Stand behind the goal with a 'Westchester Whites' banner. Day before is the FA Cup Final. Should be an emotional weekend! Is anyone interested in meeting up?
    :eek:bscene-drinkingbuddies:
    COYSW
     
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  14. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Alamo City, Texas
    Good point, Mo. When I was new to the sport, it was nice to have a place that was so welcoming of novice questions and discussions about the game without fear of being subjected to the usual snark that seems so prevalent on the net.
     
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  15. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    I'm sure lot's of people are interested. I would certainly love to be there but May is the worse possible time for me. While there is no logic in it, I somehow feel better knowing you will be there. I'll be looking for the Westchester Whites sign. :banana-dance:
     
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  16. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I've played and been a supporter of soccer my entire life. But like a few others on here, my real interest in the Premier League started with a cable upgrade in 2009. I knew that I would want to have a team to support instead of casually following the league in general. I was doing some web searching and came across this old but interesting ESPN Page 2 article (http://www.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story ... ons/060719). I felt that it had some good points - don't choose one of the big four, don't choose someone who is bound for relegation, find a team from a city that I would be more likely to visit for non-football reasons. I also added that fact that I would like to support a team with at least one American. So in 2009, Fulham was middle of the table, had Dempsey and Eddie Johnson on the payroll, and was based in London. Throw in classic colors, logos, and kits. Then follow them all the way to the Europa League final (even though I had no idea what the Europa League was) and I was beyond sold at that point.
     
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  17. SteveFakeBlood

    SteveFakeBlood Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Location:
    Broward County , FL (from DuPage County, IL)
    I love this topic. A few years ago (one of the older versions of the site), I actually wrote a very long (I think it ended up being 2-3 pages in Microsoft Word document format) post about it. I'm not going to ramble on that long about it, but I'll hit the key points- and start by making a horrible confession- one that I feel like I can make given that I've been around here long enough that I can be forgiven.

    I started out my soccer fandom as a casual Chelsea fan. I began studying abroad in England in September 2004 and as an Anglophile became fascinated by just how dominant a sport soccer was in England. I always knew it was big- but I didn't realize that it was basically the NFL, NBA and MLB combined in terms of its popularity. I lived in Earls Court and studied at Imperial College, which are both in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. So I started off watching Chelsea games. I had a pretty great internship at the time reviewing clubs, concerts, movies, etc. and one of my English bosses was an Arsenal fan who was disgusted that I would root for Chelsea and said that I should try and get tickets to go see Fulham. I discovered Fulham only played a couple miles away from Chelsea's ground- so I gave them a chance. One of my best friends from high school was visiting me and enthusiastically told me that two of Fulham's key players were Americans with connections to the Chicagoland area (where we're from)- Bocanegra used to play for the Fire and McBride was from Arlington Heights. The Cottage atmosphere wasn't jubilant and the match we saw was a dreary 2-0 defeat to Blackburn, but nonetheless I enjoyed that the stands were full of die-hard fans who really cared and the club gave American players a chance and my fandom started that day. I also learned that Chelsea were basically the Red Sox to Man U's Yankees- a team that went on spending sprees to buy titles and falsely present itself as an alternative to teams that did that. I remember buying an off-brand scarf at a market (which I still have and wear regularly almost 10 years later) and going crazy at a pub watching a Papa Bouba Diop screamer get a hard-fought draw against Man United that December.

    In November, I met a friend watching the 2004 presidential election results at the Imperial College student union. I lost touch with him because we neglected to share contact information, but found him on the internet accidentally by looking for Fulham FC fans on Livejournal. He ended up studying abroad in the US and we visited each other a number of times, traveled together and remain close friends.

    After seeing Dempsey's goal in the 2006 World Cup, he became one of my favorite American players and I was thrilled when he joined Fulham (as well as the other Americans that later joined along the way such as EJ and Keller). Back in the Chicago area, I didn't have Fox Soccer Channel, but still took the train into the city semi-regularly to watch matches at bars like Fado and the Globe when I had a chance and started posting intermittently on FulhamUSA. I started regularly posting again some time between the Great Escape and Europa League run and was happy to celebrate it online with such a welcoming, knowledgeable and fun online community. Since I finally have been to able to see Fulham games weekly from home (since getting a new cable package in 2011), I have joined the chat as often as I can.

    It's been quite a ride after such a rocky start (while I gave up my brief Chelsea fandom long ago, I still find it hard to completely hate the team that got me into soccer, although they are equally difficult to NOT hate), but for better or worse- I'm Fulham till I die and they're my second favorite professional sports team (to be fair, they'll never eclipse the Chicago White Sox because I'm a third generation, life-long fan and it's basically practically genetically ingrained in me through family history and geography....).

    ~ Steve
     
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  18. LogicalmanUS

    LogicalmanUS Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Supporter by birth - good and bad included.
     
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  19. emiusaberbo

    emiusaberbo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I chose to follow Fulham because of Dimitar Berbatov, Clint Dempsey and Nikolay Bodurov. Otherwise I am a huge Manchester United FC supporter and will see them in July
     
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