Allegiances can be tricky things at times. For example, at this summer’s Euro 2008 tournament, what team will you root for? With England not qualifying, I’ll likely root for the team that plays the most attractive football.
But it isn’t always so easy.
I was born in Wales and grew up there until I was 14. I’ll always be Welsh in my heart, but the last time Wales qualified for a major tournament was the 1958 World Cup. During the 1978 World Cup, I remember supporting Scotland. But in the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, I supported England (and also rooted for the United States in ’90, ’94, ’98, ’02 and ’06). Supporting England could be considered blasphemy in Wales, but my father and his ancestors are English, so I don’t feel so guilty.
Now comes the difficult decision.
With Cardiff City qualifying for the FA Cup Final after beating Barnsley, this is the first time since 1927 that a Welsh side has made to the final (when they won the cup). You would presume the decision to support Cardiff in the final would be an easy one, but far from it.
That’s because the team I support is Swansea City, arch-enemy of Cardiff City and the side we despite most in the world (even more than the English clubs we face). The fierce rivalry can be compared to the Old Firm derby (between Celtic and Rangers) and the Merseyside derby (between Everton and Liverpool). The hooligan element between both Welsh clubs is notably infamous.
So despite Cardiff being from Wales, I’ll be supporting Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final. I’d rather see any club other than Cardiff lift the trophy such is the hatred that Swansea fans have for Cardiff City. That said, when the fixture list for the Championship League is revealed this summer, the first opponent I’ll look up to see who Swansea plays will be Cardiff.
When have you been forced to change allegiances and support another team or country in a league or tournament? And how did it make you feel? Share your stories below by clicking the comments link.