When Getting to the Top Is More Beautiful Than Winning the Title

white hart lane When Getting to the Top Is More Beautiful Than Winning the Title

As a relative newcomer to soccer and, being a Tottenham fan, I must say that I have immensely enjoyed the past couple of years. Last year saw Spurs squeak past Manchester City to take fourth place and a Champions League spot. And the late April match that ultimately decided it all was the most thrilling one I had ever seen up to that point. This year has seen Spurs have unimaginable success in the Champions League. Each match has been more exciting than the last. And it would be a thrill to see Spurs win the coveted European title, but part of me hopes they don’t win the whole thing this year.

You must be thinking I am insane, and long time fans of the numerous English teams that haven’t sniffed a league title or played in the Champions League will agree. But winning isn’t always the sweetest feeling in the world. What’s better you ask? Before I answer that let me give you some background into my reasoning.

Growing up in San Antonio, Texas was great for a young sports fan. My favorite football team was the Cowboys, and my favorite basketball team was the Spurs. (My favorite baseball team was the Mariners, but that was more because of Ken Griffey Baseball on the Super Nintendo than anything else). The Cowboys won three titles in four short years and all three victories were as great as the last, while the Spurs constantly won 50 games each year and lost in heart break in the playoffs. Finally in 1999 the Spurs, with newly acquired all-time great Tim Duncan, won the title and it’s something I’ll never forget. As many of you might know the Spurs have won another three titles in the past decade and currently have the best record in the NBA.

Having these two different experiences of following my favorite teams has given me the prospective that it isn’t winning the title that truly makes the experience of being a sports fan great, but it’s the life and death march your favorite team goes through that makes sports what it is. Since I was so young when the Cowboys were dominating the NFL, in subsequent years I cared less and less about the wins and losses. I still watch some, and occasionally with players such as Terrell Owens and Mike Williams I find myself rooting against my “favorite” team, but the losses don’t hurt, they cause no pain. I’ve been to the mountain top and it was great, but how many times can you experience climbing the Himalayas for the first time? Now I find myself feeling the same way about the San Antonio Spurs. After the first title, I talked myself into believing that the ’99 title wasn’t as great as it should have been because of the NBA lockout. Beating the Nets in 2003 also felt hollow since they were the lowly Nets. But in 2005 the Spurs beat the defending champs in a seven game series and basketball hasn’t meant as much since.

I picked Tottenham for a several reasons such as their attacking style of play, their laugh-a-minute manager, and several players who immediately stand out as fun to watch such as Luka Modric, Aaron “Go Faster Stripes” Lennon, Peter Crouch, and Gareth Bale. But most of all I chose to throw myself into being a Spurs fan because I couldn’t follow a team that won all the time like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal. And I certainly couldn’t follow a team as shameless as Manchester City, so Spurs it was.

I’ve been surprised how fast I’ve come to truly care about each and every game Tottenham plays and how often I google Tottenham just in case something happened in the five minutes since I last checked. I wake up early on Saturday and Sundays to watch Tottenham and the rest of the competition in the English Premier League. And my weekend is greatly affected by the result of my favorite team’s match. Win and everything is great, and all week I’m coming up with various ways they could win the double. Lose and my week is spent looking at Liverpool’s fixtures, how they’ll probably end up beating Spurs out for fifth spot and reduce my team to a laughing stock for their late season collapse. To someone who doesn’t immerse themselves in their team, they wouldn’t understand what it’s like to live and die each weekend. But those that do understand completely. For me it’s the experience of the journey getting to the top that is the beauty in winning the title, and not the title itself.

How do my fellow EPL Talk-ers feel? If you’re a relative newcomer, do you want your favorite team winning trophies right away? For those who picked a perennial title winner like Manchester United or Chelsea, are the highs and lows as great as they were in the beginning? And for the fans of teams that haven’t won anything in years, what do you think it will feel like when the long drought is over? Share your insights below.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

111 Responses to When Getting to the Top Is More Beautiful Than Winning the Title

  1. canyid says:

    Are you me?

    I chose Tottenham for much the same reasons. They’re a fun team to watch play, and they never make it easy on themselves or the fans. The 9-1 drubbing of Wigan aside, they aren’t really a “blow out” team, often squeaking out wins by a goal at most. Almost every game is an anxiety-inducing nail-biter.

    • Carmello says:

      “Almost every game is an anxiety-inducing nail-biter.”

      You would not believe how sweaty my feet were getting during Saturday’s draw with West Ham. I know that’s vile, but it’s true, and I completely agree with you about how every game is an anxiety roller coaster because we could win by five, or lose by five.

      • I’m glad to see others are going through the emotional roller coaster as I do early on a Saturday morning while most of the country sleeps.

        • Greg says:

          I’m with you. As a US Spurs fan, its great to know that other people came to the team via the same basic line of reasoning and have the same emotional roller coaster every weekend.

          I was going to root for Man City when I was getting into the EPL, thinking it would be fun to root for the bad guy aristocrats, but under Roberto Mancini, they could not be a better example of why Americans don’t get soccer. I happened to be watching a Spurs game and I was hooked. The commitment to offense, the hard luck history, those great crowds, how could you not love them?

          I threw myself into it and much like you I spend way too much of my free time checking the Guardian website and various and sundry blogs. I now probably read just as much about Spurs online as I do about the teams in Baltimore that I grew up watching. Now I do the same thing you do every weekend and have my mood for the weekend decided by a soccer team an ocean away.

          This past game was a bit different though. I just had a vacation to London and I snagged some tickets at White Hart Lane for the West Ham game. Had I watched it at home, I probably would have been throwing things, but I was so caught up in the electric atmosphere (not to mention what was a fairly exciting game), I didn’t even care. I just had a giant grin on my face as I sat in the east stands, confident in the knowledge that I’d chosen the right team.

  2. James says:

    With Blackburn I was happy if they would finish in the top half at the beginning of the season, and now I’ll just be happy if they don’t get relegated. Hopes for hardware are few and far between and have been for a while, I feel. The only real chance at winning would come in one of the Cups, as the squad just isn’t currently suited to make a push for the top four. Whatever they can win would be fine by me and I would be quite happy with it.

    None of the teams I follow are generally that good, so yeah, if any of them could win something it would be great. I do agree that the process of becoming a good team helps a lot, and it is nice to enjoy the journey as well, but if we’re wishing why not wish for the top?

  3. Ramon M says:

    This exact point is a huge reason why I chose Arsenal as my EPL team of choice. I know that they have all the resources they need to have a legitimate shot at winning trophies each year. But, as we all know it has been 5 years since Arsenal has won anything, and that was before I began following the EPL. This way I can support a team with a real chance for success without feeling like I’m too much of a bandwagon jumper. Then if/when Arsenal does lift a trophy, I will have gone through some struggling and disappointment to get there with them.

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      “This way I can support a team with a real chance for success without feeling like I’m too much of a bandwagon jumper. Then if/when Arsenal does lift a trophy, I will have gone through some struggling and disappointment to get there with them.”

      My heart bleeds for you Ramon, it really does. I mean finishing in the top 4 every year, getting to the Champions League final, cup finals at Wembley. All that takes a real toll on you when you’re ‘supporting’ a team that should win things but doesn’t because of their myopic (in more than one sense) manager.

      You haven’t a clue.

      • MG says:

        Supporting in quotes isn’t a sign of sarcasm, is it? Needless to say, I entirely agree with Ramon’s point of view.

      • Ramon M. says:

        Ian,

        I think you missed a key line in my post where I noted that Arsenal’s greatest achievements all happened before I began following the EPL. This year’s Carling Cup is the first final I’ve watched the Gunners play in. I don’t want to go on a long diatribe about why I chose to support Arsenal, but it was not in any way to be a bandwagon gloryhunter. It was the choice that came naturally to me after 3 years of following English football. Forgive me if my reasons don’t meat your standards of being a supporter.

  4. Carmello says:

    After the 2006 World Cup I thought to myself, “WHERE do these guys PLAY when they’re NOT in the World Cup?” I was pretty dumb. I quickly found out about all the European leagues, and the rest is history.

    I chose Liverpool initially, but one of my best friends is a Spurs fan and was so die-hard that I could not help but fall in love with them in the 2008 season, when they were just beginning to pick up steam with Redknapp at the helm. 2008 was a great season for Liverpool too, but their success was not enough to keep me from the lovable underdog Spurs. And now, look what we’ve accomplished. (read: IT WAS ALL BECAUSE OF ME.)

    Hahaha. What I want to see from Spurs is longevity and consistency. Bale signing a contract extension is great news and shows that Spurs are committed to going places and aren’t just a flash in the pan. If we can build a team around Bale, I think we’re golden.

    YID.

  5. Norfolk Enchants says:

    Is it just me or does it feel like most new EPL fans are Tottenham supporters? It seem like almost everyone I talk to is a Spurs fan these days. I’m not saying this as negative, I think it is great and this is coming from a Gunner (based in Boston).

    • Jeremy says:

      I feel the same way as one of those new EPL supporters. I didn’t really choose Spurs; they were just the first team I watched and I read Bill Simmons. At the time I didn’t understand the EPL really and just wanted to choose a team that wouldn’t get relegated and wasn’t MU, Chelsea, Liverpool, or Arsenal. I still have yet to meet another Spurs fan in person. It seems I only meet Gunners. However, now I almost feel bad for jumping on the Spurs bandwagon.

      • Norfolk Enchants says:

        I would say 6 or 7 of the fathers at my son soccer games are Spurs fans (I live in a small town). My son’s indoor team name is the Spurs. No Gunners and handful of guys who say they like Man U but prob never watch any games.

      • Patrick in Austin says:

        Spurs have 4 things going for them in terms of expanding their American fanbase:

        1) Recent international performance of USMNT driving interest
        2) Massive expansion of available EPL games on TV after 5-6 years of building interest through World Cup, Champions League, Euro Cup
        3) Americans’ dualing tendencies to a) not want to be a frontrunner, but b) want to be able to celebrate success with reasonable regularity
        4) They are based in London, the city we Americans are most likely to visit.

        When you consider these four factors, Spurs success over the last 3 seasons made them the obvious candidate for growth in support. My story of becoming a Spurs fan reads like most others I’ve read this year. Can’t pick MU/Liv/Ars/Chel, and based on history/location/style, Spurs were the obvious choice over City. If West Ham had done anything in the last 20 years it could have been them, and don’t get me started on the Fulham Dempseys. But as people often say, “you don’t pick your club, your club picks you,” and Spurs are picking up a lot of new Yankee Yids these days.

  6. Rich F says:

    Great piece. The reason sports are great is the possibility that you’re favorite team could do the unthinkable. When you follow a team like Chelsea or Manchester United, the “unthinkable” or “impossible” becomes very much possible and often times expected. The end of season/cup hardware must lose it’s luster. I appreciate the ups and downs of the Spurs season, and would consider it a great feat if they were to finish in top 4 in a second straight season. I’m not even thinking about league title, and never really was this season. The thrill of top 4 is probably greater than the thrill of winning the league title for a Manchester United fan. COYS!

    • E says:

      “The thrill of top 4 is probably greater than the thrill of winning the league title for a Manchester United fan. COYS!”

      I wouldn’t say that, as a manchester united fan, I go through the same emotional roller coaster, every season, just because a team traditionally does better than another does not mean there is not way i could be as “happy” as you, in fact, i think that comment is totally insulting.

      If manchester united do in fact win the league this year. then there is no WAY i am gonna be as happy as if tottenham got to fourth for you? Yeah right.

      That is seriously flawed.

      • Rich F says:

        Yeah, that’s fair enough. I see your point. I’ve just never been a fan of a perennial winner and don’t really know what that feels like. It just seems like eventually it comes to be something you expect, instead of the impossible dream that you just might reach.

  7. Juan says:

    Nothing compares to your team winning the title because after a long season that includes the carling, Fa, Champions league, international friendlies, injuries, etc etc. You’ve earned it. It doesn’t matter if you win it every year or just once in a 100.

  8. AL GRANVILLE says:

    I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND YOU DAVID WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND BEING GOOD OR BAD DEPENDING ON THE SPURS RESULT. I COME FROM THE OPPOSITE END TO YOU. BROUGHT UP I TOTTENHAM AND ALL MY RELATIONS WERE SPURS THROUGH AND THROUGH. I’VE LIVED MOST OF MY LIFE OVERSEAS BUT AM JUST AS IRRATIONAL AND FANATICAL AS WHEN I WAS A KID-I’M NOW 72. SO DAVID WELCOME AND KNOW YOU ARE IN FOR A WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE FROM NOW UNTIL FOR EVER.

  9. AL GRANVILLE says:

    I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND YOU DAVID WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND BEING GOOD OR BAD DEPENDING ON THE SPURS RESULT. I COME FROM THE OPPOSITE END TO YOU. BROUGHT UP IN TOTTENHAM AND ALL MY RELATIONS WERE SPURS THROUGH AND THROUGH. I’VE LIVED MOST OF MY LIFE OVERSEAS BUT AM JUST AS IRRATIONAL AND FANATICAL AS WHEN I WAS A KID-I’M NOW 72. SO DAVID WELCOME AND KNOW YOU ARE IN FOR A WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE FROM NOW UNTIL FOR EVER.

  10. Michael says:

    I am a newcomer to EPL and I to find myself as a Spurs fan. It is not because I will not cheer for “The big four teams”. It’s that being from the US you usually see sports with a lot of scoring and activity; there is plenty of activity on the field, but not much scoring. I have found Tottenham’s style of play keeps my attention more so than the other clubs.
    This probably not the best way to pick a club, but it has worked for me. I do agree that once you get interested in a sport, find a some teams that seem to enjoy watching and engross yourself in researching them and finding out as much as you can.

    • Fred Davidson says:

      WELL said, Michael. Finding out about the team and its history, American or not, is the beauty of being a fan. Knowing your team like you know the back of your hand, or close to it at least haha.

  11. Manamongst says:

    I’ve been an EPL fan since about 1993 when I used to share a university suite with a bunch of Jamaicans and Begians (barbadans). Of course they took over the stereo and television priveleges and it was too bad if I didn’t like soccer or reggae. I have recently settled on Arsenal…well not recently but I was a huge Henry fan, especially when he was with Monaco and when he moved to Arsenal in 1999 I was hooked. I will admit it was a love/hate affair with the likes of Wenger and the way the other big teams like to clown on the Gunners but getting involved with fantasy football has only dissolusioned me as a Gunner fan, having to watch happen what everyone except those directly involved with the team don’t seem to see. I am naturally a person that has never really had a piinned-down allegiance to any team in any sport. In NBA I couldn’t make myself be a fan of the Spurs simply because of their style of play..I even played college ball with Timmy D and can’t bring myself to cheer for them. Living in NC, I was never a Hornets or even susequently a Bobcat fan, but I am determined to stick with Arsenal…good or bad…

  12. bradjmoore48 says:

    Good piece, David. I’ve been thinking about this topic lately in regards to comments on the sister site, MLS Talk, in regards to the institutional parity of the league. The belief in this country always seems to be that American sports fans will never follow teams that lose, ever. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much BS that idea is. I grew up in New England, so I was a major Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots fan, and growing up in the 1990s, our teams could not catch a break. It was a big deal when the Pats made the ’95 Super Bowl, even though we knew we had no real shot at winning it. The Red Sox winning the AL East in ’95, getting to the ALCS in 1999 only to drop to the Yankees in 5. And keep in mind I was only 13-14 years old at the time, I had family and friends who suffered through this for much longer than I had. So when the Pats became dominant, the Red Sox finally broke the Curse, the Celtics won its first Championship since the Larry Bird days, it was fantastic. But of course, now the problem is, what do we have to play for now? Outside of the Pats, my interest in those teams began to wane.

    I live in Washington DC now, and though I don’t support their teams, I can understand the fan’s pains, especially the Redskins. But I always hand it to them, no matter how much worse the situation seems to get, they are always back every year, opening game, with that hope that this could be their year. I’m sure cities like Cleveland and Kansas City are no different. The bonds with their teams are much stronger, more emotional. Boston was no different up until a decade ago, and even now its ties with its local teams are very strong.

    I love the way Barcelona play, I love their players and love the team, but even I admit that I don’t watch every single one of their games, simply because I know 95% of the time they’ll win. I pretty much only focus on them in Champion’s League and the Clasico. The USMNT I’m much more passionate about, because they aren’t expected to be successful, so when they accomplish great feats, it’s something to be proud of. It’s something MLS lacks, I think. DC United has its worst season ever last year, but with the league structure, and some luck, they are potentially play-off bound this year. Then who knows what happens next year. To me what it does is makes you skip the bad years and just wait for the good ones, because anything that is built up in terms of team structure and philosophy is destroyed when the league, to ensure parity, destroys successful team’s foundations. The link below is to a good piece on this subject, specifically through the lens of UEFA FFP rules, but the commentary I think is pretty enlightening as well.

    http://www.runofplay.com/2011/03/03/parity-and-financial-fair-play/

    BTW, I don’t have an EPL favorite team, but I’ve loved watching Spurs this year. The roller coaster is part of the fun of being a fan. Spurs have given us a roller coaster Six Flags could only dream about lol.

  13. trickybrkn says:

    The thing that really annoys me about these stories, is the lack of history. As an American who has lived overseas and has many friends who are ex-pats, the one thing we are often criticized for is our lack of understand the foundations of history. Politically, socially, economically etc.

    Chelsea, for one are a johnny come lately. They where a mid table bounce club with a few bright spots worked in. Nottingham Forrest have a much greater history then Chelsea. Thus calling Man City Shameless, is a nice Frank Gallagher pun, but hardly the case… How many even know who the first money team was in England???? and even heard of Maxwell?
    Tottenham, do actually have European pedigree. Having won Europe’s minor Cup twice, they also where the dominant team on the early 60′s. and with the club in the Champions League, its not like you went out on a limb and picked a team that would struggle in the big picture…

    Its great that you pick a club, great that you feel passion for the game, but as a Spurs supporter you will have a wealth of DVD’s made available, you might want to look back a few decades.. get to know the club.

    Tottenham are riding a wave at present, the same wave they catch in a managers run.. Pleat, Venables, Francis, Graham, and of course there was the Spurs’ travels into the continental world of football that many a Spurs supporter will remember fondly in Jacques Santini, the 13 game legend… and Juande Ramos and his 2 points after 8 matches…. and can’t forget Jol. the man who read about his job being offered around in the papers, and of course his love of lasagna.. ahh yes Tottenham.

    • I have read up on Spurs history and know they had great success in the 60′s and played open football even back then. That success while cool to read about doesn’t have too much meaning for me since I wasn’t born then.

      I also know that Chelsea and Man City are like the Florida Marlins in the 90s. Nobody wants to root for a team of mercenaries, at least in America…well unless you’re a Yankee fan :)

      • Fred Davidson says:

        “That success while cool to read about doesn’t have too much meaning for me since I wasn’t born then.”

        It should have meaning even if it was ages ago. In sports, I know there’s nothing more important than the present day, but in a foreign team, history is crucial and even if you didn’t live it, it’s important to know of it and to even watch it if you can, all their legendary matches, not only in the 60′s but 70′s, 80′s, 90′s till now. All the managers, the history of White Hart Lane itself, the highs and lows and mids.. All that good stuff. It makes supporting the club that much more richer. Unfortunately there isn’t a Tottenham Official History available to download online (and if there is, I don’t know where), and even Season Reviews are scarce, but yeah.. definitely hit those up. Or shell out $2000 and buy yourself the Tottenham Opus haha :)

        Great article though, David. Really fantastic and apparently got the conversations going :)

      • trickybrkn says:

        Actually the point is that Chelsea and Man U are the Oxford United of the mid 80′s. (google it, its a rags to riches to rags story) Not the Marlins who spent quickly and then sold, like say the 2008 Spurs. They flashed out £40 mil for for the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos, Luka Modric and David Bentley… this after the season before bringing in Bent £16.5 million..then sold off many of those players.

        its important to know that for decades Spurs have been an almost team… one of the most frustrating teams to follow. they have massive talent, but until last year couldn’t pull it together. and in some cases battled to get out of the bottom three.. and this is just the last 5 seasons. And least we forget the perfect season, 40 games. 38 in the league and 2 in cups… the perfectly shortest season ever by a PL club.

        I’ll just be quiet now and enjoy the 4 points we took off you this season…

        • Patrick in Austin says:

          Trickybrkn’s unceasing bitterness over the Spurs’ success is the reason I chose to attend the University of Texas rather than Texas A&M, the university which both of my parents attended. When I was 17, I had the opportunity to choose whether I wanted to attend a school with incredible history, both as an Institution and athletically, or another school that had both those things…but wins titles too. I knew that if I went to A&M, I would be a part of a great tradition, but I would also spend the rest of my life secretly regretting that I’d never support a winner

          You don’t always get to choose your teams. My dad didn’t get accepted to Texas, and every fall he bitches about how God wears burnt orange underwear. Nothing makes him happier than the couple wins A&M takes off Texas every decade. I couldn’t choose whether or not to be a Texas Rangers fan. I was born in Dallas, and of all the teams there, I loved them the most, and always will – and they will always f*** me in the end. Luckily, I did have the luxury of choosing which EPL team I’d follow. I wanted to follow a London club, and I wanted there to be a possibility of actual success, not just the random derby win, league cup semi, or top-half finish.

          We understand that West Ham has history. We understand that just because a club has been a giant in the 10 years we’ve been paying attention (MU/Chels/etc) doesn’t mean they are a historical juggernaut. You don’t have to brow-beat us about our bandwagon – for most of us it was a conscious decision.

          • trickybrkn says:

            but you clearly don’t get that we don’t like you… and its hard reading spurs till i die when you don’t understand the institutional knowledge of the club.

            and of course I need to brow beat you… You are Spuds we are the Irons. and the fact I even need to write this demos perfectly the problem.

    • SpursInNYC says:

      What am I to do? Read neverending articles on the internet, Bbuy books and dvds on all the clubs we like and get caught up on the history? Over the past year and half, I’ve definitely taken some time to try to get to know the sport and the club. I read Soccernomics. I read Fever Pitch. But you can’t expect people to create a historical view of a league and club overnight. A lot of people come to NYC to work and many of them decide to start watching baseball because its a big baseball town. If a new Mets fan doesn’t know shit about Doc Gooden or Tom Seaver or Keith Hernandez or Gil Hodges or Tommie Agee or Jerry Koosman, should I take offense? Should I tell them that the mets are one of the younger teams in the league and that for the first 7 years of their existance they were the laughing stock? No. (of course, we will talk about how they currently are the laughing stock though. hahahaha)

      I know Spurs won the double in 60-61. I know the damn motto – which is awesome, by the way. I’ve looked at lists of best Spurs players of all time. I read Danny Blanchflower’s article in SI back in the 1960′s talking about what America had to do to improve professional soccer at the time and his poor treatmant by the network. Its all quite fascinating. Really. But I don’t have time to watch DVDs about sports teams. But whenever I am around a longtime prem fan and especially a Spurs fan, I’m all ears and all questions. Thats the best i can do, friend. Must I go back in time to be a fan right now? Sorry, don’t have time for that.

      • MG says:

        It’s not about ‘taking offense’ if a NYM fan doesn’t know who Seever or Gooden or Ray Knight or Mookie are.. nor is it about taking offense of a Spurs fan doesn’t know who Bill Nicholson, Blancheflower, Gazza or Klinsman are. And no one is expected to know an entire history or even a good portion of it ‘overnight’..

        When it comes to a foreign league and sport like Premier League/English football, most of us didn’t grow up with it the way those in England did. So it only helps to know more than just the present day (though that is, after all, the most important).. It’s not a must, of course, but it helps. All he is saying and all I’m saying (since I agree with him) is that being a fan of ANY team in any league around the world and knowing the team’s history helps make the fandom that much more fruitful. There’s no arguing that. Whether you think it is necessary is up to the fan. If you truly love Tottenham, then it wouldn’t hurt to watch this, for example (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spurs-125-Years-Tottenham-Hotspur/dp/B000ZG4KN2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1300846699&sr=8-3).. and it wouldn’t hurt to read a book here or there. Everyone works, but if you can find time to watch matches, surely you can read a book on your way to work or on your breaks.

        Again, not saying you HAVE to do that, only that it helps add a historical outlook on the club, some continuity. Not just the 60′s-80′s but even the early 2000′s and early to late 90′s. Personally, it is a crucial part of being a fan and you make it sound like hard work, when it’s anything but.. Then again, it’s not necessary for everyone.

        • trickybrkn says:

          Part of that history is… If you Spurs, don’t expect to get patted on the back by your rivals.

          I’m glad they took up a team… its not personal. The most important thing really is the love of football.

  14. SpursInNYC says:

    I agree on so many levels. First, I just got interested in the premier league and football in general during the Christmas holiday of 2009. My brother was home visiting. He, being a long time football fan following Arsenal, constantly had matches on TV and finally I decided to sit down with him and watch. After just a few matches over the holiday, I was a fan. Over the next few months, I started watching matches Saturday and Sunday morning just as the Spurs started making their move to the top 4 and when Bale really started showing what he can do. And for whatever reason, Fox Soccer aired a lot of Spurs matches in that stretch from January to May. My brother advised me that if I really wanted to get into the sport, I had to choose a team. I must admit, I was also interested in the Gunners, but I decided I didn’t want to take the easy route and pick a “big 4″ team to follow. Maybe being a Mets fan had instilled in me some appreciation for underdogs (although with one of the largest payrolls, its difficult to call them true underdogs). And I wanted to create some sibbling rivalry by choosing the north london rivals. But most importantly, the exciting style of the spurs and that insanely fast pace of wingers really attracted me to the Spurs. Now the past year has been amazing. I’ve been making excused to leave work in the middle of the afternoon to watch CL matches.

    anyway, great post. I’ll definitely be checking back for updates.

    COYS

    • Carmello says:

      SpursInNYC, did you get to watch the london derby with your brother this past fall as Spurs came from behind to embarass Arsenal at the Emirates? I’m curious as to what his reaction was like.

      When Kaboul’s goal went in, I screamed so long and so loud that the neighbor’s dog started barking uncontrollably.

      • canyid says:

        I watched it at a Gunner’s place who is convinced he’s bad luck for the taem when he dons the jersey. So Arsenal go up, he pops on the jersey, and Spurs pop in the goals. If you want to thank him, he’s @abebayor on twitter.

        • MG says:

          The bad luck is that he still dons ‘adebayor’ as a twitter name. THAT’S the bad luck haha. Change it to Wilshere, I say, Song haha.

      • SpursInNYC says:

        Carmello, my brother lives in LA so we weren’t able to watch together. Amazing match to watch. I made sure to call him after the Derby. He didn’t answer… But I did watch with a friend of mine who I met at work who is from London and a long time Arsenal fan. It was a fun, friendly atmosphere although my gooners buddy was definitely in a poor mood after. But it wasn’t like like what I hear about amongst the Spurs and Arsenal fans in N London. I haven’t been a fan long enough to feel that level of emotion for the Spurs.

  15. Carmello says:

    It’s funny that a lot of people are saying that it seems new EPL fans are Tottenham fans. It makes sense though. When I fell in love with the EPL, I was fond of Liverpool. And a lot of other people I met, who had just found the EPL, were also newly Liverpool fans. It makes sense.

    Since a lot of us are not from England, we want to follow a team that won’t disappoint us, but are also not top of the league. So to see fans of Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, or even Man City (at least for awhile), doesn’t really surprise me at all.

    In twenty years the top four will be Wigan, West Ham, Hull City, and Blackpool winning the league, so we’ll all be complaining about those “Blackpool frontrunners” in America. And we’ll all be Spurs fans because they will still be fighting for fourth or fifth hahahahaha.

    • Carmello says:

      Just so my first paragraph makes sense – I started following the EPL in 2006 and Liverpool were a third or fourth place team having recently won the Champions League. See, makes sense.

    • Fred Davidson says:

      “Since a lot of us are not from England, we want to follow a team that won’t disappoint us, but are also not top of the league.”

      Plenty of people in England follow teams just because they are top of the league (Man Utd) haha, and that’s exactly what many Americans have done, do and will continue to do. I’m not a United fan, but I guess my point is, it’s okay to pick the top team if you actually KNOW about the team and care enough about their history and everything they stand for.. It’s much worse, the worst actually, to follow a top team and be clueless about them.. To only follow them because they win. That’s disdainful and I think that’s what you mean by not picking a team that is ‘top of the league’.. But I think picking a team just because they don’t win is just as calculated as picking a team because they do. I personally think it all comes down to actually being a fan of the team you choose and learning about them. Stuck up as it may seem, it’s the most respectable form of fandom. And I’m not talking about being a human encyclopedia, but simply loving and knowing your team. In other words, I can respect a Barcelona fan if he knows his shit, so to speak, and isn’t mindless in his support haha.

    • Fred Davidson says:

      “Since a lot of us are not from England, we want to follow a team that won’t disappoint us, but are also not top of the league.”

      Trickybrkn and MG both said it absolutely best.

      There are people even in England that pick top teams to follow, and so Americans have done, do and will continue to do so. I’m not a Man Utd fan, but picking them and actually knowing the team’s history and where they’ve been, where they are now, and where they are going is all it takes for me to respect them, regardless of the fact that they’re choosing the most successful club in the last twenty years. I don’t know what is worse, picking a team because they are top of the league, or NOT picking a team because they are good enough to stay in the PL but not good enough to be top. They are both too calculated.

      If someone wanted to follow a team, I would advise that they watch a few matches with various teams and read up on the team that they gravitate towards, read up on their history, their reputation, their fans, their style, etc. Just figure out what the teams stands for and it’ll all work itself out. They’ll know exactly who to root for.

      Seriously, if you’re not even from the country of the league you’re following, it really comes down to doing a Wikipedia research extravaganza of the league and its teams. I can’t stress that enough. ‘Cause you’ll just be a clueless ‘bandwagoner’/'frontrunner’ if you mindlessly choose a team. It might sound strange to others, but even someone that decides to pick Manchester United to follow or Chelsea or Liverpool, if they have done their research and actually know about the team, to a certain extent, they I can at the very least respect them. The ones I don’t respect are the ones that follow the team because they win and can’t even name you more than two players on the team. Nothing wrong with these people. The sport is meant to be watched and enjoyed, but as far as fandom goes.. ESPECIALLY if you’re American, you should know your stuff. I’m not entirely talking about being a human encyclopedia, but doing some research, get yourself some books, some Season Review DVDS (or download them), watching ‘Official History’ DVDs or VHS tapes, etc.. If you truly love the team, it should come as second nature. Hell, I can even respect a Barcelona fan if they know their shit, so to speak, and aren’t just following them because they are the incredible team that they are.

      • Fred Davidson says:

        (Oops.. Didn’t realize my initial post went through. Apologies.)

      • Carmello says:

        Yeah I see what you’re saying. That’s essentially what happened with my jump from Liverpool to Tottenham. I just didn’t CARE about Liverpool, they were just my bandwagon to figuring out the EPL. It wasn’t until my Spurs-crazy friend told me not only about the current team, but all about its history, that I felt this shift in my allegiance without even knowing it. I CARED about how Spurs did, and DIDN’T CARE about Liverpool.

        I don’t know if any of you guys listen to the World Football Daily podcast (even though it costs money, it’s excellent), but Kenny on WFD said it best about a situation just like my Liverpool to Spurs experience.

        I don’t remember what teams he was exactly talking about, so I’ll just enter in Spurs and Liverpool. “Liverpool are like your first girlfriend in college. She’s hot, you have fun with her, but ultimately it just doesn’t work out in the end because you just aren’t on the same page about things. Spurs are like the girl you bring home to meet your family. She’s beautiful, you connect with her, and in the end you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with her.”

        Done.

  16. David:

    Good article, and well reasoned. You were attracted to Spurs for the same reason that many Americans have been attracted to Spurs of late: they play attractive, attacking, positive football, and are a joy — especially when everyone’s healthy — to watch. They have great players at virtually every position, and under Harry Redknapp they’ve gelled into a cohesive fighting force. We’ve been documenting this phenomenon at our website for much of the past year — it’s perhaps best illustrated in a piece entitled “Ten Reasons I Chose Spurs,” written by James, a newcomer to English football, much like yourself. (http://farlieonfootie.blogspot.com/2010/11/ten-reasons-i-chose-spurs.html). Although I am long-time fan of Manchester United (hold the abuse, please), I too, have to admit that I’ve enjoyed seeing Spurs do well this year, and would love to see Uncle Harry figure out his way to another Top 4 finish….

  17. MG says:

    Really enjoyed this article. It’s always cool to see and read a fellow new found American fan’s perspective on the whole beauty that is English soccer/football.

    But, like Roman M made perfectly clear, when I read “because I couldn’t follow a team that won all the time like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal,” as a Gooner I immediately thought, “I think you just mean Man United… or in terms of the 70′s-80′s, Liverpool.” Arsenal, needless to say, have played wonderful football but are trophy-less for all the years I’ve been watching them (since 2006), and then some.

    I became an Arsenal fan for the same reason you became a Spurs fan: loved watching the team play the first time I tuned in, and the ‘Arsenal FC: Official History’ DVD and various early 2000s ‘Season Reviews’ sealed the deal. Even Chelsea (who I could care less for), pre-2004, were a club that hasn’t won the League title longer than even Spurs have.

    I’m not denying the whole ‘Big Four’ status that Arsenal is already included in, but this down period, relatively speaking of course (in terms of no trophies won since 2004) doesn’t exactly fit in with that title. The majority of the 13 titles comes from Chapman’s era, something the majority of living Arsenal fans can hardly claim as their own.

    Nevertheless, the ‘underdog’ aspect of being a Spurs fan is entirely just.. In fact, it’s the perfect reason to follow the team, as far as being a foreigner is concerned.

    • I agree that Arsenal and Man City don’t “win” all time, but I studied EPL history and basically saw the same four sides being in the top four and I decided I couldn’t root for them. Too easy. Man City was out because it seemed that eventually they would buy several titles. After all the games I could for months and months, I gravitated to Everton and Tottenham since they weren’t know as top four clubs, and seemed to have a more open style of play. Like the Bacholer on ABC I finally picked just one team to root for due to several factors

      1. Luka Modric=fun
      2. Spurs are in London…a place I might actually visit and then actually go to agame, sorry Liverpool
      3. Several other exciting players, or ones just fun to watch like Lennon, Bale, Crouch, and Gomes (for the wrong reasons)
      4. They’re the Spurs and I love the NBA Spurs so it seemed right.

      • MG says:

        Luka Modric is one of my favorite players. The little guy just impressed the hell out of me when he first came to Spurs and played in that crazy 4-4 draw in October 2008 (remember that ridiculousness? haha)

        Gotta say though, for all the years I’ve been watching (2005-06), with the exception of Spurs finishing 10th or 7th in a couple of those years, they haven’t exactly been so far away from Arsenal. It’s not as easy being a Gooner in these fast 5-6 years than you think. Losing the Carling Cup final this year was the worst choke I’ve ever seen, to get that far, such an easy road to Wembley, only to fail and fail horribly with a blunder.

        As an American, I won’t pretend like my dislike for Spurs is anything but an Arsenal supporter’s prerequisite (true rivalry and ‘hate’ comes only from living on London soil), and with that said, I can only say that wish Spurs luck because the whole ‘Big Four’ thing is tiring and kind of arresting. If the EPL can use anything, its some new champions.

      • MG says:

        Also, David, I must point out that since 2003-04, the last time Arsenal won a trophy, Spurs have been on the up, whereas Arsenal clearly are in a slump (again, relatively speaking). You guys beat us 6-2 on aggregate on your way to the ’08 League Cup final, achieving something we couldn’t do against Birmingham just last month. For the years that I’ve been watching Arsenal, it hasn’t exactly been ‘too easy’, as you say. Again, if you take the ‘Big Four’ thing seriously, you’ll think Arsenal is completely dominant, when they clearly aren’t. They are currently a flawed team; one of the fastest runners in a sprint who just so happens to trip a lot.

        Technically speaking, Tottenham have consistently played better than teams like Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton, so they aren’t awful. They may not be ‘Big Four’, but like people said, a lot of new American fans are becoming Spurs fans, or so it seems, because one, they are recommended often for newcomers (besides the obvious Man Utd and Chelsea), but two, they are on the best rise at the moment. They are relevant now in a way they haven’t been in years.

        But like you said, it was their style of play that attracted you to them and of course something as innocently mundane as they shared the same name as San Antonio’s NBA team.

  18. John L. says:

    how they’ll probably end up beating Spurs out for fifth spot and reduce my team to a laughing stock for their late season collapse.
    ———————————————————————-

    Spurs? Laughing stock? You’re in the CL quarterfinals against Real Madrid, a team you haven’t played in 26 years. Win or lose, you should be proud of the way the team fought their way through it all. And even your rival neighbors can’t laugh at you now. You want to talk about ‘late season’ collapse? Talk to Gooners haha. They’ve been living in a perpetual late season collapsing cycle for the past six trophyless years. Tottenham could very well trump Arsenal in the coming years, if not in the league than in competitions.

    • That was what goes through my mind the day Spurs lose or draw. I go through a stage of “well that’s it! Spurs are done! we’ll be fighting relegation next year…” then through the week I eventually talk myself back into a resonable state of mind.

  19. Book153 says:

    In your list of reasons you selected the Spurs you forgot to mention “won just enough to not be considered a front-runner.” There’s still 15 other teams you could’ve selected but I wonder what reason you didn’t?? Seems strange…especially given the fact that teams like Everton had Howard and Donovan, Fulham with Dempsey, and Bolton now has Holden. All very impactful players and yet somehow you were drawn to a top 5 team? Seems like you still care about winning just a little bit…

    • I certianly did. I thought it an unwise investment to pick a club too low in the EPL hireacy because if they went down it would be very hard for me to every watch them in America and my growing intrest in soccer would probably wane. At the time I couldn’t pick several teams because I jsut couldn’t stand the way they played Like Stoke, Blackburn, etc…

      As I posted before my loving eyes eventually focused on two teams…Everton and Spurs. I also liked to watch Aston Villa (still do).

      • MG says:

        Yeah.. Many would disagree with me when I say this, but as an American and someone that doesn’t live in the Midlands, Aston Villa is practically impossible to hate. They are a fantastic club with a fantastic ground (one of the best and storied in English football.. one of my favorites at least) and they’re one of the few English clubs that have won the European Cup. Everton kind of falls under that category as well.

        Also, Book153, I don’t buy into the whole ‘The team has Americans so you should follow them’ mentality. I can understand it, but I certainly don’t watch football because of nationalities. This isn’t the World Cup. It’s the talent on the team and what the team itself stands for. I can assure you, David fell in love with the Spurs in the truest sense.

  20. Pakapala says:

    You’re sure that you xhoosing Spurs has nothing to do with you already being a Spurs fan?

  21. zuqiu wang says:

    I am an Arsenal fan, but since Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League I said that I would now be rooting for Tottenham for the same reasons that you now support Spurs. But someone called me an idiot and another guy called me bizzare for wanting Spurs to pull off a spectacular win over Real Madrid and go on from there hopefully into the finals. I have since shot back at the former by saying “no nore bizzare than you, baby!” and at the latter by saying”so. you are an Arsenal fan. Are you an idiot?”. I am glad that someone called Joe had come to my support in his comments. The emotional roller-coaster feelings a fan goes through when one’s team wins or loses is what keeps every fan interested. But one can be a supporter and yet not be an idiot.

    • Carmello says:

      zuqiu wang, I meant your DECISION to SUPPORT SPURS was bizarre, being that you are an Arsenal fan. Not that YOU are bizarre. And I am NOT more bizarre than you, baby, because there’s NO WAY I would have supported Arsenal against ANYONE if they had continued into the CL.

      Like someone else said on this post, there’s no real reason to HATE Arsenal unless you were born into it on London soil. I wasn’t born into it, but I know that, as a Spurs supporter, giving Arsenal ANY of my well-wishes is simply taboo.

    • MG says:

      Arsenal fan supporting Tottenham in the CL?
      No, man. Just no haha. That’s strange and pure bizarre. Like Carmello said, it just doesn’t make sense and is strange. It’s like a Lakers fan wishing that the Celtics do well in the East and in the playoffs.

      Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, I only wished Spurs well, in response to David, in regards to and in the name of parity. Of course I don’t want Spurs to do well or take over Arsenal as the ‘premier North London club’, to quote Kartik (or was it Lawrence), but as an American, I can’t say I hate Spurs in the way someone from Islington can.

  22. Thomas says:

    It’s Roy Williams.

    • Damn, you’re right. I had both Mike Williams on my fantasy team this year and my team name was teh “Mike Williams Experiece” so it must have been stuck in my brain. I also hate Roy Williams (both of them)

  23. Tom says:

    Maybe if people in the USA just supported their local teams, American “Soccer” might be in better shape, instead of being of a pretty poor standard.

    • MG says:

      I support my local MLS team as well as the Premier League. That’s a poor critique. It implies that EVERYONE that watches European football does not watch the MLS, and worse, that THAT is the reason the MLS isn’t extremely successful/lucrative, and that’s simply not true.

    • SpursInNYC says:

      I’ve been to Red Bull Arena several times. It can be a bit boring at times. The best match I’ve seen there was when Brazilian squad Cruzerio (vai cruzerio!!) visited. Lots of Brazilians, especially from Belo Horizonte, in Newark so the support from them was incredible. Great atmosphere.

      Trust me, I’ve supported MLS by going to the new arena here in NJ. But its not quite the same…

  24. Dave says:

    these gloryhunters are ruining football, im not saying you carnt enjoy watching our national game (many people in England watch American sports) but dont call yourselves supporters and dont ever call football soccer. Also, there is no such thing as the EPL, the top division out of 4 professional divisions is called the premier league, but its just a name.

    True supporters do not choose a team

    • MG says:

      “these gloryhunters are ruining football, im not saying you carnt enjoy watching our national game (many people in England watch American sports) but dont call yourselves supporters and dont ever call football soccer.”

      Utter. Nonsense.

      I support Arsenal and love the team. Yes, I SUPPORT them. Several articles ago, I mentioned how I met an ex-pat who grew up a block away from Highbury and has been watching the club since he was 7, and we chatted because he saw that I had my shirt on one Saturday afternoon. He asked if I was a SUPPORTER and was kind and friendly when we conversed. He wasn’t stuck up at all and was glad to see a fellow, younger, foreign Gooner in his place of work. I don’t see him often, but when I do we always talk about the current state of the team.

      You must be thinking about gloryhunters in the sense of clueless bandwagoners, but I assure you, many Americans like the ones posting on this site and the ones running this site understand, love and care about the game. We aren’t clueless and we’ll call it soccer if we want. Soccer, football, football, soccer, big deal. You know what I’m talking about either way. It’s understandable yet ridiculous to put so much importance on a word.

      • Sam says:

        it is the EPL to us, the ENGLISH premier league, we dont live there so we clarify, the italians bitch at you, “its calcio not football” and the italians are way better at soccer then you english can ever hope to be, there is no argument to that.

      • Dave says:

        An Arsenal fan! You think thats a good example?

        • MG says:

          Like I said, you’re crying and moaning about ‘our game is ruined’ and makes you come off hateful and insecure. Again, I met an ex-pat who grew up a block away from Highbury and has been following Arsenal since he was SEVEN.. He was entirely friendly and we talk about OUR team whenever I see him. He isn’t an elitist like you unfortunately are. If you’re one of those people that actually expect AMERICANS to follow a team like Millwall or Wolves JUST because they aren’t a top team and no other reason, then I feel bad for you. And if you think that I am one of those Americans who chose Arsenal mindlessly and doesn’t give a shit about the team and only care about them when they are winning, then you are utterly wrong.
          Have a good one.

    • SpursInNYC says:

      oh dave, stop being so damn highbrow. nobody is ruining your game. also, lets remember this is A GAME.

      • Dave says:

        thats where you are wrong mate, its a lot more than a game for us. High ticket prices, kick offs at inconvienent times, bias from the clubs and people running the game to gloryhunting armchair fans all over the world, bias against the smaller clubs who are not seen as attractive to gloryhunters. OUR game is being ruined

        • MG says:

          “Because they are as much a part of English football as Man United, Arsenal etc. You are being sold a ‘product’ or ‘brand’, the EPL as you call it, but its not real. This is why you are hated by English supporters (please don’t come back with examples of ‘big 4? gloryhunting friends) you have no respect for the English game, its traditions and culture.”

          Wow.. I am ‘hated’ by English supporters (not the ones I’ve met)?.. I have no respect for the English game, its traditions and culture?.. No, in fact, I am utterly fascinated by it and that’s why I follow the league.. That equals ‘no respect’ to you?

          Why are you even on this website? Are you aware that TWO AMERICANS are a part of this website’s podcast? If you feel that Americans are ‘disrespectful’, then you’ve got us all wrong. You also sadly come off as jingoistic, especially you all-cap words like ‘OUR’, like we’re trying to ‘steal’ the game away from you.. And about Leyton Orient.. did I imply that they aren’t a part of English football?? You seem to have a horrific preconception about ME and about American fans of English football.. It both baffles and saddens me.

  25. Bob says:

    I have followed Spurs for 4 years now. When I discovered that I had FSC and could watch the games, I tried to catch any EPL game I could. I wasn’t sure if I would support a team individually at first. Then came March 4th of 2007 and the day I realized I had become full on Tottenham fan. I knew I liked watching them play but I didn’t realize just how much until West Ham away…Berbatov scores a free kick to tie the game at 3, then after it seemed like the ref added 6 or 7 minutes just so West Ham could win, Spurs broke following a corner kick and Paul Staltieri put in their 4th. I couldn’t help it anymore, I was hooked. After this is when I started looking at soccer sites to keep up on news and league standings, and it wasnt long before I bought my first Tottenham jersey.

    Looking into their history only made my connection to the team feel stronger. I have lived in Philadelphia my entire 25 years of existence and had known nothing but Philly Sports. We know heartbreak and let downs that come from high expectations in this city and I couldn’t believe I had managed to find Tottenham. My other friends who started following the league with me purposely picked Chelsea or Man U because they could finally root for a team that won things. But experiencing Spurs win the Carling Cup, the Phillies winning the World Series, and then the fourth placed finish last year mean so much to me, and I can’t imagine things like those being expected every year. I guess that’s why both groups of fans always fear that the end is near, even if our teams are on top of the world. I don’t get to experience the winning all the time, so when it happens it’s worth so much, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    In my four short years I’ve been lucky enough to see Spurs play Portsmouth back in 08, tour White Hart Lane in 09, and I’ll be at the Stoke game in two weeks. Spurs are as much a Philadelphia sports team to me as any of the ones actually located in this city, and I’m hoping April isn’t the last time I get to go over and see them.

    • MG says:

      What’s funny is that you would have been an Everton supporter if you had watched a noteworthy victory of theirs, or Aston Villa’s or Newcastle haha. Funny how that works, huh?

      Also, are you a Flyers/hockey fan? I know losing in Game 7 last year isn’t exactly a victory, but they went from just making 8th seed to ending up in the Stanley Cup final. And they’re the best team in the East this year. Just figured I’d mention them if you happened to leave them out haha.

      • Bob says:

        MG,

        That could have been the case if I saw a noteworthy victory from another team, but what I was trying to say was I had been watching the league for a few months and had watched Tottenham a bunch of times and I think it was more of a subconscious thing that I became a fan but didn’t realize until that game. I knew I liked watching them play (Berbatov was my favorite) and I honestly think the name Tottenham stuck in my mind, because it honestly sounded like a funny word to me at the time. Anyways, something kept them on my mind and it didn’t take long before I realized how much a fan I was.

        As for the Flyers and Sixers, I am a fan, but I don’t follow those leagues like I do for Football, Baseball or the Premier League. Those three are quite time consuming. The flyers had an amazing run last year with a shootout to get into the playoffs and then coming back against Boston after losing the first 3 games, but they didn’t win the Stanley Cup, and they haven’t since 1975. This year they started off so well and could do it, but the Philly Phaithful is a bit worried with our stuttering form, injuries, and goalie situation. They have to get their acts together if they’ll lift the cup in June.

  26. Name says:

    One word… Gloryhunter

    What a load of garbage this article is. You selected a team who were 4th in the league and claim that you know anything about supporting a team. You could have selected a team like Millwall or a team who have fallen from grace but no you selected a high flying team.

    • I can’t remember who was in 4th when I started watching the league and seeing if there was a team for me to follow.

      The problem with selecting a tea like MIllwall is I’d never be able to watch them

      • Troy says:

        I totally see your point David. For those of us in the states, only recently have we been lucky enough to have access to so many teams (and still we miss out on so many more). When I first got into the premier league nearly a decade ago, I fell in love with United while watching them on the regional sports network YES. At the time, YES was broadcasting replays of matches as well as classic matches and it was a delight. And thanks to more modern technology, I’ve been able to watch nearly every match for the last few seasons by recording or downloading them. But back in the day, it was a harshly different place where matches were nearly impossible to find on tv or on the internet.

        I think this is why many supporters like myself (who have been around a while, but not forever) commonly follow the “bigger” clubs as opposed to the Leyton Orient’s of the world. It just wasn’t feasible given the resources.

        I’ve said this many times on this blog and I’ll say it again. If you love a club, live for them. Follow every match, follow the reserves, follow the U20′s and know the history. If you do that, no one can challenge your committment, regardless of who you support.

        • MG says:

          “as opposed to the Leyton Orient’s of the world”

          See that’s the thing, why would ANYONE expect an AMERICAN to follow LEYTON ORIENT?? Or Hereford Utd or Wrexham? JUST because they are small time? Give me a break. People that think that are sad, unrealistic people. Even in England herself, the only people that follow those clubs are LOCALS.. and God knows us Americans could give two shits about Leyton Orient, or Accrington.. The bigger clubs have widespread fandom all over England, so it’s only natural that they are the clubs that foreigners fall in love with and most importantly, become FANS of.

          • Dave says:

            why? Because they are as much a part of English football as Man United, Arsenal etc. You are being sold a ‘product’ or ‘brand’, the EPL as you call it, but its not real. This is why you are hated by English supporters (please don’t come back with examples of ‘big 4′ gloryhunting friends) you have no respect for the English game, its traditions and culture.

    • MG says:

      See my comment about how picking a team JUST BECAUSE they aren’t a great team is just as bad, if not worse, then picking a team because they are a ‘high flying team’..

      And seriously, Tottenham.. high flying? Haha no. There’s really only one gloryhunting team an American can choose and that’s Man Utd, the team that has won over 80% of the titles since the beginning of the Premier League. Again, remember, we are AMERICANS. We’re not going to picking MILLWALL when they’ll probably remain in Championship for seasons on end. We don’t all have Fox Soccer Plus and for those of us that do, they hardly ever show Millwall matches, or Preston North End etc.. Your comment is the ‘load of garbage’. Again, Tottenham have been so-so for over a decade. They are hardly a ‘gloryhunting’ team, and even if they WERE, he and every true American Spurs fan has their reasons.

      Seriously “you could have chosen a team who have fallen from grace”.. even if he doesn’t a shit about the team? Way too calculated and pathetic reason to follow a team. Unnatural and very, very pathetic.

      • Patrick in Austin says:

        Dave, I bet with all your reverence the traditions and culture of “English Football,” you probably think it was way better back before they let jews and blacks play too. What a bunch of garbage. You sound like my great grandfather.

        And speaking of him, if he were here, do you know what he’d say to you? “If it weren’t for us Americans, English Football would be GERMAN FOOTBALL, so I’ll do with your English game what I damn well please!”

  27. Gunslinger says:

    NAME is spot on. There’s only one word to describe this and that is gloryhunters. It’s great to become a supporter of a british footballteam, but picking one of the top-four teams is just pathetic. An Arsenal-supporter suffering? Ha, that’s nothing but a bad joke. Go and tell your story to a Leeds-supporter and hear his/hers reaction if you dare. There are plenty of teams with glorious past history to support so why on earth go gloryhunting. You are just sheeps following the big heard without making your own individual stand. Go support Preston, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton or Luton and do it NOW. That would give you massive respect. By picking one of the big clubs it is the same as shouting ‘I’ve got no will of my own’ from the rooftops. Not able to watch Millwall (or other teams outside the top)? Of course, you can. Don’t make it more difficult than it is, please. Their matches are not broadcasted as frequently as the top teams but still possible to catch them from time-to-time if you want to. There’s also live radio coverage available from most clubs. So: It’s your call now – are you sheeps or individuals?

    • Troy says:

      At least in my personal experience in the States, I haven’t been able to listen to radio from overseas (over the internet) because of it’s “out of my region”. Now if you could come down off your soapbox for a minute and maybe provide some links for people to help them instead of belittling them, that would probably be a little more productive.

      • I find this sentiment that people should be following very small teams or they’re sheep, very very strange. I don’t think anyone in the world outside of Hagerstown follows the Hagerstown Suns. How about the Austin Torros or the Charleston Power?

        “radio coverage”

        haha

    • MG says:

      Wow oh wow haha. First of all, I am an individual. I don’t pick Man Utd based only on the fact that they are successful. Maybe someone else did, but not me and clearly not David.

      “Go support Preston, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton or Luton and do it NOW”

      Read my response to Troy right above you.
      And seriously, Millwall matches are NOT on American TV. ONE match on FSP if you’re lucky or if they’re in the Championship promotion playoffs, like last year. That’s the only time I saw them on that channel. It’s impossible and MEANINGLESS to follow them just because they are a Championship team. You’re seriously expecting people to follow a team no matter how they feel about how they play, the history of the club, what they stand for, the players, etc.. You expect people to follow these small clubs JUST because they are small. If you don’t see the flaw and stupidity in that, it is because you are blinded by your own foul elitism.

      Also, I’m just going to cut and paste what FredDavidson wrote earlier to someone else about the difference between picking a big team and being a CLUELESS ‘pathetic’ fan, as you say, and being an actual TRUE fan, no matter HOW big the club is..

      ——————————————————
      “There are people even in England that pick top teams to follow, and so Americans have done so, do so and will continue to do so. I’m not a Man Utd fan, but if an American chooses them and actually knows the team’s history and where they’ve been, where they are now, and where they are going, then that’s all it takes for me to respect them, regardless of the fact that they’re choosing the most successful club in the last twenty years. I don’t know what is worse, picking a team because they are top of the league, or NOT picking a team because they are good enough to stay in the PL but not good enough to be top. They are both too calculated.

      If someone wanted to follow a team, I would advise that they watch a few matches with various teams and read up on the team that they gravitate towards, read up on their history, their reputation, their fans, their style, etc. Just figure out what the teams stands for and it’ll all work itself out. They’ll know exactly who to root for.

      Seriously, if you’re not even from the country of the league you’re following, it really comes down to doing a Wikipedia research extravaganza of the league and its teams. I can’t stress that enough. ‘Cause you’ll just be a clueless ‘bandwagoner’/’frontrunner’ if you mindlessly choose a team. It might sound strange to others, but even someone that decides to pick Manchester United to follow or Chelsea or Liverpool, if they have done their research and actually know about the team, to a certain extent, they I can at the very least respect them. The ones I don’t respect are the ones that follow the team because they win and can’t even name you more than two players on the team. Nothing wrong with these people. The sport is meant to be watched and enjoyed, but as far as fandom goes.. ESPECIALLY if you’re American, you should know your stuff. I’m not entirely talking about being a human encyclopedia, but doing some research, get yourself some books, some Season Review DVDS (or download them), watching ‘Official History’ DVDs or VHS tapes, etc.. If you truly love the team, it should come as second nature. Hell, I can even respect a Barcelona fan if they know their shit, so to speak, and aren’t just following them because they are the incredible team that they are”
      ———————————————

      Amen.

  28. cubarebel says:

    Guarnero, I wish I was as lucky as you to be from a winning town, im from western ny and constantly suffer heartbreak after heartbreak watching the bills and sabres. I am a spurs fan and want us to win now.

    All you people splattering gloryhunter, fairweather, watta watta; get over yourselfs for christs sake. I know Im not I picked spurs two years ago, the year it took us till october to win a game, I thought yup my luck another team of mine that cant win, but I stuck with them just like I stick by all my teams winning or losing. And why cant we support PL sides here, is their some test you have to take? NO theres not. Me personally am a diehard mls supporter to, and not of LA or NYRB, why dont you watch our league then if your gonna gripe about us not following your lower shiite leagues. I am a blades fan in the championship and do follow them to clarify.

    But dont be jealous that our team is better than yours, we’re not from england we can pick any team we want

  29. Divingstokie says:

    Hi Troy. As a Stoke City season ticket holder for the last 13 years I hope that you experience the same emotions that all the diehard spuds enjoyed last season when the Mighty Potters came to town :-) Fuller to Whelan… 1st time shot… 1-0… Maybe this time you’ll get to see a Rory Delap “special” :-)

    Seriously though, for all you romantic yanks, Stoke City are the only team for you – we play in red & White stripes for a start… We’re the oldest club in the premier league (never EVER use the term “epl”), hardly ever won anything (although we’re off to Wembley for the cup semifinal next month), virtually the whole of English football hates us and we genuinely don’t care. A game at the Britannia is one of the most emotional, intoxicating experiences legally available and lasts at least 90 minutes. 28000 Stoke fans are louder than 76000 Manu fans, 60000 arsenal fans or anyone else… Fact! We have Rory Delap, Ricardo Fuller and Tony Pulis. We also have bacon, cheese & tomato oatcakes! Come and find a spiritual home among friends and true football supporters!

    • MG says:

      “A game at the Britannia is one of the most emotional, intoxicating experiences legally available and lasts at least 90 minutes.”

      Hahah, nice trolling, the last bit gave it away.
      Again, you don’t pick a team only because they are one of the oldest teams or because you wear red and white. I personally despise Stoke’s style of play and their cheesy throw-in tactic. For that reason alone, they are not the club for me, small club or not.

      And that’s the whole point of this article, in general, Americans choose PL clubs to follow for their own particular reasons. And when it’s for a reason that isn’t the simple “they are popular” or “they win” like you expect from sheep Man Utd fans, but for a reason that stems from a place of actual interest and love for the club, you have to respect it.

      • JamaicanUSAStokie says:

        If you have ever been to the Britannia you would understand the passion the fans have for the mighty potters. They were actually recorded as the loudest fans in the English premier league. You get goose bumps just being in the stadium. The vibe is like nothing else you will ever experience. Unlike the library known as the Emirates where there just does not seem to be any passion.

        I went to watch Stoke when they were in the championship when I was visiting a friend of mine over there. Me being Jamaican and them having the legendary Ricardo Fuller as their striker I was so excited to go watch them play but I was not prepared for the experience, it blew me away. The only thing that was comparable was when Jamaica, my home country, made it to the 1998 world cup in France difference is this is every week!!!! I was able to follow them via internet streams when they were in the Championship so that was not a problem for me.

      • IanCransonsKnees says:

        “And when it’s for a reason that isn’t the simple “they are popular” or “they win” like you expect from sheep Man Utd fans, but for a reason that stems from a place of actual interest and love for the club, you have to respect it.”

        But that’s why you wouldn’t get any respect if you were over here meeting people who know what goes on throughout the leagues, not just the top 4. You haven’t had to work for it, you’ve put in as little effort as possible to associate yourself with teams that stand the greatest chance of success given their skewed financial status.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the sooner a Euro/Global league is established and the top 4 piss off and globe trot the better it’ll be for the rest of us.

        • MG says:

          You’re clearly just an upset fan of a club that isn’t the ‘top 4′.. I can’t help you with that. And about respect.. I take offense this post as I HAVE gotten respect from your fellow Englishmen when they realize, like I said, that I actually CARE about the team and am not mindless in my following them. YOU wouldn’t give me any respect but that says more about YOU than it says about English football fans in general.

          “You haven’t had to work for it, you’ve put in as little effort as possible to associate yourself with teams that stand the greatest chance of success given their skewed financial status.”

          Need I remind you that I am NOT ENGLISH.. As an American, I don’t have the luxury of seeing teams in the Championship on a regular basis and my picking a ‘top 4′ club had very little to do with the fact that they are ‘top 4′. I saw an ‘Official History’ DVD as well as watching matches week in and out and that’s what made me want to follow them. I won’t follow Wolves just because they are Wolves.. I actually have to care things other than reputation. If I don’t like Wolves’ style of play and history, I won’t follow them. If I don’t like Burnley’s style of play and history etc etc etc, I won’t follow them. What’s so hard to understand about that?

          You’re clearly bitter and I hope I don’t encounter Englishmen like you. I’m glad I met a fair share of friendly ones who don’t even smell of belligerence.

    • George says:

      never EVER use the term “epl”
      - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

      You are aware that you’re on a site subtitled “News and Analysis of the ENGLISH Premier League” right?

      It’s not that big a deal. English Premier League or Premier League.. You know what it is in both instances. Don’t nitpick.

      • bristolstokie says:

        what happens if Cardiff or Swansea get promoted? will it be the EPL then…

      • Maybee says:

        Actually, I’m pretty sure the official name is “Barclay’s Premier League”, yeah?

        Anyway, I think the poster’s point when he said not to use the term, is that no one in England calls it that. Which makes sense. Usually the people IN a country don’t feel a need to preference their league name with their nationality. That’s something that people on the outside looking in do.

  30. Kearnkoff69 says:

    Mariners! Seattle represent. Great article, by the way. I am a shameless United fan (they were the first professional team I saw play; I still remember I was 7 years old in their legendary 1999 treble season and my dad had the game on TV which was rare because we didn’t watch football back then. I fell in love with them and Giggs who played my position with such a verve I couldn’t help but admire him and remains my favorite player). I have to say that I must disagree with your statement though. My friends can attest to the fact that each United game is huge for me and win or lose my mood is affected by the result for the rest of the weekend. That said, Tottenham were always my secondary team in the PL because they were never in the position to challenge the title but they always played such attractive football and were always a joy to watch (plus I love Defoe, I mean who can’t love a midget as scrappy and skilled as him?) I wish your Spurs best of luck, please knock Chelski out of the Champs. League spots!!

    • I can understand if you live and die with your team even if they’ve won a lot recently. Personally, soccer has made me realize that I don’t care as much as I used to when my favorite American sports teams lose because they’ve all won in the recent past.

      I know that, along with most people, I do enjoy seeing long suffering fans finally experience the joys of winning like Red Sox and White Sox have done in the past few years.

  31. Adrian Meta says:

    I chose City before we were taken over, so I know the feeling of getting to the top. I 100% agree with you man, great article.

  32. IanCransonsKnees says:

    Serious question now.

    What would you do if the top four team that you’ve latched onto went into financial meltdown a la Portsmouth?

    A)Pick a new team in the Premeir League to support

    B) Make the effort to follow them in the lower leagues

    This link takes you to the Millwall official website. There’s articles interviews highlights and you get full match coverage anywhere in the world. It’s the same for any league team in England.

    http://www.millwallfc.co.uk/page/Home

    There’s life outside the Premier League, if some of you get to experience it means Platini’s got his way.

    • MG says:

      If you think that EVERY American fan, myself included, would automatically switch to ‘another’ Premier League club if our teams get relegated, then you’ve got us and ESPECIALLY me all wrong. To be judgmental, man. Seriously.. it’s unnecessary. I would definitely make the effort watch my team. There are streaming sites and like you said, the club’s website, etc. I’ve even looked at various team websites, in the PL and Championship and even lower leagues, out of pure curiosity. I am obsessed with the game, trust me. I don’t mean ill-harm and people like me don’t want people like you to ‘hate’ us. In fact, like I said before, every Englishmen I’ve met has been nothing but friendly. It’s only on the internet that I encounter silliness. It gets the best of people, unfortunately.

      Anyway, I can only hope you believe me and believe that I am writing to you from a sincere place. I suggest you get that judgment out of your head and realize that not all Americans who follow the sport is mindless asshole. Even Kartik himself follows Man City, doesn’t he? Does he not have your respect? He clearly knows his stuff. My point is that many of us do.

      Take care.

  33. Patrick in Austin says:

    David – I saw your mention of the Austin Toros in one of your responses? Are you in Austin? If so, we should start a supporters group and get a regular bar to watch the games (ManU – Fado, Chelsea/Arsenal – Cuatros).

  34. Me says:

    Personally i love the fact you all watch our game – football is a wonderful sport, especially when played with your FEET

    Charlton athletic are the team for you..see playoff final vs Sunderland for the game of your life…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>