Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why I am a Fulham Fan (...and Why You Should Be, Too) — Part II

(Click here for Part I of this post, click here for Part III.)

Now that you've decided the EPL is worth your attention, it's time to choose your team. We start with 20 teams.

Why the Other 19 EPL Teams
Don't Quite Deserve Your Support

  1. You cannot start out your EPL fandom rooting for the Goliaths: Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Liverpool. For purposes of illustration, imagine this conversation:
    New Fan: "Hey, I picked my favorite baseball team."
    You: "Oh yeah? What team did you pick?"
    New Fan: "The All-Star Team"
    You: "..."
    These teams have better players and spend drastically more than the rest of the league. The result is that they are too good relative to the other squads and should be promoted to some kind of intergalactic football league. Cheering for them is like cheering for Goliath.

    16 teams remain.

  2. Forget about rooting for newly-promoted Sunderland, Birmingham, or Derby. Choosing a favorite team without a preexisting geographic affinity skirts dangerously close to poseur-dom. To choose newly-promoted teams – teams you couldn't possibly have watched on TV, ever – would ring hollow.

    13 teams remain.

  3. You're not taking a vacation to Newcastle, Greater Manchester, Portsmouth, Liverpool, or Middlesborough and thus cannot support teams based there. Bill Simmons applied this rule, and it makes sense. Having chosen a team, you'll eventually want to experience the real thing and go to a game or two. A family vacation to post-industrial England or the Northern English coast? Not happening.

    Sorry Newcastle United, Middlesborough, Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Portsmouth, or Manchester City.

    5 teams remain.

  4. Reading is not ready for you. I want to root for Reading. They were promoted this season and had an awesome year, finishing in the top half of the table. They play with admirable reckless abandon. Yet Reading's high crime rate recently earned it the title of Worst Place in Britain to Raise a Family. Also, Reading has not been granted city status by Queen Elizabeth, a snub that leads me to suspect that Reading lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. A certain joie de vivre. ...and a bunch of other pouty French phrases that presently escape me.

    4 teams remain.

  5. You're not going to root for a team with colors that belong on a pastry. You're not rooting for Aston Villa or West Ham. With West Ham narrowly escaping relegation this past season, the EPL has two teams clad in a magenta and sky blue color scheme. Whatever else they are, these squads are a garish visual insult.

    2 teams remain.

  6. Tottenham Hotspur is a solid choice, but Fulham's a better one. It's tempting to root for Tottenham Hotspur, if for no other reason than it sounds like it belongs in Hogwarts with Gryffindor, Slytherin, and the other magical houses.

    Tottenham's logo includes an homage to cock-fighting. They're in London, so you might actually see a game. The team's record is good, but not great, so you're not just picking a favorite. Yet, whatever positives Spurs have encouraging you to root for them, you'll see in Part III that Spurs don't compare with Fulham.