The question I get asked the most is why do I follow Fulham Football Club? I don't take offense to being asked the question. I am very proud to be fan of the Cottagers, so I don't mind at all explaining how I became a fan.
I started watching the EPL several years ago, but had a hard time identifying with one team. I tried to get into Chelsea and Manchester United but those teams were not for me. I wanted to find a team that I could relate to, and really get behind.
When Clint Dempsey decided to transfer to Fulham from the New England Revolution I thought I would follow his team. He went to Fulham in the January transfer window in the 2006-2007 season. I really didn't get into Fulham until the following season.
I enjoyed the fact that Fulham were thought of as underdogs against the like of Manchester United and Chelsea. In the 2007-2008 season Fulham struggled early and found themselves in a relegation battle.
When I saw Fulham fighting for their survival in the EPL I really got hooked on the club. Each and every week it was a battle to stay up.
I also started to identify more with the players. This wasn't a team made up of superstars. This team was made up of players that got everything out of their ability, and played together as a team. They grinded out victories near the end of that season. Most experts picked them to be relegated.
In fact, I remember Keith Costigan on Fox Soccer Channel stating he really believed Fulham would be relegated. I didn't understand why he thought that, considering there were still several games left in that season when he made his thoughts known about Fulham.
It seemed right after that statement by Costigan, Fulham went on a run that took them to the last game of the season. They needed to win against Portsmouth on the road to stay up. Fulham would get that win, and stay in the EPL.
The ability to work through adversity, and fight to the end really drew me more in as a fan. After that season, I was really a fan of Fulham.
The next season my fanaticism grew larger as Fulham kept pushing up the table. The 2008-2009 season saw Fulham finish 7th and qualify for the Europa League.
All of this led to the incredible run last season in the Europa League. I saw a club continue to build through hard work and playing together as a team.
I was never the most talented player in any sport I played. I just worked harder than most to become a very good player. I realize now that I have found a club that I could really relate to. I always just wanted to be part of a team. What I see from Fulham back when I first starting watching up to right now is the same type of club. This isn't a "me" first group of players. The Cottagers are made up of "team" players that just want to win.
I know now why I could not be a fan of Chelsea or Manchester United. I just didn't relate to those clubs. In Fulham I have found a club that matches my personality.
Another reason why I am a fan of Fulham has to be the fans. I think Fulham fans are the best in football. The fans are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the club. I am proud to be a part of this great group of followers.
So, I am sure I will be asked again the question why Fulham? I won't have a problem answering that question as I know why I am a fan of the Cottagers.