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Why I’m a fan of Fulham FC

How did I end up with a favorite team that’s 4800 miles away?

Craven Cottage Tour

Welcome to the refreshed Cottagers Confidential! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

You might be wondering how a middle aged guy from the United States, who never played the sport past the U10 level, fell in love with Fulham. To be honest, sometimes when the team is being particularly Fulhamish, I wonder about that myself.

I didn’t grow up watching soccer or really even playing it. There really wasn’t a way to watch the game while living in Oklahoma. Then came the 1994 World Cup. It’s the first time I remember seeing the games on TV and how me and my friends fell in love with Roberto Baggio. After that I settled into the cycle of watching the World Cup every four years, and the US Team every time they were on TV. I still wouldn’t have even considered myself a soccer fan at this point.

It wasn’t until the late 2000’s that Fox Soccer made it’s way to my house. All of a sudden my weekend mornings were spent watching the Premier League. At first I didn’t have a team, but I soon found myself watching more and more of Fulham. Being an American, you can probably guess why. If it wasn’t for Clint Dempsey, I probably wouldn’t have been watching. It was great that Fulham had a history of American players, but I was really tuning in each week to watch Dempsey.

But then a funny thing happened, Dempsey left Fulham. The guy who might be my favorite player of all time Moussa Dembele (the first one) left soon after. Instead of my interest in the club waning, I felt hurt that they’d left my club. Somehow I’d become a Fulham fan. Instead of looking for a new club to support, I was planning a trip to London to see the team live.

How did I go from a fan of a player, to a fan of the club? I’m not exactly sure. I may have started watching during the best spell Fulham will ever have, but even then they weren’t particularly good. They never won a trophy, and never finished higher than seventh. There was a Europa League run, but even as exciting as that was, it’s still more about the disappointment at the end. Yet I was still trying to stuff myself into a Kappa shirt that was way too tight. I was in love with Craven Cottage. I loved interacting with other supporters on Twitter. I loved listening to Cottage Talk and reading Cottagers Confidential.

When asked to take over running this site, I jumped at. I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to hear my thoughts on Fulham. I’ll be the first to admit, I have been less than a good luck charm. The team got relegated in my first season covering them, and nearly fell out of the Championship twice thereafter. Any reasonable person would have jumped ship. The Championship isn’t on TV very often in the US, and it would be awfully easy to start pulling for a different Premier League side. That was never really an option though. For better or worse, Fulham is my club.

I maybe like Charlie Brown, with Fulham being my Lucy. Getting close enough to think it will finally happen, just to have the ball pulled away, but I can’t help it. Every year I think this could be the one. Whether it was the year to make a cup run, break into the top six of the premier league, or more recently gain promotion. Fulham waited a long time to pull the ball out from under me this year, but the run up to that moment made the pain at the end worth it. And I’m already thinking about next season and how it’s going to be the one.

As you might guess, living in Seattle, I don’t run into other Fulham fans very often. The readers of this site and those of you that interact with me on Twitter or Facebook always let me know I’m not alone when I’m suffering through a Fulhamish defeat or celebrating an unexpected win. I’m not sure I’d even feel like a fan unless I had others to share the experience with.

Thank you for helping me be a fan. I’m glad we do this together.

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