SIX (random) THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN MY FIRST SEASON AS A FOOTBALL FAN
Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions and Arsenal reigned victorious in the FA Cup. Football season is finally over and after fighting it for so long, I finally learned to appreciate the game. Here are six random things I learned about English football culture in my first season as a fan:
1. Team loyalty runs deep
When it comes to Premier League football, I bounce back and forth between supporting Tottenham and Watford. Many of the football fans I’ve met are lifelong fans, ones who support a team just because their fathers and grandfathers before them were supporters. The look of shock and horror I receive when I say I’m a fan of two teams would almost be comical, if I didn’t have the same reaction when someone says they’re a fan of two baseball teams.
2. Leicester winning the Premiership title last season was essentially a fluke.
When Leicester won the title last year, many people became football fans that day. Unfortunately, that success didn’t carry over into this season, and they should consider themselves lucky they stayed out of the relegation zone.
3. Arsenal Fan TV is the cure for any bad day
You don’t have to be a Gunner to appreciate this YouTube channel, fam. Arsenal started out strongly, but as they hit a slight bump midseason many fans were embroiled in the Wenger In/Out debate. Several of Mr DT’s videos got me through some rough times this year because I found it so amusing that someone could be so passionate about their team. I made a promise to myself that had Sutton beat Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup, I would have posted that video on all forms of social media because it was guaranteed to be filled with golden tidbits from Robbie and company. Which leads me to my next lesson learned…
4. The Magic of the FA Cup
The 2016/17 season was particularly enchanting with so many non-league teams going further than expected. Even fair-weather fans such as myself were rooting for the little guy (Sutton) in the fifth round as they took on the Gunners in a David-vs-Goliath story that will go down in Cup history. I was sad when Lincoln was kicked out in the Quarter Finals by the same team, but both Non League sides be proud for holding their own against a super-rich Premier League team.
5. Indeed, Millwall is in London
Who knew that football would teach me some geography? I had always presumed that Millwall was a town somewhere in the Midlands.
6. Non-League will forever hold a special place in my heart
Although I enjoyed watching Tottenham at Wembley and Chelsea Ladies play at Stamford Bridge, neither game compared to a cold winter Saturday at Hampton. Once you find a team that is “yours”, no amount of money or flash will turn your head if you’re a “true” football fan.