A few weeks ago, I approached Dan about becoming a contributor here at HammyEnd.com. I had decided to close CravenCottage.us but still had a desire to write about my favorite football club in the world. Luckily for me, Dan was excited to have me aboard and he even gave me a subject to cover with my first post. He wanted me to share with everyone how I became a fan of Fulham Football Club.
With the exception of some British expats who live in the United States, I’m going to guess that most Americans who now follow Fulham did so once Brian McBride became a member of the club. That’s how much we love the guy, people are willing to follow him wherever he goes. However, as much as I love Brian McBride, that is not how I became a supporter.
In the late 90’s, I met a beautiful woman who was visiting the United States from England. She was a South African living in Cambridge. We dated, fell in love but unfortunately, she had to go back to England. Thus begins a VERY long distance relationship. Much like me, she had a love of sports. Her favorite sport at the time was cricket, but she also enjoyed football. Her favorite club…Fulham FC.
During the 2000-2001 season, I visited my future wife in Cambridge for the first time. Spent nearly a month with her and to this day, I point to that as being the greatest vacation of my life. We planned a visit to London to take in the sights, you know, the usual tourist traps. However on a whim, we also decided to visit Craven Cottage to take in a football match. If memory serves me correct, Fulham were playing Nottingham Forrest. I believe it took me all of about 10 minutes before I fell in love with the club. I loved the stadium, I loved the atmosphere and I remember thinking to myself, “soccer in the U.S. is nothing like this.” It only took one match and I was hooked on this small club from West London.
After the visit, I had to return to the United States. I purchased a multi-region VCR and Cilla would send me match tapes or highlights so I could keep in touch with the team. Gotta remember at the time, I was just getting into the internet and I only had basic cable. I would never make it to the Cottage again, but during future visits to England, I would always follow Fulham FC religiously until I was forced to return home again.
Times would change and thanks to the internet and satellite television, I was able to follow Fulham more often after they reached the Premiership. Soon many of my favorite American players would call Craven Cottage home, which only increased my desire to follow the club. Nine years ago I followed the club via VCR tapes sent in the mail. Now I can watch nearly every match either on tv or online. Oh yeah, in 2003 Cilla would move to the United States after a long immigration process and in April 2004, we got married.
Fulham FC are my favorite club in the world and not just for the reasons I mentioned in this column. I think the biggest reason I love the club is due to the fact that I will always associate them with the main love of my life…Priscilla. The two will be forever linked in my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.