The frenzied speculation over Fulham’s first signing of the summer has laid bare the alarming amount of division and distrust amongst our (relatively small) fanbase. Whether this stems from pure frustration, differences of opinion or even a feeling of superiority based on how long you have supported the club, how many away games you attend or what country you reside in, the constant bickering is getting tiring.
Some make themselves easier targets than others. This may be through their eagerness and enthusiasm to post and share any transfer rumours relating to the club no matter how reliable or unreliable their source may be. Some even go as far as tracking flights from destinations relating to said targets that may or may not be landing on a runway within a reasonable distance of Motspur Park (or Farnborough). While we have every right to scrutinise these accounts and stories, If you digest transfer rumours from any media outlet then you have to at least consider their validity and not take it as gospel.
There are also a number of excellent podcasts and fan sites out there specific to Fulham that generate regular content on a subject we are clearly all passionate about but still somehow receive constant abuse for doing so.
While we don’t have the biggest fan base in the world it is highly likely that there will be differing opinions to yours on a variety of subjects so by all means challenge them but keep in mind that other person (like you) suffers enough already by being a Fulham fan in the first place.
I am sure plenty of us are old enough to remember a time where we all bemoaned the lack of any Fulham related coverage outside of the official channels so to have such an ecosystem now no matter how speculative is surely a positive.
If we are being honest then the only person on twitter who is technically a reliable resource for Fulham news is the person who divides opinion more than anyone else, Tony Khan. When it comes to relevant content I would much rather know where Manor Solomon is holidaying than which spandex clad man is fighting in the AEW this week.
Division has always existed in the fanbase but never so much as it does now. Back in the early 2000s it was a feeling of us and them, those who were here before the remarkable rise through the pyramid and those who had jumped on that bandwagon. Then after an influx of American players we attracted a (still strong) US fanbase which led to many belittling the opinions of those who were making all their observations from across the Atlantic based on just live television coverage or streaming. In my opinion, getting up at an ungodly hour to watch Fulham (more often than not) lose, is a level of commitment worth commending rather than ridiculing.
Whether you sit or stand in the Hammersmith End and sing your heart out, whether you risk splinters in the Johnny Haynes stand for a little more money, whether you brave abuse from the away fans at the Putney End or just observe from the comfort of your own home, it is incumbent to remember the unique thing that unites us all: we chose to follow Fulham Football Club.
Whether you chose to support Fulham because they are your local team or because of family connections or because of an affiliation with a particular signing or just because it felt right, you did so like the rest of us when it would have been a lot easier to chase the glory at a bigger club and probably see more trophies along the way (of course we did win it one time) but that in itself deserves some level of respect.
I love the fact that we are one of very few teams at Premier League level where you still feel obliged as a fan to acknowledge a fellow supporter on the very rare occasion you see them out in the wild! Why is it then that we feel just as comfortable abusing each other from behind a keyboard?
The White Wall at Wembley, Zoltan Gera’s winner against Hamburg (hell, even most of the Europa League final itself) and the multiple pitch invasions at the end of last season are all fantastic examples of times when we forget our differences and all embrace in our love of this strange little club on the Thames where we’ve all forged some of the most special memories of our lives.
There is no doubt that the next twelve months are going to be testing times for every one of us that live and die by this team so a little bit of unity will go a long way. Be proud of this special thing that is ours, enjoy the season ahead and try to be good to one another!