Interesting, albeit not wholly original, read from ESPN’s David Hirshey:
If it wasn’t clear before last Sunday, it is so obvious now that even Piers Morgan couldn’t help but notice: Fulham is everybody’s second-favorite team.
The “Fulham As Mistress” phenomenon is not new. It has its roots circa 2004 as a grassroots pledge of allegiance to our fellow Yanks who were scrambling to establish their soccer cred in the EPL — first, the lionhearted Brian McBride, then Carlos Bocanegra and (ahem) Eddie Johnson, and finally, Clint “The Nacogdoches Ninja” Dempsey — but it’s evolved into more than just red-white-and-blue jingoism.
With its quaint little ground and strong working-class ethos, Fulham is a throwback to the days of terraces, Bovril and spending wind-swept games huddled along the banks of the River Thames. And yet, despite seeming to fit all the traditions of English soccer — densely-packed stands hugging a narrow, damp pitch, perfect for the long ball and leg-snapping tackles — the Cottagers just happen to be playing some of the most entertaining soccer in the Prem.
In America, this is mostly true. Most times I mention I’m a Fulham fan to another soccer follower, it’s either “Dempsey!” or “Wha?”.
But, I’ve always wondered what is the case in England? In his stellar preview of our season, Paul Doyle of The Guardian said as much of the same. But, are those just kind words? Do other fans actually enjoy watching us?
[ed note: changed the title as it turns out the original one has inappropriate connotations that greatly distract from the piece. And I didn’t mean it to, just the fact that the story is a really long puff piece about how everyone loves us. Which is what this newfangled term ‘tongue bath’ pieces usually consist of.]