Tuesday, January 01, 2008

playing the field in the Prem

I haven't had nearly enough time to watch much soccer over the last few months, much less write about it, but after only half-joking in my last post about a growing affection for Man City over the past half-season, I realized it was time to go ahead and admit what I am when it comes to the Premiership: a promiscuous tart. I cannot settle on any one team. Over in La Liga, Barcelona demands, and has, my absolute loyalty and undying love, despite my roving eye. How can you not have a roving eye in La Liga, what with all the short passes and complicated plays and pretty flicks? From my two Davids (Villa and Silva) at Valencia to Robinho deep in the belly of the Real Madrid beast, any time my Barca boys are not on the pitch I'll happily gad about with the rest of the league.

When you are a soccer fan living in the United States, choosing a Prem side to support can seem almost de rigeur. It's certainly the easiest league to follow in the US since the games are televised on the readily-available Fox Soccer Channel. So I kept thinking, you know, that one day I'd look at a club and I'd just know. But it's not going to happen. Year after year, I'm affectionate about a number of teams and faithful to none. My affection waxes and wanes for a many reasons, often fairly inexplicable ones: a handful of players I love from various national teams play with this club, I like the keeper at another, the manager at a third, the fans at this one and the brave struggle against relegation from that one. None of these affections are particularly deep or meaningful. I like Sir Alex but not Man U, most of all because I can't bear Cristiano Ronaldo's smirk; I like Arsene Wenger and keep thinking his flash squad ought to win me over, but it never does. Some Senegalese players lured me to Bolton for a spell, while my attraction to Fulham was only partly explicated by its roster of American players. Sunderland, of course, have already become legends in the annals of Portland Timbers supporters, all on account of their fantastic fan base, traveling here in the hundreds to drink and sing with us. Plus, Roy Keane! Of course, I support the Hammers by a sort of osmosis, and there was a point at the start of the season when I thought Liverpool might settle me down--despite the presence of the loathsome Crouch--but then my eye went wandering again almost immediately and I couldn't remember what I'd seen in them in the first place.

Maybe this is part of why I enjoy watching the FA Cup so much. I always swear loyalty to one side or another, early on. It helps if one side is the underdog--twenty levels down? that's my boys!--and/or has a heartfelt fan base shouting them to victory. It's always so giddy and exhilarating, that first meeting with some club I've never heard of. For ninety minutes I remain entranced; there never has been and never will be another English club for me. Then the whistle blows, the match ends, and slowly I come to my senses. I swear that the next time I'm in town I'll look them up but of course I never will get around to it; within days I'll have forgotten their name. There's always another struggling and charismatic club to win my fancy.


The Gaffer said...

There's much to love about Manchester City especially this season. As well as their awe-inspiring play on the pitch, they've got some of the nicest fans around. Sven is a genius.

The Gaffer
EPL Talk

Lynda said...

They were always one of those teams I paid little attention to, and then today when I realized I was all excited about watching their match tomorrow I thought, "Hmm, this is getting serious!"

Good to know about their fans. I'd like to see them play some time. Sven has certainly salvaged his reputation.

Zach Dundas said...

Obviously, Liverpool this season have been like the promising blind date who sounds great in his/her on-line profile, then shows up deeply intoxicated with a black eye. Some might find that charming, however.

Lynda said...

Wow, I think that pretty much sums up where Liverpool and I went wrong.