...or the story of a Millwall fan from New YorkRegular CC poster AlexFromNY joined a thread that had HOFers explaining how it was they came to be Millwall fans. Most of these postings were fairly obvious, citing family connections, roots in the area and so on. Alex, however, as an American sports and soccer (aaaarrrgh, I hate that word) fan chose Millwall. Why? I'll let him take over -- as what he has to say is obligatory reading for any Lions fan who might be losing the faith a little...
First of all, I'm sure most of you can suss how an American started to follow English football to begin with. All you have to do is look at the state of the game here at home. Quite simply, American soccer (I'm going to use the dreaded S word to differentiate from our football, or gridiron as the case may be) is shite, has always been and always will be shite. First let me point out that you'll have a really hard time finding an American to say that about our game, because you'll have a really hard time finding an American who gives half a toss about it enough to have an opinion in the first place. Our national league continues to be a complete joke (whatever it's called this year, oh yeah, MLS) in spite of a few decent homegrown players here and there, in fact have you ever BEEN to a MetroStars match? Don't answer that. Ridiculous. Maybe 10,000 people in the stands, most of whom do not have English as a first language. Now that isn't a knock against foreigners at all, I'm just saying that what's the point of this compared to the way it is overseas? Where's the tradition, the excitement of it all, that electric feeling on matchday? Ha ha ha.
The national side? Same deal. Can you imagine how excited I was in '94 when we beat the Colombians (and thanks for the own-goal, even though the poor sod paid for it with his life)? You think at last, the USA have arrived haven't we? Right. All the momentum from that year pissed away down the drain culminating not long ago in a defeat to mighty Iran. For me that was it, the last straw. Last one out of the grounds, turn off the lights.
Around that time I started paying some attention to English football since Fox were replaying the highlights of the Premier League once a week. Before that I really thought sod all about it. In fact a friend of mine from Germany who owns a takeaway here has been trying to get me interested in his team Bayern Munich for years, but I've always been like, eh, whatever, OK. I decided upon the English league because I admired the tradition and excitement its supporters generate, and besides I can at least understand the language, LOL. German football never gets shown on my telly anyway.
So once that was settled upon, why Millwall? Why not be a good arse-kisser and settle with Man U, Chelsea or Arsenal? Certainly even the Americans know about these squads, since they're so full of money, piss, vinegar and bollocks and all the TV stars and pop stars that attend their fixtures (as long as they win) besides, right? Can't get any more American than that, can you? Americans love winners!
Unfortunately I'm not being all that sarcastic. If you follow American professional sports then you know that just about every sports franchise there is - football, baseball, basketball - is another Man U when it comes to revenues, what with the TV money, ticket prices, gear sales, etc. This is also why, in spite of it still being my favorite spectator sport, that I refuse to spend a single dime on the bastards. My own team, the New Orleans Saints, have put an absolute shite team on the field year in and year out - attendance the past year averaged "only" 50,000, and the bloody owner pisses and moans that he's going to have to raise ticket prices (again), he wants special tax breaks because "they can't compete financially", and threatens to move the team to Texas if he doesn't get it. Don't let the door smack your fat arse on the way out, mate.
So why Millwall? Here's a team that's been to the brink and back more times than you can count, and here they are in better shape than they've been in a long, long time. For one thing, I greatly admire a team from a tough area, a hard area that has to fight and kick and scratch for everything it gets. Don't know of too many American football teams like that! Plus, this bit about everyone hates Millwall? That's just about a good enough reason in and of itself for me to be a supporter. Kick me while I'm down, and you better do it good, because things have a way of turning full circle and boy, is payback a bitch when it does.
I'm not the greatest at writing novels or anything, but I've tried to express my feelings on this whole thing as best I could. Now you can go ahead and say I'm full of it or whatever, but I am a Lion. End of story.