American fans tend to be frontrunners—unlike the Brits, perhaps, we derive no sick pleasure from rooting for losers. If our teams aren’t champions, well, we start rooting for teams that are.

Thus, the small crowd of football fans in the US is dominated by supporters of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Americans tend to follow the World Cup, select a few favorites—David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney—and then root for those players’ teams. Generally, the informed American sports fan is aware of the Champions League final and perhaps of the general structure of power in the Premier League. And while the Premier League is growing in popularity—games are now shown once or twice a week on ESPN, for many the only channel for watching sports—the teams outside the (hopefully short-lasted) Top Four labor in a kind of anonymity.

Like most American fans, and perhaps unlike most of the readers of this site, I chose to become a Spurs supporter. I was not born into it, and there was absolutely zero pressure for me to root for Tottenham—or any other team, for that matter.

I became a Tottenham fan the day I asked my friend Ian, who was wearing his Manchester United jacket for what seemed like the 100th day in a row, which Premier League team most closely resembled the Green Bay Packers, the American football (one term) team I root for. The Packers are a team with a storied history, intensely lovable players, devoted, passionate fans, and a connection to the community that is unparalleled in American sports. Ian said Tottenham, and so I became a Tottenham fan.

I know to some this might seem inadequate. I was not born into Spurs; I have not experienced the heartbreak over the years (trust me, the FA Cup loss to Portsmouth hurt plenty enough); I am a bandwagon fan, etc. Though there are some times when I myself, as an American living in America, feel inadequate as a fan—after all, I’ve never been at the Lane for a cup tie, I am far less exposed to Spurs history and lore, and there are few other Spurs fans around with whom I can discuss Aaron Lennon’s fitness or Tom Huddlestone’s trademark rocket-shots into the twentieth row.

But being an American fan has required a devotion of its own. I wake up early on Saturdays to watch games, and I have to dig a great deal to find information about our starting XI because I can’t read about it in the newspaper each morning. This sort of labor (if that’s really the right word, for I derive great pleasure from it) caused me to become increasingly invested in Spurs, because there’s no real point in checking every single daily English paper online if I don’t care about how we’re going to do against the Scum.

This piece is meant to serve as both an introduction and explanation for who I am as a football fan. Hopefully, as an American and a relatively new fan, I will be able to add a different perspective to discussion about our beloved Spurs. And from across the Atlantic, COYS.

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69 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely comments from lovely SPURS fans!

    Ive been fanatical for 35 years. Season ticket holder for years, go to most away matches. SPURS play a huge part of my life. Over the years tears have been shed, excitement has been hard to contain, blood HAS been spilt and friendships have been built that share a common unbrokable bond. WE love our club and just remeber THAT WE ARE THE TOTTENHAM AND WE ARE THE BEST WE ARE THE TOTTENHAM SO FUCK ALL THE REST!!!! BIG Love to all my fellow YIDS x

  2. Brilliant. I spent a lot of time working in Michigan a couple of years ago and converted a guy I was working with out there from watching the premier league a bit and kind of liking le arse to a die hard Spurs fan after going through their history and in return for me supporting his football team.. yes that’s Green Bay. So from a fellow Spurs and Green Bay fan nice one!

  3. On the topic of ‘choosing’ a team.

    Do one really chose a team to support? Isn’t more like finding a girlfriend/boyfriend, or any friend for that matter. You see or hear something about them that’s gets you curious to know more, suddenly you’ve read/seen/talked so much about them that you start to care, because, by then you know them. After that you would pick up on anything that’s said or written about them. And as long they don’t do anything that would go against your believes, you would start sliding into supporting them.

    There’s many hurdles to pass (too cocky, too lousy, too cute, too rich, too poor, too winning less, wins too much, too [whatever]) during the “interested period” before one does start to support someone or something, and thus start to ignore [minor] flaws…

    Me, I’m a Spurs fan from Sweden, drawn into the misery by my brother who couldn’t shut up about Sicknote’s latest injury or Taricco’s short comings, nor stop keeping his fingers crossed every time Steffen Freund wandered close to the opponents goal… never to be of course.

    Regarding the Packers similarity mentioned above. I don’t know. But then, I’m a Pats fan. Don’t really know why actually. Started following them in the early nineties when the cowboys won everything and the Pats were sh*te. But then Parcells started something and I jumped on the bandwagon. Oh, sorry got side tracked here…

    Similarity between Spurs and Packers. I would say that both are organisations with a strong heritage, often has a decent team, but never really seem to threaten the title contenders (at least in noughties for GB). Hence good to watch, plays a fun game, but in the end harmless.

    Well, that’s my two cents.

  4. glad to have stumbled across this from newsnow. i’m a spurs fan who similarly searched for nfl and mlb teams to follow with the prerequisite that they be similar to spurs in ambition and history with the legendary ‘almost’ label attached to their recent years. i guess you could call it the spurs spirit.

    the funny thing is that after two years of following the nfl i chose the green bay packers of all teams! and while i’m in my first spring training (now the start of the season) i have the red sox/cubs/mets as my spurs alternative.

    so, thought i’d add my sporting search for the spurs spirit in america (it helps to have ESPN)… COYS!

  5. Cheers Gav! My Mrs is Spurs anyway and the kids are Spurs, and only 6 and 5 yr old girls, when i got home from the game the 6yr old was asleep on the sofa, after watching the game again i carried her up to bed, she woke up half asleep, and said ” dad did you see that young boy’s goal” and then fell alseep again with a grin on her face. Class.

  6. Josiah, I’m just so overjoyed that you have become an EPL fan, period. Although I shouldn’t be surprised at all — I mean, you ARE one of the most intelligent people I know!! Me, I’m an Everton fan, and I, too, get up (even earlier than you do!) to watch games every weekend. Or perhaps I should say I stay up late some nights, since the games sometimes start around 2 a.m.! I don’t know if you have Fox Soccer Channel or Fox Soccer Plus, but if you don’t, and you CAN get them, figure out a way to do so. We’re talking LOTS of games every weekend — and NOT just the big four (although I’m not 100 percent sure you can put Liverpool in the big four anymore!!. Then again, I AM a Toffee, so I WOULD think horrible things about the team across the Mersey!!)

  7. Im an American who has become a fan of the Spurs because a friend of m moms husband was one and I started watching the games with him. I am from Philadelphia and a diehard hockey fan I learned that the Spurs are a lot like Philadelphia sports teams, great history, always in the running for a championship, notoriously break your heart, and have a hate of teams who simply buy wins. So thats why I became a fan.

  8. Niklas – on the topic of choosing a team, you had a far more organized and rational way of approaching it than me!

    I was born in London but the family moved to the countryside in the south of England when I was two years old. We lived nowhere near a professional football club and my Dad wasn’t especially into football. So I had no allegiance.

    One day at school, when I was six, an older kid asked me, “Who do you support?”

    “Eh?”

    “Who do you support? Which football team?”

    I didn’t even know that there were football teams that you could support (we’re talking early 1970’s, so media coverage was nothing like it is today). So I replied, “I dunno”.

    The older kid said, “Well you have to support a team”, and then left.

    When, aged six, an older kid tells you that you have to support a team, you take it to heart. So when I was in the village shop with my Mum later that afternoon and saw some packs of football cards for sale, I pestered her to buy me one.

    When I got home, I ripped open the pack and there were six cards inside. Six players from six different teams that I can’t remember. None of them – players or teams – meant anything to me……..apart from one. It was a picture of a man called Martin Chivers who played for a team called Tottenham Hotspur.

    I didn’t know anything about the player or his team. At that moment, all I knew was that my favourite food in the whole, wide world was jelly (jello, for American readers). And the company that made the only jelly that I knew of?……………Chivers!

    That was me. Sold. My team, for better, for worse. For life.

  9. It’s so cool to see there are other Spurs fans in American. I sometimes feel lonely being an EPL watcher here in California, much less a spurs fan. I see Man U and Chelsea jerseys everywhere, but no Tottenham love.

    I chose the spurs because I was looking for a team that was more like a family than and business. My first game I ever watched was Man U vs Everton. I noticed that Man U cared a little to much about winning. Every time Wayne Rooney would miss the goal he would get super mad like it was the end of the world. Then when I went online and did some research, it annoyed me to find out that most Americans where fans of the “Big Four” because they’re the ones that win the cup. I didn’t want to be “that guy” and pick the number one team so I can say my team wins all the time.

    Then I watched a Spurs game. I saw the passion the fans had for the club. I saw the calmness all the player kept throughout the game, even though they weren’t winning. I saw that most of the players actually loved the game, and not just the money. And from that moment on, it was Tottenham till death for me.

    I’m glad I found this page, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my American love for Tottenham.

  10. Great to see the love here from our American cousins.

    I think we have a fairly strong, if loosely knit, collective of fans in the US of A. I listen to the Spurs Show Podcast, and they’re always reading out emails from American Spurs fans.

    Anyway, have some love back, y’all.

    COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

  11. Living in Arizona, I had to do a similar search for a team. I had similar prerequisites and came to find the Spurs as well. My decision was made even easier by how many Arsenal fans are in the area…

  12. I became a spurs fan for many reasons. They are like my green bay packers; great history; cool crest; cool nickname; cool stadium; non-glory hunters; cool kits every year……. I did research on almost every English football club,it took me around 5 years of reading and watching matches to decide on the spurs. 1 club I can’t stand is new castle, their like the Chicago bears,their fans are idiots and they think their team is good when they stink every year…….Milwaukee;Wi

  13. I have to agree that I often do get lonely as a Tottenham fan. We are definitely a unique breed of fans to support this club. Check out my blog for reasons why I decided to choose Tottenham as my club of choice.

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