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.