Back in the States I have seen my fair share of football matches, or what we call soccer games. Growing up I even used to dabble in the sport, but by no means was I even remotely good. Us Americans have always heard about the British being die hard fans for their given football teams, but I never really imagined what it would be like till I was at a game myself. I finally got to see this last Saturday on the West side of London.
Over cast, rainy, cold with the uproar of cheers in the distance. As I got closer and closer to the stadium the roars overcame the blocks surrounding Craven Cottage. The fans poured in from all the nooks of side streets to cheer on their team as the police stood guard by horse. One thing that seemed to be unusual to me was the way the Brits were showing their support, through scarfs. That being said I decided to join in with the spirit and grab a black and white scarf from the team store to support Fulham.
Once I had my scarf in one hand and my excitement in the other I headed into one of the oldest stadiums in England. As I took my seat a huge flag quickly overcame me. Not just a large flag you hang on a wall, like an entire section of a stadium-sized flag. Apparently the section I decided to sit in is where they bring out the banner for when the team comes running out. The fans loved it and it brought the entire stadium to a stand. If I thought the fans were excited then, little did I know that it would only go up from there. The rest of the game was full of Brits screaming profanity for and against their own team as well as chants that I never fully understood due to the heavy accents.
I always knew the fans were die hard, but what I didn’t expect was to see the opposing team take up almost half of the stadium. Ipswich fans were decked out in blue and even brought blow up beach balls to throw around their section. Security guards constantly went up and down their sections to ensure nothing got too out of hand. Fight till the death to support your team, right? Despite the loss for Fulham and the cold rain it turned out to be another wonderful afternoon in London.