I'm a fickle fan. When I first started paying way too much attention to European soccer five years ago, thanks in large measure to my passionate dislike of my job at that time, I committed myself to Fulham Football Club. The team had a veritable truckload of Americans on the team with Kasey Keller in goal, Brian McBride as striker and captain, along with new recruit, Clint Dempsey. The team also picked up Eddie Johnson, who promptly lost any semblance of ability and was loaned out to a team in Wales. Around that same time period, Liverpool dropped off a wheelbarrow of cash in Madrid to sign Fernando Torres. I had been a big fan of El Nino since the 2006 World Cup where he scored an awesome goal or two. Suddenly I was torn. My favorite player or my newly picked team?
Another thing happened at the same time. I was introduced to the world of Jose Mourinho. The Special One is no ordinary manager. He is manager's manager. If Chuck Norris had a teacher, it would be Jose Mourinho. Mourinho is a master of the press and a master of mind games. He manages players brilliantly. He earned the respect of Sir Alex Ferguson, longtime manager at Manchester United. Mourniho demanded your attention and you either love him or hate him. He took a small Portuguese club to the pinnacle of European Club Soccer (losing Tim Howard his job as ManU keeper in the process), went to Chelsea FC and led them to the top of the Premier League, and then went to Internazionale and won the Champion's League again. Now he is at Real Madrid and you know what? I finally really care about Real Madrid. Kent is a massive fan and I always wanted to care about the team, but felt like a Yankee's bandwagoner because Madrid is soccer's most expensive team. Now, with Mourinho leading the club, I want them to win. I'm suddenly a fan.
So, back to my fickle fandom. I've realized that the drama and personalities are what makes the game so intriguing. It is really this way in every sport (think NFL and Brett Favre -- we're obsessed with a 40 year old washed up QB!) but it is especially true for me and soccer. I don't have a true team to obsess over because I don't live in Europe so I adopt personalities and drama. I love the underdog story and the outsized personalities. It's what makes the game interesting. So, I'll continue to be fickle. I'll pull for Fulham, but pay more attention to Torres. I'll check the score of the Fulham game as I relish another insane Spurs game (what an insane team! Does Harry Redknapp actually do anything?) I'l feel a bit guilty, but I'll enjoy it.