Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wookin' Pa Nub In All Da Wong Paces, Wookin' Pa Nub
In the midst of my search to find a favorite English Premier League team to latch on to for the upcoming season, I stumbled upon an excellent article by Bill Simmons. Apparently, he's doing the same search. I was on the verge of going with Arsenal until I read his list of their celebrity fans.
Celebrity Fans: An astonishingly bizarre group that includes Gavin Rossdale, Spike Lee, Hornby, Dido, Johnny Rotten, Roger Waters, Andrew Ridgeley (the other guy from Wham!), Ray Davies, Colin Firth, Will Wheaton, Freddie Prinze Jr., Kevin Costner, Jackie and Joan Collins, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry, Fidel Castro, John Gotti, Michael Moore and Osama Bin Laden. Now there's a list you want to avoid.
Yeah, so much for picking them. I do really like their 'kits' though.
My other potential pick was Tottenham Hotspur, and Simmons' description of them really hit home with me.
• American Comparison: As one reader explains, "If the Dodgers had stayed in Brooklyn, they'd be the Spurs."
• Nickname: The Spurs. This is important: You either call then "Tottenham Hotspur" or you call them "the Spurs," but no other option is acceptable.
•In a Nutshell: If London was the Corleone family, Manchester United was Sonny and Arsenal was Michael, then the Spurs would be Fredo with a little more street smarts … the name "Hotspur" comes from the character Henry Hotspur in "Henry IV," so here's a team that really does have a Shakespearean legacy … blessed with a devout fan base in North London that routinely packs the other team's house during road games (a la Sox fans) … if they ever won the Premier League, it would be the American equivalent of the Jets winning the Super Bowl or the Indians winning the World Series.
• Bandwagon Potential: Invitingly low since they haven't finished in the top four since the Premier League launched back in 1993. Plus, as a reader explains, "Way back in the day, other English teams' fans would derisively jeer Tottenham fans, stereotyping them as Jews and calling them just about every anti-Semitic name you could call someone. So, the Hotspurs fans just turned the jeers around, proudly proclaiming themselves a 'Jew Army' and -- despite the fact that most weren't even Jewish -- embraced the imagery wholeheartedly. Just to spit in the face of the racist idiots who misidentified them in the first place." Seriously, how weird is English soccer?
• Celebrity Fans: Steve Nash, Salman Rushdie, Ray Liotta, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jude Law, the late Bob Marley, Donal Logue, Shania Twain, Baby Spice … and the head of ESPN, John Skipper. On the Sucking Up Scale, picking the Spurs would be a solid 10 out of 10.
• Colors/Jerseys: Traditional white shirts with blue pants, blue jerseys on the road. Does the job.
• Signature Players: Irish striker Robbie Keane (known for his crazy celebrations after goals), 20-year-old wing Aaron Lennon (considered the odds-on favorite to take Beckham's spot on the 2010 World Cup team), midfielder Edgar Davids (a black Dutchman with dreads and tinted goggles). In particular, Lennon looks like a potential Dwyane Wade-type down the road. So that's appealing.
• Unintentional Comedy: They have a Kafka-reading, gigantic Dutchman of a coach named Martin Jol who (A) has brothers named "Cock" and "Dick" (I'm not making this up), and (B) apparently talks just like Goldmember (in the third Austin Powers movie). Now there's someone who needs to be in my life.
• Sponsors: A gambling Web site called Mansion. Good times! This pick is almost becoming a foregone conclusion, right?
• Stadium: A 105-year-old stadium (White Hart Lane) that holds only 36,000 seats … the same number as Fenway Park. Hmmmmmm.
• Vacation Destination: They're based in London, so absolutely.
• Most Hated Rival: Arsenal. And "hated" isn't a strong enough word. As a couple of the readers explained, "[This] dates back to 1919 when Arsenal was promoted to the top division ahead of Spurs under the shadiest of circumstances. So they have an 87-year rivalry made worse by the fact that their stadiums are only a few miles apart. The equivalent of having Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium at opposite ends of Charlestown. Surpasses Yankees/Sox, Leafs/Habs, etc. There has been blood spilled between fans, not to mention the hatred started because of a corrupt Arsenal president. Add to that the fact that last season Spurs finished underneath Arsenal by two points because of a case of violent stomach flu, conspiracy theorists claiming that Arsenal fans poisoned the team's food at a hotel party prior to the final game of the season. Not even Aaron Spelling could come up with that plot line. It would have been the first time in years that they had finished above their North London rivals. What's not to love?"
(By the way, the food poisoning story DID happen -- it was the biggest EPL subplot of last year. Can you imagine if the Mavs had lost Game 7 in San Antonio because most of the team came down with food poisoning from their hotel food the night before the game? Cuban would still be blogging about it two months later. I'm telling you, crazy, crazy, CRAZY stuff happens in the EPL.)
(Bonus reason to pick them: They finished fifth last season and are considered the proverbial "Team on the Rise," but they haven't actually done anything yet and perhaps never will. Now that's tempting.)
• Single Best Reason NOT to Pick Them: One reader writers, "If you want a team that will absolutely crush your spirit, you must support Tottenham Hotspur for the '06-'07 EPL season."
I love it! I shall look no further. The Spurs are my team. You can count me in as the newest member of the 'Jew Army.' Let the games begin!