Since I made my decision to support Fulham, I have marked down all of the remaining games for the 2011 season to make sure that I follow Fulham as much as possible. Of course the first game that I would be watching as a Fulham supporter would be against my "old" team, Chelsea.
Would I have regrets about picking Fulham? Would Drogba score two goals against Fulham, run over to the corner, point to the camera and say "you picked the wrong team mate." The match would surely test my loyalty and most of all test my wife's patience upon arriving home to hear me say "Happy Valentine's Day, Fulham is playing Chelsea in 15 minutes."
I thought about this match all day. I was really looking forward to my first game as a Fulham supporter. I thought I would have mixed feelings but once the match started I knew I had made the right decision because of my anxiety and the feeling of wanting to throw up the entire game that I always get whenever I watch one of my teams. No really, I love sports.
Two surprises as the game began. Drogba was not starting and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was in attendance wearing a gray hoodie.
I could probably come up with a million different jokes on this picture but that will have to be another blog post on its own.
The game was what I expected. I thought the game would either be a 1-1 draw with Chelsea scoring first or a scoreless game. The atmosphere looked and sounded intense at the Cottage as the Chelsea fans did their best to make their presence felt amongst the Fulham supporters. I thought Fulham started the game a little tense but their energy level was high. I was on the edge of my seat for the first half and there was no doubt in my mind, I was happy I chose Fulham.
Chelsea had a few opportunities in the first half with Torres coming close to putting his team up.
At halftime, I felt relieved that the score was still 0-0 and that Fulham had a really good chance of coming out of this match with three points. They had some opportunities and the effort was there. In the second half, Chelsea brought the attack on and Fulham did well to withstand it. There were a couple of moments where Fulham's play from the back looked a little dodgy and Chelsea had their opportunities but could not take advantage.
Clint Dempsey's last minute missed penalty was painful....but it was not new to me. I've felt this pain many times before with the teams that I support.
I'm the person that usually supports teams that are on the losing side of a game winning three point shot in basketball, a walk off home run in baseball, or a miraculous Wayne Rooney bicycle kick. In this case, I'm the person that was supporting the team that had their chances, held their ground and then had one final shot that would have been a great win for the club against their big time neighbors.
I'm used to this feeling. It happens to me and my teams all the time. That's why I felt comfortable choosing a team that played hard and had its chances. A team like Fulham.
I just hope they felt comfortable with me choosing them.
*Next post - I'll discuss the new Fulham jersey I purchased today. Do you even need to guess who's name is on the back of the jersey?