With the globalisation of football and so many ex-pats on here, I thought there may be some interest in my recent match-day experience. Some background… I had been watching NUFC for a few years in a Chicago “soccer” bar but stopped going because I was usually the only NUFC fan there. I had dragged a friend there a couple of times but he was a jinx – we were down 4-0 at half time to Wigan and Spurs – so I banned him.
I was made aware on this website a couple of months ago that there was now a Chicago Chapter of NUFC USA. So I looked them up and made my way to the Milwaukee preseason game and they were a very friendly lot. The Guy that runs it said he had been to a pub earlier and Biffa from NUFC.com was in there and was treated like a rock star. Him holding court and the whole bar hanging on his every word.
So to Sundays’s match. It was scheduled for 7.30 am and I went over thinking there would be a couple of people there. Well, there were about 20 all in Toon tops and all in their 20’s and early 30’s. They had had a 6-8 foot NUFC banner made up and hung it in the window. They even had a professional photographer taking pictures. I was the only Geordie, they were all Yanks and had adopted NUFC in the past few years when Pards and Carvs were managers. I thought the were crazy, but I suppose there would be an affinity with NUFC as the Chicago Cubs haven’t won anything since 1908.
Anyway, its 7.30 and I thought I would be the only one having a pint, but no. The organiser gets a round in for about 6 at our table. When Cisse scored they all went mad like they had been Toon fans all their lives, jumping up and down and knocked the table of beers over. The Pub replaced the beers free of charge and I learned they had an arrangement that they would show all NUFC games live and they must have a special license because you cant buy beer in a supermarket until 11 on a Sunday.
I got talking to these Lads and they are all Accountants, Estate Agents and Lawyers so God knows what attracted them to NUFC. One works for United Airlines and is flying into Bristol for a few days but specifically to go to the Swansea match. He asked me what the Welsh are like and I explained their love of song and sheep.
Well, the beers kept flowing and it was an entertaining match so we decided to stay and watch Liverpool. After about 4 hours of drinking starting that early, I must admit I needed a nap to recover. I am just so surprised how passionate this lot are about NUFC and that football seems to finally be taking off over here. NBC have just picked up the Premier League until 2021 showing every game and paying $1 Billion so it must be happening all over the country. This is a far cry from just a few years ago. There had always been a hard core of support for successful teams but not locals for NUFC. Maybe Schteve will have to get used to US tours!