If you’ve looked back at images of Wembley’s ‘White Wall’, or the 12,000-strong Fulham army in Hamburg, you’ll be able to picture that surprising mass of Fulham fans, coming together as a united force, backing our beloved Whites.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find the Fulham fanbase is a melting pot of eccentric and contradictory characters. We have celebrity fans of course: Hugh Grant, Charlie Cooper, Pope John Paul II, Felix From The Maccabees, Example, Keith Allen, Harry Potter and Michael Jackson.
But it’s the ‘normal’, everyday fan who’s so often the most fascinating. These are the specimens that you see at games week in week-out; on away days and at the Cottage. Some of them you identify with, some of them you aspire to be, but mostly you just shake your head and ask yourself: ‘How have I ended up stood here talking to this person?’
Fulham brings different people and personalities together like nothing else could. There’s a few of us out there, but what kind of Fulham fan are you?
Here’s 10 types of fan who make up the Fulham fanbase for you to choose from:
Loyal as an old hound. The American became a fan thanks to club legends such as Dempsey, McBride and Bocanegra. Will be heard complementing our new ‘Goaltender’ and refers to penalties as ‘PKs’. Always friendly and up for a chat with whoever is nearby. Takes great pride in how their hometown has a ‘Fulham Bar’, where they (and their three other Fulham mates) enjoy watching illegally streamed matches with foreign commentary.
What else are you going to do on a Saturday? The day starts early for the most outwardly-menacing Fulham supporter. Naughties congregate in small packs in train station forecourts, backstreet pubs, and at the front of Fulham away ends. Enjoy throwing plastic cups of lager and leaving games at half time. Often found in zealous exchanges with opposing fans, goalkeepers, or the British Transport Police.
Decked out in full Stone Island and lives for the away days. The Yoof save up their pocket money for weeks on end to pay for trains to far-flung corners of the country, dreading the day their 16-25 railcard expires. Drink Dark Fruits from a Ribena bottle. Longs to be a Naughty, respectful of the Old Guard.
The Old Guard
Football is just not what it used to be for the Old Guard. They were there when Conroy scored from the halfway line; they saw Rodney McAree put the ball in the Carlisle net; they stood in the rain in the uncovered Putney end watching Gill-scum at home in Division 3. Usually found sitting down at an away game or at the front of a Fulham club coach with the Racing Post. For all their eccentricities, these are men and women of honour; to be obeyed and respected.
You can spot them a mile off. Looking haplessly down at their paper tickets, trying to work out where the entrance to the Riverside is, decked out in glimmering Fulham clobber, freshly purchased from the team store. Admirably seeking an experience at an ‘Old School, proper football stadium’, the fact that Craven Cottage is two stops away from their Airbnb being purely coincidental. Will ask questions such as “Do Fulham have anyone I’d have heard of?” and “Do you think we’ll have time to get a beer at halftime and make it back for second half KO?. Sadly, the answer to both of those questions is: no.
A relentless cynic. Everyone sat within earshot has experienced that same sinking feeling. It’s a way of life for the moaner: they’ll moan morning ‘til night, bothering whoever is unfortunate enough to be within their immediate vicinity. They’ll usually single out one player and give them both barrels each game, regardless of how well they’re playing. Often fit into two categories: ‘crestfallen’ or ‘sweary’, the latter of which’s language cuts through the air like a sweetly-struck Tom Cairney rocket, on train carriages, in the pub, or at the ground. You fear for their blood-pressure come the end of the season.
Visit the cottage on a family outing, often at the Dad’s request. He’s praying he can convert the nippers early doors, passing off his selfish endeavour as ‘good bonding time’. Parents will come armed with Tupperware filled with carrot sticks for half-time nutrition. Quotes include ‘which way are we shooting’ and ‘what colour are we?’. Dad will sometimes shield the ears of the youngest when the Moaner has 20p put in him by a wayward pass from Tony Knockers. Total spend for the family outing comes in at approx. £1000, not including beers.
Expected goals, passes converted, and points per game – the tactician has them covered. Top of your fantasy football league, in Europe with AFC Wimbledon on Football Manager, and either in a dark room alone or making infuriating amounts of money on podcasts and football magazines, this is the guy who loudly commentates over every single game, in your ear, while sat in the row behind you. Arriving fresh-faced to take your new season ticket seats at the Cottage each August, beware of the talking tactician.
When Fulham break for internationals, Mr. Worldwide comes alive. ‘Where were you in Vilnius?’ he/she asks, judgingly. How dare you take a break from football? Not content with Fulham away trips or mainstream international tournaments, these top-cappers can’t help but tell you all about their midweek travels with England when they return home. Hobbies include occupying town squares in far-flung corners of the former Soviet Union and the England Supporters Club loyalty scheme. Usually found under a bucket hat.
The Twitter Celebrity
You see these people at games. You follow them. You know a lot about them, but you’ve never actually met. Entering the Fulham fanbase in the late 2000s, these social media enthusiasts are most active late at night and/or after a Fulham defeat. Hobbies include calling out club ownership, designing stickers, and oversharing. Not always what they seem. Loud and abrasive virtually, but often unaware of their real-world fame.
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