The Journey Of A Foreign Fan

A Contribution Post via Nasri Eric Majdalani

This season alone has seen some division between England-based and foreign based Chelsea supporters, and as much as I often admire and respect those on both sides, I wanted to share my personal story of following the best club in London.

 

It all began at the age of around 5 or 6. My dad, having been a Chelsea fan for long enough already, encouraged me to watch some games on TV with him and I got hooked right away. He was obviously the biggest influence on me choosing Chelsea and still plays an important role today. My friends had already jumped on the Manchester United bandwagon especially because of David Beckham, but I always tried to argue that our mighty Gianfranco Zola was better! Growing up in Saudi Arabia as a Lebanese-American made it challenging to catch all the games on TV. Saturdays and Sundays were schooldays and I would sometimes get home barely on time for kickoff, and sometimes later. The very last year of my residence in Jeddah saw us do what Liverpool couldn’t, which was win the league for the first time in decades.

 

After that, we immigrated to Canada, where we sadly got used to missing most of the weekend games, because we didn’t really know how the TV broadcasting schedule looked like, and more often than not, Liverpool was the chosen game on the main channels. They may have won the TV rights, but we retained the title which was beautiful in itself, and additional bragging rights.

 

Since then, it became a habit of waking up in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday because I was tired of missing games (pun intended), and have enjoyed all competitions on Canadian channels until today (Thank you TSN and Sportsnet). In 2014, however, I was fortunate enough to move to London for a couple of years and I made sure to attend as many home games as possible. I chose to study in a college in London so I could enjoy the city and remain close to the Bridge for weekend games. It was amazing being integrated into the local fan culture, watching my idols from up close, and even getting photos with some of them.

 

None of this ever came cheap, especially for someone trying to survive on a much weaker currency, but determined to make it happen. Even from the North American lands of Canada, I am willing to sacrifice work opportunities to make sure I don’t miss a game! Both fortunately and unfortunately, all Premier League games will be on legal live streams as of August, so I’ll be able to watch games from my devices wherever I am.

 

Dedication to a football team can be complicated geographically, but the heart is always there keeping up with news and comments on Twitter, and waking up at the break of dawn to cheer on the boys from the living room.

 

One important thing I hope for though, is healthy disagreements and more unity amongst the fans, towards the players, managers and board of directors. If we want the club to keep its trophy cabinet half full, we have to do our part, and not slate and abuse one another because we want to become social media celebrities. Remember, no one is bigger than the club!

@Nasrimaj

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