It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
The Six Best Fanbases in Soccer
I did my worst fanbases earlier in the week, so it's only fair that I do my best fanbases. No bias or anything here; this is as objective and fair of a list as you'll find based on my soccer knowledge. in my humble opinion, these are the best fanbases to play for. And again, if you don't agree, don't forget to write your local congressman or woman.
Number six on my list are Newcastle fans. Do you know how hard it is to remain a passionate supporter of a club that last won a major trophy over 50 years ago and have been relegated as recently as twice in the last 15 years? If you said yes, then chances are you are a Newcastle fan, and St. James Park is your second home. For example, of any premier league club this season with a stadium capacity of at least 40 thousand, St. James Park ranks second to the club next on this list when it comes to stadium capacity filled. And it feels like footballing justice that this team just received a Manchester City-esque takeover because this club already has a loyal and passionate fanbase unlike Manchester City.
Arsenal fans are like Golden Retrievers. Extremely optimistic, with short-term memory, and require little more than the bare minimum to achieve maximum excitement. Whatever their faults as a fanbase, what you can't say is Arsenal fans do not get behind their players. In fact, the criticism of the club is that they might be too supportive of the players, as all it takes is a two-game winning streak for the fans to start believing they'll contend for a Premier League title. Does that overt optimism lead to a perpetual state of disappointment? It sure does. That's why there's a cliched saying among the Arsenal fanbase that it's the hope that kills you. However, just like with Golden Retrievers, despite nearly two decades of heartbreaking disappointment, Arsenal fans remain passionate supporters, ready to pounce on the next sliver of hope. Of the big clubs that have fallen from graces recently, how many can you say have remained as optimistic and supportive of the players as Arsenal fans? The answer is none, which is why this fanbase lands in fifth.
This spot came down to the Celtic or Rangers, but I know there was a season in 2014-15 where Rangers fans stopped showing up at the same rate because the team struggled to gain promotion. Outside of that, these two fan bases are incredible and look no further than the atmosphere at Celtic Park when Celtic shocked Barcelona 2-1 in 2011. There's something special about Celtic Park, and the fans are a massive part of that.
3. Boca Juniors
Boca Juniors come in at third. Argentina is a soccer fueled country, and this is the country's most popular club. And I know some of you may be thinking River Plate. But how good can the fans be if the historic club got relegated in 2011? Joking, joking. There's just a more wholesome feel to the Boca Juniors fan base and what the club stands for as the club for the working class.
Liverpool is the envy of Europe at the moment. They are the one team that combines the trifecta of a passionate fanbase with an all-time great team and beautiful soccer. The fanbase is the foundation of all their success, and it's been a long time coming. They stood by the team in the days when they were losing 6-1 to Stoke City in Steven Gerard's last game for the club. They stood by as the club repeated 8th placed finishes in the league. Through it all, Liverpool fans have remained hopeful and passionate, and right now, the atmosphere at Anfield is near unmatched. And if you want to know how important Anfield is to the club, look no further than their home record. Before covid-restrictions, Liverpool built most of a club record 68-game Premier League home undefeated streak that stretched across four years. However, with little to no fans allowed at games, Liverpool lost six home league games out of 19 last season. This year with restrictions lifted, the club is about to finish the season without a home loss. The club plays with different confidence at home, thanks to this incredible fanbase.
Without a doubt, the famed yellow wall takes the cake as the best fanbase in soccer. Over the last decade, Dortmund has averaged the most home attendance of any club in Europe. The 81 thousand capacity stadium is the largest in Germany and is rarely ever anything less than packed. Past the mystique of the yellow wall and their unmatched atmosphere, what pushes this fanbase to the top for me is their continued support in the face of adversity. It's easy to support a club that's bringing in trophies, but Dortmund fans know their club plays second fiddle to Bayern Munich, yet they remain loyal and steadfast. That's the kind of support we should all strive to show and have in life.
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