Not to take anything away from the die-hard fans, but these teams have sucked in fans for no other reason than because they were jumping on the "bandwagon." Whether big wins have attracted the masses, or big money has brought them in, you know full well that half of their fan base would jump ship as soon as someone else starts taking the glory.
When is the last time a new soccer fan said "I think I'll root for Fulham," or heard a young fan make their choice because of the team's history?
These fans represent what most big fans hate: The fair-weather fan.Here today, jumping ship because they sold someone (CR7 maybe?) tomorrow.
Note: These Teams are in no particular order.
Why do most fans turn directly to the Red Devils after realizing that soccer is amazing? Because they win.
They win big, and they win often...not the biggest spenders in the game or with the prettiest colors, just good old fashioned winners. They also always have that one player that people can latch onto (Beckham, CR7, Rooney, etc.) and idolize.
Would half of their fan base exist if Cantona and Sir Alex hadn't turned this team around in the 90s? No.
They also owe a huge thanks to the growth of soccer in the U.S. (not as much as other "bandwagon" teams) but a large bank of their fans come from the American fan's absolute need to win, and who better to root for than the biggest winners of recent?
Sounds familiar. The Yankees, the Patriots, the Lakers...just a thought.
The second biggest reason to root for a team? Big money...plus it didn't hurt that Chelsea snagged some league titles during the big growth spurts in soccer in the U.S.
All of those Chelsea fans that suffered through a Cubs-like drought know that most of their fellow fans wouldn't be around today without The Special One's big spending and big winning early in the decade.
May I say that if the U.S. had gotten into world soccer 30 years ago that they would all be Liverpool fans...just a thought.
However, kudos to all you Chelsea fans. Most would have jumped ship after the past few losses in the CL, but you continue to fight through the various chants tailored to your European failures. I respect that.
Sure, there are plenty of "true" Real Madrid fans out there. Fans who have seen a team have success throughout the ages, always making huge showings in Europe.
But, we may be entering a time when too many Real fans didn't even know a Spanish League existed until Barcelona won the CL this year.
There are also a fair few that have followed Kaka and CR7 with more loyalty to the player than to their teams.
I know around the turn of the century that most people who followed the Spanish League were Real fans, mostly because they were almost the only team that was known—with Barcelona rarely challenging and no one else to push Los Blancos, it was difficult to even find enough info about another team to care for them.
It will be interesting to see where these fans fall if Real is unable to take advantage of their stores of talent within the next few years...I'm sure Barcelona wouldn't mind stealing them away.
Sadly, I'm sure most Barcelona fans will disagree with me here, but the proof is all around me here in the U.S.
With the CL victory, and the treble in-the-bag from last season, it only makes sense for most fans to be enamored with the way that Barcelona play.
The biggest addition to them? ESPN, with a major Stateside network showing their huge triumph and displaying their stars to Americans. Don't be surprised to see most Barcelona fans caught unaware when you tell them that Ronaldhino used to play for them.
One word: Beckham.
Now I know that there are bigger fan bases in the world, but I can almost guarantee you that no team had as big a spike in fans than the Galaxy. Imagine going from a poorly finishing team with about an average U.S. fan-base, to a poorly finishing team with a huge U.S. fan-base, and even some semblance of an overseas fan-base.
I know that the fan support still is small in comparison to Milan and Celtic, but the more than 200 percent increase in all merchandise sales (and not just those from Beckham) shows that someone suddenly took interest.