Welcome to my guide on how to jump on the bandwagon before anyone notices. The whole reason being of course that if you are planning on picking a team to support in England, you would like to feel like a genuine fan. If you pick one of the established big teams (Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal) because they win things then you are unashamedly jumping on the bandwagon (other reasons such as family ties, players from your country [Hargreaves doesn't count] or they have the word Arse in their name add some legitimacy). The same goes if you pick Manchester City, ever since they started buying everyone they could think of, their bandwagon is getting full. But this guide is designed for those of you who don't have a team yet and are looking to make the right choice. Perhaps you follow another league like the Bundesliga, La Liga, or Serie A, or maybe you are new to football and reading this because I told you to. Whatever the reason, I have identified a few teams that are likely to go places, that way when your club hits the big time you will already have been a fan for a few years.
If you have not read the Some Canadian Guys Guide to being a Canadian Premier League Fan, I suggest you do so. It will provide some helpful tips about your impending football fandom. In step two they talk about picking a team that is ripe for promotion, this is key to getting on the bandwagon before anyone notices. I am going to look at four teams in England that are ripe for jumping on the Bandwagon. They are all in different leagues and at the moment there bandwagons are moving slowly, or parked, so no one will notice if you jump on, not to mention you will have been there a little while by the time that people start clambering to support your team.
Without further delay your first option. League Two side Notts County. They finished 87th out of the 92 professional football teams in England last season. However they were bought (pending league approval) buy a Qatari consortium. They have installed Sven Goran Eriksson as Director of Football. Yes you read that correctly, it is former Lazio, Manchester City, Mexico, & England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. In case you don't know a director of football is sort of like the general manager in North American sports. Eriksson has pledged to take the magpies to the Premier League.
Notts County are one of the World's oldest football clubs and in fact Juventus got their black & white colours from Notts County. Admittedly the magpies are in the news a lot now, so it would probably be best to wait until the Premier League starts before jumping on the bandwagon, unless you plan to do a little research into the past few seasons and then say something along the lines of "I can't believe that we got Sven!". Most Premier League fans won't check back on the Magpies until near the end of the season to see where Sven has got them. I think that there is no reason to believe that the Magpies will not be in the Premier League at some point in the next decade, by which time you will have been a dedicated supporter and have enjoyed a lot of success in getting promoted three times.
Estimated time to the Premier League 6 - 9 years.
Let's keep on going to the next club, (cringe) League One side Southampton. Now you will have to excuse me here as Southampton are the arch rivals of my club Portsmouth, we tend to refer to Southampton and any player that has ever played for Southampton as "Scummer". However in the interests of providing you with choices, here we go. Southampton were just relegated from the Championship, and they will start next season with negative 10 points because they went bankrupt. Only two weeks ago Southampton were bought by Swiss billionaire Markus Liebherr, who has installed former Reading, West Ham, and Charlton manager Alan Pardew as the manager. They have almost no players at the moment as they had to sell all of them to avoid collapsing entirely before they were bought. However Pardew has proven himself to be a decent manager, and could get the Scummers err Saints back to the Championship in a few seasons. It remains to be seen how much of his fortune that Markus Liebherr is willing to spend to improve the team, but it is likely that if they reach the Premier League that they will likely stick around.
Estimated time to the Premier League 5 - 8 years. (They will never be as good as Portsmouth)
The next stop on the Bandwagon tour, is Championship side Queens Park Rangers. They are actually the second richest club in England, after Manchester City. This is thanks to the big bucks of India's richest man (and London resident) Lakshmi Mittal. There was a lot in the news about the club when Mittal took over, but since they failed to attain promotion last season, they have been out of the news. They haven't been spending absurd amounts of money, but once they reach the Premier League, and they will reach the Premier League, they will spend money and I expect them to stay there once they make it. Which is why now is a great time to jump on the QPR bandwagon.
Estimated time to the Premier League 1-3 years.
The final club is Premier League side Portsmouth. They are already in the Premier League and have been bought by U.A.E. businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim. He has big plans for the club and is planning to start slowly. He wants to develop a strong youth academy and build a new stadium. The evidence is the fact that newly appointed boss Paul Hart has stated that the main goal for the club next season is to avoid relegation. Given that this is a slow build and Portsmouth aren't likely to tear up the league, it is a good time to jump on board the bandwagon. As a Portsmouth fan myself I would gladly welcome you to the fold. In fact Portsmouth or Pompey as we are also known are home to the best fans in the football, another bonus when picking a club. Not to mention if you live in Canada you would boost the Canadian Pompey supporters by 5% (based on my belief that there are already 20 of us). If you are curious about what life is like a Portsmouth fan, you can read Chuck Culpepper's book Bloody Confused.
Estimated time to the Premier League - Already there.
So there you have it, four choices that will put in you in a great position as a fan in a few years, so if you are looking for an English team to support have a look at a few of these choices and choose wisely, because many people don't choose teams most are born into them, so switching allegiances is heavily frowned upon. Once you have your team, sit back, relax, and watch the matches, the tough part was choosing.