19 April 2008

How to Drink when the Nails go in the Coffin

With the quick strike of Peter Crouch's boot the nails were finally driven into Fulham Football Club's coffin this morning. Soccer fan or not, I think the misery of a big loss is one that anyone can understand. In Fulham's case, the loss to Liverpool meant not just the end of a season (although there are three games left), but a demotion to a lower league, and the end of American television coverage for the club.

That's a bitter pill for fans of the club to swallow. Although there are bigger names in the league - teams that most people have heard of, like Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea - Fulham's continuing support of American soccer (the clubs employs five Americans) made it a natural choice for American fans. With the purchase of just two sports packages on DirecTV, fans of the club could be assured of television coverage of about 95% of Fulham's games. With a finish in the bottom three of the Premier League and relegation to a lower league, Fulham have made it impossible to watch the club on television. In any case, this loss to Liverpool was the final in a series of nails in the coffin - we've seen this coming for some time.

For me there's only one way to send the club off - with beer. So when it happens to you, here's how you do it.

1. Pick something bitter - Your first thought might be to pick something English - after all, this is English Football. But that'd be a mistake - you want something bitter enough to reflect how the whole experience has been for you. No one does bitter as well as the big hopped American IPA's - like my choice, Founder's Devil's Dancer Triple IPA. This best has the highest documented International Bitterness Units (IBU) available, and is dry hopped with 10 varieties of hops for 28 straight days.

2. Pick something special - You're drinking in tribute to your club - a team you've followed through the thick and (more so) the thin of the season - and although times are bad now, not just any beer will do. You wouldn't toast a friend with cheap wine, so don't shortchange your football club. Founder's Devil's Dancer is a limited release, pre-order only beer. I paid somewhere from $4 to $6 for the 12 oz. bottle. This is not your everyday beer.

3. Pick something great - Devil's Dancer is just another great beer from the folks at Founder's, who do consistently great work. Remember - although this English Premiership season has ended in heartbreak, next year your team will be in a league where they might actually win a few games. Your beer should reflect the greatness that lies in the possibility of next year. And besides, the Major League Soccer club you support is on the tv this afternoon. And this just might be their year...


  1. Why did I know that you'd post the robot dance?

    Here's the important question: who in your house is wearing that Liverpool shirt?

  2. Pick something that will knock you on your ass - At 13% abv, Devil Dancer knows how to drown your soccer sorrows right. Just don't be surprised when you wake up with your head in a gutter.

    Sorry for your loss, Mike. Not that I'm a soccer fan -- or get the crazy concept of weak teams being demoted to the minors -- but I understand a tough loss.

  3. Well Jim, the Liverpool shirt certainly isn't mine. Gina bought it when she was on a Peter Crouch kick, ironically enough.

    Chris, I'm actually a huge fan of the relegation thing - I think it's just what MLS needs. Hell, MLB would be a lot more interesting with it... can you imagine how great it would be for your Indianapolis Indians to get promoted to the big leagues?

  4. Sorry your club went down. I've always had a soft spot for Fulham - Craven Cottage is gorgeous old ground. I've suffered 15 years of following Newcastle from afar, so we had good news on Sunday.

    FWIW, Setanta online shows Championship games too. Not expensive, resolution is good, though the picture is a bit small. Hopefully it will be even better next year.

    Promotion/Relegation would theoretically be a great addition to U.S. sports. Unfortunately, I don't see how the money issues could possibly be overcome. The jumps in football are too much for many lower division teams to handle, and the relegations are often financial catastrophes, even with the payments the league provides to help ease the pain.

  5. Thanks for the commiseration, Dave. I know Setanta TV occasionally shows the championship - I wasn't aware of the online option. I'll have to look into that.

    I don't consider relegation all bad - at least I can reduce my DirecTV bill by $15.