If you follow me on twitter you've probably been annoyed with my tweets about a random soccer team from Nottingham the past few years. My brother got a job with them during covid and I jumped on the bandwagon and it has been the most intense fan experience I've ever experienced. I always said I never wanted to be a fan of the big clubs like Man United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, or Arsenal because it was "too easy" in my mind. Being an American fan of those teams always felt like the equivalent of being a Yankees, Lakers, and Cowboys fan.
Having said that...I REALLY underestimated the stress involved with being a fan of a team in the relegation battle. Weeks on end sometimes without a win. Endless rumors of firing a coach that I LOVE. I dove into Forest with no expectations of ever even making the Premier League and then last year they went on a miracle run to get promoted. From that moment on (about a year ago) it's been nothing but a sweat. Getting absolutely shit pumped on multiple occasions. The majority of the season was staring down the barrel of getting sent right back down. And what comes with being sent down from the Premier League is usually being forced to sell all the players that you've grown to love, the coach who was a hero, and then often not being able to even watch the team because ESPN+ doesn't show all of the 2nd tier games.
It's effectively a death sentence and...maybe I am a masochist but in many ways I absolutely fucking LOVED it. Every saturday morning felt like an NHL overtime game because the downside was so huge. You just sit there looking back at the schedule and thinking that one or two mistakes made in the Fall were going to cost your team EVERYTHING. It was a grind. White knuckle and sliced knuckles the entire time
As stressful as that was, I'd take that feeling ALLLLLL day long over being a fan of a terrible team in America. I have a TON of experience rooting for bad teams with the Bears, Hawks, and Cubs. Those long, slow, terrible, boring seasons where you know there's zero hope after like a month are the worst. There's nothing to play for. Nothing to get excited about. No emotions to feel at all except anger and disappointment. That isn't the case with the Premier League. Forest had a long, difficult, painful season, but winning on Saturday at home against Arsenal meant staying up, finishing 16th and that felt exactly like winning a championship. I genuinely don't think Man City, who actually won the league title, had a better feeling than what Forest fans experience on Saturday by staying up. If Man City or one of those big clubs don't win the league they'll no doubt be upset, but in reality their fan experience doesn't change very much at all going forward. They'll spend the most money. They'll buy the best players. They'll be vying for a title again soon. If Forest or a club like them go down a level that changes EVERYTHING. It's a different league. Different financials. Different sport. You're often staring into the abyss as a once proud team like Sunderland went down, it cost them everything, the club basically went bankrupt, and they dropped all the way down to League 1 and they still haven't come back.
Now that Forest have stayed up I can absolutely say that I'd go through that again every week and every year instead of just passively and disgustingly waiting for the NFL, MLB, or NHL season to end as they have nothing to play for except lottery balls. There is no tanking the Premier League because that is death. It was an incredible ride this year and I wish it were possible to get that feeling in my other sports.
PS: Everyone hates this opinion, but the Premier League should have playoffs. I stand by that take