Who do you support?

England – Tottenham Hotspur (Since 1990)

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Football began for me with Italia 90. England’s run to the semi-final is permanently etched in my memory, as is my first ever Panini sticker book. That was where I discovered that my new hero, Gary Lineker, played for Spurs. It turned out Paul Gascoigne did as well, but that wasn’t as important to my eight-year-old self. An FA Cup victory came immediately in 1991 and since then…two League Cups and a lot of suffering. I also have a soft spot for Portsmouth (where I went to school) and Havant & Waterlooville (my local side), who once led Liverpool at Anfield.

Spain – Celta Vigo (Since 2003)

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I used to like Deportivo La Coruña after Bebeto’s 1994 World Cup heroics, but I then got to study in Vigo for a year and from then on there was no question which Galician side I would be backing. La Liga tickets were 3 Euros a pop and a packet of 3 Champions League group stage tickets (AC Milan, Brugge and Ajax) were an absolute steal at 20. I got to see them take on Arsenal in the next round, too, but a toothless front line led by former Villa striker Savo Milosevic saw them relegated to Segunda at the end of the season. After Celta, I look out for Rayo Vallecano results and then the Yellow Submarine of Villarreal.

France – Lyon (Since 2004)

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I could have been a PSG fan, having been born and gone to school in the capital, but it didn’t end up that way. They’re the opposite of my type of club, so it’s just as well. While working in Lyon over the summer holidays, I got to see Les Gones take on Manchester United in the Champions League and Sochaux in Ligue 1 at the Stade Gerland. This was the time of Juninho, the Brazilian master of free-kicks, and Lyon instantly became my Champions League team, who I’d back over the English “big four” without hesitation. Seven consecutive titles came between 2002 and 2008 before the emergence of the PSG monolith.

Italy – Atalanta (Since 2017)

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I never really had an Italian side that I supported, but I would previously have said Inter if pushed, and I did enjoy Mourinho’s backs to the wall Champions League triumph with Samuel Eto’o leading the line. However, it was the other Nerazzurri that won my heart in the end. My first memory of watching them was their classy dismantling of Everton home and away in the Europa League. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster coming so close to the cup, the league and the Champions League, but not quite making it. As if I didn’t have enough of that as a Spurs fan!

Germany – Union Berlin (Since 2019)

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Yes, a latecomer to this phenomenal story. I was a minor fan of Dortmund when Lewandowski and the rest of the Polish trio were tearing it up for Klopp, but as soon as I watched this short documentary I was hooked on Union. From donating blood to raise money for the club to fans building their stadium with their own hands, the community spirit is unbeatable. Their first season in the top flight was very much about securing safety with set-pieces key, but in the last two years they’ve developed into a real force securing European football twice in a row. Here’s to more of the same!

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