Sports

I have always enjoyed sports as a spectator, but was never any good at playing any. I started following association football when I was 7. I enjoyed my first World Cup on TV in 1978. Except for a brief time of peer pressure while at junior school following Arsenal I have supported Queens Park Rangers since 1976. Also, as my wife is a Liverpool fan I am a bit of a Reds fan myself. I watched my first senior football match at my local club Walthamstow Avenue of the Isthmian League in 1980 and followed them until their demise in 1988. They merged with Leytonstone & Ilford, a club that has since swallowed up another East London club and is now Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two. Needless to say, I am not a fan of D&R, and if I were to win the lottery I would immediately start up WAFC again in my home town.

Growing up in the UK, I also enjoyed watching rugby union and cricket on TV. I followed Hackney Kestrels speedway and Lee Valley Lions ice hockey for some time in the 80s and early 90s. I carried that interest in ice hockey further as I moved. When I moved to Bavaria I became a Sportbund Rosenheim fan, they later changed the team name to Star Bulls Rosenheim. I watched them win promotion to the 1. Bundesliga (which became the DEL) within days of arrival in the south of Germany. I spent four years in Switzerland and never really settled in as a fan of the local SC Bern, instead I watched a lot of hockey around the country. In my last season in Switzerland I watched over 100 games at all levels.

On my arrival in Michigan, I began watching Muskegon Fury in the UHL and the odd game at Grand Rapids Griffins one league higher. But I never really got into the game over here, missing the atmosphere of the European game.

Since living here in Michigan I have become a fan of Detroit Lions in the NFL and Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, watching their games on TV. In recent years I have watched more games of the West Michigan Whitecaps in Grand Rapids than I have ice hockey.

I was instrumental in starting up a Facebook group to bring together Grand Rapids Fans of World Football. The group had over 500 members by 2015, adding some big numbers during the 2014 World Cup. Enjoyed three seasons of QPR in the Premier recently, hoping for them to bounce back up.

However, we now have a local footy team to support! Grand Rapids FC was born after a casual chat in the GRFWF Facebook group, and played the 2015 season in a league they helped form, the Great Lakes Premier League. They were watched by an average of 4,500 fans, which helped them gain admittance into the National Premier Soccer League, the 4th tier of the game in the US, the top non-professional tier. GRFC! GR Till I Die! Come on you boys in Blue! From the Calder, to Lake Michigan, you will find us in the pub!

I also get to watch my son Danny play football, as well as doing track & field and cross-country.