The influx of soccer-only channels and the Internet over the last five years have helped to dispel a lot of the bad stereotypes the sport has in America. Of course, every now and then news will break that reinforces the old notion that some of my countrymen have about the game and its supporters.
Today it was revealed that Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe's cell phone number had been discovered by some fans. Since Defoe has been rumored to move away from the club this month, some fans took this opportunity to call and harass the England International -- even going as far as to make death threats. (Perhaps only Philadelphia fans can muster up some sympathy.)
On one hand, I suppose you could at least give the Pompey fans credit for their passion. Yet on the other, it's impossible to condone death threats.
Is it really Defoe's fault that the club is in dire financial straights and might need to offload him to help balance the books and keep the club solvent? That probably doesn't do much to soothe the frayed nerves Pompey fans, though, who saw the club win the FA Cup last season under manager Harry Redknapp -- who has since bolted the club for Tottenham. Now the club probably faces a fight for Premier League survival, a fight that would be considerably easier with a top gun like Defoe.
In any event, a good account about the ethos of Portsmouth fans can be found in American writer Chuck Culpepper's recent book, "Bloody Confused." Sadly the book doesn't explain very much about this guy, though perhaps he explains the madness currently surrounding Defoe.