I don't know much about football before November 2006 and I don't pretend I know a lot now. Though I saw a few games back in college, I was never interested. I know some of the famous teams but that is how far my knowledge goes.
In November 2006, the Philippines hosted the qualifying games for the Tiger Cup which is now officially known as AFF Suzuki Cup. The team made a good run and I followed their games in Solar Sports. It was a wonder that they actually featured it. But of course, why wouldn't they? We were the host country.
Two of the players that caught my attention were Phil Younghusband and his brother James. I saw Phil score some of the goals. There was one goal where he bend it like Beckham and James's crosses were good. I followed the coverage and I was ecstatic that they actually qualified. When they got to the group stages, the team captain Ali Borromeo got injured. A pundit said that it was a big blow and I guess it was. They managed to nick a point out of Myanmar with a tie nil-nil. The tournament ended and I shamefully did not check what happened to them afterwards. There were no news coming from Pinoyexchange about their progress until this year where they surprised everyone.
Both the Younghusbands were still Chelsea reserves at that time. They were my first introduction to the English Premier League. I visited the website, watched a few games, read articles and forums to get to know the club. The biggest draw for me was Jose Mourinho. my labs (let me dream lol) I have collected wonderful quotations from him during his time at Chelsea. My most favorite which I text-messaged to my friends was "You have to try. If you fail, you fail but you have to try." He had countless other memorable quotes like "park the bus", "omelettes and eggs", etc. You can read more here. http://soccerlens.com/jose-mourinho/ I was always on fangirl mode whenever he was interviewed.
I can safely say that I am a follower of Chelsea FC. I checked their standings, watched their games (if I have the time and the tv hehe). Supporter would be a big word to me because that would mean I go to their match games, buy their products, really watched their games live and all the other stuff supporters do. Some people might say I joined the bandwagon. Perhaps. But it wasn't the golden peak of the club under Mourinho. I wasn't there during their back-to-back Premier League titles.
In that 2006-2007 season, they won the double, FA and Carling Cup but they lost the league to Manchester United. I still think it was a good season but most of the spoiled brats out there think it wasn't. The club or rather Jose Mourinho was under a lot of pressure from internal politics and eventually got replaced. But my heart belongs to Chelsea already. I even downloaded all their Podcast before, sent a letter and they even read it live in one of their episodes. haha. I was so happy. I couldn't believe my ears. Sadly, I don't have a copy of it anymore. I can't find my back-up cd after all those years of moving around.
As for the Azkals, they certainly surprised a lot of people including myself. I didn't expect that they would make it this far but they did. They got through the semis of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup and will be playing against Indonesia tomorrow Dec 16 as their "home" game. I hope this will open the doors for football to take hold in this country. It's going to take a while and a long time but I think the Azkals' effort in this tournament will boost that. Cheers to them for playing in the football national team. Win or lose, it's the Azkals we choose. :D I hope the livestream I'll find tomorrow will be better compared when I watched the Myanmar game.