Before I write my next article on FC Basel, it is important that I provide a little background about myself and how I came to be so involved in Swiss football. As my Twitter name suggests (FootballSwissUK), I am not from Switzerland. By being the only account on Twitter in English specific to Swiss football, I’m often touted as an “expert” or the go-to place for all things Swiss football.
That tag has never really been something I’m comfortable with as I’m by no means an expert, I’m just someone that had an interest for Swiss football and created a Twitter account on the back of that. I certainly know a lot about it but I don’t claim to know everything and being from the UK and also not speaking the language, there are many things about many of the clubs that I do not know.
To recap just how I got involved in and created @footballswiss, I’ll take you back to 2011. FC Basel are consistent participants in the Champions League and the 11-12 season was no different. I saw them playing Otelul Galati and remember switching to that game, only for ten minutes or so. There was something I quite liked about the kits and because they had always seemed to have a great team. Fast forward two weeks later and I had decided to adopt Basel as my second team as they prepared to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Baptism of fire.
It probably helped that Basel provided a stirring comeback and were seconds away from a famous win that ensured I kept interest. It also helped that the club secured qualification for the Champions League later on at the expense of the English side too.
If I’m honest, I felt no connection to the club back then, it was hard to “feel” anything about wins and losses as I simply didn’t “care” about the club in the way that I do my own club that I’ve supported since I was young. Over time, that has changed. I began to watch full Basel matches whenever I could in the UK, mostly in the Champions League. I believe my first two full 90 minutes watching Basel were the 1-0 victory over Bayern and subsequent 7-0 hammering in the return leg. It was definitely a sort of omen about how it is to support Basel.
Some would say it was an easy choice to pick Basel. Perennial winners but back in 2011, I probably could’ve only named Basel, Zurich, Grasshoppers, Sion and Young Boys as Swiss clubs and Thun at a push. I didn’t know that Basel had won the title two times in a row or that they were poised to go and win it another six times after that.
It was from there that @footballswiss came to be. I began to branch out to watching Basel in the league and following the results every week and it was while doing this that I realized there was no place for Swiss football in English on Twitter. I had seen other accounts for leagues all over the world and decided to give it a go. I had no idea what I was doing and some of my early tweets are hashtag-crazy but now in 2018 and I still see players I don’t have a clue who they are and also get my predictions horribly wrong at times but I like to think I have a good knowledge on Swiss football and I am passionate about a league that definitely flies under the radar.
Despite being a fan of FC Basel, I try to remain impartial and think I do that for the most part. It’s true that I’ve been spoiled as a fan, FC Basel have never lost the league title since 2011, they’ve reached their first ever European semi-final and the Quarter Final of the Europa League twice as well as three appearances in the Champions League Last 16. I’ve saw them win the Swiss Cup in person and generally dominate. They haven’t ever really come close to losing their grip on Swiss football.
So now in 2018, with that being a real possibility, it infuriates me that it is the case. Young Boys have been magnificent but Basel have absolutely thrown in the towel in a way that is unacceptable. I have a lot I want to say about it and not all of it may be accurate, people with a better knowledge of the inner workings of the club may see what I’m saying as wrong. In 2018, I care about the club that I struggled to feel any connection for in 2011 and now with failure hanging over Basel and myself as a fan for the first time, it is a bitter pill to swallow and one that was avoidable, in my opinion.
I’ll write that article on Basel during this week sometime but I just felt it was important to give some background before I write it.