Paddington Chooses a Football Club

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of and the adult writer of the Gab Four, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Late one Saturday morning, as Paddington was over at Mr. Gruber's watching a football match while enjoying a marmalade sandwich over elevenses, it occurred to him that he did not have a favorite football club.

Paddington never had a hard time choosing which country to root for. Unless England was playing Peru, Paddington always supported the Three Lions. But though he loved watching the Barclays Premier League matches, Paddington could never settle on which side deserved his loyalty. He usually just cheered for whoever was ahead.

Living on the west side of London, Paddington was surrounded by Queens Park Rangers supporters. But he did not deem this sufficient enough reason to devote himself to the club without doing proper research.

"What football club should I support, Mr. Gruber?" Paddington asked. "I think it is time that I declared my allegiance to a particular side, but only one that deserves it. I'd like to pick a winner. Can you help me?"

"Well then," pondered Mr. Gruber, "You'd better select one of the sides in Manchester to root for. They've won the league each of the past two campaigns."

This disappointed Paddington, who wanted to chose a winner that wasn't quite so far away, as he hoped to attend his team's matches and make it home before dark.

Mr. Gruber informed Paddington that there were 14 professional clubs in London alone, six in the Premier League, three in the Championship and five in lower leagues.

"Fourteen clubs! Oh dear," Paddington said, falling over backward. "How ever will I choose? What about Queens Park Rangers? Are they any good?"

"That depends on your perspective," Mr. Gruber replied. "They won the Championship in 2011, but I'm afraid they finished 17th in the Premier League last season, almost making a hasty return to the Championship."

"I'm awfully fond of bears," Paddington reminded Mr. Gruber. "Are there any teams who employ bears as mascots?"

Mr. Gruber thought long and hard. "West Ham United has Bubbles the Bear, but they too were just promoted. I'm afraid none of the other Premier League clubs have any bears."

"Not have any bears?" Paddington was astonished. "There are plenty of bears in darkest Peru!"

"Though not many football clubs," Mr. Gruber reminded him.

Mr. Gruber suggested that if Paddington could overlook not having a bear as a mascot, there was only one logical choice for supporting a winning side that was in London. After all, Chelsea was not only a perennial title contender, but they had just won the UEFA Champions League, giving them the title of best football club in Europe.

Paddington was excited about this proposition.

"I should like it to wear a scarf around town, letting everyone know that my team is the best in all of Europe!" Paddington exclaimed.

"But you should be very careful where you wear your scarf, Paddington," Mr. Gruber warned. "There are many supporters of Queens Park Rangers and Fulham nearby. And if you travel too far, you'll run into Arsenal and Tottenham fans. You don't want to upset anyone, especially if your team is winning, as others are likely to not take too kindly to a gloating bear."

Paddington gave a hard stare.

After a good five minutes thought, Paddington said, "I think I have the answer, Mr. Gruber. Only it will require a lot of work for my Aunt Lucy."

"What is that, Paddington?" an eager Mr. Gruber quizzed.

"I shall request my Aunt Lucy to sew me a scarf that has all 14 clubs in London on it. Then, wherever I go, I can proudly display the proper team without offending anyone."

Mr. Gruber was very impressed with Paddington's thoughtfulness, though he did express one hesitation.

"Won't that be a lot of work for your Aunt Lucy? Making a scarf with 14 clubs represented on it?"

"Oh no!" replied Paddington. "Whenever I needed mending done, my Aunt Lucy always told me to bear in mind that she's a great seamstress."

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.

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