Saturday, 1 November 2014

Picking A Premier League Team For Americans

They may annoyingly insist on calling it soccer while the rest of us call it football but whatever they call it, the game seems to be catching on in the States with NBC picking up the Premier League and Fox showing UEFA Champions League coverage so now the Americans have a new problem, which team to support.
The Premier League sides breaks down into 3 divisions in one, the Big 5 who will divide up the winners pots come May, the relegation fodder who will spend the season trying to avoid looking at the league table and the teams who float around between them both not doing very much.   
While it is true that every team offers something unique, in reality you don't want to get stuck with a team that will get kicked out of the Premier League never to be seen on NBC again so Hull, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Sunderland, QPR and Burnley can be left on the shelf unless you are some sort of masochist and enjoy the fans of other teams reminding you of that latest 5-0 hammering your team received. 

The mid-division teams include West Ham, Swansea, Newcastle, Stoke and Aston Villa who are in the division purely to beat the relegation fodder while in turn get beaten by the teams at the sharp end of the league so if you pick one of these teams you had better be prepared for the Who? question because even us English forget about them and we live in the same country. This leaves eight teams who you can realistically support and not face ridicule week after week and the first is Tottenham Hotspur.

If you are the sort of person who never finishes things or loses interest halfway through then Tottenham, or Spurs, should be your team as they are the one team you can rely on to buckle under the pressure and fall spectacularly from grace which is brilliant fun to watch as long as you are not a Spurs fan. As a Tottenham fan you will have to legally hate Arsenal fans.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Wile E Coyote who does all he can and just when it looks as though he will succeed, invariably ends up in free-fall down the side of a cliff holding a sign that says 'Help'.

One of the few teams who have broken away from the previous group and look as though they could disrupt the normal order of things but they do have a policy of selling anything that isn't nailed down as they did at the end of last season so potentially could be dragged back into the former group before they have chance to add to the one FA Cup they won in 1976. As a Southampton fan you will have to legally hate Portsmouth and Bournemouth fans.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Barney Rubble, there as much as his neighbour but everyone is watching what Fred is doing.
They have American Goalkeeper Tim Howard which should draw in many American supporters but most famous for being a club from Liverpool but not being Liverpool. A safe team to support because while you won't be wallopped by the big fish, you won't ever celebrate anything either. As an Everton fan you will have to legally hate fans of Liverpool.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Velma from Scooby Doo, in the midst of the action but nobody would miss her if she wasn't.
After disregarding the chaff, we are left with the wheat, the Big 5 of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Owned by a Russian billionaire friend of Vladimir Putin and managed by a man with an ego so big that the Chelsea players train by running around it, Chelsea are the team to beat but considering they are chock full of the best players Russian rubles can buy, boy can they be boring to watch. If it wasn't on the off-chance that John Terry would get a painful kick in the groin, nobody else apart from Chelsea fans would watch them. As a Chelsea fan you will have to legally hate fans of QPR and Fulham.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Mr Burns from the Simpsons, rich and successful but not very well liked.

Manchester United
The choice of the glory hunter, the team for anyone who wants to walk around saying their team are champions of everything and they did right up until they won zip and the country was deafened by the sound of Man Utd replica tops being thrown into the bin. Everyone's second favourite team is whoever is playing Manchester United that day. Probably not the best time to be a Manchester United fan because the fans of every other team are taking revenge and revelling in their demise. As a Man Utd fan you will have to legally hate fans of Man City.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Tom from Tom & Jerry, makes everyone else laugh when it all goes horribly wrong and he ends up looking ridiculous with his head stuck through a fence and a bowl of milk on his head.

Manchester City
Since one side of Manchester has slipped away, the other has stepped up with the help of the Abu Dhabi United Group who have spent well over £1 billion transforming the squad into one that could dominate the Premier League. Man City are the current champions and have some of the most exciting players to watch but despite the billion pound blown on players, have not yet attracted the same amount of vitriol as Man Utd or Chelsea for 'buying' the titles they have won but that will come so this may be the last chance to get in and claim supportership before the inevitable taunt of 'glory hunter' is thrown at anyone with a Manchester City shirt. As a Man City fan you will have to legally hate fans of Man Utd.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Bart Simpson, been around a while but is just starting to wear out his welcome.

The team who once lit up Europe but have since spent the last 2 decades saying they are coming back to do it all again but never looking like ever getting there. Past glories keep older Liverpool fans warm at night but for the newcomer, today's Liverpool are like being told you are being taken out for a meal and ending up at McDonalds, it's technically still a restaurant but not really what you were expecting. As a Liverpool fan you will have to legally hate fans of Everton. 
If they were a cartoon character they would be Mickey Mouse, once ruled over everything but peaked a while ago.

Generally regarded as the thinking mans team and as they are owned by an American, Stan Kroenke, they should appeal to Americano's. They play a beautiful game with skill and speed but if you pick Arsenal as your team you will have to learn the basic shout that all Arsenal fans master of 'Stop fannying about with and and shoot the bloody thing' as the 75th pass makes it way across the opponents 18 yard box. All means that for all the beautiful football, they will end up 3rd or 4th yet again as they have for the past 9 seasons. As an Arsenal fan you will have to legally hate fans of Tottenham.
If they were a cartoon character they would be Jessica Rabbit, beautiful to look at and involved in the action all the way through but never one of the main players.


E-Wadda said...

This post should be syndicated. Much thanks Lucy.

I actually put a lot of thought into it and selected Liverpool for several profound reasons: my distant ancestors were from Northern Ireland and Liverpool is the closest club to there; they are owned by Americans; they have excellent history and tradition and are still decent but not so rich that they just buy everyone; they don't wear those weird skin-tight shirts that Arsenal and some other teams wear; I found myself rooting for Balotelli after hearing his story during the World Cup--adopted, subjected to never-ending racism across Europe.

Having said all that, it's been a pretty miserable season so far. Liverpool basically sucks, and all they do is just talk about how this Sturridge guy will come save the day when he returns from his multiple injuries. I'm considering switching allegiance to my runner-up, Arsenal, but it seems too easy to go with one of the big London teams, and those baby-sized shirts really are odd.

Lucy said...

I did mention the Liverpool/Irish thing but took it out along with the Jewish/Spurs thing.
I also split it into teams at first owned by Americans and the link between English teams and US teams so there would be a natural team to root for such as the Arsenal owner also owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth and St. Louis Rams so fans of any of those teams could easily adopt Arsenal as one of the 'family'.
I used those American team links links here

Regarding Liverpool, punched above their weight last year with Suarez and the manager didn't make very good signings with the money he made selling him so unless they sign another decent striker in January, will struggle. Sturridge is very inconsistent but they do seem to think he will come back and score a hatful which is a bit optimistic.

Finally, the tight shirts are from rugby and are meant to stop the other team grabbing a handful of shirt which to be fair, it does seem to have done but
it doesn't do any favours for the fans who buy the replica shirts who are, let's politely say, not as slender as the players.

E-Wadda said...

Oh so I was right in perceiving a Liverpool-Irish link?

I didn't realize there was actually a real purpose behind the right shirts--like i said, this is year 1 of real soccersoccer on TV in America, so we're still very much in a learning phase. Like still trying to figure out the difference between whistling and booing (is whistling for when you're just normal mad and booing for when you're really mad??). And learning new meanings for words like "pace", which would be "speed" over here, the constant use of the word "cynical", words like "work-rate" "coming-together", etc.

As for the Arsenal ownership I am a bit confused. Wikipedia isn't very clear on what is going on, but it suggests that Kroenke owns like 60% of the team and then a Russian oligarch owns 20% and an Arab oiligarch owns another 20%. What is the deal with that? Wikipedia says Kroenke was required to purchase all remaining shares of the club, but that was like from 2009 and it hasn't seemed to have happened yet. What gives?

Lucy said...

I can see why you would be confused by the idiosyncrasies of a football match, especially if you have the English commentary. I have heard some American commentary and you don't seem to have the word nil or attack, going for zero and offense.
I will write another post to explain the UK to US conversion of football terms.

The share thing at Arsenal is basically if Kroenke purchased (i think ) 30% of the shares he was obliged to try and buy the rest off the other shareholders, some of who sold to him while others such as the Russian never. There are some shares held by the fans but at £15,000 a go, not many.

Are you sticking with Liverpool or has all this swayed you at all? I won't tell you my team, don't want to be accused of bias.

E-Wadda said...

I just cannot decide yet. It's definitely down to Liverpool and Arsenal though. Also, I must confess that I know your team is Arsenal--found it on your blog somewhere.