The transfer window has shut. What are you waiting for America?
There’s a moment in every sports fan’s life when you can pin-point when / why / how you picked “your team”. If you can’t, it means that you didn’t have a choice …because your Dad or your Dad’s Dad likely chose for you. Like my Washington Redskins, I had no choice. Whatsoever.
Finding a team to support in the EPL is a bit different though. The sport, as a part of our culture, has only just arrived. This means our Dad’s Dad hasn’t a clue about Tottenham Hotspur, Aguero or Hazard. But over the past few years Americans, clearly besotted with the EPL, are starting to choose their own Premiership teams to support. We see it in our Pubs every weekend. Thing is, American sports fans are choosing their EPL teams for reasons completely foreign to how they selected (i.e. were told to love) their beloved Cowboys, Browns or Blackhawks back when they were kids.
The way I see it, how you choose your team boils down to access and social circles. There have been a few notable moments leading up to America’s mass consumption and love of EPL (wrote it about it last season) but, simply put, we have NBC to thank. Americans have more access right now to live Premier AND Championship Leagues matches on the television than soccer fans in England do. And viewership is only growing.
Another factor in selecting your team depends on your crew and your local, which, if you’re lucky, is a soccer bar. Since brunch is the new black, a quality soccer bar offers the total package for sleepy, hungry footy fans who have to convince their friends that they should gather at an Irish pub as opposed to some hipster brunch-y place on a Saturday morning.
But still, how DO you pick your team? There are 20 teams in the EPL. Who are ya?
#1 Manchester United F.C. ~ Won the most Premier League title trophies ever. Probably the most recognized sports team on the planet. Definitely the team everyone loves to hate. They also just signed Bastian Schweinsteiger and he has a LOT of trophies too. Hopefully his newly hired physio will help him get fit. United are the Yankees of English football.
#2 Chelsea F.C. - Won the league last year -their 5th title. Sold Petr Čech (still a very good keeper). Starting squad includes Thibaut Courtois (a very, very good keeper) and Eden Hazard (Player of the Year, 2014). Like the 49ers? Chelsea might be your team.
#3 - Arsenal F.C. - Now own Čech and the defense is pretty tidy. Goal scoring may be a problem though. Now go read Fever Pitch and better understand the life of a Gooner and what might be in store for you this season.
#4 Everton F.C. - Step off the top tier reservation and go under-dog as a true American and then prepare to suffer like a legit EPL fan. Everton is a district located in Liverpool in Merseyside County and one half of one of the greatest rivalries in the EPL. If nothing else, Timmy Howard is on the squad. Google Toffee.
#5 Liverpool F.C. - Still chasing Man United for Premier League titles but the Reds have more hardware in their cabinet than any other EPL team. Unfortunately you might just be a decade behind the dream that eluded Stevie G, who has up and followed Beckham’s footsteps to the MLS and LA.
Still….. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
#6 Manchester City F.C. - Mo’ money, mo’ problems? N/A. City have arguably two of the best strikers in the world and a second string that could compete with a lot of EPL teams. Money is not a problem and neither are their chances of another league title. Got love for the Seattle Seahawks? Support Citeh and prepare to REALLY hate Man United.
#7 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. - Harry Kane, the wonder kid who couldn’t stop scoring last year, can’t seem to get started this year ….its early doors though. And hey -USMNT star DeAndre Yedlin is trying to break into their first team. Also, back in the mid-90s, USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann made his mark as a Hotspur too, so there’s that.
The apparent randomness that we find new soccer fans selecting their team is all over the place and we applaud it! The World Cup has certainly played its role. The English Premier League is home to more foreign players than homegrown (a contentious debate in England to be sure but that’s another topic altogether). The upside? Americans can zero in on world class players and follow their teams.
Supporters Clubs in the U.S. also play a massive role here. These clubs are organized socially and bring strangers together over their love for one thing – their team. I once heard a great line after a devastating loss, “watching the Boro play is always a great day out spoilt by 90 minutes of football”. It’s funny because it’s true. Misery loves company. If your team is losing, humor, a few pints and good company is the best distraction.
And there is nothing that compares to the banter, laughs and good times on game day. Time to pick your team America. You’re missing out.
Of course, if you still can’t decide you’ve always got a buzzfeed quiz to tip you over the fence.
All photos grabbed off our Instagram account from customers gracious enough to tag us on game day and during special events. Give us a follow @tiginirishpub and share your photos with us during the season!