I don’t know who to direct this to, as “UK Dopers” might be too limiting and “Soccer Fans” too wide…I dunno.
Anyway, I’m an American who’s gradually getting hooked on Soccer, specifically our one, lonely little soccer channel on cable, and even more specifically the Premier League series.
So I’m a bit of an Anglophile, back off or I’ll jab you with my sonic screwdriver.
The thing is, I don’t have the advantage of growing up within the UK football culture, and I’ve no club to call my own. I’ve been rooting for Man United so far, because they’re pretty exciting to watch. I also keep an eye out for Chelsea or Arsenal.
So, I’m here hoping to take my education forward. I’ve got one cable channel, and that’s about it. I’d like to learn more, mostly about this league first…I’m working up to Italian Serie A. I’m here fishing for opinions, namely:
[li]What is your team, and why?[/li][li]How do you follow the sport outside of TV? Newspaper? Website? Podcast?[/li][/ul]
Arsenal. I didn’t really get to choose my team, they sort of chose me. I don’t really remember how but as I remember it I watched a united vs arsenal game in the mid 90’s with my brother and we won a cracking 2-1 game and that was that. He’s a united fan so the united vs arsenal match-ups are always a laugh.
I am an Aston Villa fan, by virtue of being from their home town of Birmingham. This tends to be the way most people pick a team (or rather, the team picks you), but clearly this isn’t an option for you.
So starting from a clean slate, it must be lovely to support a top-4 team (these are the teams that ALWAYS finish in the top 4 of the league - Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal), so I’d go for one of them. My partner is a Chelsea season-ticket holder, so I can see at first hand the advantages:
> No major disappoints
> Your club can afford to sign really exciting international players
> You get to have an exotic foreign manager (or managerial icon - arise Sir Alex Ferguson)
> You get the chance to see your team win at least one cup a year, or at least make a final of a knock-out competition.
> You get to watch a lot more games (as your team will stay in knock-out competitions longer)
> You get to see your team compete in the latter stages of the biggest tournament in international club football - the UEFA Champions League
> You have every chance of sometime seeing your team actually play in the Champions League final - 2007 I actually went to Moscow to see Chelsea beaten by Man U.
> You might actually get to meet other people who support your team, which will improve your enjoyment of being a supporter enormously
So yeah, if I had the choice, I’d go Top 4. After that it’s up to you - do you fancy supporting a team with the glamour of being from London? (Chelsea/Arsenal). Watching european flair playing? (Maybe Arsenal/Liverpool). Or win more than everybody else? (Man U).
As for following, I tend to watch the BBC ‘football focus’ and ‘Match of the Day’ programmes (the BBC does the best coverage of live matches too). Can you access BBC iplayer outside of the UK?
I also read the sports pages of UK newspapers - I think you can probably get all these online. I’m a Guardian reader, although I believe a lot of people like The Sunday Times for its sports coverage.
I agree with SanVito about the benefits of supporting one of the big four. However, remember that supporting Manchester United is like rooting for the Yankees. I would choose Liverpool myself, but I am a northerner and hence shy away from effete London clubs.
I, too, am an American. And years ago, I had the same dilemma: who did I want to root for in the newly established Premier League? Not wanting to use the rather random-seeming selection method of my kids (who thought that the script “Carlsberg” in white on the red Liverpool jerseys was neat!), I cast about to see if there wasn’t some other good way to choose.
A few seasons later, the answer became crystal clear: Leicester City. Why? Because the American #1 keeper (Kasey Keller) started for them, and because they were scrapping to stay up in the Premiership, having won promotion, and because Martin O’Neill was a coach who seemed to get more out of his players than you thought possible. Now, several years later, I still root for the Foxes (will we make it back THIS year???).
So, I’ll offer a suggestion for you, InkBlot. There is a team in the Premiership whose keeper happens to be the #1 American Keeper (well, in my opinion, anyway), Brad Friedel. This is a team that has a mission: break into the established top tier of football in England (this time, meaning into the Top Four). And, amazingly enough, this team happens also to be coached by the irrepressible Irishman, Martin O’Neill.
Well, Tottenham just took Birmingham in a fairly good game (I only caught the last 20 min). Man U and Arsenal are on Fox Soccer Channel right now, so nice to see two top four teams heading off.
DSYoungEsq, you make an excellent case for Aston Villa. I’ll look them up. On the one hand, if I pick a top four team I will rarely be disappointed. On the other, I’ll rarely be as excited by an underdog rising in the ranks.
There is no better team to support than Manchester City.
For far to long we’ve been in the shadows and now our time has come.
A massive injection of lovely lolly from that nice Arab bloke, Sheik Monsour, means that City are now the richest football club in the universe.
Mark Hughes, our manager, has spent well over £100m on transfer fees in the last transfer window, he’s signed strikers galore, just obtained Lescott, a brilliant defender from Everton for around £22m.
Manchester City is the team for you. Thus far we’ve played 2 and won them both conceding no goals in the premier division, we also beat Palace away last Thursday to advance to round 3 of the Carling Cup, again we didn’t concede a goal.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say - don’t choose to support any club. Keep watching matches and wait until you see a club that resonates with you. It will mean more to you that way. I can still remember the first time I saw Liverpool play, who scored and when, but more than anything, I can remember hearing the Kop sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Sounds sappy, I know, but if you choose a club rather than letting one choose you, you won’t really get that sense of what it means to support one. This was the advice given to me by my friends in the UK when I started to watch football.
From the couch, my wife would like to add that which ever club you end up with, learn the history because you’ll enjoy the experience of support more. (This was followed by her story of encountering a United fan who’d never heard of Cantona. :rolleyes:)
THIS. Fandom should be based upon a true emotional attachment, not just something faked up to create a minor pounding of the heart. You have to understand what the team is really about. Otherwise, you are simply like a billion other Man. U. fans who root for them because they win alot.
Supporting Man City at this late stage smacks of glory hunting. Supporting Arsenal means you have to endure the whinging Skeletor as your manager. The only people who like Chelsea are Chelsea fans. Man Utd are the big team, and again, supporting them makes you look like a glory hunter. Liverpool are a possibility, but will probably frustrate you, as they always seem to be on the verge of winning the league again, but never make it (they’ve been successful in Europe, though, lately).
Naturally, I suggest a glamorous northern team, who play with flair, strength and passion. I suggest Wigan.
If you want to support a glamorous northern team that has any chance of winning silverware this season, the only team to support is… Newcastle. That way, you’ll get the joy of them winning something, but still be able to root for the underdog when they get promoted to the Premier League again.
I’m Dutch and I support Liverpool (if only half-heartedly), but really only because they have Dirk Kuyt. Chelsea I loathe, because I don’t find Drogba and (former coach) Mourinho (and most of the other players) very likeable. Man U is not one of my favourites either - they have Van der Sar now but I can’t forgive them for signing on the single least likeable person in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo. Break a leg, Cristiano! I like Arsenal too, because they have Van Persie, they used to have Bergkamp, and they play beautiful football. But I still like Liverpool most. As you can tell, it mostly depends on how much I like the Dutch players they sign