Americans Invading the English Premier League

When we talk about Americans in England, we always mention the same names: Brad Friedel, Marcus Hahnemann, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Benny Feilhaber, Randy Lerner, Malcolm Glazer, etc, etc. But the American invasion isn’t just happening on the pitch. Listen closely and you’ll hear plenty more American accents associated with Premier League football.

The list includes:

Gabriele Marcotti. While he considers himself Italian, his accent is definitely American having spent many of his adult years in the northeast United States graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

In addition to being the co-host of The Game Podcast from The Times, Marcotti can also be heard this season on BBC Five Live as one of their key analysts.

Bruce Buck. At the center of the Mourinho and Grant fiasco last week was American Bruce Buck, who is chairman of Chelsea Football Club. A lawyer by trade, Buck has been a Chelsea fan since the late 80’s.

Sean Wheelock. The veteran MLS analyst and broadcaster has been working front-and-center for BBC Five Live recently as one of the main guests on their World Football Phone-In Show with Tim Vickery as well as a key contributor to BBC’s Up All Night. His knowledge of the game is very thorough and is able to easily compare and contrast the differences between U.S. and English soccer for the British listeners.

What’s important about these three Americans is that they’re all respected individuals within England, and each position carries a lot of weight.

Now contrast that with the American influence within the newspaper business in England and you can understand, to a degree, why the British press seems to be anti-American or, at the very least, stereotypical in their reporting of American soccer and the impressions they have about how Major League Soccer compares with leagues in England.

Marcotti is the only “American” regularly writing for an English newspaper (in this case, the times). If more astute American journalists break into the British newspaper business, the better the chances are of the fellow Brit journos writing more intelligently about U.S. soccer.

4 thoughts on “Americans Invading the English Premier League”

  1. That would be a major wall to breakdown. Even though Gab is writing for a major English paper and does the podcast, he is still, at least technically, there to be their expert on continental football. Are there any non British-Isles writers who cover specifically the Premier League for an English news organization?

    I would love to go over there after my journalism masters, but I would probably end up having to cover the Premier League for an American news organization and maybe writing about American sports for an English one.

  2. Bill, keep practicing those British terms & expressions and start working on your Brummie accent (you’re from Birmingham, right?)- they’ll never know the difference! All roight?

  3. Marcotti absolutely loves himself and thinks he knows everything – his appearances however on Steve Bunce’s The Rumour Mill (BBC Radio 5, now defunct show) showed up his ‘knowledge’ as being that of another transfer expert journo who in reality knew as much as we all did from reading the backpages. He kept touting Lampard to Barcelona as a done deal all last Summer – never happened. Also Torres to Man U was his other dead cert that he kept banging on about. I dont put a lot of stock in him.

  4. Simon,

    Can you really judge a commentator on his prediction skills? Does a commentator’s ability to forecast where a player will be transferred really determine what he knows about the game of football and how well he talks about it? I don’t think the two are related at all. Well, I suppose a few things could be linked between the two, but for the most part I don’t see much of a connection. Someone can really know the game, the players, the teams, the intricacies, and the business, and still be “off” when it comes to predicting where this player or that will go. Shoot, it’s all guesses until the club or player makes an official statement.

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