The following article is written by EPLNFL, a longtime reader of EPL Talk and a resident of Chicago.
Every year now about the end of June many EPL fans in the US and Canada get the news they long to hear, the teams that they often get up before sunrise for on a frigid December morning will be coming to your town to play on a sunny day with topical conditions prevailing.
What a thrill it is to think that the legends of the English game will soon be walking the turf of your local stadium where only the NFL has tread before. You’ll pay almost anything for it, to have the opportunity to say I saw Alex Ferguson in person, I actually got within 20 feet of Roy Keane, or I saw Phil Neville go to the turf in Toyota Park.
Once you appear at the game nothing quite meets your expectation. David Moyes looks older in person then on TV. Sir Alex doesn’t look like a knight, and a nil nil pre-season draw is not worth the price of parking let alone admission. $15.00 for parking at Toyota Park for those who care about that stuff.
The great and well deserved popularity of the EPL worldwide has required English teams to show up at far distant corners of the Earth each summer to show the product in person and make a few extra bucks, yen, you name the currency, on top of the experience of visiting a far off land.
What does the local fan get besides a inflated ticket price and a feeling that the game must be some kind of rip off designed by former big oil executives? In the end, the very thing the EPL does not want to do is accomplished — turning fans off. At least David Moyes and his Everton team had the good manners of letting hardcore Fire fans walk away with a good feeling. The local Chicago soccer blog had more than one person saying if Everton is 5th in the Prem then the Fire must be Champions League material after a 2-0 victory where the Fire controlled the game without the great Mexican star C. Blanco and the former Fulham star Brian McBride.
Yes, I know about the players that Everton did not play, that they have been traveling across America, and are trying to get into shape for the season ahead, but the fact is Everton did not look good while the Fire using anyone who showed up at Toyota Park in a red jersey looked, just okay.
This is not to blame Everton or West Ham or other EPL teams that visit the US (except maybe Man. U. during their last trip to the US) for a lack of effort or concern about the American fan. It’s just that pre-season soccer is an exhibition game and the management and players rightfully treat it as such. When it’s a semi-tropical night in Chicago in July and your season will still be in full swing come next Easter you’re not going to be at full speed. So, the EPL team is bound to disappoint the American fan who just paid big bucks to see a drab and dull exhibition.
So whats the solution to all of this for the American fan? When you total my entire cost for two seats, parking and food, my total was about $150 for the night.
This was not my idea, but the only conclusion is to give us Yanks the real deal. Give us the 39th game here in the US or give us nothing at all, except if we can get it on HD TV, which is better then seeing it in person.