What if the Premier League was American?


Imagine for a minute that the Premier League was played in America. Which cities would Premiership clubs play in that best resemble their city in England?

  • Arsenal: With Arsenal’s former home at Highbury featuring one of the most unique architectural designs, it’s only fitting that Arsenal would reside in Brooklyn.
  • Aston Villa: It’s apt that Aston Villa’s mirror image in the United States is the Motor City, Detroit. In the UK, Birmingham has a rich history of car manufacturing.
  • Blackburn: The deep history of cotton mills is prevalent in both Blackburn and Manchester, New Hampshire.
  • Bolton: The gusty winds that sweep through Bolton’s Reebok Stadium remind me of Minneapolis. Both cities are working class, and Minnesotans have a unique accent just as people from Lancashire do.
  • Chelsea: Expensive real estate, a melting pot and very urban, Chelsea would fit in best in New York City, the city that never sleeps. In fact, Manhattan would be a perfect locale.
  • Everton: You could compare Boston’s Fenway Park to Goodison Park, both historic stadiums that are old and quaint.
  • Fulham: The leafy suburbs of Staten Island would be a perfect home for Fulham’s Craven Cottage that sits next to the tranquil Bishop Park.
  • Hull: No offence to its residents, but the most appropriate location for Hull in the United States would be in the middle of nowhere: Kansas City. If Hull won the Premier League, it would be almost as surprising as the Kansas City Wizards winning the MLS Cup.
  • Liverpool: Boston is definitely most like Liverpool. Residents of this Massachusetts port city have a unique accent. Plus, they’re massive sports fans.
  • Manchester City: While the grey skies of Manchester don’t have much in common with sunshine, only The City Of Angels, better known as Los Angeles, could host the decadence of Manchester City and their Middle East owners.
  • Manchester United: A city that hosts the Hollywood movie studios would be an appropriate home to the Theatre of Dreams. The Hollywood factor would also fit in perfectly with Man United’s footballers who sometimes resemble actors more than athletes.
  • Middlesbrough: The county where Middlesbrough resides in England is Cleveland, so why not locate the Boro in Cleveland, Ohio?
  • Newcastle: The cold weather, bitter wind and northerly location of Chicago would be a perfect home for Newcastle United. The rich history of the Chicago Cubs has similarities with Newcastle. The last time the Cubs lifted a World Series title was 1908. The last time Newcastle won the First Division title, the modern day equivalent of the Premier League, was in 1927.
  • Portsmouth: Pompey has some similarities with San Diego. Both cities have a rich naval history, and are located in a southerly position.
  • Stoke: The geographic location of Stoke-On-Trent, deep in the heart of England is similar to Columbus, Ohio, centrally located in the heartland of the Midwest. Just as Columbus is very vanilla, so too is Stoke.
  • Sunderland: With Newcastle located down the road in Chicago, an appropriate location for Sunderland in the United States would be Milwaukee, sitting next to water and a city renowned for its manufacturing history.
  • Tottenham Hotspur: It’s only fitting that Spurs would reside in the borough of Bronx, home to Yankee Stadium. The old Yankee Stadium is reminscent of the atmosphere and character found at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane.
  • West Brom: If Detroit is Motor City and Birmingham is the English equivalent of it, then West Bromwich Albion would best resemble Toledo, Ohio, known as “The Auto Parts Capital of the World.”
  • West Ham: The ethnically diverse population of Queens is synonymous with the racial diversity of east London. You could also compare West Ham’s Upton Park to Shea Stadium.
  • Wigan: Historically a working-class port town, Baltimore best resembles Wigan, the Lancashire town famous for its pier on the Liverpool and Leeds Canal.

What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the above comparisons and, if so, where would you put the Premier League clubs in America? Click the comments link below. I look forward to reading your feedback.

73 thoughts on “What if the Premier League was American?”

  1. I think the Boston-Liverpool comparison is a bit of a stretch. I understand the port comparison. But, the prominent stereotype for a Bostonian is a wealthy, elitist, snob. That diverges a bit from the Scouser stereotype.

  2. How can Seattle, with all its rain, not have a team from England?

    And I guess its far to give NY and its 5 boroughs 5 teams. So 1/4 of the league would reside in NY?

  3. So where's the love for the South? Portsmouth belongs in in Florida. Jacksonville, with a military tradition would fit in nicely. Atlanta has 5 million people. How about a team? This is one of the reasons I don't pay much attention to the MLS: nothing near me.

  4. You did not just compare the GREATEST Organization in Baseball(Yankees) to one of the WORST teams in the EPL(Spurs).

    One thumb down. It was a good read.

    Most of ur theories are based on Weather, and industries. Try investigating more…

    Like Liverpool is the most decorated team in England, and the most decorated team/city in the USA would be…? idk, look it up haha

  5. Liverpool and Boston, huh? Never been here have you.

    First, this is one of the lowest crime rate cities in the US. 2nd we're liberals, not authoritarian communists. Thirds, we win shit now, not 40 years ago. 40 years ago, we couldn't win at any sport in Boston. Fourth, all scousers talk like they have a dick in their mouth. I know one Bostoner that doesn't pronounce his R. Why? Universities. We have all of them. Liverpool has Heroine processing University and that's about it. Also we eat healthier because we have so many medical facilities and biotechs. Type 2 diabetes isn't a birth-right, as in Liverpool, it's a rare disease here. Finally unlike Liverpool, we're rich biatch! One of the wealthiest areas of the country.

    So Liverpool is more like some panhandle crap hole. And Boston would be more like a London club.

    Oh we haven't killed a bunch of Italians and blamed it on the Italians since Sacco and Vanzentti.

    Interesting article, but do you think I like my city being compared to the worst fans in the UK. :p

    PS. All in fun

      1. Liverpool is a shit hole and I should know, I live 20 miles from it. Then again so is most of London. Shit holes, both of them. Although atleast Liverpool’s not full of foreigners like London. You could walk round most of London and not have a clue which country you were in apart from the shit weather and thick layer of smog hanging over it.

  6. No one said football was meant to be fair. Just as in England, there's a large representation of clubs in the north west and London. And just as in Major League Soccer, there are no teams south east of Washington DC.

    The Gaffer

  7. London has five teams in the Premier League, and New York was the next best thing to London.

    I tried to think of teams that resembled Seattle but none came to mind.

    The Gaffer

  8. I definitely see Liverpool and Philadelphia being twinned.

    Sporting passion – check.

    Industrial city – check

    Prison cells in the stadium – check, check, check.

    As for the other half of Merseyside, I'd have to locate them in Oklabama or somewhere else where nobody can understand what they are saying.

    I can't believe you missed the clear and obvious parallels that you can draw between Middlesbrough and Hawaii. Peas in a pod.

  9. I get the Boston-Liverpool comment on a couple of levels. Both have crazy sports fans, historic stadiums with storied franchises that up until a few years ago hadn't been able to return to there glory days. The accent thing Im not so sure but the Boston accent still exists. One real reason they compare is the attitude…Liverpool fans are extremely proud of “their” team and proud to be from Liverpool, Boston is exactly the same way. The attitude is a pretty close match.

    Another reason they get compared is because Boston 20 years ago is like Liverpool. It was more run down, blue collar city with the areas surrounding boston being a little rough.

    Today, we have won a few more championships, and have gone crazy liberal so the comparison today may not be so accurate but I understand why its made.

  10. I think Omaha, Nebraska would make a good Stoke, based on your criteria. Just as Nebraska is a fly-over state, Stoke is a team most others fly over.

    Unfortunately the only comparison I knew before even reading the article involved dear old Newcastle and the Cubbies.

  11. I guess Americans really eat this kind of stuff up…

    I'm glad other people besides TheGaffer write on this site.. because this is indicative of the crap that spews from his fingers

  12. Most of these seemed like a very loose like-for-like comparison, but I actually saw a lot of logic to the Pompey in San Diego idea.

  13. Pompey is not San Diego. Now, I've never been to either. But from what I hear Pompey is crap, and San Diego is beautiful.

    Pompey is more like Norfolk, VA. Big, BIG naval city that is not aesthetically pleasing. So there IS a southeastern city!

    I love the Blackburn/Manchester NH parallel. Although any old, decrepit factory town in the NE would work (Lowell, Springfield, Concord, Hartford, etc etc)

    And the Wigan–Baltimore parallel is off because Wigan doesn't seem to care about their club. Baltimore is HUGE on their sports, particularly football. You always know when the Ravens are playing here.

    Otherwise cool stuff as always, Gaffer.

  14. Chelsea – would be in the Chelsea section of NYC with Fulham just south in Tribeca
    Le Arse wouldn't really fit in Brooklyn. More of an Upper West Side team with Spuds upper East side. Brooklyn would be home to West Ham and Millwall and Charlton. With West Ham in Red Hook, by the docks. Millwall in Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst and Charlton in Williamsburg.

    Queens would be home to QPR Dag & Red and the O's

    The Bronx would be home to Barnet and Brentford.

    Crystal Palace would be in Baltimore since they already are there….

    and that's London, and a reminder they parts out side of the east end are still not Called cockney.

  15. I'm going to have to agree with the other commenters here — I don't think you've taken into account the rich regional variation available in the U.S. For instance, crime-ridden Baltimore is far more suitable match for Everton or Liverpool.

    The reason there are no MLS teams southeast of DC is that there is no land, other than Norfolk, southeast of DC. FC Bahama Mama, anyone?

  16. I would have kept liverpool in boston, but put man united in new york to continue the rivalry of these teams. Man city in new york as well would have made a great “yankees – mets” dynamic. It would even have blackburn up the road!

    While I admire what you were trying to do with making New York into London, to have LA have a deep rivalry with boston is more than a stretch.

  17. Liverpool = Bronx

    Defo don't match up with Boston, other than the port town part. Spurs/Yankees is a big mismatch.

    Liverpool have the most cups and the Yankees have the most titles.

  18. Liverpool = Buffalo. If those fans are as bad as you says–watch HBO Real Sports special on the Bills fans. There may be worse…but not many. Western NY home of Kodak and Xerox, run down, outdated.

  19. Hey
    I am from liverpool and i would never stoop to assume that all americans are as thick as pig sh*&. but obviously you are fascist and ignorant if you would like to meet some of the friendliest and most decent neighbourly and moral people on the planet visit my home town before you needlesly pull apart its residents!!!!!!
    we have two of the biggest universities in the country and I believe that crack cocaine was invented in your universities along with LSD, PCP and too many others to mention

  20. Wow,which boston is that? I assure you when americans think of boston residents, they think of idiots with obnoxiously sport-centric civic pride. that and racism.

    you must only be thinking of harvard and MIT or you may identify with Good Will Hunting and his plight with “wealthy, elitist, snobs.”

  21. To be fair, Spurs are the best team in the EPL… is you used idiotic power rankings.

    If run of form was used, You could certaily say, arsenal was the best team last year.

  22. Sorry, but you started off all wrong. Arsenal supporters are a more culturally diverse, sophisticated breed who appreciate their football played with style, pace, and panache, and because they are in North London, a vibrant part of the metropolis that includes up-and-coming urban areas alongside upscale shops and dining, and a vibrant nightlight/music scene…the only choice is San Francisco!

  23. Nice read. It's always a zero-sum game when trying to find the right fit, but you made some great comparisons.

    ESPN writer Bill Simmons wrote an article awhile back about choosing an EPL team to support and he compared many of the teams to cities and sports teams. Interestingly, he compared Liverpool to Boston as well:

    “On paper, this seemed like the most appealing team — a perennial contender with a ton of history, great fans, snazzy uniforms, the best player in the league (midfielder Steven Gerrard, described by multiple readers as the “Big Papi of the EPL”) and even their own show on channel 613 (“Liverpool Classics”), as well as an English city that everyone compares to Boston (port city, tons of Irish immigrants and blue-collar people, rivalry with London that mirrors Boston/New York, sports means a little TOO much, etc.). Reading the e-mails about Liverpool almost made me feel like I was reading about a Boston team, actually — and that's even before finding out that Bob Kraft tried to buy an ownership stake last year. I liked them the most out of anyone.

    (Note: Continuing with the Red Sox parallel, they staged the most famous comeback in recent soccer history last year, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit in the second half to win the Champions League. It's hard to say whether this was more or less incredible than the Red Sox rallying back from three games to zero against the Yankees. And if you thought this was a thinly-veiled excuse to mention the 2004 ALCS again, well, you know me too well.)”


  24. Amazing. If the EPL was 'American' there doesn't end up being a team placed in Canada, something mirrored in ALL sports in the states, MLB, MLS, NHL, NBA, NFL (Bills in Toronto).

    If this placement was done in accordance with actual attributes, rather than lip-service to certain cities, and keeping other teams together just for 'contextual proximity', Newcastle, the coldest place in England, ends up in 'stereotypically' cold Canada.

  25. Well, no. Form = results = points, this has nothing to do with rankings, its a simple points system. Arsenal didnt have the most points, so they werent the best team.

    Anyways, you missed my point completely. Over the past 3 weeks or so, Spurs have had the best run of any team in the league – unbeaten in 6 matches, including TWO wins over Liverpool and managing to bang in 4 goals against Arsenal.

  26. I think liverpool as philly and manchester united as pittsburgh.


    United as Seattle?

    Seattle is rainy and has a strong music scene, much like manchester.

  27. Make that 1-1/2 wins. That Carling Cup game was against a rehabbing Torres and a bunch of clowns, I was not impressed with that win. Also, by your theory of form, Liverpool dominated the Premier League game, just hit the post/crossbar too many times and could not put them away. They were the better team that day, or any day for that matter (unless the reserves are out there.)

  28. Fuck Boston. You are a bunch of fucking retahded dipshit assholes. You all suck and can go to hell you fucking faggot ass retahds.

  29. Personally I appreciate the call-out to the northwest but I've been to Manchester and I live just outside of Seattle. From downtwon Seattle you can View snow-capped mountains across the Pugent Sound to the west, Mount Ranier to the South, and the Cascades to the east. Not to mention more rivers, forests, and lakes than you can count and it hardly ever rains in the summer. Manchester…not quite so much maybe, but United have 17 titles, and Seattle…well never mind! Seattle sports right now is comparable to the Championship at best.

  30. Personally I appreciate the call-out to the northwest but I've been to Manchester and I live just outside of Seattle. From downtwon Seattle you can View snow-capped mountains across the Pugent Sound to the west, Mount Ranier to the South, and the Cascades to the east. Not to mention more rivers, forests, and lakes than you can count and it hardly ever rains in the summer. Manchester…not quite so much maybe, but United have 17 titles, and Seattle…well never mind! Seattle sports right now is comparable to the Championship at best.

  31. I'd put Liverpool in another city associated with passionate fans and the color red: St. Louis. It's a major city in the history of American soccer and known for its diehard fans. The Cards have won the National League more than any other team; LFC has the most trophies in England. Carlsberg – Budweiser.

  32. upper west side team? in chelsea? upper east side? sorry i mean manhattan is tiny. there's no way it could fit 3 stadia. i'd say arsenal and brooklyn is a good fit. and if you put spurs in staten island you have the proximity thing again too.

  33. I agree with the Portsmouth -> Norfolk, VA idea. Portsmouth and San Diego? Those two cities couldn't be any further apart if you tried.

  34. What's funny is that they built the 'New York' stadium in New Jersey… and NYC has a huge population of expats Europeans, south/ central American etc footie fans to support 3 MLS teams, but they keep the Red Bull in Jersey to draw soccer moms.

    I always thought that the Maspath US Soccer stadium was a joke in Queens/Brooklyn. and that a place like Red Hook would be a great place for a MLS team. But I hear they may start one on Randell's Island. Its a pity really.

  35. United would be more like…..hmmmm…..I don't know…Boston-size city….recovered industrial city….unique accents. You wanna say Boston…as much as I hate that idea…or perhaps Pittsburgh (although the Sheffield clubs would go there).

    Putting Everton and Liverpool in Boston…I think those clubs are more suited to Philly. Angst-laden, blue collar, in-the-nick-out-of-the-nick kinda fans.

    The Pompey are a port city..a Navy city…San Diego isn't a bad spot…neither is Virginia or Tampa or Miami.

    Hull are Baltimore…port city in the middle of nothing really.

    Man City are the Mets or the Islanders…out on Long Island.

    I'd put Chelsea in LA…they're like the Dodgers and Spurs in the Bronx….maybe….West Ham the Cockney equivalent…the hardcore Irish and Italian New Yorkers with heavy borough accents…so Queens or Brooklyn.

    Fulham…there's really no place for them in NY….I would say they would be a NJ team…like the Devils…with next to no following.

  36. this is absolute crap you have no idea what the f uck your talking about you have 4 teams in new york and 2 in boston complete shite

  37. A lot of differing opinions on where Liverpool should be. I gotta go with Live4City on this though. Knowledgable fans. Proud winning tradition (important to make that distinction because some of the other American cities can’t match the Cards history). Red. The Missouri, the Mississippi and the Mersey. And yes, there is a St. Louis accent, granted much easier to follow than a scouser.

  38. What about San Francisco or Oakland? Two huges spots that have a bunch of teams that this guy forgot to mention… LETS GET SOME LOVE FOR THE WEST COAST! I’m thinking maybe Arsenal in SF and West Ham should be in Oakland because of diversity in the area.

  39. umm wigan isnt anywhere near the coast, its inland, the wigan peir was a nightclub famous for its Northern Soul nights, id say that wigan would be more fitting with detroit due to the Motown link.

  40. Are we comparing the cities themselves, the stadiums, or the teams that reside there? The best comparison, IMHO, would use all three (because who can think of sports and the Bronx and not think titles?), but it doesn’t appear that you took the personalities of the US franchises into play during this comparison.

    If you do use this logic, Spurs easily belong in Brooklyn, where the Dodgers once toiled in the US’s most major city, and always had a pretty good team, but never quite good enough to take the title (save for one time).

    Of course, since the Brooklyn Dodgers no longer exist, perhaps Philly is a good home for Spurs. Blue collar. In the most populous part of the country, but slightly overlooked as a major area. Despite the Phillies recent success, one of the more tortured sports cities around. Noted for free-agent busts.

  41. seriously who chuffing well cares what city in America would be what team? This article is about a dull as one of my mate Richards’ stories. …and while I’m on the subject it’s ‘The Premier League’ not the arsing EPL there is only one Premier League. If you haven’t got time to say ‘The Premier League’ then you’re too sodding well busy. It’s not soccer it’s football we kick it with our feet what’s your excuse? I hate you all. Yanks. I’ve shit ’em

  42. Poor effort. Does nothing to change the dire perception English people have of American people playing or commenting on football.

  43. I have to agree with a few folks on here who say that the northeast (especially New York and Boston) are over-represented. There are a lot of other cities throughout the US that could serve teams well and wouldn’t normally jump to mind for folks who either don’t know much about the USA or have likely never been here. What about: Denver? St. Louis? Salt Lake City? Dallas? Houston? San Antonio? Atlanta? Phoenix? To put it simply, there are a lot of cities, both large and not-so-large, throughout the USA that get a big boost from a local pro-sports franchise. By the same token, there are some cities (especially New York) where the local market is a bit saturated.

  44. Clearly the “Gaffer” is geographically challenged about the current Premier League since his list is incomplete and inaccurate. No room for the Clarets! With its multicultural upper class heritage, we’d surely be in ‘Frisco. Where are Wolves, and just when did the Wye Aye boys get promoted? Better luck with your accuracy next time…

  45. I just wet myself laughing at the Wigan-Baltimore thing. The joke about Wigan pier is that there isn’t one. Have you never read Orwell?

  46. Liverpool would be a great fit in NOLA. As a matter of fact the Liverpool fans are so smitten with New Orleans that after Hurricane Katrina, they sent two plane loads of supporters to help with the looting.

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