Who Do You Watch Football With?

This may apply more to my American brethren than to my English brethren, but as I sit watching football alone for the thousandth time, I wonder if fellow footie friends like myself experience countless hours solely devoting themselves to their passion in an excited state of oneness.

In this post I’ll attempt to rank (from an “all alone football fan” perspective) who I envy the most when it comes to the football viewer.

#1. The Punters – Are you fortunate enough to live near the club you support? Haven’t missed a match in how many years? How long of a train ride do you have until you reach the grounds? Season ticket holder? I bet you’ve lived near your club your whole life? (Lucky B**tards)

#2. The Pub Goers – See your second family more than your first? I admire these folk. In the States and around the globe, they get up at ridiculous hours of the day (usually between 5 and 6 AM) to drive, walk, or run to the pub in order to drink lager way too early in the day and sit, stand or cram their way into 2 hours of like-minded bliss.

In England, pub going should be a bit easier and I’m sure more familiar as a 12 PM, 3 PM or later kickoff on a Saturday is a more natural time to visit a pub, and in some places it’s the national pastime. Still, for those of us who live in small or medium size cities, the pub atmosphere where football is offered isn’t always available. Cherish these times of overpriced beer and the new guy screaming in your ear. At least you have them.

#3. The Football Family – Is every member of your immediate family a supporter of the same team? As long as you’re not sick of them, what better way to spend a Saturday or Wednesday night than with family taking in a match from your own home? Have a meal, have a laugh, have some drinks and watch a match. A perfect day. They’ll always be there to console you when your club has a bad night. With the football family, remember, misery loves company.

#4. The All Alone Football Fan – Raise your hand, and raise it high. There’s nothing to be ashamed of because I’m with you and I feel your pain. Out of 1,000 hours of football watched, I probably spend 998 of those hours by my lonesome. Who in your family leaves the room as soon as you turn a match on? Being alone does have it’s advantages. You can say, wear, eat, or drink whatever you want. Why fight the crowds, the high ticket prices, the expensive pints, the travel? We’re a comfortable lot who look forward to the weekends where we spend copious amounts of hours indoors, alone and often times talking to ourselves.

Who am I kidding, I envy all of you who have season tickets, pub mates or family members who you can share the exceptional feeling that the beautiful game emits. This game unites people and what better way to feel that unity than to share it with another human being, countryman, wife, brother, flatmate/roommate or stranger?

However you enjoy football, you’re no better or worse than the next guy as long as you’re true to your passions. Although, attending the World Cup final where England beats Brazil 3-2 on a Wayne Rooney header in the 91st would be something special, but I’m just saying,…

73 thoughts on “Who Do You Watch Football With?”

  1. I am 100% alone all the time when I watch football. I’ve tried to get some of my friends to at least watch a match once in awhile so that we could maybe chit chat about it or something, but they never do. I sit in my dark living room just as the sun is coming up eating my toast, watching football all by my lonesome. :)

    1. Agreed, like this Sunday, Old Firm starts at 4 am Pacific time, sometimes I feel like I’m living on the edge of the world out here in Oregon :p

  2. I watch Arsenal matches and other big matches at the Brewhouse in Atlanta with my brewhouse buddies. It’s a 45 min. drive (one way) but the owners (Aussie/Irish) are Arsenal fans and the atmosphere is excellent.

    1. Pretty much my story too, only it’s Denver (meaning it’s 2 hours earlier) and it’s not just Arsenal fans. For big Arsenal games, I drive the 45 minutes to the pub. For most games, I’m alone in my living room. I also have a couple of pals I go to Rapids games with, although since one of them lost his job we didn’t get season tickets this year and will be going game-by-game as his wallet allows.

  3. #4 here. i am the only football fan (meaning soccer here in the US) in my family. occasionally my girlfriend will sit down to a Spurs match with me, but she thinks it’s all silly and asks me questions like “who is your favorite guy?”, etc…

    i have a couple of buddies who are fans and i love the banter and trash talk (arse fans), and occasionally we will meet up to watch a big game. in boston there are a couple pubs (phoenix landing in central sq) that show epl/champions/europa/FA cup matches, and i LOVE that atmosphere. those are few and far between so i usually just hope that fsc or setanta will be covering the game and catch it at home alone…alas

    1. Another Spurs fan in Boston? Maybe we’re not as rare as I thought.

      I haven’t gone down to phoenix landing yet for a match, as there’s a few of us in my circle of friends who try to edge out time to watch together. I imagine PL will be quite awesome once the World Cup rolls around.

  4. I watch with my husband. Sometimes, if Liverpool isn’t on Fox Soccer Channel or ESPN, then we go to a little Liverpool loving pub that opens super early (6am) for the matches.

  5. I am typically in the alone-in-the-dark contingent too, but in a World Cup year such as this, there is quite a bit more interest from casual fans (yes, even Americans) so I expect to have some company for the US matches and the quarters/semis/finals (likely not to include the US, of course).

    Actually the more I think about it, I prefer to be on my lonesome for EPL matches. It’s really one of the few times all week when my attention can be focused without distraction or interruption.

    1. Thanks for the feedback,

      Great points. I’m unsure if there’s an English supporting contingent where I live in Lexington, but I would love it if there was a big screen city center type thing where US and England fans gathered to watch the June 12th match. Some kind of downtown, outside situation. What an atmosphere that would be, and local authorities wouldn’t have to worry about the aggro.

      Love the Radiohead avatar!

  6. Sounds like my situation is similar to many others. I get up at 745am on Saturday watch football until about 5pm alllllllll alone. do it all over again on Sunday. Wife thinks it’s boring but my dog will oblige me. Occasionaly meet up with friends for big matches or USNMT matches. Wouldn’t give it up for anything!!!

  7. All Alone at home but at work i watch with my coworkers who are into the whole NFL thing, they know am a Chelsea fan, i tried educating them on the rules of soccer.

  8. I actually have a few friends who like soccer, but no one willing to wake up and 7:30 to watch a game, so i’m more or less in the all alone category. My gf doesn’t think I’m crazy, so that’s a plus, but most of my poker buddies think I’m “gay”, which of course is their synonym for soccer

    1. I am relegated to watching alone, however my oldest son (who is two) does seem to have an interest in football and particularly Chelsea. He also is pretty good at dribbling and shooting into his Nerf net, so I hope my addiction to the beautiful game will foster something in him too. I am trying with my youngest son, but he just wants to eat the remote!

      Anyone ever watch the big games in the Baltimore area? If so, I would love to meet up regularly for some adult conversation and feedback!

      1. I watch watch my 3 year old son who also loves to play. We will sing and celebrate together. He loves taking his shirt off after he scores yelling Rooney, Rooney, Rooney.

  9. My tradition going on six months now is waking up early on Saturday mornings, putting on my claret and blue, making coffee and watching Burnley lose.

  10. Don’t get me started. Wayne Rooney could march through my town unnoticed. Hell, he could march through the next town and the next and…..

    So, who do I watch with? See the big kink to the right? While she doesn’t argue with me, the conversation tends to be a little one sided. She takes up half the couch, eats half my food and would drink all my beer if I let her.

    At least my wife doesn’t leave the room. I do (and my shadow). We go off to the den and the big screen. I think my wife understands, but who knows what she tells her friends.

    It’s lonely out here, Jesse.

    1. Thanks for the feedback,

      What could be better than man’s best friend? Hell, my brother named his beautiful lab “Rooney” out of respect. If he didn’t have 5 kids, I’m sure he’d be more available for matches.

      Until they turn 18 and move out, the ovalball’s and Jesse’s of the world will remain lonely.

  11. I have a few friends who if managed to drag into supporting spurs with me. And a couple iv managed to find along the way. Im always the one that tries to organize everyone meeting up but normally everyone has other plans. So im alone on the couch with my girlfriends mean cat.
    But the bars for US games should get pretty good turnouts!

  12. I’m up at 7:00 to shower and make myself a cuppa before the 7:45 match. My 17 and 15 year old join me 5 minutes prior to kick off. We usually catch 3 or matches each Saturday and 1 on Sunday. The wife is ok with it, more or less. And we’re steadily converting all the lads mates as well. It can be a hard sell, but a with a rewarding result.

  13. I’m up at 7:00 to shower and make myself a cuppa before the 7:45 match. My 17 and 15 year old join me 5 minutes prior to kick off. We usually catch 3 or 4 matches each Saturday and 1 on Sunday. The wife is ok with it, more or less. And we’re steadily converting all the lads mates as well. It can be a hard sell, but a with a rewarding result.

  14. I’m up at 7:00 to shower and make myself a cuppa before the 7:45 match. My 17 and 15 year old join me 5 minutes prior to kick off. We usually catch 3 or 4 matches each Saturday and 1 on Sunday. The wife is ok with it, more or less. And we’re steadily converting all sons friends as well. It can be a hard sell, but a with a rewarding result.

      1. I commend your commitment, the only game I ever got up that early for was the England vs Brazil game in the South Korea World Cup. I was at my local pub for 7am and it was packed. It did feel strange being drunk and heart-broken by 11am though.

  15. NO BETTER PLACE TO WATCH A MATCH THAN NEVADA SMITH’S IN NYC. Philly native who went to school in northern jersey. It’s the next best thing to taking the game in from a seat in the emirates. However, while at home I go to the Dark House in philly, or generally, roll out of bed and watch it at home with my lovely gf (we both played college soccer) who now loves arsenal and vermaellen’s gritty defensive displays.

    1. Mike, Thanks for the feedback.

      Even though I live in Kentucky, I got the opportunity to check out Nevada Smith’s while on vacation in NYC a few years back in ’06, a month or two before the WC.

      Luckily there happened to be an England friendly that day so of course we planned our whole day’s excursion around the match.

      What I remember most besides the cold pints, was there were football fans from all different backgrounds, countries, etc., watching different matches at the same time.

      You could hear a roar when Joe Cole took a throw in, look over and see these Argentina fans going nuts because of a goal in their match. It was fantastic stuff.

  16. Luckily, here in Philadelphia there are a handful of pubs that show matches (Fado and the Dark Horse being two of them), so I am fortunate to have options. That being said, because of the early hour, I often watch at home on TV or via the website formerly known as Setanta-i. One advantage if I do watch at home (besides being guaranteed a seat), I usually have my laptop close by, and I have a few friends outside of Philadelphia on both Facebook and Google talk that I can banter back and forth with in real time. My fiance also watches on occasion, but only if I promise to buy the beer and breakfast.

  17. I watch most of the matches primarily at home and recorded on DVR. I have been to a few pubs around town to watch the occasional match, but being the only Pompey for as far as the eye can see makes that a pretty lonely experience. The Brewhouse is on the other side of town from me, so I don’t get there very often. I did enjoy watching USMNT matches during the Confederations Cup there last summer, especially beating Spain when at least half the pub were supporting Spain. I won’t get there very often for this summer’s WC as my daughter is due to be born on June 5th. I think I’ll be introducing her to the beautiful game from the comfort of our living room couch.

  18. If I can’t watch in person (mostly Chicago Fire & US Soccer but I have been to Craven Cottage a couple of times), I prefer to watch at home. The closest pub the shows soccer or rugby is 30 minutes away, which is a hassle to me cause I have better things to do. I also, in general, find drunken soccer/rugby fans very annoying. I like to study the game as I watch, something I can’t do in a pub.

    I’m not upset that I can only watch at home…quite the opposite, I love that I don’t have to waste gas money driving to a pub 30 minutes away when I got DirecTV and so many viewing options from home.

    1. Good point about being distracted in a pub. The last time I made it to a pub was the France/Ireland WC playoff 1st leg. Of course it was an Irish pub, but I did find myself constantly distracted from the game due to patrons coming in/out, ordering more drinks, etc.

      The noise usually makes the commentary inaudible, which I hate. I usually enjoy listening to the commentators cause they’ll often point something out to me that I’ve missed.

      You’re right though, anyone who’s had too much to drink can be quite the nuisance.

  19. It;s tough here. I live in State College PA, a shell of a town that houses Penn State University. If I mention football to anyone, they immediately think of the throwball variety. I’ve found a few people that watch, but we tend to watch on our own and then converse during pick-up games.
    Strangely, I met a lad from Liverpool, but he doesn’t follow football!

  20. I’m yet another member of the “couch club”, but I’ve been trying to organize a local movement to identify a local establishment as “the soccer bar”. You see, I live in Huntsville, AL and if it’s not college football, it doesn’t exist. I write a Huntsville soccer blog and have even tried to drum up support for a soccer bar on the blog (http://pwt-blog.blogspot.com/2010/01/bar-of-dreams-isnt-it-time-huntsville.html). But when I’ve spoken to the managers of the bars/restaurants that I’ve visited, they looked at me as if I’m speaking a foreign language. They don’t seem to understand that this is a way to get clients into their bar during what is normally not high volume times (weekend mornings). I think it’s going to be an uphill battle for us to get off our couches and onto a bar stool.

    Count yourself lucky if you have multiple places to choose from for your soccer viewing pleasure!

    In the meantime, I’m trying to groom my daughter into becoming a soccer fan. She’s only two, but she already watches with wonder until her 15-second attention span has her running off to play, but I can see the spark in her eyes during those 15 seconds.

    1. Thanks for the feedback,

      I feel your pain. It’s definitely a frustrating situation for you so here’ s hoping the article can gather some steam in your local area. Don’t give up though. Use the internet to your advantage. Try to find like minded soccer fans in your area by using twitter, FB and other soccer blogs.

      Isn’t there a college in Huntsville? Surely there are real football supporters that have the same dilema as you. Let the bar and restaurant owners know you’ll show up with 25 hungry and thirsty friends, that’ll get their attention regardless of the time of day.

      Good luck

  21. The whole family watches at my house, which is always entertaining because no one seems to support the same team. My brother’s a Newcastle United fan, my dad likes Everton and I support Chelsea…while my wife really doesn’t have a team in the EPL. (She’s French and is a lifelong Marseille fan) So the weekends are always interesting…

  22. I’m lucky to have at least 4 pubs within walking distance to watch the matches. I find it much more enjoyable watching the matches with others. I have to pick my battles because the wife can get a little upset if I come home in the early afternoon already pissed. With Spurs playing at 8:00, the League Cup Final at10:00 and the Ireland-England rugby match at 11:00, Sunday will be one of those days.

  23. I’ve recently become a “home aloner” since moving to an area of North Carolina. I don’t know anyone in the immediate area that enjoys the game, though I did drive an hour to watch Arsenal/Liverpool at a pub and was surprised at how many people were there for the match.

    I’d spent the last decade in south Florida, where I was definitely a pub goer. For the most part I was making a 30 minute drive south early in the AM. Unfortunately for me I moved out of town shortly after an English pub changed ownership and became a dedicated football pub. The place is great and the owners love catering to the mix of ex pats and American fans. I’m lucky enough to visit often and always make it a staple of my trip. Planning on being there for the first few days of the World Cup because the atmosphere is fantastic.

  24. Hang in there brother, I’ll be there for you. Me and my faithful laborador Rooney will watch with you. Maybe one day with your earnings we can open a pub here in the LEX! How about some grub at my place tonight?

  25. I’m #2. My friends and I get up around 8am on Saturdays and drive about 20mins to New Haven to go to Anna Liffey’s Irish Pub which is mostly populated my ManU and ‘iverpool fans to watch the Chels. There is a train station near the pub but Metro North bearly runs trains to that station during the week let alone the weekend. Sunday matchs I usually just stay home and watch the game by myself cuz most of my friends aren’t around then either back up at College or at church. When there is a weekday match sometimes I will go into work early and skip lunch so I can leave early and go to the pub.

    Up the Chels! KTBFFH

  26. When I was in Iraq, people were only interested in American football. The only ones on base interested in watching football were myself (Chelsea supporter), my fellow American, and a group of these Ugandan contractors (some of these Ugandans knew so much about football it was crazy). I believe I was the only Chelsea supporter out of everyone while most people supported the other Big 3. The Ugandans would light-heartedly laugh at me or give me a look of disgust for supporting Chelsea (probably cuz we always make headlines for reasons other than what happens on the pitch). Weekend games were shown in the evenings in Iraq, so oftentimes my friend and I would go to the Ugandans’ tent (a large tent that smelled like feet!) It was always this one guy whose TV was the only TV set able to pick up the Arabic channel that broadcasted these football games. Our hope in picking up any tolerable picture quality rested on a single wire that extended through the outside of the tent. Sometimes we couldn’t even determine which person was on which team, or even where the ball was. But we’d get excited anyways just listening to the Arabic-speaking commentator speak with so much excitement (I’d rather listen to that than some of our American commentators). So my friend and I would surround a 20″ TV with a bunch of sweaty Ugandans in a tent, watching a game with snowy picture quality and Arabic-speaking commentators (only thing you could understand was a player’s name or Allah something whenever a goal was scored). I’ll never forget how animated some of the Ugandans got during games, whether they’d be cursing or cheering in their native tongue. And more importantly, I’ll never forget the sense of camaraderie I had with these people despite the vast cultural differences. Watching football was our outlet, our way of escaping the stress, loneliness, and blandness that consumed our daily lives in the desert… That was how I watched football for most of the year.

    I now watch football by myself in the room that I rent. Although I never wanna go back to Iraq, there are times when I do wish I could go back to that smelly tent to enjoy some football in an international atmosphere.

    Great website, keep it up, and keep it true…

    1. PeteROCK,

      Thanks for the feedback and great story.

      I’ve always said that football has the power to unite people more than any other sport. It’s incredible that even though you were faced with some tough circumstances, the football supporters were able to find each other and share something special that’s obiviously created some lasting memories.

      I’ve played football before with Mexicans, Italians and even Australians, and never would have met these people if it wasn’t for our mutual love of the beautiful game.

  27. I’ll bite. I’m #1, I guess you will not get many of those on here.

    Are you fortunate enough to live near the club you support?

    I lived a ten minute walk from the Victoria Ground and now live a twenty five minute walk from the Britannia Stadium. I can see the ground from my bedroom window. Rory Delap could get the ball in my front garden with one of his long throws I think.

    Haven’t missed a match in how many years?

    Home matches I’ve had a season ticket since 1997, away games are less frequent than I used to but I’ve been to over 60 of the English football league grounds all following Stoke away. I just need Chelsea and West Ham to have been to each EPL ground.

    How long of a train ride do you have until you reach the grounds?

    Stoke I can walk to. I terms of being located in the UK were slap bangf in the centre so at most a four hour journey, Newcastel Sunderland and Southampto, Portsmouth are the extremes. Anything Birmingham or Manchester way takes less than an hour by train, London about two and a half hours.

    I struggle to think what I’d do without it but I guess I’d waste more money drinking on a Saturday than watching Stoke.

    1. Thanks for the feedback,

      “Stoke I can walk to” – is exactly the kind of fan I was looking for. I can now officially say I think we’ve found each one of the different football-viewing fans I mentioned in the article.

      Although I don’t support Stoke, I’m definitely in envy of your geographical situation.

  28. Im an all aloner and I think its pretty hilarious when my older sister is over and leaves when I watch football. However, this being a world cup year, a bunch of my friends are pretty excited so i’ll probably be going to the pub with them.

  29. it’s tuff out here in l.a. to get up at 4 in the morning. I have to catch the early games alone at home, far too early to be social. I live near three great pubs for catching games, the King’s Head, the Britannia, and the Cock n Bull.

  30. I usually watch games alone in the friendly confines of my home, but if I go out to the pub, The Globe is the best place to watch games in Chicago hands down. Brought my girlfriends Gooner dad there for the Chelsea v Arsenal game back in November, the game was at 9 am got there at 7:30 It was already packed with Liverpool and Everton supporters for their 6 am game. They have well over a hundred beers on tap and in bottle form, a full menu including a fantastic breakfast menu and plenty of plasmas. Great place to catch games, I’ll be there for the U.S v England game in June for sure.

    1. Up:

      I live in the north Suburban area and have been at the Globe. Would love to get a regular group together. Let me know on my forum page when we can get people from this site at the Globe some Saturday morning.

      Hey, we can do a podcast from it!

  31. I sadly watch alone in San Diego, CA. There are a couple places to go but most charge $5 and pints can range from 5-6bucks. So, get up make some coffee and watch Liverpool miss their chances. I than take a breather from soccer and start watching Mexican League Futbol in the afternoon. Couch Club!

  32. I’ve got a bit of two worlds; at home on the week-ends, my daughter and I watch our club, Arsenal. And in addition, I’ll watch a 2nd match on either Saturday or Sunday; always live. My other football viewing is done during week-day matches; I generally follow the match on my office computer, BBC Football’s updated text updates is my favorite. When the 2nd half begins, I drive to my community pub, The King’s Head in Santa Monica, and have my 2 pints during the second half. One fortunate aspect of living in the Pacific Time Zone is that week-day matches kick-off at our lunch hours (11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.), so what better way to spend a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday lunch than with a pint, UEFA or the Premier League!!

  33. same as most Americans I am alone watching football about 99% of the time. If Arsenal is not on tv, I listen online (Arsenal TV Online is a life saver!!)

    I do have a friend at work who really follows, and is a Man U fan…we are also breaking in a new Chelsea fan. Good stuff!

  34. great article Jesse. i consider myself another #4. i’d say i spend 90% of my soccer watching on my own. i did however, get a small group of people to watch USMNT team games during the hex qualifying, those were some the most memorable bonding times i can remember :) right now i’d say i just have one friend who i can converse about soccer with face to face that actually knows wat hes talking about and i’ve started to convert my roomate to a fan as well, hes always asking me questions about the US national team and started watching games and fox soccer report with me.

    reading all the previous posts, i must say that i’m glad i’m not alone in being in the all-alone club and that there r others just like me :), it makes me want to go out and find some local pubs where i can meet more of u guys. anybody know of any soccer pubs in the Orange County area?

  35. Excellent topic Jesse.

    In answer to your question, I typically spend my time watching Premier League games alone. I prefer watching them on my laptop, so I can move from room to room as I hang out with my kids. Or, when my wife takes the kids out of the house on a Saturday morning, I often sit in my living room and watch the match in HD on a TV and have the laptop with me as I take notes on the game (for future story ideas later to appear on EPL Talk).

    I often watch the games on delay and try to catch up so I can watch the final Premier League game of the day (12:30pm-2:30pm ET) live.

    The nearest pub to me that shows games is approximately 60 minutes away, so I often find it hard to go see a match especially when I need to help out around the house and when I prefer hanging out with my kids.

    I’ve watched some matches with friends who have come over on a Saturday morning, but it’s tough because we typically spend a lot of time chatting and catching up, and the game then becomes secondary. Friendships are important, but they usually don’t mix too well with Saturday morning games.

    The Gaffer

  36. Good Article Jesse!!

    As a resident of a small west coast town, my couch by myself is the only viewing option. This far from England one has to be dedicated, the early games start at 4:30am.

  37. thanks jesse for this look into american football culture love it btw in denver i go to fados to watch Manchester United yaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

  38. Very lucky. I watch all games with my son, except the 4:30 AM EPL games….those I watch alone.
    Also we are very lucky to watch the home games with close to 40,000 of our best friends and the stadium is close enough that I could walk home ( if need be ) in an hour.

  39. living in nebraska, anything that is not husker “football” is considered a girl’s game. so, needless to say, i watch alone. i try to get the wife to watch, but she either doesn’t want to or just falls asleep on the couch. my brother has come over while i am watching midweek matches and tries to watch, but usually just ends up texting friends. he is a stl rams fan so what does he know anyways? lol.

    as far as i know, there are no pubs in the area that show the matches, and if there were, some redneck would moan for them to change it to the nfl channel or nascar or something.

    i work strange hours (i get up at 1am cst) so i am basically on english time anyways so this obsession works well for me!!

    sometimes i wish i had some friends to watch with, but overall i think i am happy to watch alone so i can give my undivided attention to the game. i also drink alot and yell at the tele so it is probly a good think i watch alone! lol.

    1. I’m really impressed that you are still a fan, despite this weird American response to this game. It’s truly a cultural thing, isn’t it?
      Even in a city as big as the one I live in, Los Angeles, you will come across the traditional smirk when you tell the folks that REAL football is your game.
      I can’t wait for the World Cup this coming June; while my city gets pumped up over the Lakers or Dodgers, I’ll be in the pub shouting with fellow football fans!
      Hang in there, REAL football ain’t never going away!

  40. get your ass, brazil losing to england HA, youll be lucky to make it out the 1st knockout round; miss informed, overconfident, english fans, you have a 0% CHANCE OF MAKING IT INTO THE FINAL 8

  41. I have the full DirecTV package that allows me to watch at home, but I prefer to watch the Arsenal matches in the company of all the loyal Bay Area Gooners at Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub in San Francisco! Top class, the lot of them!

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