Top 10 Things Every Premier League TV Viewer Must Have

Having followed the top flight of English league soccer for 32 years and having spent 26 of those years in the United States scrambling to find the best and most reliable sources of soccer news and information, I have the experience necessary to share with you what every supporter of a Premier League club should have to survive a season and enjoy it in style.

Whether you’re a veteran soccer fan or a newbie, you’ll find several helpful tips for you in this article. Consider it your Swiss Army knife guide to following the Premier League.

Here are my top 10 picks for what every supporter should have:

  1. If you live in the United States, you need to subscribe to Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, ESPN2 and GolTV. Some of you may argue that GolTV isn’t as necessary, but the channel does show some Europa League games and offers a lot of La Liga and Bundesliga games if you ever feel burned out from watching too much Premier League soccer. And be sure to follow EPL Talk’s Premier League TV Schedule to stay up-to-date on which Premier League teams are going to be on television in the States.
  2. HD television and HD service from your TV provider. The beautiful game was meant to be enjoyed in HD. And now that more Premier League games are being shown in HD than ever before, it’s important you get the equipment necessary as well as check to see if the TV networks you need (see above) are available in HD on your provider. As of press time, DISH Network is the only one showing Fox Soccer Channel in HD in the United States. No TV providers are yet broadcasting Fox Soccer Plus in HD (SD only, for now). And GolTV may be in HD later this year.
  3. A DVR (digital video recorder). This is an absolute must-have for any soccer fan. There are so many games on each week featuring Premier League teams that you have to tape many of them for viewing at a later date.
  4. Subscribe to, if you’re in the States. While the relaunched broadband site experienced a few growing pains since it’s relaunch last week, the sheer volume of live Premier League games it features makes it a must-have. This coming Saturday alone, it has four live games being featured at 10am ET. If you want to see as much Premier League as possible, you need
  5. Get ESPN3. ESPN360, which will be renamed ESPN3 in April, is another must-have specifically because of the broadband matches it’ll show such as the Carling Cup, summer friendly tournaments and World Cup. is a free service but it’s available through most ISPs in the United States. Visit to see if you have it.
  6. Get an iPhone or Android phone. You’re not always going to be near a computer or television set to stay on top of the news about your favorite Premier League team, so be sure to have a mobile phone such as the Apple iPhone or any of the Android phones which will give you the edge when you’re trying to stay on top of things. For the Apple iPhone, must-have apps include iCarRadio Lite (for live radio broadcasts of Premier League matches from the BBC), EPL Live! or iFooty World (for up-to-the minute latest scores), ESPN 2010 World Cup (for everything World Cup related) and a Twitter app such as Twitterrific for the latest EPL news and discussion. Of course, there’s also the free EPL Talk iPhone app which features blog posts, comments, podcast episodes and more.
  7. Subscribe to podcasts via iTunes. Be sure to subscribe to the best Premier League-related podcasts such as The Guardian’s Football Weekly, the EPL Talk Podcast, TheGame Podcast, BBC’s World Football Phone-In Show, the official Barclays Premier League Podcast and more than 50 others.
  8. Buy Soccernomics, the book. I’m re-reading Soccernomics for the second time and it is without a doubt one of the best soccer books I’ve ever read. The reason why I feel it should be part of your survival kit is because the way it discusses globalization and the impact that has had on soccer and primarily the Premier League. It’s a fascinating read and it really feels as if it was written for the Internet age in terms of how it combines amazing facts with the way it makes you see soccer in a whole new way.
  9. Sign up for Twitter. No, Twitter isn’t just for kids. And no, Twitter isn’t just for telling your friends what you’re eating for dinner. For soccerholics such as us, it’s an incredibly useful tool to find out late breaking news and to participate in an underground soccer culture that spans the globe (at least it feels like we’re in the underground at times in the States). After you’ve signed up for Twitter, be sure to follow EPL Talk.
  10. Bookmark 101 Great Goals. While there have been significant advances in technology and the quantity of games available on television and the Internet, there remains one last bastion where the Premier League and its partners don’t serve us well and that’s in the form of goal highlights. Yes, there is a weekly highlights show from the Premier League and TWI. And yes, there are often nightly news shows that feature highlights. But there isn’t anything legal for immediate on-demand access to goal highlights. Thankfully, is the best alternate source available.


  • Slingbox. With Slingbox, you can watch programming from your television on the Internet or a mobile device. Imagine you’re at work but you want to “tune” into your TV from your work computer and watch a live or pre-recorded Champions League game, you can do this with Slingbox.
  • Audible. A great way to expand your knowledge of the Premier League is by listening to audiobooks of several soccer titles on Audible. Get a free audiobook from Audible today.
  • Fantasy Premier League. To make the season more interesting, I highly recommend that you enroll for free and play the Fantasy Premier League game with hundreds of thousands of soccer fans from around the world. It’s even more fun when you play in a private league such as the EPL Talk Fantasy Premier League, which is in the top 50 of the best leagues in the world.
  • Pub Finder. Last, but by no means least, it’s important to go see a Premier League match on television in a nearby pub every once in a while so you can get a completely different perspective on the beautiful game. Use Setanta US’s handy-dandy pub finder tool which still works.

Other than the list of the best soccer blogs and news sites, what did I miss? What things do you feel should be a part of a survival kit for soccer fans who watch Premier League matches on TV that aren’t listed above? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

79 thoughts on “Top 10 Things Every Premier League TV Viewer Must Have”

    1. TiVo is an absolute must for me because as much as I love watching EPL matches on the weekend I’m not always in the mood to wake up at 4:30 AM to do it. Besides TiVo being all around awesome for non footy related TV viewing I just couldn’t imaging not having one and missing out on my weekend fix.

    1. Was going to post something similar, but was beaten to the punch.

      What does a soccer fan have to have? A TV, FSC or FS+ or Everything else is expensive gravy.

      The article is a bit off on GolTV seeing that it barely would cover any Premier League team.

      1. Meh, that’s incorrect. Fulham plays Juventus tomorrow afternoon on GOLTV, so without it I wouldn’t want to be a Fulham that is unaware of this fact.

        You can obviously pick and choose from these Top 10 things. I never felt the article required me to have all 10, just that these would be some of the things I would need in order to piece together the best coverage.

        I also can’t imagine how much the top 10 would add up to in cost so that only rich people can have them. Honestly, bookmarking a web site, signing up for Twitter, podcasts, and puchasing a book off Amazon would cost a whopping $10…and thats items 7-10. Most people own a cell phone and having ESPN360 is free…so we’re still at about $10 for half this list if the phone doesn’t count.

        So what’s left…a DVR with HD and the couple of channels required to watch soccer? That costs me less than $100/month and it’s mostly a cost I would pay for already.

    1. Masterblaster, if you have any article suggestions for things like this, feel free to post them. It’s not easy coming up with new story ideas, but I can’t remember who it was, but it was one of the EPL Talk readers who suggested this one in the form of what Premier League “vices” soccer fans ingest — which is what led me to writing those article.

      The Gaffer

      1. I just wrote an article trying to compare the sport of water polo to movies. Something along the lines of how you would describe a season for a certain team, where it’s like a COMEDY, HORROR, EPIC, FANTASY, and so on.

        A lot of those themes apply to some of the Premier League teams every year.

  1. Good list … but soccernomics? Please.

    The book should be called “A book about soccer for people who don’t know anything about Soccer”.

      1. Wozza and Fdon, I completely disagree with you on that. I’ve got 30+ years of soccer experience and there is so much revealing information in each chapter that it practically makes my jaw drop. Very enlightening and definitely not a book for those who know nothing about soccer.

        The Gaffer

          1. I’d hope the gaffer is aware that no-one in England would go to a “soccer” match. It’s football. The Spanish even use a phonetic version of the word (fútbol), rather than a genuine spanish one.

            “Gillette Soccer Saturday” is an alliterative conceit for marketing purposes. We all know what it means, but we don’t use the “s” word in conversation. The use of “soccer” in the US is of course just to distinguish it from American Football.

            I must admit though I thought the gaffer was British and would know that.

    1. Soccernomic is a great book and there are tons of people who have followed soccer their whole lives, know a lot about the sport, and still thoroughly enjoyed it and discovered new information about the sport in it.

  2. What the? No mention of 3D HDTV? Kidding, but Panasonic and Samsung are starting to sell them in stores this week I read. Otherwise, you hit the important ones for sure, just some comments on some of your items:

    #1 Regarding non-EPL viewing on GolTV, see if your provider also gives you ESPN Deportes for more La Liga, Bundesliga. There are typically 2 Bundesliga and 3 La Liga games (2 if there is a game on ESPN2) on each week that are not on GolTV. And yes, you will hear “Goooooooool!”

    #2 I have HD service and love it… but not for soccer. If your provider doesn’t offer FSC in HD, then the only EPL (or La Liga) soccer you would be gettting in HD is on ESPN2. Might not be worth the extra $10-15/mo. just for 1 soccer game in HD a week compared with, say, getting extra games on FS+ or for a similar price. However, there is this upcoming tournament called the World Cup and most of those games are on ESPN and ESPN2. Unless you are only interested in USA games (on ABC, which is often provided in HD w/o an HD service plan or you can get just with an antenna), you’ll definitely want to consider HD service for this. Otherwise, you might wait until your provider gets FSC in HD.

    #6 If you can’t afford the pricy service plan of these smart phones, an ipod touch is something to consider so you can do all the things the iphone can do provided you are near a wifi hotspot. (You’ll need a compatible mic headset if you want to make calls with Skype though.)

  3. hey gaffer,
    maybe i missed this on the podcast you guys had with the interview with the guy from, but do you know how long games will be available for viweing on will cl games played today still be up on the site to be viewed this weekend, for example? also, that guy you interviewed defines the word useless. presumably he came on to try to get the word out about a new product and encourage more people to spend their money on it, yet almost every question you asked was met with “i can’t comment on the specifics of that at this time”. he provided absolutely zero insight into the direction fox is looking to go with their soccer coverage. i could tell that you were frustrated interviewing him, though you may not want to say so on this site. to me this is a great example of why i strongly encourage competition espn to compete hard with fox for rights to worldwide football coverage. i have put a lot of money in fox’s pocket over the years, but as soon as there is a viable alternative i will be very happy to stop doing so. i hope someone from fox checks this site to see how little we think of their coverage. as for people out there who are less hardcore of fans, they will definitely not be drawn in by a network as poorly run as fox.

    1. Geraldinho, good questions. I’m not sure how long the matches will be available online, but it’s definitely going to be more than a few days, so you should be able to watch the Champions League games this weekend.

      Good feedback about the interview. Yep, it was pretty frustrating for me because I was giving him the opportunity to express how excited he and Fox is about the relaunched (and much improved), but that didn’t come across during the interview. I think he was a bit guarded in terms of trying not to give out any details he wasn’t allowed to, which held the interview back quite a bit.

      All that being said, Fox has improved greatly over the past 12 months. Their Champions League coverage has been excellent, the @championsonfox Twitter feed has been helpful, is much improved and the launch of Fox Soccer Plus is welcome, as well as the delivery of HD. Still a lot of things have to be worked out and improved, but overall I believe they’re doing a pretty decent job.

      The Gaffer

  4. just briefly looking at the fsctv schedule, apparently I’m able to have my choice of which of the 5 10am games that aren’t being shown on FSC that I can watch? That’s fantastic! Now if they were available ondemand an hour or so after the match and not midnight it would be the best service I’ve ever seen.

    1. Matches that airs live are available OD within two hours. Matches that air live or delayed on FSC are the ones that aren’t up until midnight. I think that is to protect their delayed broadcasts.

  5. my p2p (dot) eu

    Hey – I’m in College and Cox rips me off ok? – Yes I have FSC, but for anything else – and at work for CL :)

    PS – the Palm Pre pwns any Android phone – it’s the iPhone with multitasking and a keyboard!

  6. I’m probably straying away from the “need” category but here’s my additions.

    UEFA On Demand (
    Great for some of those early-round games that you may not get on a TV channel or through (like the Liverpool game on Thursday).

    Hulu for the PL (
    Highlights from games.

    EPL Talk (
    How could you forget this?! :)

    Subscription to a football magazine / supporter magazine
    Nice surprise in the mail.

    EA Sports FIFA / Football Manager Video Game
    For that escape-from-reality need when your team is doing terrible.

    Also, I wonder what the “stranded on a tropical island” item is on the list for most people What one thing listed would you take if you couldn’t have any of the others. For me, I think it would be (with the hope that they continue to improve it).

    1. Gaz, I can’t believe I left out Football Manager and FIFA 10. D’oh! I also like your other suggestions too. All recommended for soccer fans!

      The Gaffer

  7. brilliant article, gaffer. when i moved to the states from england in ’92, i was reliant on a short wave radio and two-week old copies of the guardian weekly to keep up with what was happening with the footy back home. how much has changed since then! now we have access to more games here than they have in england. still have to get back once in a while to see my beloved coventry city.

    i have read soccernomics, but would say the ‘must-read’ book for most fans would be jonathan wilson’s fantastic ‘inverting the pyramid’. currently working my way through another excellent book by another author you guys have featured recently, david goldblatt’s
    ‘the ball is round’.

  8. Gaffer,

    How many people are in your fantasy league. I am ranked 385 and not sure if that is good or bad.


  9. Nice piece Chris. You forgot to mention a sizable bankroll to pay for it all.

    I am without FStv and my honest question to everyone here is if it is worth it given that I have FSC, ESPN, GolTv, an i-phone, a MLS season ticket holder, and a dvr, and will buy the MLS online package(great deal, btw).

      1. Yup. I suggest it. I would pick it over FS+ (non HD).

        Especially if you support a particular EPL team (Everton, right?) and would be upset to miss a game because it’s not showing on FSC.

    1. That’s currently my reading material before bedtime. A good read. Helps me dream about tactical creativity… or maybe creative tactics.

    2. I agree. I wasn’t a fan of Soccernomics, but I loved Inverting the Pyramid. That and The Ball is Round are the two best books I’ve read on the sport.

  10. I don’t know if this has been answered before but today of all days i was wondering why on Tuesdays there are 2 Champions League games on live (without fox soccer plus), Fox Soccer and one on Fox sports. Why don’t any of the Fox Sports channels show the second game on Wednesdays, today you have Man U v AC & Real v Lyon??? It happened yesterday and the other Tuesdays but not on Wednesday!!!

    1. Most likely due to whatever the Fox Sports channels are contracted to show at those times on Wednesdays. And if I’m not mistaken, that Tuesday timeslot is normally filled with a replay of a Premier League game when there are no live Champions League games that week.

      I know my brother who is not a football fan will tell me he occasionally sees a random Arsenal or Man U game on his Chicago-based Fox/Comcast channel and I always have to tell him I saw the live game over the weekend.

    1. Ole, Audible is not a paid advertiser of this site. I have an affiliate relationship with them. But even still, I’m a paying Audible customer and love their product. I wouldn’t mention it unless I completely believed in it. And I don’t appreciate the ‘hack’ remark.

      The Gaffer

      1. paid, affiliate. it is still sketchy even if you personally like the product. it smacks of glenn beck ranting about how we need to go back to the gold standard for the Fed Res and then being a spokesman for a company that sells gold. appreciate it or not i still think it is hackish. everybody is entitled to their own opinions about and standards for objective journalism.

        1. Ole, everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I don’t believe it’s hack-ish. I endorse the product, believe in it, recommend it and think it’ll be worthwhile for other like-minded individuals. Nothing “sketchy” about it.

          Besides, I made it an optional choice.

          The Gaffer

  11. Spot an about GolTV. While they are annoying sometimes, I can’t get enough of the German Bundesliga. On the other hand, however, I can’t bear to watch Spanish football, so it drives me crazy how many more La Liga games than Bundesliga games are televised.

    1. Josh,

      Don’t know your location but it has been posted that Time Warner in New York City will be carrying both FS+ and FSC HD beginning on April 5 per their website. The website also said that both will be part of their sports tier so it doesn’t appear FS+ will be “a la carte” as it currently is with Dish, Direct TV and Verizon FiOS.

      Maybe this will be opening the door for Time Warner customers in other locales soon.

      1. I hope it opens the door–waiting patiently for FSC HD. Earlier this week TW Columbus told us that they will be add FS+ later this month but they have no plans to add FSC HD or FS+ HD.

  12. Couldn’t listen to today’s Man U/ Milan match on iCarRadio lite today due to rights restrictions. Is that normal for the EPL matches too?

    1. Jason, it’s spotty. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

      You can also try TalkSPORT on the same app, as well as several of the local BBC stations such as BBC London, etc.

      The Gaffer

  13. Gaffer,
    I will purchase this Soccernomics book in the next hour on Your recommendation. I want to thank You for Your leadership during the end of February when I was in a panic over the end of Setanta and the possibility of only 3 premiership games a week. You were the only place to get any info into what would happen, and it is a happy ending as I have Direct t.v.That being said the next time You talk to anyone from either fox soccer channel or Plus, Please ask them why do they give Premiership scores during the broadcast. Last night during the Portsmouth vs Birmingham game fox soccer plus gave the final score of the game on the bottom of screen 10 minutes into the game and ruined it. Am I the only one who dvr’s all 10 games and watches them throughout the week? We just need a LITTLE competence on their part.Thank’s again for all your hard work, as Dean Sturidge would say You are in a “RICH VEIN OF FORM”

    1. J McP, thanks for your positive feedback. It’s definitely been a lot of hard work but it’s well worth it. And I’m a fan just as you guys are, so we’re all in the same boat together.

      As for Soccernomics, I’m glad you’re ordering it. Be sure to let me know what you think of it after you read it.

      As for the level of quality from ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus and GolTV, all we can do is continue to make them aware of any issues we see or how improvements can be made. And EPL Talk is a great place to air those grievances or kudos as folks from each of those networks frequent the site quite often.

      The Gaffer

  14. I must have commentators like the two on the Burnley v Stoke match today. Don’t know who they were, but I enjoyed both immensely. After reviewing Stoke’s goal a couple of times the lead says, smooth as glass, “The King of Swing strikes again.”

    If that’s a common reference to Delap I hadn’t heard it before. Brilliant, particularly in the delivery.

  15. massive kudos to the gaffer. downloaded the iCarRadio lite app. and have been driving around all day listening to five live, in las vegas. goodbye NPR, forever! technology is an amazing thing…

  16. In response to Wozza’s comment above, which read…

    “I’d hope the gaffer is aware that no-one in England would go to a “soccer” match. It’s football. The Spanish even use a phonetic version of the word (fútbol), rather than a genuine spanish one. “Gillette Soccer Saturday” is an alliterative conceit for marketing purposes. We all know what it means, but we don’t use the “s” word in conversation. The use of “soccer” in the US is of course just to distinguish it from American Football. I must admit though I thought the gaffer was British and would know that.”

    …of course I know that most people in England call soccer football. But it’s a myth that everyone in the UK calls it football. Yes, the majority of the people do, but the term soccer was originated in England and continues to be used. I’m British, too, but I believe the Brits use the term “football” sometimes to feed their inferiority complex to make them feel more important than Americans.

    We all love the same game, so why debate whether to call it soccer or football? Just call it what you’re comfortable in calling it.

    The Gaffer

    1. “I’m British, too, but I believe the Brits use the term “football” sometimes to feed their inferiority complex to make them feel more important than Americans.”

      What?! We use “football”, because that’s what we call it! And the spanish use “fútbol”. It’s nothing to do with “inferiority”. How bloody patronising. I guess we also express our inferiority with the naming of the F.A. (Football Association), Europe has similar problems with UEFA (in French it’s L’Union Européenne de Football Association) and of course, the whole world is clearly sub-standard by naming it’s governing body F.I.F.A. (Fédération Internationale de Football Association – look: even the French call it football!).

      And do remind me… what does the “F” stand for in CONCACAF again?

      You’re right, though, we can all call it what we want – countries where our football is not the most popular code tend to call it s*ccer. Just try not make up some cod-psychological reason for why most of the rest of the world call it football.

      I should write a book – “Soccerboll*cks”.

      1. Wozza, here are a few examples of football institutions in England that use the word soccer:

        * Gillette Soccer Saturday
        * Soccer AM
        * Pro Evolution Soccer
        * Soccer Scene (the most renowned football store in England)

        Again, there’s nothing wrong with using the words soccer or football to describe the sport. Many Brits call it soccer. Many Americans call it football.

        The Gaffer

        1. I already know them (I’m from En-ger-land). I already said we’re flexible enough to understand the word, which in the UK is mostly used alliteratively as a catchy phrase (Soccer Saturday, Soccer Scene). But the guys on Soccer Saturday don’t talk about “soccer”. None of them. And no-one goes into Soccer Scene and asks for a soccer shirt. Unless they’re a tourist.

          PES is a Japanese game BTW.

          The only outlier in your list is Soccer AM, which is a national disgrace. I’m exaggerating, but a lot of us (Brits) feel a bit dirty when we have to mention it by name… a bit like when Warren Barton or Becks say the s-word for US TV.

          Maybe “Soccerphonics” would be another good name for my upcoming book.

  17. I get everything I would ever need from FSC, ESPN, ESPN360, and GolTV. I’m still bitter about FSC Plus pushing out Setanta so I refuse to subscribe. Not to mention all I have to do is be patient and FSC will air the same exact live game from FSC Plus two hours delayed. I also have season tickets to the NY Red Bull, because despite the low league quality it’s nice to see the game live in a stadium.

    1. They don’t air games from FS+ two hours later on FSC.

      You shouldn’t be bitter towards Fox. Setanta’s business was run bad and, therefore, they leveled themselves into the ground. If it weren’t for poor business decisions (that <i<they made) they would still be around.

  18. gaffer, you say the brits use the word football to get up the nose of americans, but football is the bloody name of the game. you also say some brits use the s-word, i am 57 years old and i have NEVER heard a football fan call it that. the s-word was made up by some hoo-ray henry ,rugby fan. he did not want his sport to be mixed up with the working mans game. so just to clear this up once and for all, the only brits to use the s-word are rugby people.

  19. Gaffer, is there anyway for an american to watch the bbc, sky sports, itv etc, as well as their shows online? I am asking because there is no service to actually offer any of those channels. BBC America is far from the BBC over there. If it was offered, I would definitely pay for those channels, as well as being able to watch their shows they offer online. I wish there was a service, but since there isn’t there should be a solution to watch some of their shows, like Match of the Day. I hope that with the growth of soccer in this country and BBC America’s recent showing of the 6 Nations Rugby tournament, that they could show MOTD. So, Gaffer, is there any possible solution? Legal or illegal, although since its not offered legally, then other methods cant be considered illegal at this point. I think you actually mentioned something before, maybe a year ago where you knew a way to see the iplayer or something else on those lines, I cant remember exactly, but I hope you can address it Gaffer.

    1. Arseblog, great question. I’ve had a couple of people who have thoroughly recommended a service from that allows you to watch British TV programming including MOTD through the BBC iPlayer. I haven’t used it myself, so I can’t personally vouch for it.

      There’s no way MOTD can be shown on US TV right now because BBC doesn’t own the rights to the Premier League highlights on US television, Fox does.

      The Gaffer

  20. you can subscribe to any UK virtual private network (VPN), there are plenty out there, and then access not just bbc iplayer but similar offerings of archived programs from itv, channel 4 and channel 5. typical cost is $10/month. it basically makes your computer look like it has a UK IP address whenever you switch it on. works very well. not sure about the legality.

    bbc don’t put MOTD on iplayer but they do put their excellent championship highlights shows out there which, for an exiled coventry city fan such as myself, is ideal. good luck!

  21. Hey Arseblog. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be possible due to television rights being sold to specific territories. The only alternatives I can think of are:

    a) If you know someone from the UK with those channels you can buy them a Slingbox. Then you can access the Slingbox here and see what they see.

    b) Get your own satellite dish and beam it directly on the satellite that those networks typically use. *This is probably illegal and really hard to do.

    I also would love to see MOTD here.

  22. I’d have to say I’m trying to stay away from the whole HD/Blu-Ray thing cause it’s just a way for Sony and others to put out their technology in a bid to siphon off even more money from people. Regular TV is just fine watch any match from the 70s/80s and you will know what I mean. What needs to happen is a loosening of the rights visa via BBC audio. One great thing is many of the top clubs offer there own channel via subscription on their site so I can watch Liverpool at 7 pm instead of having to get up at an ungodly hour. Plus they have a lot of other good stuff as well.

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