During Saturday’s Manchester United against Chelsea match at Old Trafford, you may have heard the sarcastic chants from Chelsea supporters of “USA, USA, USA.” The chants were directed at the Manchester United supporters. They were part tongue-in-cheek humor as well as a little bit of banter to wind up the Man United supporters and mock their American owners.
But in my opinion, the chants are in poor taste, disrespectful to Americans and insulting.
It’s not just a faction of Chelsea supporters who are directing the sarcastic chants at Manchester United supporters. Arsenal and Manchester City supporters have reportedly joined in the chanting. And it’s not just Man United supporters who are the butt of the joke. Liverpool fans have been the target of similar chants too.
In the case of Chelsea supporters who were singing the chants at Old Trafford, the chants are disrespectful to the thousands of Chelsea fans who live in America. Many of these fans spend their hard earned money supporting the Blues, buying tickets to see them on their summer tours across the United States and being just as infatuated with the club as supporters are that live in England. If you’re a Chelsea fan who is an American, what does it feel like when your brethren are making fun of your country and the U-S-A cheer?
The hypocrisy of Chelsea supporters chanting “USA, USA, USA” to Manchester United supporters is that Chelsea is just as much in bed with the USA as Manchester United is. The chairman of Chelsea FC is Bruce Buck, who is an American. Chelsea has invested heavily in youth academies in the States. The club has its own websites it has established to market to America, as well as a network of supporters groups across the States. And the club has been touring the USA every other summer for the past few years.
The same goes for Arsenal supporters. American billionaire Stan Kroenke is now in control of 29.9% of Arsenal. The club has marketing ties with Colorado Rapids, which is owned by Kroenke. Arsenal has an official US version of their website that caters to Americans. Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis was hired from Major League Soccer.
Manchester City has the least amount of connections to the United States among the three clubs. However, Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook had lived in the United States since 1985 and worked with Nike in developing Brand Jordan. And since Cook joined City in 2008, he has made the club more American with its pre-match entertainment and the way the club has marketed itself both on its website and in social media.
The Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal supporters who chant “USA, USA, USA” at Manchester United fans are not representative of all Chelsea, City and Gunners fans. But the trend is upsetting especially when you consider how the supporters are using the name of the United States of America in a derogatory manner. Yes, the Glazers, Hicks and Gillett are dragging the name of the United States in the mud, but that doesn’t mean that all Americans are cut from the same cloth. Let’s hope the insulting chants end soon for the good of the game and the respect that American supporters deserve.