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Do I Have To Hate My Team's Rival Premier League Club?

 Do I Have To Hate My Team's Rival Premier League Club?

With the North London derby approaching, I want nothing more than for Arsenal to destroy Tottenham and get all three points, just like I do every week no matter who they play.

Except, that is, the days that Arsenal is playing Tottenham. I do not have anything against Tottenham or wish the worst for them. As a matter a fact, I enjoy watching Tottenham and want them to win often as I enjoy their play. I like some of their players and have great respect for their team. I am a fan of the game and the league so I love watching quality Premier League football from a quality side such as Tottenham. However, as an Arsenal supporter, I feel like enjoying Tottenham is almost a sacrilege and could possibly call my fanhood into question. As an American who supports Arsenal and enjoys the Premier League, I don’t think I am subject to hate my rival, and neither are you. Here’s why:

I feel rivalries are more intense for the fans, locally. The rivalry begins with the fact that the supporters live near each other, know each other, go to school with each other, and are constantly at odds with each other about their local team. This does not apply to an American supporter of a team on another continent. The love of an overseas league trumps any rivalry as it is not normal. It takes a lot to follow a team and a league that is not in your own country. It is far too silly to hate a team I enjoy watching just because I am “supposed” to.

Also, I don’t believe Arsenal and Tottenham players hate each other. Or that Wenger and Redknapp hate each other just because they play for rival clubs. There may be other reasons, but I don’t believe the kit they are wearing has anything to do with it. It is very rare for a player to actually play for the local team he grew up supporting. Many of the players aren’t even from England. The players have loyalty to the team that pays them. Yes, they care about winning, and have love and respect for the fans, but they want to win every time they step on the pitch.

Any given player could be playing on a different club 6 months from now, they are professionals, getting paid to perform for the current shirt they are wearing. So why should I hate a club (unless they are playing my team or I want them to lose a game because of points on the table) if the very players wearing the Arsenal shirt don’t despise Tottenham for any particular reason, just because the rivalry exists amongst the fans in North London?

I love watching the game of football, I am very proud that as an American I can appreciate a sport that is not very popular here. Therefore, I am not about to hate a “rival” team every time they play, against my team or not, just because North London thinks I should. I fully respect the local fans rivalry however, because I think rivalries make sports great. I love watching the derbies because I know the atmosphere in the stadium and the build up to the match will make the stakes even higher, and the game that much more enjoyable to watch. But I still respect Tottenham and love watching them play. That being said, I want Arsenal to dominate tomorrow, just I like I do every week no matter who they play.

Do you have a hate for your team’s rival? Do feel you should hate Everton because you support Liverpool, or City because you support United?

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86 Responses to Do I Have To Hate My Team's Rival Premier League Club?

  1. not suprised says:

    A typical bloody yank,

    the whole season revolves around these games i hope spurs win
    i know the arse are a good team well not bad for a french team
    but i wish them no joy what so ever

  2. Mike says:

    Are you from London? We invaded from Woolwich into Highbury/Islington, so SE London to N London which was the Spuds patch.

    I can’t believe you are actually from London or have been an Arsenal fan for very long because ALL of us from the area and have grown up with Arsenal as our club know the history and the reason for rivalry. Players like Parlour, Adams and Keown knew about this rivalry and you better believe they relished the chance to smash the Spuds. Even now even the foreign players understand the rivalry and they also relish these matches. Respect will always be present between professionals, but that doesn’t mean anything.

    Hate is a strong word, and I have a few Spuds friends, but once it’s game time the anger and rivalry is there. I don’t hate my mates but I hate Tottenham. Go to a derby at Shite Heart Lane or Emirates and you will understand, and you will hate them too.

    • Mike says:

      Ah I see you are a Yank that explains everything.

      • AmericanGooner says:

        I’m a yank…I love Arsenal to death. I’ve been to London only once (to take the train to Paris for a trip on the continent, and haven’t stepped foot in the Emirates) and I can safely say I hate Tottenham Hotspur. Attempting to support Arsenal while wanting Spurs to do well isn’t supporting Arsenal. It’s simply enjoying the Premiership and being partial to Arsenal. It’s hard to try and support a Premiership team from the states, especially in various fan communities as we’re often mocked for “being a yank.” Now I understand why so many English fans have problem with Americans trying to support the club…it’s because of fans who casually ignore the history of the club, the local derbies, and the entire club culture, save the pretty football. Please don’t call your self an Arsenal supporter when you just happen to partial to the club, you make it harder for other Americans to really support the club.

  3. scott says:

    i think in the article he explained he was a yank…I am American also, a Manchester United fan, and I def dislike Liverpool, their current management and manager make it pretty easy for me. derbys and rivals make the game fun for non local fans like my self. I however, dont feel the same hatred for liverpool as I do for the Yankees being a Red Sox fan who lives in mass. near conneticut , and I dont think think other fans who dont live in the northeast(esp overseas) would understand

    • Jake Islas says:

      Exactly, you dislike a team for other reasons, because honestly as Americans we can’t possibly understand the rivalries. As you said, no one can truly understand the Yankees/Sox rivalry unless they’re from that area, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fans elsewhere.

      My point was that the rivalry exists because of local fans, and if we (Americans) are not local fans because we can’t help where we are born, we shouldn’t be expected to dislike a team just because we are told to. Just as you dislike Liverpool, there are a handful of teams I dislike more than Tottenham. I dislike Chelsea because I don’t like some of their players, and I really dislike teams that put 10 men behind the ball and play with dirty tactics.

      Being born in a particular region doesn’t make a club only yours, they can be admired from around the world and that should be something you’re proud of. Sure, you understand the rivalry because you are 100% a part of it as I said, the rivalry belongs to the fans. But I have too much admiration for the game of football to hate a team because someone else thinks I should. Under different geographical circumstances, I’m certain I would share the same spirit of rivalry as the North Londoners.

      • But as a previous comment mentioned, you’re not truly an Arsenal supporter, even if you are from America. A true supporter of any team learns the history of the club, learns the rivalries and respects them. No one is telling you to go loot a Tottenham supporter’s house, but if you want to be a true Arsenal supporter, you simply can’t support Spurs in any match.

        That much you should understand, because as a die-hard Cowboys fan from Texas if I saw an Englishman who claims he supports the Cowboys, if I saw him rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles in a game I would be in his face and tell him about his horrific mistake. And English Arsenal fans should do the same if they saw you supporting Spurs in a pub. No hard feelings, but fans define rivalries, so we should do our part.

  4. Stefan Luca says:

    The French Wankers are the Scum of the earth.
    Go back to Woolwich!!!
    As for you Jake, to be fair its hard for a yank to understand the true hatred in this rivalry. Make a trip to a NLD get to the ground a few hours before kick off wander into a few local pubs, and you’ll feel it in the air, its absolutely Magic!
    Becareful though Wenger loves cute little boys.

  5. john d says:

    You dont understand what its all about……If you dont understand it now, you never will.

  6. john d says:

    F*** off you yid c***…Go eat some lasagne…..Go have another twitch like your harry red kneck….Cant wait for the Arsenal to do you lot like we always…Scum fc always in our shadows!!!

    • Jesse Chula says:

      john d – well spoken, and at times, poetic. You should end this day with a small sense of pride knowing that the words you picked created a beautiful symphony of imagination. I remain inspired!

      I’m sure Tolkein, Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas and the lot of ‘em would be proud. Well done again mate.

      This is a topic that has been written about on EPL Talk before and I’d like to beg and plead with the English to think about what you say and write before you make fools of yourself. Everyone is allowed an opinion, just make sure it’s well thought out and intelligent before you spew your word vomit and subsequently look unintelligent and thuggish.

      This game that you lay claim to as yours and only yours simply isn’t, at least not anymore. The global giant that is Premier League football is largely possible in this day in age because of the revenue generated by overseas and foreign TV rights.

      Us “bloody yanks” really do know a thing or two about your sport and it never ceases to amaze me why a certian group English football fans have such a large problem with that. Why do you feel so threatened by Americans that love and respect your football leagues and culture? We’re all with you!!

      Just because we weren’t born in a specific neighborhood of London doesn’t mean we can’t have thoughts, opinions or ideas concerning the happenings of that geographical area and local culture.

      I don’t hear you lot complaining when Americans spend their hard earned money to travel to the UK to visit their favorite club, buy the replica kits, or purchase cable and TV packages that ultimately fund “your” club.

      Sure, we’re a bit spoiled, and sure there might be a few American fans who pick a club for the wrong reason, but I assure you, the majority of us are a well-educated, disciplined, respectfully group who are passionate about good football.

      Times change.

      • Thomas. says:

        a sensible reply… points well taken too. I am an English Spurs fan as is my dad..havent lived in London sisnce i was a baby but I have to say. . .
        The rivalry is historic, due to not just the proximity of the clubs’ stadia, There is history and passion invovled to do with the incepetion of the league and shady goings on with the Woolwich Arseanl and the authorities, aswell as the fact tht they ‘moved in’ so to speak.

        I dont want to sound thuggish but spurs fans should hate Arsenal the club….for me they represent a smarmy souless petulent arrogant dirty club that sometimes plays the best football in the league. . .you see? I am making a distinction too. Hate the club, dont care about gooner fans….appreciate their football…always want them to lose.

        • ovalball says:

          Well said. A great reply from the “other” side…….and no frothing at the mouth. (Although I bet you get like that on gameday.) ;-)

  7. Alex says:

    LOL! People like ‘John D’ are why I hate Arsenal. I love the way they play, who couldn’t? But the fans?… My God they are an embarrassment to humanity. A bunch of WKD drinking, ‘Bench’ wearing, cardboard cut-outs.

  8. BergkmpWndrlnd says:

    Yank Arsenal fan…and I HATE Tottenham. Loved watching them lose last weekend. Part might be because I had a boss (who I remain friends with) who is a huge Sp*rs fan, but still. HATE them. Can’t wait to beat them tonight.

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!

  9. jakea says:

    from a bolton fan, i hope arsenel beat tottenham, arsenel are a quality team with descent players id justg love too see the misery from the yids when they dont get a champions leauge spot. chelsea, arsenel, united and city for top 4 (in that order).

  10. Brian says:

    No matter where you’re from if you can’t get up for this match, there’s a big problem. You’ve GOT to have fellow supporters somewhere that can help you get into this!

    I’m American Chelsea, I absolutely DESPISE Tottenham, bunch of muggy c*nts…

    • Thomas. says:

      muggy? were you an extra in mary poppins? you havent earned the right to hate spurs.

    • Jake Islas says:

      Oh don’t worry, I’m pumped for this match. I can’t wait! Like I said, I am fully aware the rivalry exists and I love it! The atmosphere and the stakes will make a terrific game, I’m pumped!

  11. SFGooner says:

    Short answer: yes, yes you do.

  12. Mike says:

    Appreciation of football is irrespective of nationality. I don’t doubt that a Yank can appreciate football just as much as me, and that if they watch it for as long as I have they may well understand it as well as I do. That is without question.

    However what IS in question is the passion you can feel for a club. I’m not doubting that you feel an affinity to a club, but unless you’ve grown up with them as your club, been to matches and experienced the rivalry, the emotions and the atmosphere then you will NEVER understand the passion and the rivalry, and you will also never truly understand or love your club the way that local fans do. There is no debate about that.

    • ovalball says:

      Nice post. You have put your finger on the essential point Jake was making. We can all love and appreciate the game, but given the circumstances, rivalries can never be life and death for us like they are for you. And that’s fine.

  13. Stevie the K says:

    “Why can’t the English learn to speak?” –Henry Higgins

    Well said both Jake and Jesse, although I think it’s important to note that, warts ‘n’ all, the ‘local flavor’ of the derbies (and of English football in general) is a critical element of its attraction to the world audience. Chelsea v. Man U. would be nice to see in the US, but not nearly as exciting as to see it at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge.

  14. I am scared to go see a game in Liverpool until I perfect my scouse to hide my American accent. Since the USA’s captain and #1 goalie were playing for Everton, I couldn’t help but want them to do well. Definitely enough strikes against me to get hung from the Kop.

  15. Erik Hymel says:

    I have to echo Stephen’s sentiment. I hope to make a pilgrimage to Anfield, but I’d never be able to pull off Scouse. Maybe I’ll pretend to be Canadian.

    I don’t hate Everton (except on derby days). If it looked like they might finish above Liverpool in the table I’d certainly pull against them. Not having grown up with the Red vs Blue thing, hating Everton would just be an affectation for me.

    I do hate Man Utd.

    • Clampdown says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, guys. I am an American Liverpool fan and have been to Anfield. Everyone there was awesome to me. They loved that I came all the way from NYC just to see Liverpool play.

      Also, I know several scousers in NY who are blues. They may hate Liverpool FC, but I’ve gotten along with all of them, and nearly all of them have family members that are reds.

  16. Dave B. says:

    IMO its tough to hate a club just because you’re supposed to. I’d say its even a bit sheepish.

    Folks who grew up near their clubs are an obvious exception. There’s always going to be rivalries built around teams neighbors cheer for. But if you’re not in that area, it really isn’t the same.

    As a Liverpool supporter, I don’t hate Everton. I do on derby day, but no more than any other Liverpool opponent. And when the derby is over, I can watch their matches without overpouring hatred or anything.

    Why? Because since I’ve been following Liverpool there was no reason for me to hate them more than say Fat Sam and Blackburn.

    Compare that to Manchester United. I do hate them. Because they’ve given me reason to.

  17. Evan says:

    Im a yank and a Man City supporter. I hate Man Utd. with a passion.

  18. Josh says:

    As an Arsenal fan from the States (Cleveland), I treat Tottenham just like I treat the Steelers: Intense dislike, and yet quiet admiration. Both the Steelers and Tottenham are teams who aren’t inherently dirty or thuggish. Both play attractive, albeit different football lol. I agree with the author in the fact that I don’t have a reason to hate Tottenham, but this is the only day that I don’t think I can successfully know what it feel like to be a “proper” Arsenal fan. Other than this rivalry, I feel just as much hate toward teams like Chelsea and Man U, and not just because they’re our title rivals.

    • Sam says:

      I agree, I am a spurs fan, but admire and like watching arsenal play; its good passing football that cant say is crappy, some of their players I love but when they play spurs, I hate them alot

      • canyid says:

        But we can at least agree that Nasri’s a douche bag?

        Spurs fan here. Hate the Arse, but have a burgeoning hatred for Man $hitty.

  19. Raatzie says:

    I’ll echo the sentiments of the other non-English Liverpool supporters.

    Liverpool supporter. Despise United and Chelsea (the former more than the latter). Everton is one of four teams (with Arsenal, Villa, and Fulham) that I enjoy watching when Liverpool is not playing (or when they aren’t playing Liverpool.) I’m impressed by what Everton and Villa accomplish year in and year out on a limited budget (and, in Everton’s case, with a neverending spate of injuries). I enjoy Arsenal’s style of play, and the improvement Fulham has experienced under Hodgson. The presence of Americans on all but Arsenal contribute to the fondness as well.

    By contrast, fan of UNC athletics who absolutely despises Duke. That rivalry, however, is less one of proximity (UNC and Duke are 400 miles away from home, so I didn’t grow up with that rivalry either) than class – the arrogant, preening, trust fund children who will proceed to steer Wall Street back into the ditch vs. the middle class, state university kids who have, and will, actually work for a living. Much has been written about this rivalry, the best of which can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Hate-Like-This-Happy-Forever/dp/006074023X

    Plus, Duke is the Manchester United of football. United gets at least one crucial/undeserved call per game. Duke usually gets three.

    • Raatzie says:

      I of course meant Duke is the Manchester United of college basketball.

      Gack.

    • WayneBridgeSucks says:

      Whoaa.. I grew up and lived in both Durham and Chapel Hill. The UNC-Ch kids are rich entitled kids too. Don’t get it twisted. The students that have to work for a living are the ones that can’t get into UNC-Ch and go to other branches of UNC. UNC-Ch fans are hated because they lack understanding of the game and have an ignorant and entitled fanbase. UNC-Ch also year in and year out gets the best of the best recruits while Duke has to settle for what they get and every now and then pull in an elite recruit.

      Before you go off on Duke vs UNC-Ch., do some research buddy. Oh yeah, Duke also consistantly does more with less and won the title this year.

      • WayneBridgeSucks says:

        Also would like to add that I have met plenty of kids that go to Duke on financial aid. There are pricks at both schools.

    • WayneBridgeSucks says:

      Oh my, going to the Duke gets the calls crutch.. UNC-Ch is much more know for getting game changing and close calls to the point that the term “Carolina Ref” is stapled in area fans minds.

      • Matt says:

        As someone who goes to UNC and grew up in Durham, I can say that you clearly are an idiot.

        “Duke does more with less,” really? It costs more than $50,000 a year to go to Duke, as opposed to $15,000 to go to Carolina.

        And did you watch the championship game??? Talking about horrible calls, you can’t say that Duke didn’t get calls for them that were clearly biased (as biased as I am, I suppose)

        • Raatzie says:

          Sad little Duke fan in denial.

          “UNC-Ch fans are hated because they lack understanding of the game and have an ignorant and entitled fanbase.”

          Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

          The “Crazies” need cheer sheets. Nuff said. Though the Maryland kid who hacked the cheer sheets so the crazies chanted “Myron Piggie” – all-time classic. http://truthaboutduke.com/encyc.php?encycid=66

          “UNC-Ch also year in and year out gets the best of the best recruits while Duke has to settle for what they get and every now and then pull in an elite recruit.”

          Oh, if only Duke could land a McDonalds All-American every now and again.

          /snark

          “There are pricks at both schools.”

          Yup. There are pricks at every college. But per capita, Duke has it all over Carolina (and just about every other school, including the Ivies, from whom you could kind of understand it).

          “Oh my, going to the Duke gets the calls crutch.. UNC-Ch is much more know for getting game changing and close calls to the point that the term ‘Carolina Ref’ is stapled in area fans minds.”

          Has Carolina gotten some calls? Sure. But ask everyone not living in Durham or northern New Jersey who gets (way) more calls from refs and consensus is quickly and easily reached.

          Exhibit A: The fifth foul on Zoubek in the Baylor game that was called a charge (because Duke, of course, never commits a blocking foul), despite Zoubek still moving as contact was made. Coulda cost them the game, but we’ll never know.

          Exhibit B: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/blog/entry?id=2788593&name=simmons (items 4 +5)

          Exhibit C: http://truthaboutduke.com/encyc.php?encycid=49

          As for championships, UNC 6, Duke 4. Wake me if y’all ever catch up.

  20. Thomas. says:

    May the best team (tottenham) win. as an exiled spursfan in HK, I’m not looking forward to work tomorrow on only 4 hours sleep…..

    EPL clubs all have slightly different philosophies and lineages, histories, betrayals, victories and defeats that contribute to their identities, sometimes these ideals conflict…I think everton is all about work ethic and being ‘the people’s club’. . Tottenham is about cultured midfield players, style, but disappointment and unfulfilled ambition have become part of our identity too… The arse is quite a continental team less ‘englilsh’ in so far as they are about French flair …. I want to encourage my American Brothers to Support Tottenham. There is so much more romance and pathos and potential for glory in a team that is looking up….than one of the big four football empires that have dominated the prelier league for too long…
    Join the Yid army my american brothers….. don’t be one of the herd.

  21. Devils Advocate says:

    Jake..Having read your article and noted the comments, I am reminded of something the great Bill Shankley of Liverpool once said: “football’s not a matter of life or death, it’s more important than that!”. And therein lies the English philosophy or perspective on the game. Emotions replace logic and passions run high, especially when local teams face each other. It is nothing less than old fashioned “tribal warfare”.

    Do I hate my rival teams..No
    Do I envy rival teams..possibly
    Do I follow my team unconditionally..YES!

    I will passionately defend my team as will most true supporters; I will engage in banter, some I win, some I lose but I will draw the line at abusing the fans of other clubs or poke fun at club tragedies such as Munich, Hillesborough or Heysel.

    Some of the comments above sadly display ignorance and a remarkable lack of respect for the opinions of others. I for one am grateful to have followers of the beautiful (if at times frustrating and exasperating) game on the other side of the Pond, whichever club they choose.

    • Thomas says:

      nice comment Devil’s Adv. couldnt agree more about where you draw the line. I was in Sheffield when Hillsborough happened…..some things are sacred and off limits when it comes to banter…. but… arent you being disengenuous when you talk about tribal warfare …then demand respect between fans?

      • Devils Advocate says:

        Thomas..What I am trying to say is that there is a tendency for some supporters to treat local derbies as “war” between the clubs/fans with plenty of abuse thrown in. Following matchday blogs is testimony to that.

        The fact that American followers are separated from the EPL by geography alone makes them no less a fan than a “local” living 30minutes from the ground. The former’s comprehension and or degree of “passion” may differ but they ought not to be criticised nor vilified for their choice (I am in agreement with Jesse, Comment 9 on this)

  22. Jason L says:

    I am an American that supports Arsenal (lived off Gillespie Rd back in 1999). I have also been a Dallas Cowboy fan for 37 years. I hate the Redskins. I want nothing but bad things to happen to them. With that said, I went to an Arsenal/Tottenham game at Highbury back in 2001. I sat in the section right next to the visitors seats. I witnessed the passion and hate that these clubs have for each other. At times it was a bit disturbing, but I’ve come to understand the love that these fans have for their teams. And with the history of their rivalries, I understand their passion.

    As a Cowboy fan that knows what its like to hate another team, I feel its necessary as an Arsenal fan to hate Tottenham. My feelings of hate may not be as heated as the fans that still live in Highbury or North London. But I definitely don’t cheer for the Spurs (except when they played ManU at the end of the 1999 premiere league season).

    I should say, currently living in the states its hard to develop a strong hate for Tottenham since they are not supported heavily in the pubs here and since I’m so far away from the Emirates. ManU is that team, obviously. With ManU fans popping up every time I order another pint, and with said team doing as well as they are, the reasons are plentiful to not like them.

    So with that said. Yes, i don’t like Tottenham. Yes, I hate ManU. Yes, Chelsea are annoying. And I really wish the Redskins would finish 0-16 every year.

    Now, c’mon Arsenal, beat the f*#k out of those Spuds!

  23. Barry says:

    Per Mike (second comment): “the history and the reason for rivalry.” Maybe it’s just coincidence, but isn’t it funny that in EVERY SINGLE local derby, the supporters hate each other and the other team, and claim there is a deep historical reason behind it? And I mean every local derby in world football. It’s become a cliche now. You think there is a reason beyond locality, but there isn’t. If Chelsea happened to be from North London, and Spurs were from the South, you’d hate Chelsea more. It’s that simple.

    • Mike says:

      Well obviously. That goes without saying. Arsenal feels and resents Spuds achievements more keenly than any other team and vice versa. The proximity of the clubs is the reason for this. When you then have this tension which just builds up over the time. It may be a cliche but it isn’t going to go away over time. The proximity just adds to the tension created by the success/failure of a team in relation to it’s neighbours.

      All your post shows is that you have no understanding of the core of football. If you knew anything about this rivalry in particular you would see there are actually huge reasons for the rivalry other than just location.

      • barry says:

        Look up the Sodertalje Derby, firstly, before saying I know nothing about football rivalries. It’s a derby I am deeply entrenched in.

        Secondly, you seem to agree with my comment, so I don’t know what the problem is!

        Locality starts the rivalry. Underlying reasons develop over time. But, the rule is that you simply develop a hatred for the team closest to you…Which then makes sense of the original article above where the author feels indifferent to his team’s rivals and their supporters because he just hasn’t grown up in north London….or England for that matter, so simply saying he hates Spurs without really meaning it would be even worse than admitting his indifference.

  24. Martin says:

    As a Spurs fan in the US, I was just talking about this with a buddy of mine (Arsenal fan). I was trying my best to convey my hate for Arsenal to him, but I realized that I apparently don’t “hate” Arsenal as much as I should. I know I’m supposed to hate Arsenal, and I know why I’m supposed to hate them, but I just don’t hate them as much as I should. I’m certain that it is because I’ve only been following Tottenham and the EPL for 5-6 years (ever since I became addicted to Winning Eleven 7), and I haven’t lived through the experience of being at the games, growing up in those areas, the constant local bickering, etc, etc. I try to rouse the hate, but it’s just not there as much as it is for a team like Chelsea or ManU (who I see as the Yankees and RedSox of the EPL, both teams I also hate, that epitomize everything I hate about sports teams in the US).

    When Arsenal are not playing Spurs, I love watching them play. Sure, I may cheer for them to lose to lower clubs when they play, but if they’re playing ManU or Chelsea, I’m usually pulling for Arsenal. I guess I’m a traitor or something. Arsenal just really hasn’t given me something to hate them for yet, at least in my time of being a Spurs supporter. For the last several years, it’s fair to say that rarely have Spurs and Arsenal really been in direct competition for anything (yes I’m aware of the food poisoning incident, but that was slightly before I fully followed the EPL). It has been a one-sided rivalry for some time now, and a one-sided rivalry isn’t that fun, and doesn’t bring up the feelings of resentment and hate that a close rivalry does, where the games played actually have serious meaning every year. That seems to have changed this year, and hopefully Spurs keep drawing closer to Arsenal’s level of success and finish in the table in years to come.

    I understand where the hate comes from, but I can’t be blamed for not absolutely despising Arsenal, when I haven’t had the life experience of the people that are actually in the area. I completely understand how it works, as I’m a huge fan of the Houston Astros in baseball, and I live smack dab in the middle of St. Louis Cardinals country. The level of hate and resentment that I have built up over the years for the Cardinals must be the same thing that overseas Tottenham supporters have built up over the years towards Arsenal. I definitely understand it and where it comes from, but I can’t truly feel it unless I have lived there. Hope that makes sense.

    • Thomas says:

      very honest Martin. Fair enough aswell. For some fans, our club history is important too. The origins of the club etc. Not sure if I am so hung up on ancient history as some fans I know,…. but there is a conflict with Arsenal to do with bribery, our place in the football league at its incepetion, Arsenal ‘moving’ from Woolwich to within a stones throw (literally) from the Seven Sisters etc. I can imagine all that might well have nothing to do with many fans in the premier league era….

  25. usspur says:

    I don’t want ANY Arse fan, wherever they live, even contemplating liking Spurs. Don’t taint our great club!

  26. Vamos Arsenal says:

    I am an American Arsenal fan and I hate the Spuds!!!!! Come on you Gunners!!! My favorite Arsenal chant:

    Lasagne woah!
    Lasagne woah!
    We laughed ourselve to bits,
    When Tottenham had the s**ts,
    Lasagne woah!

  27. ossie's dream says:

    It’s the big rivalries that make football interesting. I suppose the same can be said for any other sport. I am a Spurs fan (obviously) and, as such, I “officially” hate the Woolwich Arsenal. But I recognize that without our arch-nemeses, supporting THFC woudln’t be as much fun. If only we could beat them a bit more often…

    COYS

  28. andy c. says:

    I’m for the Arsenal and I’m from the States. I don’t hate Spuds because I’m supposed to, I hate Spuds because they are a worthless, pathetic, whining, steaming pile o’ crap football club. There is not another team in the world that i enjoy seeing lose more than Spuds.

    All you who think you have to live in an area to fully appreciate a rivalry are ridiculous. I grew up a huge LA Lakers fan in the 80′s and I still hate the Celtics. No matter how hard I try, I hate Boston, plain and simple. Same with the Bulls in the 90′s, I was a huge MJ fan, and to this day I hate Detroit and the Knicks. 10 or 20 years separated, that hatred is still there. All you need to understand and associate with a rivalry is an honest and deep passion for a team and a little knowledge of what’s happened in the past.

    By the way, show me a Spuds fan and I’ll show you an enemy or a fool!

    • Martin says:

      In your example, a lot of your hate for the Knicks, Pistons, Celtics, etc., came because your team was competing against and playing those teams on a consistent basis in the playoffs or for championships. Same cannot be said for Arsenal v. Spurs matchups for several years.

      Also, just because you didn’t live in LA or Chicago wasn’t my point. You still live in the US, and the coverage generated by those Lakers-Celtics and Bulls-Knicks and Bulls-Pistons battles drew enormous attention and media coverage/hype back then. Again, same cannot be said for the media coverage Arsenal v. Spurs or the EPL in general gets here in the US, especially not years ago.

      I do have a “honest and deep passion” for my team. But I haven’t grown to hate Arsenal above all others yet, and I just can’t force myself to because I’m supposed to. Though I’m sure front-running fans like yourself will give me plenty of reasons to do so in the future. Fan of the Lakers in the 80′s, huh? When they won like 5 championships? They changed your loyalty to MJ and the Bulls in the 90′s, when they won 6 titles? Based on that, I’m gonna guess you started generating your “honest and deep passion” for Arsenal in the late 90′s when they again began winning and competing for titles every year, huh?

      Front-runners make me sick.

      • andy c. says:

        you make several good observations, although monkeys can do the same from time to time. how the media portrays a match-up can go a long way to how individuals observe that rivalry. whether the media plays a role or not, is irrelevant. if one takes part in a rivalry, they are involved, period. if you read, listen to, or watch another person’s commentary, then you are taking a part in that rivalry. you may be swayed one way or another by that commentary but that person is still involved. rivalries exist in a different way here in the states, but that does not lessen them or weaken them, they are simply different. i didn’t hate my teams rival because the media tells me to, i hate them because of their personnel, their staff, their ownership, their playing style, or their fans. all of which are exactly why i hate spurs, not because the british media tells me to. if i’m honest, they do fuel the fire, but they did not provide the initial spark.

        what makes me sick is when an arrogant individuals make assertions based on their extremely limited perspective of sport or of circumstances. to support a team that excels and displays top-class teamwork is not being a front-runner. again, when you are limited to observing a sporting event through some type of broadcast media, you are limited to making observations on what you are exposed to. growing up without any football other than the type played with a pigskin, offers one little opportunity to be exposed to local rivalries the way you brits are year in and year out.

        and for the record, i started supporting arsenal in 2004 when i started watching fox sports world, not because they were the best, but because they played beautiful offensive football. for me, it’s very similar to how the phoenix suns played under d’antoni. amazing to watch but at the same time exasperating.

  29. Sam says:

    BY THE WAY SCREW ALL YOU GOONNERS, YOUR TITLE DREAMS ARE DONE!!!!!!!!

  30. Gious says:

    Well, no, I dont think many are surprised as Yank Gloryhunters have never been anywhere close to the cities where their team is…or they have never been to an actual game of their team

    So they dont see or hear about the hostility nor do they know the history of their team and its rivals

    • Raatzie says:

      Amazing. The world accuses us (sometimes justifiably, sometimes not) of being self-obsessed, yet Americans trying to embrace European teams playing the world’s game get abused by the likes of jackasses like this.

      A thousand apologies for not being born across the pond.

      So who do I have to root for to not be a “Yank Gloryhunter”? Burnley? Peterborough? Havant and Waterlooville? Is it even possible?

      • The Gaffer says:

        There are many Brits who haven’t woken up to the fact that the Premier League is no longer England’s league, it’s the world’s league. From personal experience and observations, most soccer-obsessed Americans know more about what’s happening in the Prem that a lot of Brits do. It’s hard for a lot of Brits to realize or admit that.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • Devils Advocate says:

        Raatzie..Good point and well made. It really does show ignorance when the term “gloryhunter” is thrown about. It’s pretty comical really. Perhaps we should nail our colours to the masts of Wrexham, Grimsby Town, MK Dons and so on….It’s inevitable that fans in the US will want to be associated with teams they know something about but god forbid you should happen to choose a team with a record of success, such as the Arsenals, Chelseas, Liverpools, Man Utds of the world.

        I have said before that I personally welcome the ever increasing interest in the beautiful game of football shown by your countrymen (and ladies) In a country with such diverse range of sporting options that fact that you choose to follow the European Leagues is testimony to an open mind and willingness to be part of the passion displayed on the terraces.

  31. Jake Merrill says:

    I can relate to this from my experiences. I go to a a private schools with two other schools within 10 minutes (I actually live in the school district of one). My school has boarding students from other parts of the U.S. and overseas. Growing up with the rivalry with my school and the other two I understand it fully. However, the boarders or even people from outside the local vicinity don’t understand it like I do. They want to beat the other two schools, but they don’t have that same passion I do.

  32. Lolita says:

    As a Liverpool fan, I’ll state right off the bat that I hate Manchester United passionately. Of course, this probably stems more from the fact that they’re, well, Manchester United than the fact that we’re bitter rivals. But no matter. I will always hope for the very worst for United’s season each year.
    But Everton, in my mind, is a different issue entirely. They’re a likable enough club on the whole, and any team that featured Tim Howard and Landon Donovan is good in my book. Yes, I’m a Yank, and yes, I realize this is blasphemy. But the bottom line is, whenever they’re not playing Liverpool, I will cheer for them.
    I totally understand the whole rivalry situation. As a Philly girl, I despise Dallas and its fans because I was born and bred to. However, I can’t really inspire that sort of passion in myself for Liverpool’s rivalries because I haven’t supported them all my life. And frankly, I’m not sure if I’d even want to hate loads of soccer teams just because I have to. Not being a local fan has given me an enjoyable sort of perspective; I can appreciate a good game no matter who’s playing.
    Finally, I would like to express my feeling on the fact that American fans never seem to gain any credibility from some British folks. My sentiments echo Raatzie’s. I’m sick of being labelled a “gloryhunter” and “ignorant”. I enjoy the game, am knowledgeable about it, and have just as much credibility as a fan as the next person. We’re trying to embrace your culture, so stop being a bunch of pricks about it. End of rant.

    • boringarsenal says:

      I adore you, Lolita!

    • Devils Advocate says:

      Hi Lolita..I’m sure you’ll understand that the very people labelling you are themselves “ignorant”. I am regularly impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm displayed by American followers of football and embarrassed by our own “self-appointed” guardians of the game. They are not particularly bright with their insults.

      Out of interest, how did you get to be a fan of Liverpool’s?

      • Lolita says:

        Thank you so much. I try not to let it get to my head because I know if I love the game, that’s all that matters. As to how I became a Liverpool fan, it was mostly because of Fernando Torres. I watched his brilliance in Euro ’08 and, to a lesser extent, Confed Cup ’09 and really started following EPL this year. (Great time to be a Liverpool fan, right? haha) It’s now pretty much an obsession, and I’m learning more about EPL every day.

  33. seany Bakes LFC for life says:

    well said devil’s advocate…im 25 years old now, and have been playing organzied soccer since i was 4 years old, and have been obsesses with it ever since…as an american, its much harder for us to watch soccer, and since i was a litle kid, me and my older brother devoured any replayed games or old magazines we could get our hands on…ever since i saw a goals galore tape from the late 80′s with john barnes, and ian rush, ive loved the pool…im an america, or irish extraction, and have some extended family who live in liverpool, which only reinforced my ties to the club…before we had our own league, we had to follow foreign leagues out of neccesity…i was a liverpool fan 10 years before the mls even came out, so of course i feel srtonger ties to liverpool than i do to my own team…us yank football fans may not be able to see live games all the time, but the fact that we sometime get up at 7 am after a long night of boozin to drive or take a train to the closet bar showing our team shows some measure of loyalty and determination…now a days with fox soccer channel and espn, we are exposed to a lot more soccer, but its still not as accesible as othwer “american” sports…i understand the front runner argument that a lot of brits bring up,but its kind of hard for us to be fans of milwall or plynouth argyle when we are never able to see them play

    • Devils Advocate says:

      seany Bakes…Your comments are appreciated. I know there are many enthusiastic Americans who get up extra early to see the games here in the UK. Great to hear you were involved from age 4. Liverpool are a prestigious club and I remember Ian Rush and John Barnes well. Their season hasn’t turned out quite the way they expected but with the sale of the club, it is hoped the new owners will get everything back on track.

      Best wishes

  34. BNS says:

    Lolita, you are my hero for all that you’ve said!
    I’m from the U.S. but English football/soccer is something that I’m very passionate about! I’m a big Manchester United fan, but I do also like other teams as well, such as AC Milan and Newcastle United. As of recent though I’ve grown a liking (that’s been there since the beginning of my football fascination) towards Chelsea FC. Now, I hate Liverpool but my main point is that because I’m a Manchester fan and there’s a more *new* rivalry between them and Chelsea I’ve felt like I *should* hate them, but find it hard too. So reading this and Lolita, your comments, I’m now reassured that it’s okay to like who I like. Even though overall, Manchester United will be the team that I support first and foremost.

    • Lolita says:

      First of all, thanks for the flattery :)
      Secondly, I agree. Though I don’t see how you could possibly take a liking to Chelsea and Manchester United :P , the main thing is to love your club, not to hate someone else’s. Rivalries will always be an integral part of footy, but you really can’t understand them unless you have some sort of connection. Instead of despising random teams half-heartedly, just being devoted to your club and appreciating the game always makes you a true fan.

  35. Scumdodger says:

    Well most of the above is bollocks, as I think you can choose whichever team you like to follow and not have to worry if you’re from there. Just like the legions of London scummers who pour their money into Liverpool or Man Utd, and the people of towns with no league teams who support clubs in the next county. No prob with that, and all for Americans supporting English clubs. The morons above obviously would prefer Americans to hate English clubs and choose Inter or Bayern or some other trash ahead of the better English teams…. on the other hand, football wouldn’t be the same without the morons and thicknecks.

  36. Paul Cass says:

    You can’t fake hating your club’s rivals. If you’re a local fan, it happens naturally. They rub your nose in a defeat. They single-handedly stop your championship or FA cup run and jeer you out of the styands and all the way to the tube station. And although they have had a crap season you see the joy they have in destroying your great season. And you never forget the pain and their pleasure. And you learn to hate. It’s not really transferable. So it’s a lot harder for fans from abroad to learn to hate because you need to have at least 1 burning humiliation, one great player stolen from you and then playing for your rivals, one season flushed down the toilet, done to you in person.
    You can’t beat humilitation done face-to-face.

  37. tem says:

    Arsenal is the only team in the premiere league side which gives me joy in football.
    I wonder what kind of pleasure fans of teams like blackburn, stoke, or any other club ,whose players are made throw from 40m+ with absolutely no shame,get out of the game.Now I’m saying this because not because I think they are ‘threat’ (hahahahaaaa) to us but because I fear for the English football.In spain you won’t see a team trying to score from a throw (I can’t even write the name,help out here, Tony pulis),which is one of the reasons why they are WORLD CHAMPIONS.

  38. SKMDC says:

    Well, if you’re an American Arsenal fan, you’re band-wagoner anyway so it doesn’t matter if you hate Tottenham or not… I have 10X the respect for an American Spurs fan than all the ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsefaces I see walking around. …You probably pull for Duke in basketball and Miami in throwball.

    • AmericanHotspur says:

      It’s nice to know we’re appreciated. I got my picture taken at Disneyland because I had my spurs scarf on. A rare sighting indeed.

      P.S. love the “Throwball” comment

  39. voyager1 says:

    This is a very good article which I refer back to as it helps me make sense of my predicament where rivalries are concerned. Unlike you, I actually live near Luton Town FC (a non league team) who have a big rivalry with Watford FC (Championship side). I identified as a Luton Town fan but never really attended matches and was quite distant from football.

    When I started working in Watford, I took an interest in the local area and decided to attend a match which I enjoyed and then I became a regular at Watford which reignited my interest in Luton Town FC and I found myself attending both venues.

    I also took an interest in other clubs, some of which are further afield but most of my match day activities are in the local area.

    You are right in that this rivalry is more likely to be found in locals but in addition it is only found in the most passionate hardcore supporters. One of my friends is a hardcore Luton Town supporter who “hates” Watford but he can’t come up with any reason for doing so other than “being required to hate them by supporting Luton” – who writes these rules?

    On my travels, I did encounter other people who follow rival clubs. Normally, this happens if a person takes a job or moves to the locality of their rival club.

    When a rivalry match does occur, the individual will tend to lean towards their “first” club if they have one or base it upon need e.g. if one team is mid table and the other team needs the points for promotion or to avoid relegation.

    The most hardcore of fans will describe these fans as “not true supporters” but who actually writes the rules of support? What I would say is that casual fans are less hardcore but it doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to follow the club.

    If you’re an Arsenal supporter and enjoy watching Spurs (when they’re playing a match which doesn’t affect Arsenal) then don’t let someone else tell you that you’re not a true Arsenal supporter. You might not be like other Arsenal supporters but that doesn’t mean you’re not an Arsenal supporter. If you buy a ticket for Arsenal, you’ll see a lot of ground regulations printed on the back and outside the ground but none of these state that you MUST hate Spurs.

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