Why Supporting Your Local Soccer Team is Outdated

 Why Supporting Your Local Soccer Team is Outdated

In a perfect world, we all support our local professional soccer team. Not only do we support them, but we go see them play during the home games. We buy their merchandise and we follow them til the day we die. But I believe that idea is antiquated and undemocratic. Let me explain why.

After the recent Philadelphia Union game against Manchester United, readers on this site who were Manchester United supporters living in America were chastised by both Union and United fans for being supporters of the Red Devils. Union fans complained that the United supporters in the States should support their local MLS team. And the Man United supporters in England said the same thing too.

But who sets these rules? We all know that most of the Manchester United supporters in England don’t live in Manchester. So, should these supporters follow only their local team and be “forbidden” from supporting United? And for soccer fans living in the United States, is it fair that they should only support their local MLS team when they may not feel a bond with that team, may not live near them or may not see them on television that often? After all, in the case of Manchester United, the Red Devils are on television far more often than your average MLS side.

The reason that the old adage that ‘you should support your local team’ is out-of-date is because it doesn’t consider globalization. Nowadays, we may feel a closer affinity to a team, no matter what the sport, that is thousands of miles away because we see them on our television sets that are eight feet in front of us at all times. Whether you live in England, the United States or anywhere around the world, many of you probably support different teams from different countries and leagues. As just one example, Tyler Bleszinski, the founder of SB Nation, supports AS Roma, Oakland Athletics and New Jersey Devils. Each of those teams are thousands of miles away from each other.

I believe that it’s undemocratic for sports fans to be expected that they should support only their local team. It’s almost like a fascist regime that dictates what you can and cannot do. What if you born in Newcastle, a deeply passionate city, but you despise Mike Ashley, the owner of the club? Even though you disagree with the way he runs his business, do you have a choice? Obviously you do, but if you believe most people who insist that you should only support your local team, you have little choice for the rest of your life.

Just because you were lucky to be born and live near your team doesn’t give supporters a right to chastise everyone else around the world who supports that same team. Because you live closer to your team doesn’t make you a better and more knowledgeable supporter. A fan who lives in Lexington, Kentucky or Melbourne, Australia may be a much better supporter of your club and know more about them than you do.

And what’s supposed to happen to people like me who grow up supporting a team but then move away? When I grew up in Wales, I chose Swansea City as the team I supported not because they were the closest, because they were, because I fell in love with the club during their meteoric rise from the lower divisions to the top of the English football pyramid system. But because there were my local team, it was easier for me to see them. Most of my friends in Wales, however, supported other teams such as Manchester United and Leeds United. And they still do so until this day.

But when I moved to the United States when I was a teenager, was I supposed to leave my allegiances to Swansea City at the border? No matter what I was supposed to do, I still support Swansea and they’re still my favorite team. I’m quite a traditionalist in many ways, so while living in South Florida, I ended up supporting the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and, later, the Miami Fusion and – now – Miami FC. But for those MLS supporters who believe I should follow and support Major League Soccer, what is the connection that I have? None. I live 1,000 miles away from my nearest MLS team. So should I put on a DC United jersey and support them even though I have not one connection with Washington DC?

I understand that it’s important to support local soccer because otherwise how can local soccer survive if we’re all watching overseas clubs? But the reality for local teams, especially in Major League Soccer, is that they’re not competing with local markets anymore. They’re competing with globalization. So if they want to get butts on the seats in their stadium, they need to market their teams differently. Local allegiances are decreasing as globalization gets stronger and stronger. Why go see your local team play inferior soccer when you can see the best-of-the-best from around the world on your TV set?

The other argument I hear quite often that I find amusing is when people argue that how can fans of a club really be fans when they have never been to the club’s home ground? It’s a weak argument in my opinion because if we all had the money to do so, I’m sure we would all visit our club’s home ground as much as we would like. While it’s a dream of most supporters to go see their club play a home match in person, it’s impossible. With Manchester United, the estimates are that they have more than 330 million fans around the world. Old Trafford is a massive stadium but the club would have to play more than 4,000 home matches in a row and herd in a different 76,212 fans into each game to reach close to that number. Season ticket holders may be a little upset at this quandary.

So my argument is this. Go support your local soccer team, but don’t feel ashamed if you also support a team that is hundreds or thousands of miles away from you. In this day and age where we consume entertainment from around the world, we should not be told what we can or cannot do. We’ll support different teams for different reasons. Those reasons won’t always be because the team is the best. We’re not all gloryhunters. And for those English football fans that laugh in our faces because we pick teams, just ignore them. They don’t understand. The same applies to fans of MLS teams.

Support whatever teams you want and love them for your own reasons.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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171 Responses to Why Supporting Your Local Soccer Team is Outdated

  1. Johnny says:

    Good post. Especially for a teenage Liverpool fan living in CT, like myself. Who hasn’t been to Anfield.

    • Your missing the Point says:

      “Manchester United supporters living in America were chastised by both Union and United fans for being supporters of the Red Devils. Union fans complained that the United supporters in the States should support their local MLS team. And the Man United supporters in England said the same thing too.” Duh obviously it isnt outdated listen to the masses what more do you need?

  2. Dools says:

    I live in Massachusetts. Manchester United got me into football in the first place when my family from England sent over countless United books and gear. But I also support the MLS Revs and hold a season ticket to the USL Development League Western MA Pioneers. While I try hard not to miss a United match, we still need to support soccer at a grassroots level over here so the game can continue growing.

    • Well done Dools, this is what overseas fans should be doing, by all means support a Prem team but don’t forget that supporting your local team is important, especially in a country like America where the game is still growing and looking to survive
      Good on you.

  3. Chris McQuade says:

    If I had to watch my local team i’d be watching 22 thugs kicking each other for a hundred pounds a week. Surrounded by sectarian skinheads and stanley knives.

  4. Smokey Bacon says:

    This is only acceptable if a) you have no local team b) when you pick a team you stick with them and c) you go see your team play at home at least once. Otherwise you are nothing but the worst kind of football fan…..the glory hunter.

    • Pyrooo says:

      I live in New York. I support the Red Bulls, I’ve been to a few games, but I’m Liverpool through and through, and always have been. I’m also a college student; I can’t afford to travel to England for a match. You have the nerve to call me a glory hunter?!

      • Smokey Bacon says:

        Fair point, apart from one lucky champions league, you missed all the glory by about 25 years :)

      • Sigil says:

        Yeah, I would. through and through is hard to do when you’ve never been there. it’s a whole different level of connection. You’re willing to dettle for higher physical quality in exchange for greater detachment. I support Tottenham, but i’ve never seen them. I’d root for the Dynamo over Spurs in a heartbeat, because they’re my team, I support them. I see them. Met one or two. It’s tangible.

    • E says:

      I agree. For me to go to old trafford was almost about proving that I really cared about united.

  5. tk says:

    most of the players are not from the cities they’re playing for in europe either, so as a fan, i have to support my compatriot or whatever team that plays the best football that i can enjoy watching

  6. Marc says:

    I have been a Man United supporter since the 95-96 season. Since I have no local team to support I will be United til I die.
    LUHG

    • Peter says:

      Where are you from then if you have no local team?

      • Marc says:

        I live in Upsate NY. Five hours away from NY City by car. So I don’t consider the Red Bulls my local team. A few years ago Syracuse, which is an hour by car, had a second division team in the USL. I did attend a some of those mathces.

        • Dave C says:

          The cynic in me would wonder what made you a Man Utd supporter? Did your family have roots in Manchester? Is your mum/dad a fan?

          • Marc says:

            No Dave no roots from Manchester. I was always a soccer fan and would watch it whenever I could find it on the TV. But back in the mid 90′s it was hard to come by. In 95-96 my local sports network started to show the weekly EPL highlihghts show. Even that was hard to catch because it was on diffrent days and hours every week. English football was brand new to me. I don’t know why I picked Man United. I think it was because they went on a great run that year to chase down Newcastle. Every week I couldn’t wait to watch the 3-4 minute highlights of their match to see if they took any points, or if Newcastle lost any. Remember it was before the internet so it was hard to get the scores back then. So call me a golry hunter or bandwagoner if you wish I don’t care. My love is with Man United. LUHG

  7. jeneria says:

    I’ve been a Liverpool supporter since 1990 (when I was 14). I grew up in Montana. We didn’t even have high school soccer until 1992, let alone any sort of professional team. By the rules of community support, I am not allowed to watch any professional sport since Montana has no professional teams in any sport. I could only support development teams in developmental leagues.

    The support your local team is great when you live in a country where every town has a team of some sort. That rule simply doesn’t apply in the US when the nearest pro team might be 12 hours away (when I lived in Montana, the nearest MLS team in 1996 would have been the Colorado Rapids, still 12 hours away by car; now it’s Salt Lake at a mere 10.5 hours).

  8. CTBlues says:

    Gaffer,

    I agree with you for the most part. I live in CT and support Chelsea first and the Redbulls second, but in this country the leagues tell you who to support really. By most games being regional broadcasts you are forced to watch teams in your area unless you want to pay for the expensive sports packages like NFL Sunday Ticket if you have DirecTV, MLB Extra Innings, ect. It was torture back when the Yankees first creates the YES Network and Cablevision wouldn’t add it. I was only able to watch Yankee games on Friday when the game was on CBS, Saturdays if the game was Fox or ESPN if the game was on Sunday Night Baseball.

    • soonerscotty says:

      CTBlues, I have to respectfully disagree. Having done most of my growing up in the 80s I have loads and loads of friends who support either the Chicago Cubs or Atlanta Braves because those were the two baseball teams shown on fledgling cable. On WGN and WTBS respectively.

      Yes, today we’re limited by the monopolies the leagues have but, back in the day we weren’t.

      • CTBlues says:

        soonerscotty,

        I remember when the Braves were on TBS. I actually have friends that are Brave fans because they were alwaysing winning in the early 90′s and were nationaly broadcast. But the Braves were the only out of market team avalible on TV in CT. We only get the Yankees, Mets, and just got the Redsox again beacuse Cablevision wouldn’t add NESN. As for football we get the Jets on WCBS and the Patriots on the CT CBS affilate, and we get the Giants on Fox.

  9. adrian says:

    most of the people who follow man utd,liverpool,chelsea,liverpool etc are not fans, they’re just glory hunter’s. if these teams were in the lower division’s they would’nt be following them. they watch football on the telly and just follow the teams winning.

    • Duke says:

      Be careful with your sweeping generalizations.

      I’m a Chelsea fan because watching Chelsea is what got me interested in the sport. I knew nothing of the Premier League, the Champion’s League, or the standings. Watching a team play the sport at the highest level got me interested, and after a while, with no conscious decision on my part, I found myself rooting for Chelsea.

      I have since started to follow other leagues, and will root for my “hometown” Chicago Fire. But I’m a fan of a big four team because watching them turned me in to a fan, not for any “glory hunting.” If they get relegated, I’ll do my best to follow them from here – I don’t know if you can get Championship matches in the States – but to accuse me of being less of a fan because of circumstances beyond my knowledge or control is petty.

    • kelly says:

      i never really liked soccer until i got a chance to watch the epl on the fox soccer channel when it got added to my cable lineup. i then noticed a level of play that i never saw trying to watch a mls game. i then became an arsenal fan because they were being played a lot, plus nick hornby is my favorite author and i read/watched fever pitch.

      but about only being a glory hunter i’ve always thought this, if people in england ever wanted to follow a baseball team do you think they would pick the kansas city royals or pittsburgh pirates? i doubt that. they would pick the yankees or red sox.

      i’m a sports fan that has always stuck to his team and not had much to ever show for it. baseball is my favorite sport and my astros are the oldest team never to win the world series, and they keep getting worse. i just had to see their 2 best players traded to better teams. one to the damn yankees today.

      if i really wanted to be a glory hunter why didn’t i picked man u? my friend told me i’ve been a jinx because since i became an arsenal fan they haven’t won a single trophy. but every year i write down each of their games on my calendar watch all of the ones that come on the fox soccer channel.

      so i’m sorry i’m not a fan of the closest mls team, the premiere league is 1000 times better than mls. and it’s what got me into this sport and i’ll always be an arsenal fan.

      • IanCransonsKnees says:

        In that case you’ll know that Nick Hornby is a gloryhunter, forgoing his local team Reading, to latch onto the Arsenal bandwagon.

        • kelly says:

          ok true, but what i was saying was because of fever pitch that was the reason i picked arsenal. hell if green street hooligans came out a few years before it did i’d probably be a west ham fan. and god knows that would have fit with all the lack of success i’ve had with my pro teams here.

          and i also still stand with my statement that it’s kinda like if people outside of america started watching baseball they would pull for the yankees, red sox or cubs just because they are the biggest teams that they know.

          but i do understand the gripe people have with fans just picking the winner. you have no idea how many times i’ve gone to an astros game when they play the cubs and they are more cubs fans there. it’s annoying. and if i grew up in england or somewhere else where the level of play was really good then i would follow my local team. just like i do for my teams here in houston. since day one i’ve followed arsenal, bought multiple shirts and jerseys just hoping for them to win their first title since i’ve been a fan. i even set my alarm this morning to make sure i woke up in time to watch their pre-season match today. just wanting to get a glimpse of the team before the season starts in a couple of weeks.

        • kelly says:

          and in case you were wondering, if the day came that they did ever get relegated, yes i would still follow them. even though i wouldn’t get to see them on tv. i would hopefully find some way to watch them online. because i already watch the ones they don’t play on tv on my computer anyway.

        • Perry says:

          Have you actually read Fever Pitch? Hornby became a fan at age 11 or 12 in the late 60s, when they hadn’t won anything in ages, because Highbury happened to be the first place his father (who no longer lived with the family) took him to a game. He goes into great detail about the appeal of exotic cosmopolitan North London to a rootless-feeling white suburban boy, and of the surly, miserable Arsenal fans to a chronic depressive with father issues. His Arsenal fandom had nothing to do with glory hunting or a bandwagon.

          • Perry says:

            Sorry, the above was directed at IanCransonsKnees, not Kelly.

          • IanCransonsKnees says:

            Balls. It’s gloryhunting pure and simple. To have a club on your doorstep and to pass it over for the bigger team is exactly that. The chance of attaching yourself to glory by following Liverpool, Man Utd , Chelsea or Arsenal is far greater than following Reading, Swansea, Rochdale, Fulham, Stoke etc. And believe me, it’s not the fans of the minnows that are missing out.

      • I Trust Severus Snape says:

        “if people in england ever wanted to follow a baseball team do you think they would pick the kansas city royals or pittsburgh pirates? i doubt that. they would pick the yankees or red sox.”

        You bring up a good point here. The most sensible reason for this would be TV. In the UK, the most popular team NFL teams are the Patriots, Dolphins, 49ers, Cowboys…pretty much the biggest teams of the ’80s,’90s and ’00s, who commanded the biggest presences in the league during their respective heydays. It’s the same way with EPL; of course many foreign viewers are going to root for the big clubs, for they command the biggest presence on American broadcasts of EPL games (of course, I became a fan of Sunderland after watching a rare appearance by the Black Cats on any network that wasn’t Fox Soccer Channel or FS-Plus). It is because I caught an EPL game on ESPN that I even have an interest in the sport at all, which subsequently got me interested in my local club. In countries such as the US, where footy isn’t the dominant sport and it’s not always on TV, success of foreign leagues such as EPL is important to make the sport popular enough for there to even be successful local clubs.

  10. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    Live in Indianapolis, support Seattle Sounders. Never been to Seattle. Deal with it!

  11. Irate Fan says:

    You’ve justified your fandom of a foreign club which is great. But I take issue with this point:
    “Just because you were lucky to be born and live near your team doesn’t give supporters a right to chastise everyone else around the world who supports that same team. Because you live closer to your team doesn’t make you a better and more knowledgeable supporter. A fan who lives in Lexington, Kentucky or Melbourne, Australia may be a much better supporter of your club and know more about them than you do.”
    Reading books and buying merchandise doesn’t make you a Geordie, or a Scouser, or a Mancunian, it makes you a tourist, no more than buying an American flag makes you an American. I might know more about U.S history than you do, but if I went into a bar in NY and tried to talk and act like a local, I’d be laughed at. Admiring a big football club is all good and I can appreciate that, but don’t insult it by saying you’re a better fan than the people who have had their local team in their blood for decades through thick and thin, that a local derby could mean more to you than it does to the communities that live for it because you read about it in a book.

    • aol says:

      No one said they were a better fan than locals point blank. They said there can be people who live in the same city as the team who don’t know anything about the team and who barely follow it. Living in the US, I have seen how many people ALL OF A SUDDEN are great Chicago Blackhawks fans because they won a hockey title even though 3/4 of them never watched a game until this year.

      The key for me is knowing your place in line. It gets annoying when bandwagon fans parade around like they are a teams’ #1 fan when they win something when they weren’t seen suffering through losses or weren’t there until they won a title.

      I will add…I’m always trying to get friends, my brother, etc to get into the game as a whole whenever ESPN of Fox Sports is showing a good game. The thing is, that means that the only teams they are going to see are either the top teams in the Champions League or usually the best matchups from the Premier League. They usually will recognize a few players and then see a quality game, so they are definitely going to be more drawn to teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, and so on.

      • Irate Fan says:

        Yea I mean christ my Girlfriend is from New York, and I get it all about the Mets and the Jets! The article is fine, I just took issue with that particular point and the provocative title “Supporting your local team is outdated” coming from a Man U fan in the U.S, that’s all. Of course people that are new to the game are going to pick up the Galacticos or the Chelskis of the world, and that’s great for football and great for entertainment, but when you start criticising fans of local teams, you miss the point of team sport in the first place.

        • This One Guy in Detroit says:

          “when you start criticising fans of local teams, you miss the point of team sport in the first place.”

          Exactly. The team is called Manchester United for a reason, after all. Team sports are, by definition, about geography. They are rooted in sense of place and the accompanying loyalty that engenders.

          Otherwise we could just call a team AIG United, or whatever other arbitrary distinction we want to slap on, and be done with it. There would be no need for names that declare, “We are who we are because of where we are.”

          That’s not to say outsiders can’t hop aboard and find their own reasons to support a particular team (although those reasons often still involve geography in some way;- consider Americans who follow Fulham or Monchengladbach, for instance). But they will never have the same claim on the club that the locals have — any of the locals — simply by virtue of what a team is to begin with.

          Globalization may bring us a day of truly borderless teams. Until that time, the entity called “Manchester United” is still, ultimately, about the place called “Manchester” more than anything else.

          • Keith says:

            Maybe in the days when the players were from there…
            Now the owners & the players come from every corner of the globe.
            Why shouldn’t the fans?

            Didn’t ManU buy Rooney from Everton, which is in Liverpool? (Yikes!)

            When say the good people of Manchester bind together & buy the team from their present non-British owners & train up players from the surrounding area then they will be about the place of Manchester & talk about keeping everybody else out.

            & if you think for a minute that MU, ACM, RM, Barca, Chelsea or any other club for that matter doesn’t want fans globally, you’re a nut case or you had too many headers at a young age.
            You would actually be stunting the growth of “your” team!!!

            Go to any city in the USA, you’ll see somebody wearing a hated Dallas Cowboys shirt, the Cowboys, their fans, Jerry Jones himself & the NFL loves it, because it means MONEY!!!

          • This One Guy in Detroit says:

            “Now the owners & the players come from every corner of the globe. Why shouldn’t the fans?”

            I think you posted in the wrong sub-thread here. This sub-thread is about people criticizing local fans. Nobody said fans couldn’t hail from every corner of the globe. In fact, we’ve all said the opposite.

          • This One Guy in Detroit says:

            (This comment exists only to nudge the previous one out of hiding.)

        • The Gaffer says:

          Irate Fan, if you’re aiming the comment at me, then you obviously didn’t read the post because I’m not a Manchester United supporter. And I’m not criticizing fans of local teams.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • This One Guy in Detroit says:

            I guess we’ve all been carelessly using the phrase “criticize local fans.” It’s more like “downplaying some local fans.” But I guess you didn’t really do that either.

            I think the point Irate Fan was making, and which I was agreeing with, is that when it comes down to it, nobody has more of a claim to a club than the locals. Yes, someone from elsewhere can be more knowledgeable, in the “book smart” kind of way. But that still doesn’t make them a more worthy fan than someone who lives in (or hails from) the club’s actual home. Because that home is the whole point of team sports to begin with.

          • Irate Fan says:

            I took issue with your specific point about “better fans” being abroad because of knowledge alone, and that we who live here are being ignorant. Most of my American friends picked a team and went for it, and I respect them for getting into the sport we love. However, you suggest that supporting a local team is outdated, and that globalization is the answer, ignoring the origins of club football in the first place. I will gladly sing along with a foreign Toon fan, however once the game is over, I will go to my local pub with my local language and discuss the game with the community along with other issues like jobs and politics, whilst the other guy will go back to his hotel and continue his holiday.

            This I have no problem with, but when somebody turns up with the latest merchandise and insinuating he is a worthier fan by quoting historical facts, I lose my respect for that person. This One Guy In Detroit hits the nail on the head: “Nobody has more of a claim to a club than the locals”. This is not a point of arrogance, it’s a simple fact. Like I say, I can respect and admire the U.S, even visit if money allows, but I’ll never claim to be more American than average Joe, and I can live with that.

        • King Eric says:

          If you’re a true United supporter, please don’t call them or refer to them as “Man U.” Go read up about it. The term derived from opposing fans after the Munich disaster who would use it to insult the team. Only use United, Man. United, Manchester United, Red Devils, etc.

  12. Tampa Stick says:

    I was born near London and got taken to my first game in 1974. It was Chelsea v Luton. I supported Chelsea since. I moved to Tampa in 2008 and was delighted to follow Chelsea around the US last year. This year is the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USSF D-2 first season. I am a season ticket holder, been to all the home games, 4 away games (with 3 more to go) and attended watch parties for the other games. I’ve met a lot of new friends and enjoy the Interstate banter between us and Miami FC. Chelsea will always be number 1, but I am supporting my local soccer team. Go Rowdies.

  13. Jon says:

    Well I live in MN so not much luck with local teams (closest MLS teams are Chicago or Kansas City – both at least 7 hours). The 1st professional team I learned about was Manchester United and I’ve been a supporter ever since. I am sure most people would call me a glory hunter but now that I have followed them for almost a decade I will be their supporter no matter if they keep winning titles or if they go bankrupt and head down a couple divisions.
    Being from the US I also want to support the MLS but have had trouble staying interested since there is no team near me. So last year when the Sounders came into the league I “picked” them as my team, they entered the league the same time I started to follow it more. It has really helped increase my interest in the league and I would recommend it to US fans who don’t have a local team, pick Portland or Vancouver or Montreal who are starting up in the next couple years and follow them.
    Now would I say I am as diehard as season ticket holders at Man United or Seattle? Of course not but that is simply a matter of proximity. It doesn’t mean I don’t follow the teams extremely closely and take their wins or losses to heart. And if I ever move closer to one of them I will attend every game I possibly can.

    • njndirish says:

      http://www.nscminnesota.org/

      You have a local team, it is just not MLS

      • Jon says:

        I have been to some Thunder games over the years. The new team that replaced them is sponsored by a sports complex. Hard for me to get motivated to drive an hour to see a random new USL team play.

        • njndirish says:

          The club is pretty much the same because it was ended and then with the advent of NASL it was created again with a new name. If you ever get a chance though go and see your closest PDL, NPSL side if they are closer than the stars. It’s like what the English FA is planning on September 4. Only non-league matches are that weekend and they are making a push for people to go see nonleague matches.

          • HaggsTheRed says:

            But njndirish, you are missing the point – I’ve lived in Minnesota my entire life and at times I’ve lived over 5 hours away from Blaine and the NSC. I’ve had about a 30 year relationship with my club, Manchester United, because of family ties to the club. When I get to a 30 year relationship with the Thunder/NSC Stars I’ll have over a half a century love affair with United. That will always trump my local club. Period.

  14. Gareth says:

    For me, in an odd way, Manchester United WAS my local team. When I was living in NYC, the local cable station owned by the Yankees would show tape-delayed United matches. Only United matches. So I became accustomed to see them on a weekly basis. I came to think of them as “my” team.

    When we moved to the Kansas City area, I kept watching United. I do support the Wizards, and attend regular matches, but I’m also still a United supporter. I finally got to see United play last weekend — a dream come true — when they played here in KC.

    I wore my United jersey, but my KC scarf (and my wife was opposite, KC jersey and United scarf) — and as much as a thrill as it was to see Giggs, Scholes, Nani, et. al. play live in my local stadium…. I have to admit it was even more thrilling watching my local team beat United 2-1, a man down.

    So, a hearty “HELL YES” for your post. We live in a global society. (Or rather, some of us are lucky to live that way) Cross-continent (or even cross-planet) support is not a crime.

  15. rej4sl says:

    As an expat Brit I support Man Utd. but my local side would have been Stoke City – I have been to Stoke City games when a little kid and now support them as my second team. My partner from the U.S. supports Man Utd. he started when I came over …. before that he went to Minnesota Kicks games. We would have gone to Minnesota Thunder team games but they moved to Blaine and now are gone sadly. Give us a franchise here in Minnesota and we will gladly support them as a 3rd team and go to games.

  16. Alan Knut says:

    Back in 1997, as a 13-year-old, I bought FIFA ’97 and I chose Manchester City as the team I played all of my games with and I did so with each following version of FIFA until 2000 when I started to follow the team regularly via the Internet. Then I started being able to see more and more games via cable and the internet and I became further indoctrinated as a City fan. I will follow that team anywhere, I don’t know why, but I will. I have always felt terrible after a loss and great after a win.

    I am from Seattle, and we have had the Sounders as a professional team for some time. The Sounders played most of their games a ways out of Seattle, they were never on TV, never on radio, had no marketing, and most people didn’t realize they were a professional team. Now that there is a team named Sounders in MLS the town has gone soccer crazy. But I feel nothing for the team. I watch every game on TV and I am close enough to attend every gam and I hope that they win every game, but I don’t feel sick to my stomach after they lose a big match. The Sounders just didn’t choose me in the same way City chose me all of those years. My affinity for City grows every day.

    • TR1 says:

      I really think it is okay to have favorite teams around the world, but, if you have an MLS side in your neighborhood, I think you should attend games and support them. All sides started at the MLS level, and live soccer is true soccer, not TV.

  17. Sandy says:

    I for the most part disagree with your premise that one shouldn’t be bound to support a local team if they have one. I was born and raised in Philadelphia and it would be unthinkable that a team other than my Phillies, Eagles and Flyers would ever be more than my second favorite team to root for. Of course, if one lives far from any team at the highest level (say in Montana or Nebraska or something) then by all means they should have their choice of teams based on which one they feel the greatest connection with.

    Regarding soccer (sorry but the NFL plays football for me) we only got an MLS team just this year. I plan on seeing a Union game when I’m in town and wish them all the best but I’ve already got an English team. I think Americans (or any other foreigners) should have the leeway to support whatever EPL team they like since it is undoubtedly better quality than the brand of soccer played in the MLS or anywhere else. I myself am a devoted Villa fan, and I find it disappointing that something like 95 percent of American fans of EPL support Utd/Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool or now Man City. I think this speaks more to the biggest problem with European soccer today (the huge salary inequalities which mean that those are the only clubs with a chance of winning the title or playing in the CL anytime soon – though Spurs are an exception this year) than it’s an indictment of bandwagoners or glory hunters, but as someone who carefully researched the history and prospects of a number of clubs it disappoints me that most people flock to the winners and pretend to have some meaningful connection with them in particular.

  18. roll says:

    love UNITED since i was 8 in 1998 & always will be…all i have to say about mls is that they’re not serious

    • This One Guy in Detroit says:

      Uh, in what sense is MLS “not serious”? I know you already said that’s all you have to say, but I say it would be nice if you’d say some more.

      • roll says:

        the designated player rule & buying players that are past their prime…mls is becoming like football leagues in the middle east were players go to retire & get some oil money cuz they’re famous footballers (beckham to mls)

        • This One Guy in Detroit says:

          “the designated player rule & buying players that are past their prime…”

          Sorry, you still haven’t explained how that, or anything else, makes MLS “not serious.”

          Your definition of “serious” would be helpful, for starters. And describing how MLS could meet that definition would help even more.

        • This One Guy in Detroit says:

          My name is This One Guy in Detroit. The purpose of this comment is to force my previously posted comment to actually appear. It may be ignored, even deleted, upon the appearance of that comment, which begins with a quotation of roll: “the designated player rule…”

        • njndirish says:

          So I take it Montero (Colombia), Álvaro Fernández (World Cup Semi-Finalist), Nery Castillo (Mexico), Najar (Honduras), Roger Torres (Colombia), and LA’s 3 Brazilian youngsters, all were brought here because they are past their prime.

          If MLS wanted to be like those league, there would be no cap, no international player limits, and they would actually spend money (Not one DP has every been bought) on transfers rather than wait for a release/loan.

          But why bother learning about something when you can just type whatever you want and it is a fact.

          • zzz says:

            Uh, all of these players are overrated and from no-name leagues in obscure countries. They aren’t even fit to wipe Ferguson’s arse. The only truly noted players in the MLS e.g. Beckham, Henry, Ljungberg et all, are way past their prime and are has-beens, like it or not. Sorry to break it to you, but MLS sucks and is the joke of world football. Which serious league would employ a wage cap and uh, a draft, what the hell?

          • njndirish says:

            Wow, you just came across as a media nonthing. Throwing players you never heard of under a bus and then saying the only good players are players only you have heard of. Stay Classy.

            As for the wage cap. It keeps the league safe from financial disaster and overspending and sinking in a debt the size of Texas. As for the draft, American culture which helps maintain league balance. But we shouldn’t want that. We should want the same damn teams winning trophies every year.

          • This One Guy in Detroit says:

            “Uh, all of these players are overrated and from no-name leagues in obscure countries. … The only truly noted players …”

            This is hilarious. It’s a completely self-contained circular argument. “Because I watch only Leagues X, Y and Z, I know and respect only the players from those leagues. Because MLS does not have those players, I will not watch MLS.”

            It’s just so ridiculous. There are like three or four people around here capable of delivering a cogent, coherent argument, and I’m pretty sure all of them are on the MLS side.

            Here’s a little hint: There are ways to defend your lack of interest in MLS that don’t include all this twisted logic and half-baked thinking.

          • zzz says:

            C’mon, which sorta “serious league” has absolutely NO relegation/promotion and has no intention of doing so in the future? There is no passion and nothing at stake even if a team were to lose all their matches – they won’t get relegated – and no passion if a team would get promoted from the lower divisions – cause hey, they aren’t FRANCHISES. All these MLS teams are nothing but no-name franchises which can change their name and so-called locale if they move for obvious FRANCHISE reasons. But hey, why I am telling you guys this right, you know nothing of this passion, of promotion/relegation or even winning. These FRANCHISES have no history and are younger than most pets– and you seriously expect the rest of the world to give a damn? Hahaha, I hope you enjoy living in denial for the rest of your lives.

          • zzz says:

            Re:false Irish dude– my original comment about these players are totally correct, as what have these guys ever proved in the WORLD stage, apart from being no-name losers? Even one of the players you so proudly mention (lol), Nery Castillo was an abject, total failure not only in England but even in a sub-standard league like Ukraine. The rest have done nothing individually on a world stage, and what happens when most MLS players try to play in Europe? They end up being totally outclassed and are just one of the many half-decent, overrated rejects who return to MLS, heads covered in shame.

            Also, doesn’t that company, Anschutz Entertainment Group own five or six MLS teams? Which “serious league” condones this sort of shameless monopoly? Oh right, I forgot I was talking about MLS and lifeless FRANCHISES, not clubs. Forgive me for wasting five minutes of my life talking about this BS.

          • njndirish says:

            zzz no research again I see
            “C’mon, which sorta “serious league” has absolutely NO relegation/promotion and has no intention of doing so in the future? ”
            Australia, India, Japan have all recently converted to non-relegation because the leagues were financially insolvent. This means that the leagues which had been established in the last 25 years were collapsing because there was no consistent investment by owners. I mean who would want to invest in something unless there is the likelyhood of success rather than being cut off from the money? Promotion and relegation work in some countries because that’s the way they’ve done in for a century, it doesn’t work in installing a modern league system because of the money that can be lost.

            “There is no passion and nothing at stake even if a team were to lose all their matches – they won’t get relegated – and no passion if a team would get promoted from the lower divisions – cause hey, they aren’t FRANCHISES. All these MLS teams are nothing but no-name franchises which can change their name and so-called locale if they move for obvious FRANCHISE reasons. But hey, why I am telling you guys this right, you know nothing of this passion, of promotion/relegation or even winning. These FRANCHISES have no history and are younger than most pets– and you seriously expect the rest of the world to give a damn? Hahaha, I hope you enjoy living in denial for the rest of your lives.”

            I guess Red Sox fans have no passion because they support a FRANCHISE. I guess Cubs, Browns, Rangers, Blackhawks, and Celtics fans have no passion either. I guess we know nothing about sporting passion because a likely gloryhunter is telling us so. Just because I’m a “Yank” doesn’t mean I know nothing about your precious sport that no one else should play. Wow you really come across as a xenophobe

            “Re:false Irish dude– my original comment about these players are totally correct, as what have these guys ever proved in the WORLD stage, apart from being no-name losers? Even one of the players you so proudly mention (lol), Nery Castillo was an abject, total failure not only in England but even in a sub-standard league like Ukraine. The rest have done nothing individually on a world stage, and what happens when most MLS players try to play in Europe? They end up being totally outclassed and are just one of the many half-decent, overrated rejects who return to MLS, heads covered in shame.”

            I want you to look at the ages of all the players. Most are under the ripe old age of 20. So have they done anything on your “World Stage” no. Have they been called up to their national teams? Yes. Has even one of them played in the World Cup 2010 semifinal? yes (That’s more world cup semifinalist representation than most clubs in England) Also congrats on Castillo being a failure in England, so was Forlan and Robinho, those are some mediocre players right? As for the MLS players who ventured overseas:
            Please pull up a list and see where all of them are and how many of them start weekly. If you can only think of Altidore and Adu as examples, there are about 25 for each one of them who has had a decent if not successful European career. I love your strawman techniques though, they continually reinforce your circular logic, please explain where you learned how to troll like this.

            “Also, doesn’t that company, Anschutz Entertainment Group own five or six MLS teams? Which “serious league” condones this sort of shameless monopoly? Oh right, I forgot I was talking about MLS and lifeless FRANCHISES, not clubs. Forgive me for wasting five minutes of my life talking about this BS.”

            AEG used to own many of the clubs to save the league from insolvency in its 6th year of existence. This prevented soccer in America from collapsing, but what do I know, I’m only an American. Please go to any MLS club walk into their supporters and tell them that their team is lifeless. Please do.

            I’m sorry for wasting your oh so important time, I guess there was another place for you to troll.

  19. Dave says:

    I live in Minnesota. I wasn’t alive for the Strykers or the Kicks. And I supported the Thunder as a hometown team. But that will never compare with my passion as an Everton fan. I’ve never been to Liverpool, and I won’t pretend that I know more than a local Toffees fan. But I would never be able to have the same passion or excitement about an MLS team even if we had one. The quality is inferior. I’d go to games and cheer my ass off but it’s not the same. If I could I’d be at Goodison for every game.

  20. [OPTI]Madschester United says:

    I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, and 1992 European championship was what got me addicted to summer — and Schmeichel. I played goalkeeper ever since and copied Schmeichel’s mannerisms. Every Saturday in Denmark we had “Tips Lørdag” (Gambling Saturday) where they showed one game from Premier League. With Schmeichel at United, my younger brother and I became Manchester United fan(atic)s. My mother brought me back a Manchester United victor’s Rumbelow Cup pin from her trip to London in 1992. Then in 1994, I joined her and we brought back some Manchester United scarves. From then it snowballed. We subscribed to Manchester United magazine from 1994-1998, got fake chinese jerseys with Giggs and followed all their games on TV (especially champions league) or newspaper/magazine. In 1999 Manchester United etched their emblem onto my heart with the Treble.

    I moved to the US in 2000 and lost two years of United due to a lack of TV/Internet options and not knowing which channels to get. It was not until 2002 that I found out about ESPN champions league and FSC and since then I have missed very very few games.

    I was a big fan of FC Copenhagen and attended most of their games in Parken (including the memorable Cup Winners Cup against Chelsea) but after moving to the US, I lost my interest in danish soccer (outside of the national team). In Denmark, we looked down on USA soccer, mainly due to the fact that USA’s world cup qualification is too easy and MLS has no divisions with promotion/relegation and players are traded as opposed to cash transfers.

    I live 2 hours from Columbus Crew but could care less for their product. I am entirely devoted to Manchester United and would watch FC Copenhagen if I could. But the MLS, I have never cared about and I do not think I will ever care for it. Nonetheless, Manchester United coming to USA did help lower my disdain towards MLS and I respected the abilities of Kansas and Philly but I cannot put my allegiance behind a machine such as an MLS team. They seem so artificial and the without the prospect of relegation, I have trouble finding out what motivates owners to improve their teams.

    Now I am in love with Manchester United and battling it out with the Glazers. I cannot drop my season tickets like other responsible fans, but I can still boycott merchandise and US Tour tickets.

    Manchester United is my local team. It is very near to my heart.

    • This One Guy in Detroit says:

      “… I cannot put my allegiance behind a machine such as an MLS team. They seem so artificial …”

      The funniest thing about a remark like this is that when it comes to day-to-day existence, the typical MLS team is far more organic and real than any of the world’s major football behemoths. For instance: Minus the occasional Beckham or whoever, the players literally live among their fans. They are part of the community in a way that no multimillionaire star is or can be.

      What’s “artificial,” in fact, is wishing for a league to adopt arbitrary trappings (like promotion/relegation) that aren’t actually part of the culture it exists in. This is America, MLS is an American league, and it looks like one. That’s as authentic as it gets.

      You can be as devoted to the Manchester United “product” all you want, but you might want to reexamine your ideas about artificial machinery before you start looking silly.

      • [OPTI]Madschester United says:

        MLS Organic. You should ease off the MLS kool-aid. The MLS have individual businessmen owners who work together to maximize profits under the MLS banner. Each owner placed their team in cities where they would have most success based on a stone-cold business model — the only organic aspect to the MLS is the soccerball. The MLS season is conveniently placed in the summer to avoid competing against the more popular NBA and NFL — why? Because that way they make more money. The players make pennies in the MLS and are forced to live among the fans — the NBA and NFL players live in mansions far away from their fans.

        Aren’t MLS players drafted from universities across the country? So MLS teams are not exactly community products are they?

        As you mentioned elsewhere, the MLS system is American and follows the franchise model set by the NFL and NBA. Of course, this means that teams will move cities if the going gets tough — ask Houston Oilers fans about this ;) I am sure other will agree that clubs (re)starting /ending their existence instantaneously is not organic.

        If you want truly organic, you should allow for true competition. The European systems usually extend over all ranks from the lowliest village amateur teams to the nation’s top professional teams. Allow the best USL team to compete in the MLS – it kinda happened with Seattle Sounders, unfortunately, their inclusion was based on financial performance and not on-field performance. Let the worst MLS team play in the USL 1st div. Let the best USL 2nd div team compete in the USL 1st div, etc… I actually think this will happen eventually as the USL already have a 1st and 2nd division set up and the MLS is making more and more money.

        I actually prefer the USL to the MLS but as time goes on the MLS will get bigger and bigger and eventually split into two MLS divisions and then I am sure the USL will become part of the MLS umbrella. Then all they have to do is get rid of the awful playoff system… why win the league over an entire season when you still have to prove yourself in the playoffs… let the cup have the play-off focus and let the league be. Ah, I can dream.

    • njndirish says:

      What motivates the owner to improve the club is to stop losing money. Clubs that win get butts in seats (except Columbus). The only way to prevent losing money in MLS is to fill up the stadium. The average club has $25 avg tickets, 20000 avg seats and around 18 matches/year. This comes out to $9000000. So if every match is sold out you’ve just covered the salaries to every player, and covered any other incurred expenses.

      I apologize that players who play more for the game than money and fame come across as artificial.

    • Marc says:

      You must of went crazy when Schmeichel saved Berkamp’s penalty kick in the 99 FA Cup semifinal replay.

      • [OPTI]Madschester United says:

        Not as much as when Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the Champions League winner a couple weeks later :)

  21. SSReporters says:

    I’m a Toronto FC fan and I live in Seattle. I’ve never been to Toronto and I’ve stuck with them through the bad times and the…..more bad times.

  22. Peter B says:

    Gaffer, I think you ignored the most relevant thing about the discussion about whether people should be obliged to support their local team. At least as it concerns Americans supporting their MLS sides. And that is that in MLS, the performance on the field just doesn’t have much consequence for the team, the players, or the fans; and also, that teams just don’t have the independence they should have, and that to a large degreee we can root only for the league, not our team.

    RE: results on the field – there’s no where to go up or down based on your performance – no lucrative competitions you can get access to by finishing at/near the top of the league table which would allow the team to sign bigger name players; no extra prize money the higher you finish in the table; no threat of getting bumped to a lower league if you stink.

    The lack of team independence also makes things a lot less interesting for us MLS fans – teams have no true independence when it comes to making decisions on signing and selling players and the risk and reward that comes with it. The absurdly low salary cap prevents a team that wants to spend more to buy better players, and salaries are paid by the league, not the teams. I would love to see us (Galaxy) use smarts to help the club with player moves, but the league controls so much of that.

    We as fans are denied the potential of having our team becoming more profitable from our performance – which would enable us to afford big name players and have big-name clubs come to our stadium; we don’t get to experience the relief that can come from just surviving in the league; if we win the cup, what difference would we see in the games? Possibly just higher ticket prices, no player payroll increase, and a crappier draft pick. Not exactly a big reward for winning, methinks.

    So do I root my Galaxy on? You bet. I’m at a handful of games every year, bought a Donovan 9 jersey, and watch nearly all of the games. But I’m not going to get too worked up about it (or spend anywhere near as much money as if my local side was an EPL/Championship/ or League 1 side), because what happens on the field just doesn’t have much consequence.

  23. Matt says:

    meh whatever. MLS fans have been ridiculed by Eurosnobs for years. I have no problem with people who actually support our domestic league giving plastics a hard time.

  24. AtlantaPompey says:

    Pompey picked me in the summer of 2006. I will never feel the same way about them that someone who grew up in Portsmouth would, but I still feel strongly about them. I have stuck with them through two top ten finishes in the EPL, an FA Cup win, an FA Cup Final loss, UEFA Cup group stage, and now finishing bottom of the table and getting relegated. There’s still even a chance that the club could go under. Next Tuesday’s court hearing will go a long way towards determining that.

    They are still my team. I will still support them.

    • Duke says:

      I think that’s a good way to put it: Chelsea picked ME. I know I’ll take a lot of crap from people about being a glory hunter, etc., but becoming a Chelsea fan was not something I had a hand in.

      I’ve come to have a lot of respect for Pompey over this past season. All the best to you.

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      The interesting thing would be to poll who most foriegn fans follow the answer would probably be:

      Manchester United
      Liverpool
      Arsenal
      Chelsea
      Manchester CIty (closing fast)
      Negligible amounts for other teams.

      It’s convenient how all these teams are A) likely to win something and B) unlikely to get relegated.

  25. Shakira says:

    If I had a local team around my area to support I would. When I lived in Chattanooga, I had season tickets to the Atlanta Silverbacks and loved it. The closest team is in Portland over 4 hours away. I will always be a Derby fan but if I lived near a team I would support them, sadly I do not.

  26. Gratefullawyer says:

    Im glad that someone has appointed a fan czar to determine who is or who isnt a fan. Those of you who are setting these rules about only being able to support your local team where you live have forgotten to tell the teams themselves. Why does United, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City and even Portsmouth come to the US? Why does United choose to travel the world every
    summer? Do you think it is so all the local supporters from England can come take a Holiday in that country and spend money to help the US economy. Or is really about the teams coming to these foreign shores to expand its base and its marketing. Isnt really all about marketing so that I living in the middle of the USA will become a supporter of Manchester City. Isnt really about my spending money on my club? Isnt really about the club thanking its fans around the world for their support. Do You really think Real Madrid could afford to buy all those players without selling all those shirts?
    Come on now this is not about who can trace their heritage back. It is about watching a good game of football and enjoying a pint. Cheers if you ever spot in my United gear Ill buy you a pint and Ill both cheer on our favorite team.

    • This One Guy in Detroit says:

      If you’re a lawyer, I presume you’re familiar with the logical fallacy “begging the question.” And with that in mind, you should reread your comment.

  27. DVV says:

    Support whoever you want. At the end of the day these professional sports teams are FOR PROFIT organizations. They don’t pay your bills, you pay theirs so you might as well give your money to a team you like and not to a team you don’t.

    Teams with a global reach like Manchester United or Barcelona want fans from all over the world and its safe to say that they have done a pretty damn good job. Manchester United is MUCH more than just “Manchester” and people(locals especially) need to understand this.

    • troy says:

      Probably the most rational, concise comment I’ve seen so far. +1

      • Mike Fahey says:

        I agree. The notion that a fan should follow some sort of rules or special criteria in selecting a team or teams to follow and root for is ludicrous.

    • Peter B says:

      Good point about that these sports teams are for profit and we pay their bills. The only problem with for us in the States is that to a large extent, the money we spend on our local MLS clubs doesn’t actually go to the club, but the league. So unlike most (and maybe all) other leagues, spending your hard earned dollar on a club doesn’t translate into support for that club; instead it gets spread amongst all owners.

      That’s a real frustration for me as a Galaxy fan, and given the “single entity” fallacy the league has to pretend to be to keep legally skirting anti-trust laws, it’s not one that’s easily fixed. Only if owners get beyond that structure will team fandom in the States be comparable to fandom elsewhere.

  28. rob says:

    Come to Seattle with this garbage! Ask Chelsea, Barca, Celtic, and Boca Juniors what it was like. THEY were booed. THEY were outnumbered. OVERWHELMINGLY!! Same to be said in Toronto and many other MLS cities. Leave it up to the Eurosnob to only show one side of the picture.
    As for your asinine comment about ManU being on TV more than your local MLS side, what the hell are you smoking!?!?!? Seriously, pass that around, because it must be prettt strong for you to believe that crap comment. Please don’t write about what you don’t know about. ManU is BARELY on TV, while local clubs are on TV every week they play.
    People who refuse to support the club in their own backyard, yet support a club half way across the planet they have no actual ties with, aren’t fans of our sport. They’re just egotistical hipsters more concerned about looking “cool”.

  29. Sir Guy says:

    When I was a kid Philly *was* the world, so who else would I root for? I’ve lived in NC for 11 years now, but it’s still the Phils, Igs, Sixers, Flyers and Penn State for me (to hell with the A’s and Warriors).

    I’ve picked up a few new teams along the way like the Panthers, East Carolina and Fulham. Can I ever feel about them like I do about my old teams? Of course not, but a win still feels great and a loss still sucks.

    I don’t care who supports whom or for what reason. If you’re a fan it’s good for the game. EPL, MLS, whatever. Enjoy yourself.

  30. troy says:

    I’ve seen this argument posted a couple times now on EPL talk, whether it be in the actual post or in the comments and it never bodes well either way. First of all, it’s a ridiculous argument to make because ultimately people are going to explain why they like a team and some jackass will try to cut them down. Then the original person continues to try to validate their fandom and it becomes a continuous circle.

    I’ll say this coming from the mind of a sports writer in Montana (yes, we have sports…and electricity). There will always be people who are fans of team that they live nowhere near. There will always be gloryhunters. And there will always be people who try to cut down those people and try to prove that they for some reason are superior. I you love a team, love them! Live them, follow them, and know what you’re talking about. One of the most obnoxious things to me is the people that say they follow a club, but have no idea. (It reminds me of an episode of the IT Guys when the guys decide they’re going to follow West Ham because they meet these supporters at a bar and the only food on the table is a ham.)

    To clarify, I follow MUFC. Like Gareth above, I grew up in suburban NYC (connecticut) and when the YES network launched they showed MUFC games weekly. Naturally, I fell in love with them at the ripe age of 15. I bought the fifa games after that, played with MUFC, learned the players and learned to love my club (so much so in fact I got the crest tattooed on the inside of my left forearm when I was old enough). The point is, in the end you shouldn’t cut someone down for being a fan of a team on the other side of the world. However, you should cut someone down if they claim to be a fan and know nothing about that team. For me, it’s a real treat to watch a match with a fan of chelsea, arsenal, liverpool, hotspur, or even city when they know their stuff. And I would hope that my cronies who cheer for other clubs would say the same about me even though I’m some rancid, american, gloryhunting MUFC fan. (I mean, there aren’t any other types of Red Devils fans so I’m told.)

    • Sir Guy says:

      Well put.

      btw….our daughter-in-law is from Missoula. We were shocked when we met her and found she actually spoke English. Small world.

  31. Patrick says:

    Think the problem that real football supporters have with anyone supporting Man U is… that is all they know. They don’t know even where Bolton is.. Or that Blackburn was once a top 4 club… no concept of Northern Southern rivals… or that there wasn’t a Premier League until the 90′s.

    I support West Ham and am always amazed by the Essex Mancs. So this isn’t just a US thing. Its that the world is truly flat. We’ve said it here a million times before following the PL was a nightmare before the early aughts. I had dish network and used to have brunches and pay per view the game of the week for 10 bucks and have a bunch of guys over. and this was 1998 or so…

    I’d just wish more Americans would look beyond the obvious teams… but it is understandable.

    Why more Americans don’t support Everton with Landon/Tim Howard, Villa with Guzan, Fullham with Dempsey, Bolton with Holden, DeMeritt with Watford last season or Hull with Altidore is puzzling to say the least.

    That is where I see the problem… You have fanboys on here waving the cross of St George. Cheering for a brain dead man like Wayne Rooney who just happens to play football well. And you guys on the US team who play their hearts out for country and get ignored.

    The Union v Man U fan behavior post gauled me not only because it was based on wrong information, but that the writer stated with hubris that the problem is America, yet he claimed to only casually follow US soccer.

    Please…

    • troy says:

      Patrick, I think you make a valid point. However, I have one contention…. by applying your reasoning with American internationals…football fans in Sweden should be Barcelona fans because of Ibrahimovic and Israeli football fans should follow Benayoun and Chelsea. That’s just not the way it works. I don’t personally know Altidore, Donovan, or Holden any more than I know Rooney, Drogba, or Milner.

      I like where you are going with your point though.

      (p.s. Howard was at MUFC before he went to Everton.)

  32. troy says:

    Thank you.

    Haha, that’s actually where I’m at. Really small world.

  33. Big Red says:

    so, i’m in Nebraska. i support Manchester United. The closest MLS team to me is the KC Wizards. i went to see Manchester United play KC and we get our butts kicked.

    so, what happens when you support a foriegn team who gets their butt kicked by your ‘local’ team?

    i think i support the red devils because their history and tradition is similar to the nebraska cornhuskers who i have been a life long fan of. all i know is i watched at least 3 seasons of premier league football, without a team to root for, but eventually found myself quietly cheering for Man Utd and the cheers got louder and louder over the years. before i knew it, i was a full fledged red. it just happened, and i’m all the better for it!

    • patrick says:

      doood the only thing Nebraska and Manchester have in common is ummm… Red.

      Its like Shameless V Smallville.

      If you ever get to Blighty, take a day to visit Manchester. that’s all you’ll need. Funny thing is best place in Manchester isn’t in Manchester, its Salford… Then again, you may enjoy Canal St pubs.. you never know.

    • Paul Burkhart says:

      Please dont compare the bugeaters aka nebraska to my beloved United.

  34. catchascatchcan says:

    I just can’t feel any passion for a team from outside of where I grew up really. I mean, for example, whenever you hear supporters of opposing clubs chanting abuse about your home town you can’t help but feel strongly that you want your team, all the more, to smash as many goals past theirs as humanly possible, and in doing so humiliate the mouthy bastards into a quiet coach trip back home. So with this in mind, for me at least, I just can’t feel any kind of stirring emotion for an out of town club, as I really don’t feel I have the personal connection with any of them as I do with one from my own neck of the woods. But that said, I don’t there’s anything wrong with having a second team or ‘pet team’ to support from a city which isn’t your own. Just so long as you keep your priorities right and support your own town’s team first and foremost.

    I don’t expect the majority of Americans on this site who are currently residing in America to be able to support a Premiership side as their ‘home team’ as that’s just not geographically possible of course. But if they do also have a team who play in and represent their own town in the US, then I’d hope that they’d always root for their own local boys if they ever got a chance to go up against whatever Premier League side that they also are fans of.

  35. Johnny says:

    Just to be clear (from what most have been saying)–because I’m generally a new soccer fan, and Liverpool fan, and can’t make a trip to Anfield (until college atleast), I shouldn’t be respected? I live in CT. And I don’t care if i have the Red Bulls or the Rev, the MLS sucks. Plain and simple. I don’t wanna support it. Which is why i love the EPL. Trust me, I slaved over my decision. Yeah, I picked my EPL team. I took bandwagonry, fans, success all into account. My finalists were really Newcastle and Liverpool. I thought LIverpool made sense considering they hadn’t felt champion success until just a few years ago. Right up my alley as a Cubs fan. So I’m trying not to be a bandwagon fan, and hope others from England respect that and others who have similar situations.

    • Dave C says:

      You shouldn’t be respected? Pretty much. It sounds harsh, but look at it as some kind of hazing induction into fandom. If you decide to support a historically successful team that you have no real connection to, then you can expect to get mocked by everyone. Maybe if you can tolerate the mockery for a long enough period, then you will earn the respect of other Liverpool fans.

  36. This One Guy in Detroit says:

    ” I’m generally a new soccer fan”

    “the MLS sucks. Plain and simple.”

    These two statements, side by side, say it all.

    • Ben Ruskin says:

      You can be as big a fan of the MLS as you’d like, but you still have to accept that the quality of the league is poor compared to the top european leagues. This is evident to new soccer fans, and fans who have watched the games for decades. The league does suck (in terms of skill and entertainment) if you compare the talent on an MLS field to almost any other top flight league in world. This is not to say that it cant be a fun league to watch if you have an affiliation to it, and it means nothing else other than that American Soccer is new to the nation and therefore the U.S. are still struggling to produce technically skilled footballers who have the ability to play (and start) for the top clubs in the world. Stop taking everything so personally, just accept what the league is.

  37. Leeds football says:

    I support my local FOOTBALL club, I have no idea what the Gaffer is talking about.

    • Sir Guy says:

      Oh, please.

      Did you not see The Gaffer’s notice: “No pedants need apply”? This “discussion” has been put to bed long ago.

      We Americans call “football” soccer for obvious reasons. It is simply a cultural difference that everyone understands. So, why beat it to death? Lorry/truck; dummie/pacifier. Who cares?

      In New Zealand “football” means rugby. Period. In Australia it means two sports….neither of them “soccer”. Perhaps Mother England didn’t do such a great job with her step-children.

      I am always amazed when someone brings this up. Is that all you have to do with your life?

      • The Gaffer says:

        Sir Guy, here here!! I agree.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • This One Guy in Detroit says:

        Did you not see The Gaffer’s notice: “No pedants need apply”?

        Oooh, I want to see this one! Where is it posted?

      • Sir Guy says:

        Upon further review……I give myself a -1 for my last sentence above. Totally unnecessary. What a maroon.

      • Leeds football says:

        You’re an idiot. I do much more in my life than you do.

        Why is it so necessary for you mongs to mickeymouse our sport?

        • Sir Guy says:

          “You’re an idiot.”

          Yes. Well, that’s pretty much an accepted fact among my wife and friends, so no argument there. I just don’t see the point in the whole “It’s FOOTBALL!” thing. It is what it is because of cultural differences. Nothing any of us can do about it, so let it go.

          There are way more important subjects for us to debate. Like whether Jesse is completely off his rocker or not, etc., etc.

        • Dave C says:

          As an Englishman, I feel embarrassed by people who bring up this old argument. I apologize on behalf of my country for the behaviour of “Leeds football”. Please be aware that he is by no means typical of English football fans. He IS typical of Leeds fans though, unfortunately.

          • Sir Guy says:

            Thank you, Dave. I am certain the vast majority of Englishmen do understand why we Yanks (and others) use the term “soccer”, though they might well wish we didn’t. I suppose I should stop rising to the bait like a large mouth bass every time someone waves “It’s FOOTBALL!” in my face….but it’s hard. Maybe I need some kind of ten-step program.

            1. “Have a beer. Breathe deeply.”
            2. “Have another beer. Breathe deeply.”
            3. …..I think I’ve got it!

  38. Joe says:

    I follow this kind of thinking. I live in Massachusetts (and have my whole life) actually about 10 to 15 minutes away from Foxboro which is where the Revs play. I try to go to as many games as possible, and with a good amount of friends too. We laugh, cheer, and jeer all the way through the games it’s a good time. There is something special about going to an actual live game. There always will be otherwise people would just end up watching it on TV.

    Now saying that, I only entered the football/soccer universe recently, I think about four years ago. Unfortunately, at least for me, it feels like you are discouraged to like football/soccer. So I had to get over that hump to see what a beautiful game it really is.

    I’m a Manchester United fan, now I know most people’s first thought is probably glory hunter, but you know what? In the end it doesn’t matter what other people think (to an extent, we all seek comradeship in our fellow fans) about my decision to support at team. I love this team, I jump and cheer for every shot by them, cringe at every moment where there is breakthrough by the other team. I haven’t missed a game in a long time. The last one I missed was because of a wedding I couldn’t get out of. Even then I got updates through text message. I would watch Manchester United if they were in league 2. I’d buy a jersey every year. They are who I love. Not because they do well, not because they score goals, not because I am seeking glory. It’s because I have a passion for them. I get all riled up for every Saturday or Sunday when they play, waiting on Monday just so I can see those 90 minutes of the best game I have ever seen played. If you can’t accept me as a fan then…it’s not worth trying explain the feeling cause you have lost it.

    I’m will make it over to England and see at least a game there, or die trying. I’m trying to line up a career in England so I can live there. I support my local team the Revs, and Manchester United. So sue me.

  39. jleau says:

    Good article Gaffer!

    I don’t think you have to be local to be a true supporter, you just have to invest yourself. I live in the West and started following Arsenal some years back because the EPL was a top league and we had no local MLS. I haven’t missed a game in years and would dearly love to visit the Emirates at some point. I’m definitely a gooner.

    That being said, I dobut I will ever have the connection to the Gunners that I can have for local teams. The Sounders play in an inferior league and don’t posess a fraction of the talent and style that Arsenal do, but I can realte to them much more. They are on my local news, in my local paper. Many people in my community wear Sounders gear and talk about the games. I haven’t run into another local Arsenal fan. The product is less but the connection is deeper. I’m spend more time following Arsenal but the experience of going to a Seattle game even in poor MLS is great. If in some insane circumstance Seattle played Arsenal for the world club championship, I’d be wearing Seattle green while watching and I was a gooner first.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I agree with your premise, but the connection to the local club that is part of where you live is a powerful draw, and probably should be.

    • RBNY Fan says:

      I disagree. If you don’t the ability to turn up at the ground and support your club week in and week out, how can you be a true supporter?

  40. Dave C says:

    Interesting post.
    As I’ve mentioned on other threads, I’m highly suspicious of anyone who “picks” a team to support due to some rational process, but I wouldn’t rule out the fact that people CAN support teams without being from the local area – perhaps if they have family links to the team, or studied abroad in the area, or something like that, or if they’re from some country who’s national hero is associated strongly with a particular team (e.g. an Australian supporting Leeds because of Kewell and Viduka, or a Liberian supporting Milan because of Weah).

    I think the true test of whether someone is a supporter or not is whether they could honestly say they would follow the team through bad times too. E.g. if they got relegated. I’m sure many foreign fans with no strong links to a team would simply lose interest if a team dropped out of the top division.

  41. Gaz Hunt says:

    Nothing wrong with “picking” a team based on some reasoning outside of geography (supporters everywhere, England included, do this).

    For me, you prove your worth it by sticking with the team.

    I was a little kid in the midlands that picked out Liverpool as my side based on John Barnes and my sticker collection and now still support them 20 years later.

    And now Philadelphia play less than 15 miles from me – and I support them too – but Liverpool still comes first.

  42. Alan Knut says:

    The majority of us have been fans of EPL teams longer than there has been an MLS side or other professional team in our areas. There is just no way a two-year old team is going to strip away my allegiance to the team I fell in love with all those years ago. Especially when they play in the MLS, where teams have no autonomy and follow the structure of American Football when it comes to divisions, drafts, and playoff.s

  43. Tim McElroy says:

    America you want to know why people support Manchester United instead of MLS teams cause the english premier league is the strongest league in football(not soccer idiots) MLS teams suck because they get legends to play for teams in their late 30s like blanco and henry and beckham MLS is a disaster the only region people watch it is to show why Tim Howard Landon Donavan and Clint Dempsey demanded to go to Everton and Fulham in The english premier league and People are saying we need to support MLS teams its a free country america and if you want us to support 1 star teams insted of 5 star teams like Liverpool Real Madrid Manchester United Barcelona you really only think of your selves if the MLS is going to be elite have players people know around the world and have talent and im dont expect america to even win the world cup in Brazil

    • njndirish says:

      While trying to decipher your words, I ran across the idea that if MLS want to get your support they should get better players. Now I must wonder, how does a club go about getting players? Through money you say? Now where does this money come from? Through people going to games, buying food and merchandise and creating an atmosphere to make televising it easier and thus better TV deals? Watson I think you’ve got it!

      It’s a nasty circle with Eurosnobs. The only way to make the league better is with more talent, the only way to get more talent is through more money; the only way to get more money is better TV deals and more butts in seats, but the butts don’t want to sit in the seats because the talent isn’t of high quality. You want it to be good, but don’t want to be bothered with how squads become good.

  44. Earl says:

    I don’t think the problem lies with rooting for a non-local team, it’s from deciding the only team you can root for is a team that provides you with a yearly celebration.

  45. UpTheBlues says:

    To me the question is this:
    If your team were relegated, would you still support them as your #1 team?

  46. cioccio says:

    im italian and i support newcastle united since i was a child, i dont even remember why! but as soon as i got enough money i always go to newcastle.. is it enough to be called a true supporter?!

  47. bark says:

    Good lord look at all these gloryhunters trying to justify themselves.

  48. At one time before TV became our source of entertainment, the working man attended the soccer matches of their local team. With the expense of travelling, most of these people didn’t have much choice but support their local teams. It was also a way to say you’re proud of where you came from.

    However, nowadays we have so much choice and many teams have become brand names rather than just a football team. Plus, many people who either moved to another destination through job changes or just for a better life still enjoy going to football games. Although they may still love their old football team, there’s nothing wrong with supporting a new one. Although I do agree with what you say in your article, most arguments and opinions regarding this are usually just banter.

  49. Jeff says:

    I’m from Philly and I was at the game supporting Manchester United because they are a team I have always supported way way before Philadelphia got a MLS team. I could care less what anyone else from Philly thinks about that. Now with all the coverage we get of the EPL I haven’t missed a United game in three years. I have a passion for this team way beyond that of my local MLS team that has only been playing for a few months.

    I am a Union fan but it’s hard to get really excited about the Union when they have only been playing for a few months. The passion just isn’t there yet. If someone from Philadelphia doesn’t understand that than so be it.

    It was kind of weird for me at the game. I was cheering for United but I would have been fine seeing Union score a goal or two, especially Mwanga who I love. But I was annoyed at the fans. The chant they do to the away GK’s is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. And to do it against a historical club like Manchester United just showed no class. I was also annoyed with some fans while I was walking around before and after the game. Basically the Union fans were being obnoxious and classless. That’s a shame becuase I am a Union fan as well but being a bigger United fan I felt I had to turn against my own fans for acting that way. I still have this one guys face in my mind. I wish I had knocked him out for how obnoxious he was being. I won’t go into what he was saying but they were classless remarks against Manchester United. I told him, “You’ve had a team for three months, United have been around since the 1800′s. Get a life.” That was kind of weird since as you know I’m a Union fan as well but this guy needed taken off his high horse and I don’t regret saying it.

    • MNUfan1991 says:

      Agreed Jeff. I never did understand the hostility of some Union fans against United and their supporters.

      For one thing, it’s a friendly aimed at promoting these two teams. It’s not as if they are locked in some bitter rivalry in the MLS or EPL. In fact, it’s likely they will never face each other again, forever, except for more preseason tours. C’mon. The only chance they may play in a competitive setting is in the Club World Cup… that is if these two teams win their respective Champions League titles. No matter how big an Union fan you are, you’ve got to admit it’s not likely anytime soon. (Not saying Union sucks, but even the most dominant team can easily get knocked out in CL… ask Barca).

      Also, why would some Union fans assume any United supportes are betraying their local allegiance? Just because I was in the Lincoln Financial Fiend didn’t mean that I’m from Philly. Heck, I was from NYC, so why should I support the Union over NYRB? Many cars in the lot have NY, NJ, CT, or MD plates. Sure the Union fans would recognize United draws a much bigger audience than around the Philly area.

      In the end, even the most ardent Union fan should realize United coming to town could only raise the profile of their team and add to their coffers. So why the hostility?

  50. Jesse Chula says:

    love the shout out to Lexington, KY!!

  51. Vious says:

    Instead, we have a bunch of gloryhunters that root for United/liverpool/Arsenal/Chelsea having never been to a game of theres…..and yet try to claim to be actual fans of theres b/c they buy a shirt

    Brilliant

  52. dhines says:

    i will never understand the american euro-snob thoughts of supporting only euro squads. don’t read me wrong, i am all for supporting a euro squad, but why does that necessitate all the hate on the MLS teams?

    yeah, i know MLS doesn’t compare to the EPL . . . . but so what? how many teams are supported in the UK that have no realistic hope of ever making the EPL? is every fan of league 2 clubs an idiot? i think not . . .

    IMO, you support a foreign team like manchester united due to quality of play . . . but you support your club out of loyality to your region.

  53. TJ says:

    As a Villa fan from Boston, I agree whole-heartedly with Dools. A close friend has season tix for the Revs (his mum is from Newcastle so he’s quite excited for the EPL season to start) and we support our local team.

    I’m still up at 7am on Saturdays to watch all the EPL games at the pub because I love football.

  54. Majewski79 says:

    I’m from Philadelphia and just got into soccer at the beginning of the World Cup with my son. Prior to the World Cup, I had never watched the sport. Ever. Then after the WC ended I wanted more. Then it hit me… Philadelphia Union. I don’t yet consider myself a super-fan as (like I consider myself a die-hard Flyers fan) I am still learning the rules and whatnot about soccer but… I do support the Union and watch games regularly and even attended the game at Lincoln Financial Field when the Union faced Manchester United. It was a fantastic game.

    I’ll be attending as many Philly Union games as my budget can withstand. But when Union games aren’t on, I’m definitely going to be watching the EPL on Comcast. I won’t pick an EPL team to follow, I’ll just keep watching and maybe… just maybe, I’ll fall in love with an EPL team. I’m sure it’ll happen and I don’t see anything wrong with that… but… if that happens, I won’t march around bragging about “my team” thats 4,000 miles away. It would just be a team I support behind my Philadelphia Union. Nothing wrong there. Like with the NFL… I’ve never liked the Philadelphia Eagles. I grew up watching and loving the Indianapolis Colts (been a fan since Cpt. Comeback Jim Harbaugh was the man)… Doesn’t matter to me, my friends bust my balls, I bust their balls about the Eagles, we move on.

    My wife and I went to London on our honeymoon last year. There’s my link to the EPL. We were there for 2 weeks. We went to a Sportsbar & Grill in Marylebone. There was a game on, but I’m not sure what team, it may not have even been soccer. Anyways… I’ll definitely follow the EPL as a new soccer fan… but I’m not going to pick my team, they’ll pick me:) I’m sure something will stick with me about whichever team it may be. But again… I’ll keep the Philly Union as my Number 1 and support soccer here in the States as much as I can. But to the people who have favorite teams thousands of miles away, more power to you!

  55. IanCransonsKnees says:

    Fairplay Majewski79, it’s a shame other people haven’t had that attitude, MLS could have been much bigger than it is by now if they had.

    My advice on following a team do your research and don’t just plump for the obvious top four sides, that’s the easy way into it.

  56. Mike says:

    As a kid in Indiana, I spent a year living across the street from an English family. They introduced me to the game and supported Tottenham. So, Spurs became my team not because I knew no better, I didn’t know any other! I mean, how much could a pre-internet 9 y.o. learn about English football? I reckon a lot of casual fans – or those who start out casual – are somewhat the same: they gravitate to what they know and who they have heard of. Marketing and success allows that.

    Fast forward nearly 35 years: I became friends thru work with a London-based lifelong Spurs supporter who not only invited my wife & I to a game at White Hart Lane, but to sit in the VIP box with all of the pre & post-game hospitality, tour of the pitch, locker room, etc. While it was a tremendous experience and everyone was lovely (much interest in the Yanks in their midst), we were honestly EMBARRASSED to receive such treatment & access that we knew that 99.9% of lifelong, die-hard supporters would never get. This was our first live match in Britain, let alone the EPL.

    When I lived in Cincinnati, I went to a handful of Crew games in Columbus, despite the zero coverage locally. I now live in Austin and support the Aztex, who I think would be a prime candidate to move up to the MLS. The rivalries with Houston & Dallas would be great (and soccer would be the only pro sport the Univ. of Texas would probably allow!)

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      Little known fact, the owner of the Aztex is on the board of directors at Stoke City – that’s where the red & white stripes come from.

  57. McQueen says:

    I’ve never been to India. Should I stop eating Indian food? I think it tastes great, and I eat it as often as I can. But I get the feeling I’m just a “curry hunter,” and don’t know the first thing about good daal. Please advise.

    • tonyspeed says:

      no. you’re an indo-hunter. stick to mcdonalds and clog your arteries.

      • McQueen says:

        That’s great advice.

        I’ve been a Clash fan forever. Since they broke up in the early ’80s (when I was around 9 years old), I was unable to see them live. Should I sell off all of my Clash records?

  58. Jay says:

    I can appreciate that local supporters justifiably lay claim to more of a proprietorship over their clubs than newbies from the States (not prepared to go into the debate about fans from abroad). As a new fan of the game from Memphis, TN, though, I don’t have a local professional team at any level to support. Based on some of the comments here, I either need to forget following the sport or move.

    I certainly intend to support MLS, as it’s my domestic league and I want to see it prosper, but the closest clubs are more than a five hour drive away, and I have small children, so that limits my ability to travel to games. Best I can do for now is watch the cable broadcasts, pay the league $40.00 to watch online, and maybe buy some gear.

    At the same time, I don’t plan on ignoring the game played at the highest level, so I’ve chosen (I know, a dirty word) to follow Spurs this season because of what I understand to be their style of play and their history. We’ll see if I make a connection with the club and ultimately become a supporter.

    If anyone wants to chalk that up to “glory hunting” because of Spurs’ recent success, please understand that while I will enjoy following a good team in Champion’s League and the Premiership, it will be impossible for me to have anywhere near the satisfaction of watching their successes than someone who has lived and breathed the club their whole life.

  59. tonyspeed says:

    how about this? i’m a member of the english commonwealth, born in jamaica. in jamaica, the only cities we have named after english cities are kingston and manchester. Therefore I could be either a city, united, or hull fan. lol. But because I don’t live in England you are telling me I can’t support your team? Really? Your frickin forefathers enslaved some of my ancestors and tricked some of my others to come to work for two-pence. Without my countr(ies) England would be a two bit nation full of low-class king arthur but kissers wallowing in mud on a sunday eating bland fish and chips with no tea or coffe or sugar. How about I just start blowing up english stadiums instead, morons?

  60. y'all got the game messed up says:

    Fans and Supporters are not the same thing,nothing wrong with being a fan but a supporter goes home and away, buys programmes, shirts, goes to the club activities, some watch them train some ,some go to club dinners events etc join the kids to the juniors club and they are real supporters the ones who still sing in the freezing cold when your losing 4-0 or even a rainy night at some obscure champions league team in the middle of nowhere . They support them in presence,voice and financially.Even the bigger clubs need this money to survive as do the lower league teams.Unless you have done any of these thing you dont really fall into the supporter bracket your a fan,but u cant inspire the team by watching on tv

    • Sir Guy says:

      The idea of fans and supporters being two different things used to really irritate me, but doesn’t anymore. I cede your point and am fine with it.

      You, at least, don’t make fans out to be something inferior….just different. That is refreshing. So, this Yank Fulham “fan” thanks you.

      COYW!

  61. robert says:

    always hilarious to argue about who’s got the best reasons for being a fan. there just is no bulletproof argument, and you sound like a third grader saying your reasons are superior.

    i support teams because i grew up there: the lakers
    i support teams because i now reside within an hour of there: the earthquakes
    i support teams because they USED to be the earthquakes: the dynamo
    i support teams because they used to be full of americans: fulham
    i support teams because they play the beautiful game in such a gorgeous manner they make other teams look dull: arsenal

    people that clown others for their reasons are delusional. thinking it’s “their team”. uhh… when did you ever do anything for that squad besides put money in their pockets? sit down and enjoy the game with the rest of us.

    when i see kids from europe and other continents wearing nba, mlb, and nfl jerseys i don’t think, “what a bandwagoner.”

    i think, “i don’t blame you kid. it’s tough to watch worst than the best when you can get the best.”

    hence, epl fans in the states.

  62. Paul Burkhart says:

    I live in Kansas City and I have been a Wizards fan for about 4 years now.

    I’ve been a Man United fan since I was 9 years old though (Im 19 now). When I was little, United was what made me fall in Love with football… I was little, I didn’t care what place or how many trophy’s United won and I didn’t even know how good they were. United was just what was on TV and I loved the passion of the fans and the excitement on the pitch! And I Will be a Man United fan even if they are in League 2!

    United played in my City on the 25th and I got to see my local team play United and you bet I wore My United kit and Bar Scarf and Green and Gold Scarf, and you bet I was mad that My local team beat United cause United is the reason why I love soccer (football) and they are my first love!

  63. matt says:

    I only got into English soccer in 2008/2009 season. I could have picked any team to support…. but my friend is from Stoke so that’s the team I picked. I live in Canada and have never been to Stoke or England for that matter…. What does that make me? Surely not a glory hunter?

    To be honest, sometimes I think I would just rather watch the Championship than the Premier League….

  64. Above all else: Fire says:

    This article is BS for the simple reason that teams are so deeply rooted in their location that they would fail if they did not identify themselves with it. Do you really think for one second that Manchester United would survive more than 10 years if they sold their stadium and played only away matches? The local fans are the true fans; the backbone of the support. If you have never been to a match, then you are only supporting them because they are consistently good. And for that reason I would assume you follow the Yankees, Lakers and Red-Wings too. You should start up FIFA 10 on you XBOX and select the two best teams, then move the controllers to the middle and watch the computer play it out. You’ll have just as much of a connection with the team in that box as you do to Manchester United and the games can be on your schedule.

  65. you watch football 4 a couple of years now your brian clough lol says:

    word

  66. King Eric says:

    Good article and I absolutely agree. I’m 27 now and have supported United for more than half my life, since I was about 11 because Cantona was my favorite player and got me hooked. I’ve stuck with them through and through and still would even if they were to get relegated, so it’s not a matter of glory chasing. I’m originally from southern CA, but live in Arizona now and grew up playing football since I was a little kid. I was brought up in a household watching all the big European clubs, because that’s all there was available to see at that time- if we were lucky. The game wasn’t televised all over like it is now, so we were only exposed to the biggest matches and the biggest clubs. This was just before MLS even started after World Cup ’94, so at that time the L.A. Galaxy weren’t even around and to be honest, even after they were, I couldn’t watch that amateur garbage because I appreciated and knew the game well enough to not even consider it entertaining. It usually just consisted of me pointing out flaws the entire game. It’s just now starting to get to the point where I can actually sit through an MLS game, but it’s still not at the same high level that I’ve been accustomed to for so long and I’ll never have the same kind of passion that I do for United because it’s been a part of my life for so long since I grew up with them. When I wanted to go to Old Trafford, I couldn’t because it was near impossible to get tickets and I was in college and couldn’t afford to fly to England and watch the matches there, but I’ve traveled to see them play during their tours here in the States. Now, I’m waiting for the Glazers to sell before I’ll actually go a home match. I understand that with a hugely globalized club like United that markets to so many international faces, they’re going to have a ridiculous fan base, but last month when I was in Houston watching them play the MLS All-Stars, I was in fact disappointed with the fans there. I didn’t feel like a lot of them were the hardcore true fans that makes it so great, but the glory chasing type who don’t know their history and would look at me funny for standing up the entire game and chanting. Honestly, for me that’s what makes European or any other international football match so great and worth the while- the passion and atmosphere that the fans bring to the table is unparalleled by any other sport or any U.S. team, even the Sounders of recent years. Also, because the sport is so relatively young here a lot of the fans who do go to public places to watch matches don’t know the game well enough and destroy any atmosphere with their dumb comments (World Cup is a perfect example). Look at our very own Alexi Lalas who is an analyst for Espn somehow and that should be self explanatory. I’ve never appreciated the mute button or the Spanish channel so much until this past Cup. People are going to support teams who are playing at the highest level in any sport, and it just so happens that for football, all the best competition is in Europe hands down. Look at the NBA for example and all of their international fans. They watch it because it’s the best basketball league worldwide. If you understand the game, you should understand why fans like us support teams abroad.

  67. Paul Cass says:

    Let me tell you what WILL happen. Kids and men and women will become infatuated with a team on a particular day or during a particular season and then you’re hooked. If that team was Barcelona because they were the most exciting team on the planet when you were 11, then the rest is history. Infatuation turns to love turns to attachment. Maybe your dad takes you to see an mlS gane in which Landon Donovan scores a goal and the stadium goes wild and then you’re hooked for life. I come from a country where everyone supports an EPL team – Ireland. For me it was Arsenal from the age of 7. They had 5 irish guys in the team at the time. Now they have none but I was hoooked young. My English buddy is from Birmingham but he supports Everton because his dad brought him to his first game as a kid – Birmingham vs Everton – and Everton were exciting and won the game. He got infatuated with the wrong team. Oooops. 40 years later he’s still hooked on Everton. We should all support a local team but… you can only really be a fan once. Be careful who you watch early on.

  68. Jacquot says:

    It’s interesting how fired up people are on this issue sometimes. The way I figure it is that I’ll root for whoever I want to and who cares if anyone approves of it or not?

  69. faboofour says:

    I’m a Sounders fan (my local team) and an Everton fan (my TV/Pub team). When Donovan plays with the Toffees, he’s the greatest footballer the USA has ever produced. When he plays with the Galaxy, he’s an overestimated hack. I see no discrepancy in these perceptions.

    I will say one thing: Watching your team score a goal on TV, even in a pub, is like looking at a picture of the Grand Canyon. There is nothing even close to the experience of seeing it in person.

  70. Mike Fahey says:

    Gaffer,
    You are, obviously, correct in your assessment of television’s effect on soccer fan loyalties world wide. Another form of electronic communication had a similar effect, continentally, on US baseball. Prior to 1958 when the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York (baseball) Giants moved, respectively, to Los Angeles and San Francisco, there were no major league teams west of the Mississippi River playing “America’s national pastime.” Moreover, until 1961 when major league baseball began its periodic expansion, there were only 16 teams, including the Dodgers and Giants. Many baseball fans, therefore, would adopt a major league team based on their ability to tune into the club”s radio broadcast
    As to MLS fans rooting for Premiership or other European teams, over the years most of my Irish friends and relations have adopted a big English club to support because the League of Ireland is not a top flight circuit.

  71. irock says:

    but i always support manu but….uhm……….i admit it i luv d galacticos too .real madrid i mean.

  72. voyager1 says:

    Different people have different reasons for supporting a team. You could be an armchair supporter and support who you like watching on the TV and who can fail to be impressed by the Premier League teams on TV? You might like particular players or you might like an area the team is based even though you’re not connected with the area.

    Alternatively, you don’t like being restricted to your lounge and wish to take an active part in football and may wish to go along and support your local team or another team nearby.

    Its up to the individual and no-one has the right to criticise that person for how they choose which team(s) they wish to support. If someone in Chicago wishes to support Manchester United then its their decision – it doesn’t do any harm to the Manchester United supporters living in Manchester. Alternatively, if someone living in Bristol wishes to support Bristol Rovers and go to football matches then its up to them – they’ve got no right to criticise the Manchester Utd fan living next door to them in the same way as they (Man Utd fan) has no right to criticise their neighbour for following one of the local teams.

  73. Nik says:

    I disagree with this article for a few reasons….I support Wolverhampton Wanderers, my local team and in the past did become a glory hunter for a while, but it helped me understand that there is nothing like supporting your local team. When I supported Man Utd as a glory hunter…I would celebrate their goals but never felt or celebrated the way I did with Wolves and when I realized that, I got myself straight to the next Wolves game. Now I could understand if in countries where the national league is of low quality if people supported the best team in the country…but not the best team from a different country, that’s just a joke.
    For example in Greece most people support either Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK or PAOK because they are the best teams in the country, I understand that, but I don’t understand someone foreign and LIVING in a foreign country supporting an English team. If they do then there is no room for passion, which you can only get by going to the matches, chanting along with everyone, roaring in happiness when your team scores and seeing first hand that ball fly into the net. Whereas if you live near to your team, that passion builds up more and more with every visit to the stadium, and if your team is usually an underdog…..then you feel on top of the world when they beat some of the big boys…
    Globalization doesn’t effect football in the way you portray it to, just because we have more contact with foreign teams doesn’t mean that we should support them. We should also define the word support because people have different views on it, I believe that it means feeling passion for your team and loving that crest on the shirt though bad and good times, something which you just can’t do if the city of that team is thousands of miles away. You don’t seem to understand that supporting a team is fulled by supporting your city, and you wouldn’t support a city you don’t live in. If you don’t have any contact with the city of you team and with the LOCAL fans then you can’t understand what the team is about or what it stands for, sure you can memorize their history on Wikipedia but life and passion are about experiences, and those experiences can’t be lived through the TV.

    • Nik says:

      I also forgot to mention that your comment about most Man Utd. supporters not being from Manchester is invalid, if you have never been to a live game then you shouldn’t be classed as a supporter, where as most Man Utd supporters in England have been to a live match….so you can’t compare them to the American supporters of Man Utd. which in my opinion is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard…..it’s like me supporting Barcelona!!!!

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