FRI, 2:30PM ET
FUL
CHA
FRI, 2:30PM ET
ABER
MOTH
FRI, 2:30PM ET
WER
COL
FRI, 3PM ET
VIGO
LEVA
FRI, 8PM ET
CHI
HOU
FRI, 8:30PM ET
USA
MEX

When Was the Last Time You Saw a Stranger Wearing a Premier League Jersey?

premier league shirts When Was the Last Time You Saw a Stranger Wearing a Premier League Jersey?

Depending where you live in this world, seeing a stranger wearing a jersey of a Premier League club could be a rare treat or an almost everyday occurrence. For me, living in a suburb in South Florida, I typically see a stranger wearing a soccer shirt every few weeks. The last one I saw was last week when a teenager was walking home from the pool wearing the distinctive colors of Argentina’s home shirt. But as for the last Premier League jersey I saw “in the wild,” it’s been several weeks. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t remember which club jersey was being worn.

Let me add that I’m disqualifying going to local soccer games (for me, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers) and local AYSO games from my answer.

While it sometimes is weeks before I see a Premier League jersey being worn in public by a stranger, it used to be much longer. Sometimes literally months would pass or even years. But they do now randomly appear more often than they did in the past, which is a welcoming sign. In fact, it’s almost as if I’ve trained by brain to constantly being on the lookout for seeing soccer shirts worn by strangers. It’s not something I do consciously, but I often do get a flutter when I see one. Sometimes it’s when I’m driving down the street. Or walking in the mall. Or elsewhere. But the sensation is often the same. After all, soccer shirts do stand out with their bright colors and design. First, I see something out of the corner of my eye which looks like one. Then I get closer and recognize that it’s definitely a soccer shirt. The third and most important step is then getting close enough to it, to recognize which club the stranger supports. And fourth and finally, if I’m feeling courageous enough, is the knowing nod, or saying something about the club that he or she supports.

To me, it’s all about making a connection. Finding a stranger and feeling that you have something in common with him or her. It’s almost as if you both are part of an underground cult. And you’ve now found each other.

And then, in a flash, it’s all over. The soccer-shirt-wearing-stranger is out of your view and you return to normalcy, seeing tens or hundreds of people wearing boring clothes that don’t speak to you.

When I was thinking about this topic this past weekend, I decided to post a question on Twitter to ask followers when was the last time they saw a stranger wearing a Premier League jersey, and which club it was. Interestingly, the vast majority of respondents replied that they had just seen one that day, yesterday or a few days prior. Of course, these are the people who saw one. The ones who haven’t seen one in ages (like me) didn’t reply.

I think a big factor in how frequently someone sees a Premier League shirt in public is where they live. Many respondents via Twitter said they seem them quite often. But those were Twitter users who lived in major metropolitan cities such as New York and Washington DC. Plus, it makes sense that in the more densely populated areas, your chances of seeing a Premier League jersey are increased because you’ll see more people per square mile than in the suburbs or elsewhere.

But what about you? When was the last time you saw a Premier League shirt being worn by a stranger, and which club was it? And where did you see it? Post your replies in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

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 →

76 Responses to When Was the Last Time You Saw a Stranger Wearing a Premier League Jersey?

  1. I saw someone on the street on the weekend in an Arsenal kit, disappointingly I did not see a single person other than myself wearing a Canada jersey. This includes at the bar where the game was on. Ottawa, Canada

  2. soonerscotty says:

    I work at a university in the southwest, not a major one but around 19k students. I see them fairly often, mostly amongst the international students. They’re mostly Man Utd which usually turns my stomach (haha).

    Among the non-international population it’s very, very rare but occasionally. One of my Native American students was wearing a ManUtd t-shirt (not a kit) one day, but when asked he had no idea who they were he just liked the design.

    • soonerscotty says:

      southwest US for any international readers btw and “Native American” = “American Indian” or indigenous.

      • tonyspeed says:

        Native American is fine. “American Indian” is the stupidest misnomer ever invented and should be erased from the lexicon..

        • soonerscotty says:

          As an American Indian I would respectfully disagree.

          We were here first and out of all the ethnicities (and we aren’t just ethnicities, we are also nationalities) within the borders of the US we are the ONLY ethnicity that can put “American” at the beginning of our descriptor.

          Everyone else is an American after the fact, we are Americans from the beginning and forever.

  3. bullish viking says:

    in norway i see strangers wearing jerseys from the EPL every other day, depending on the weather. almost always someone wearing a jersey to the gym. manchester united, lpool, chelsea, newcastle, arsenal and spurs are the most common id guess, as would anyone else prolly..

  4. David G says:

    Another factor in seeing more and more soccer shirts is the growing latino population. I probably see a soccer shirt every day in DC and a majority of the time they’re of latino decent.

  5. nctrnl says:

    I live in Dallas and saw 3 this past week on different occasions.

    1 Chelsea
    1 Manchester United
    1 Newcastle

    These were all during the course of a normal day and not in places that you would typicallly see them.

  6. Guy says:

    haha. I’ve lived on the NC coast for twelve years and never seen one. Why else would I still be waiting for FSC HD? ;-)

    Actually, what’s fun for me is wearing my Hearts shirt with “Ukio Bankas” spread across the front. I get people glassy eyed explaining that one. :-)

  7. 3feetoffun says:

    Saw 3 this weekend in Buffalo, NY. 2 Liverpool and 1 Chelsea.

    • Nick says:

      Hah, another one of us in Buffalo.
      Hey man

      Saw someone wearing a Tevez jersey at the McKinley Mall this weekend, was a nice surprise, went up and talked to him about it. Great meeting other football fans around here.

  8. Sabo says:

    I was in Pittsburgh two weekends ago and saw more EPL kits than Steelers jerseys. I was shocked. Then again, I was at an art festival, so that might have something to do with it. I mostly saw Man U kits but a couple of Liverpool ones, too.

    In general, here in Cleveland, if I see a pro football kit on a person, it’s an EPL team. The most common teams are Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle. Every once in a while you’ll see someone wearing a Serie A jersey, usually either AC Milan or Juventus.

    Last fall I wore my Blackpool kit while shopping one weekend afternoon and some guy looked at me funny and said “Blackpool? Really?” It was good for a laugh for both of us.

  9. Philswin08 says:

    I live in the Pittsburgh area and don’t think I’ve ever seen one. However I did have a lifeguard at the pool I swim at say “Come On You Spurs!” at me when I wore my Spurs replica jersey to the pool.
    I’m originally from Philadelphia and when I get home I do notice much more there. Mainly Man United and Arsenal.

  10. The Gaffer says:

    In the 27 years that I’ve lived in the United States, I’ve only once seen someone wearing a Swansea City shirt — and that was at a Miami Fusion game. I walked up to the bloke and had a chat with him. Hopefully I’ll see some more soccer fans wearing Swansea shirts this season (especially now that they’ve done a deal for Adidas to be the kit manufacturer, so hopefully it’ll be easier to get our hands on one).

    When I wore my Swansea away top in the 90s, I always had people come up and ask me whether I worked for “Gulf Oil” or whether that was the name of my team. The “Gulf Oil” sponsor name on my shirt was massive while the Swansea City crest was relatively tiny in comparison.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • Taylor says:

      The shipping cost is quite pricey for non-premiership clubs jerseys ordered directly from their website. This also applies to European club jerseys. Borussia Dortmund, for example, charged 35 Euros for shipping. You add 76 Euros for the price of the shirt, then it’s already 101 euros. This really baffles me and Dortmund is not the only one. PSV Eindhoven’s jersey is also more expensive than EPL jerseys.

      Tried to get a Sheffield Wednesday jersey and the shipping cost was about 20 Pound.

  11. Norfolk Enchants says:

    In Boston I see a ton of Chelsea jersey’s walking around. Man Utd. and Liverpool are fairly common. I sees the Spurs much more frequently these days (they must have the fastest growing fan base in the US).

    Outside the EPL I see Barca jersey’s everywhere.

  12. Les says:

    I don’t see them often in the Boston area, but when I see them they are usually at the gym and worn by people who were not raised in the U.S. The team I see most is Chelsea. I even saw one guy wearing a Chelsea scarf at the supermarket.

  13. MNUfan1991 says:

    About half an hour ago, on the street at East 37th St & Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
    Torres… #9… Liverpool :)

    • Clampdown says:

      Yeah, let’s be honest, in NYC you’ll see several Premier League jerseys each day. And on Saturday mornings you can spit in any direction and hit a bar/restaurant showing Premier League matches. We’re spoiled.

      Yesterday in my gym in Brooklyn I spotted an Arsenal shirt, Villa shirt, and Liverpool shirt … all within a half hour among around 60-70 people.

      • MUFCforLife says:

        One of the many reasons NYC is awesome. I would say the two sets of kits I see the most often are United, Barca though Real Madrid is a close third.

  14. Robert says:

    While in Boston, I saw several Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea shirts (these made me point and cheer “Come on Chelsea!” to their wearers); while in North Carolina I mainly see Manchester United shirts, which cause me to uncontrollably scowl.

    I do think it’s cause for identification; aside from Manchester United, I always share a nod with a stranger wearing a football shirt. It’s encouraging that I see more and more.

    • BD says:

      Agreed. I try to strike up a convo whenever I see anyone in a Prem shirt (last time was at Best Buy with a guy in a Citeh Tevez jersey), especially my Chelsea brethren.

      HOWEVER……I saw this father and teenage son both wearing Manpoo jerseys while walking out of a movie theater a few months ago. I yelled “MAN U SUCKS!” at them and the dad gave me the finger with a smile on his face…..

      • Robert says:

        Perfect! I got jovially hassled by a Liverpool fan a few months ago while walking to watch a Prem match in my 2000-2001 Chelsea shirt. Honestly I was impressed that he recognized who it was.

      • Sabo says:

        A few years ago, my flight had just landed in Cleveland and I was walking to baggage claim when I saw two guys wearing EPL jerseys – one Man U and the other Chelsea. When I passed them, I told them I was highly disappointed they were chatting away in a friendly fashion instead of beating the tar out of each other. Both laughed.

  15. Kyle says:

    Everyday occurrence in Chicago. Usual suspects (Big 4 clubs), but I also see Roma just as often.

    I have about a dozen jerseys, mostly EPL teams. But the one that people inquire about most is Boca Jr.

  16. Matt says:

    I live in South Carolina. Saw two Barca shirts watching the Champions League Final at a bar. Other than that, I’ve only seen a couple Arsenal kits in the past 2 years.

    • Matt says:

      Just walked down to Starbucks and saw a guy on a bicycle wearing an Everton shirt. I have on an Everton polo shirt today. Tried to get the guy’s attention to no avail. First time I’ve ever seen a fellow Toffee supporter in my town.

  17. bayou says:

    Here in Milwaukee, you see the fairly regularly.

    I teach at a university (not Marquette) and my devotion to Liverpool has caused me to be known as the “soccer professor” so I get a lot of Man U, Arsenal, and Chelsea fans in my classes just so they can talk smack during the season. It’s quite fun.

  18. El Tri 2014 says:

    In Texas you see mostly Mexican League jerseys of America, Chivas or the National Team El Tri. At the local church service you will see a Barca and Real Madrid shirt every now and then…luckily my son wears his Man Utd. jersey. Been ages since I’ve seen Chelsea, L’pool and Arsenal jersey in this wilderness.

    • Jose says:

      I live in the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas, and I can attest to the above post. One can see, on a daily basis, any one of the Mexican Primera Division teams and most especially Chivas & Club America as well as the Mexico national team shirts. They are even sold in local Wal-marts.

      Sadly Arsenal material is pretty much impossible to find. :(

  19. joe m says:

    My fraternity is very sports oriented (yet geeky at the same time) so I see those guys wearing Man U, Chelsea, Man City, and Blackburn jerseys. On my old campus I saw a few Liverpool, Man U, Chelsea, and Man City. What I find interesting is that like Apple products, soccer & Prem League is growing in the young community and is quickly spreading in main culture.

    “In the wild” of the real world, I don’t see them often, but I did see a Liverpool Alt Away jersey in Cabo San Lucas Mexico a few months ago!

  20. jk says:

    I live in Tampa and see people wearing them at least every week and usually every day. I work at an Elementary school and on school days I see at least one kid wearing a jersey every day. Usually Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, etc. but on occasion you will see one that suprises you.

  21. AP says:

    I go to college in Boston. Sadly, the day of the year in which you see most people with EPL jersey is Halloween. I just don’t get the rationale of wearing a kit for Halloween.

    • Dave C says:

      Agree with you about the Halloween thing. It’s so lame to think that you’re fancy dress costume can simply consist of “items of old sports clothing I have lying around my house“.

      Last year I saw a few fairly generic examples (“oh, I’m a baseball player”….”I’m a soccer player”…etc), but also someone specifically trying to be David Beckham. Now at least this could be done in such a way that it would be identifiable as uniquely David Beckham…eg bleach your hair and do a fauxhauk (or buy a wig), get some stick on tattoos, get your stubble just right…but no, this guy was just wearing an England shirt (with mismatched shorts and socks, and tennis shoes), with his dark hair in a lame fauxhauk. In short, he looked like 80% of the crowd at an England game, rather than specifically looking like a Beckham impersonator.

    • Carmello says:

      Hahahahahaha

  22. Corey says:

    here in Boston there’s a whole lot of Liverpool jerseys, especially since John Henry bought the club. also lots of Man U jerseys in New England in general, I’d say. probably see at least 2-3 Premier League jerseys a week.

    also see at least one Liverpool jersey every time i go see the Revs play, presumably in support of Coach Nicol.

  23. JC says:

    If you ever go to Disney World, you’ll see lots of shirts. Often, it’s English travelers on holiday.

    • The Gaffer says:

      JC, most definitely. But the last time I went to Magic Kingdom, I was disappointed by how few soccer shirts I saw. In previous years, I used to see tons of them.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  24. mark richards says:

    As an exiled Swansea supporter living in Phoenix, i have personaly during the last five years seen 5 people wearing Premier league shirts. (Liverpool, Chelsea and Man U.
    Now we can make that 8 (as me, my wife and my daughter) all sport Swansea City shirts. Hopefully Swansea can remain in the PL and gain an overseas fanbase.

  25. Steve says:

    Here in the Sacramento area, I see lots of PL shirts, generally Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool plus lots of Mexico, Chivas and Barcelona. I’ve occasionally run into people wearing rarer shirts, such as Hereford, Motherwell, Leicester City, Accrington Stanley and Stockport and those are always interesting conversations!

  26. harold says:

    In NJ I see hardly anyone wearing EPL shirts which is surprising given the proximity to NYC and how frequently you see them worn in the city. I did see someone wearing a retro Arsenal kit in Costco on Saturday afternoon though

    • Trickybrkn says:

      Really, I live near Princeton, and see one at least once a week. In fact in line at Wegmans this weekend, I saw a Chelsea and. Man U in different lines.

      It’s strange, after living in Brooklyn for over a decade, moving out here they really do pop out.

      My favorite is seeing the kids from the local West Ham Academy wearing the claret and blue.

  27. Ray Traunt says:

    Here in Chicago I see jerseys daily. Typically it’s Barca, Chelsea and Liverpool, plus many of the big national powerhouses. Of course, the other day we had the Mexico game at Soldier Field so the streets were packed with El Tri kits.

  28. Alex says:

    I live in Indianapolis and although it’s not often, I do see some EPL shirts. Lots of Arsenal and ManU. My favorite was seeing a guy wearing a Liverpool shirt in a grocery store. I’m a LFC fan as well and we had a quick chat about the game that day. It was wonderful!

    • David says:

      I’m in Indianapolis as well and don’t see too many, but the occasional ManU. At my indoor and outdoor matches there are a wide variety, mostly from Europe. I’ll be sporting my Fulham (plus more) often this summer!

  29. MUFC77 says:

    walk through China town in Philadelphia on game day and you will see why Utd have such a huge following in Asia and why they keep coming back here for pre season games at the Linc. Seeing EPL jerseys in Philly isn’t strange at all.

  30. Dave C says:

    See it all the time in NYC (both on locals, tourists and immigrants), so it’s no biggie…however, a couple that stick in my memory:

    In about 2002/2003 (when Man C were struggling in the Championship or League 1) saw a hispanic guy in Corona, Queens, wearing a Man C shirt, PLUS a full Man C tracksuit. Very strange choice, since they were hardly the choice of glory-hunters at that time. I can only imagine that perhaps he played for a local amateur team who had adopted the color scheme because it was going cheap???

    A couple of weeks ago (during the Man Utd-Barca) game, I saw something that I thought was pretty ironic. An American guy of Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani origin wearing a Chelsea shirt in Manhattan, who said to his friend “Oh I hope Man Utd lose…I hate their fans because they’re all just glory supporters.” Unlike him of course, who I’m sure was supporting Chelsea back in the days of Stein, Peacock, Hitchcock etc.

    • Taylor says:

      This is really hilarious. I bet when you mentioned those names, he’d ask “who ?”
      Oh well, good ole times when Chelsea were likeable: Peacock, Stein, Clarke, Spencer, David Hopkins, Kerry Dixon and Dave Beasant

      • MUFC77 says:

        Kerry Dixon was never likable, EVER. Dave Beasant on the other hand will always be likable just for his penalty save against Liverpool in the 88 cup final.

        • Taylor says:

          Likeable enough for me, then.
          Beasant’s save was really memorable. It was such a joy watching him lifting the Cup from the late Princess of Wales

      • Dave C says:

        Yeah, most of those names are too early even for myself, but as a neutral I kind of liked Chelsea in the Hoddle-Gullit-Vialli-Ranieri eras.

  31. SlickJoe says:

    I usually don’t get to see any living in Southeast Georgia. I see Barca and Real Madrid jerseys during Mass on the Hispanic kids from the local University. I did go to Disney in Orlando a few months ago and saw quite a few Chelsea jersey’s and I believe 1 Tottenham. Sadly I was the only Man United wearing person.

  32. nicc says:

    Richmond, VA – always see people wearing Arsenal, ManU and Liverpool shirts (though never Chelsea…)

  33. Carmello says:

    Haha, that’s funny this article appeared on epltalk today because my co-worker (I work in a high school) was wearing a Chelsea jersey today. I had no idea he was into soccer. I said, “Chelsea, Ross? Seriously? CHELSEA?” He just laughed and then said he just collects soccer jerseys from wherever he goes. So… the man has no allegiance to Chelsea, but just wears them for fun. What in the world???

    His wife is legitimately Russian, so I thought maybe she picked up a jersey from Abramovich himself.

  34. Clair says:

    I live in Boston & I would see a jersey every now & then in the Back Bay, Harvard Square or Brighton.

    The most I see is Liverpool (before Henry bought the club). Every now & then Arsenal, United, Barca, Inter/AC Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea.

  35. Don says:

    Warwick, RI just one, last Sunday
    Manchester United (look myself in the mirror)

  36. King Eric says:

    i see them all the time, but that’s due to the simple fact that my social crowd of friends and the places i go usually have a pretty diverse crowd of internationals or are football related. it’s always the “big clubs” from england, spain, italy though.

  37. Jon says:

    I saw someone last week at Wal-Mart in Albany, NY wearing a Berbatov Man U 10-11 Home jersey. Definitely an odd sight, and it was a teenager as well. Unfortunately I was not in my Gerrard 08-09 Away jersey.

  38. Harry says:

    You guys need to come to MD…not only do I see EPL kits, but I also see teams from Italy and Spain.

    I did see a kid in a Man U jersey Friday but unfortunately as I told him “cool jersey” his reply was, “Oh I don’t know who they are, somebody just gave this to me.”

    Ugh

  39. Jeff says:

    I live outside Philadelphia and I’ve been seeing more and more soccer kits over the last few years in both suburbs and city. And it’s not just Premiership clubs I see. I see La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga kits as well, but mostly I see clubs from the Premiership.

    As for myself, I have 15 kits and I usually wear at least one a week. I have 6 Premiership kits, 1 La Liga kit, 3 Serie A kits, 1 MLS kit, 1 Bundesliga kit, and 3 National team kits.

  40. CTBlues says:

    Saw a guy wearing a Chelsea jersey on the train in Harlem while going to the Yankees v Redsox game last Thursday.

  41. Gaffer: I see them failry frequently, although never as much as when I venture up to Orlando. Next time you’re up in the Magic Kingdom take a look around: Premier League jerseys outnumber NFL, NBA or MLB by about 2 or 3 to 1. And they’re not all on Brits. I always have a lot of fun striking up small talk with strangers wearing EPL jerseys as they walk around the world showcase at EPCOT…..

    • The Gaffer says:

      Usually I see a ton at Magic Kingdom, but the last time I went up there to that theme park, I think I saw one or maybe zero Premier League jerseys. That’s the first time that ever happened (such a low number). Normally, though, I agree. It’s always fun making some kind of remark to these complete strangers about the shirt they’re wearing.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  42. JAK says:

    Haven’t seen a person an a kit for a long time. I’ve been tempted to buy one, but I have no where to wear it. I have a ’08 Galway United kit that I picked up when I was living in Galway, Ireland for a few weeks. I’ll probably pick up a kit when I go to England sometime. I might look for a Bundesliga kit next week when I’m in Germany. Probably a Bayern Munich one, or at least a shirt.

    In college, I saw a lot of people wearing them. We had a diverse campus when it came to sports. I had a buddy from England who would wear his ManU kit on the weekends to support his team.

    It’s been quite awhile, and I expect it to stay like that for awhile. Maybe in the next few weeks while I’m in Europe.

  43. Taimur says:

    I used to see them all the time when I was attending UT Austin this past year. I saw lots of Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea jerseys. Quite a lot of Barcelona and Real Madrid ones as well. There was a restaurant there which has FSC so they show all the Premier League, Serie A, and Champions League matches and it’s packed with students wearing jerseys of the teams they’re supporting. In Houston, though, I never see them. I see some int’l jerseys like Spain, Brazil, Mexico, etc. but that’s about it. Lots of Mexican club jerseys worn by the Latinos here. But credit to them that they wear them proudly in a country where most ppl wouldn’t know whether it was an Express shirt or a fb jersey.

  44. Evan says:

    Haven’t seen one in ages. I’m probably the only one wearing a premier league jersey within 100 miles. my 08-09 west brom home jersey :)

  45. Erik says:

    Live in the Pittsburgh area and recently saw someone wearing (unfortunately) a Chelsea jersey at a street fair outside of the city… Pretty much the first one that I have seen in the ‘Burgh ever… Happy & sad at the same time.

  46. J-Goon says:

    Since the turn of the year, here in Lincoln, NE:
    -1 Man. U.
    -1 Chelsea
    -1 Barca
    (Trophies sell jerseys in the Heartland).

  47. noel says:

    the last one was about a month ago, in a busy NYC subway station i saw a Man U Chicharito.

  48. Harry says:

    wow!! This subject comes up and today alone I saw Manchester City, Barcelona, and a Chelsea kit.

    I think I need to start taking pics and posting just to show what kind of fans I see!

    (Runs upstairs to put on Messi kit!)

  49. jsint11 says:

    I mainly live in the suburbs and hardly, if ever, see folks wearing a soccer jersey. I most often see baseball jersey’s; however, when I am in the city I see plenty of people wearing either a Chelsea or Man U jersey.

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