There’s More Than One City in the Premier League

After Swansea City’s well-deserved victory against Manchester City Sunday, where the Welsh club worked its socks off for 94 minutes, I think it’s time that the Swans deserve some respect. Throughout this entire season, the team has stuck to its philosophy in terms of the way it plays football, and has always tried to play an entertaining brand. Along the way, they’ve learned a lot and we’ve seen them make substantial progress in front of our eyes — evident by the reversal of the 4-0 loss on the opening weekend of the season against Manchester City, and the one-nil victory yesterday.

The Swans have earned the respect of a lot of neutrals and opposing fans (and managers). But the one thing that has pissed me off this season is how the press, match commentators, bloggers and pundits talk about “City,” and everyone expects them to presume they’re talking about Manchester City. When it’s a game where Manchester City plays Manchester United, for example, then the “City” reference is completely obvious to differentiate the two team names. But when Manchester City plays Swansea City, and the public still refers to “City” as if we’re supposed to know that there’s only one “City” in the Premier League (i.e. Manchester City), that upsets me. In fact, I find it condescending.

Other than Manchester City, there are three other City clubs in the Premier League: Swansea City, Stoke City and Norwich City. If there was only one “City” in the league, and Manchester City was it, I could understand it. But there isn’t. Just as there is not only one United in the Premier League.

A good example of how lazy the mainstream press is in regards to the use of the word “City” comes from The Guardian’s preview of the Swansea City against Manchester City match. Written by the usually reliable Kevin McCarra, have a guess which team he’s talking about when he mentions:

“City had 15 shots on target when these sides met in the opening round of fixtures, more than any other team in any other game in 2011-12”

Does The Guardian mean Swansea City or Manchester City? Without looking up the stats myself to find out, I have absolutely no idea. I’m guessing he means Manchester City, but there’s no way of knowing that from the above sentence.

The reason all of this upsets me and why I want to get it off my chest is because the vast majority of people have a Top Four or Sky Six bias to the Premier League. There are 20 teams in the league, each of them have earned a place in the Premiership, and each of them deserving our respect. However, when the media talks so much about “City,” “United,” “Spurs,” “Arsenal” and “Chelsea,” it’s no wonder that pundits get lazy when talking about the City’s and United’s of the world because they’re so used to uttering those names without thinking twice about it.

Maybe, just maybe, people will start to change their thinking especially as the City’s of the Premier League — Swansea, Stoke and Norwich — continue to take points away from the other teams in the league. In scenarios where a “City” is playing another “City,” the media and viewers should use the club nicknames to avoid confusion (i.e. the Swans against the Citizens). Just talking about “City,” and presuming we know who you’re discussing, displays ignorance and a lack of respect.

52 thoughts on “There’s More Than One City in the Premier League”

  1. I think your reaction is a bit over the top. There has been countless examples in the past, Norwich City, Leicester City etc etc. Their names have simply been shortened to their city names, however, this isn’t possible for the Manchester clubs. Why haven’t you pointed out that Manchester United are constantly referred to as ‘United’, when there is Newcastle United etc etc. Simple fact is, the Manchester clubs can’t be shortened to ‘Manchester’ as THIS would cause confusion. Hence, Manchester United have become the defacto ‘United’, and Manchester City the defacto ‘City’. This situation hasn’t been created anywhere else in the 92 league teams of England, and so therefore there really is no confusion. The fact that you were confused probably relates to you being a resident of a country not in the UK. In the UK, almost EVERYONE knows what ‘City’ and ‘United’ refers to.
    The one only place I can see confusion is Sheffield, where there is a local ‘United’ and a ‘Wednesday’. From the context of what the conversation is already, there still wouldn’t be any confusion as to which ‘United’ was being referred to.

    1. To add to this as a case in point, I grew up in Leeds and I can’t remember a time in conversation when ‘United’ was confused with anything, or even taken as a lack of respect. Leeds United were ‘Leeds’, and Manchester United were ‘United’.

      And that was from the Leeds fans…

    2. Stu, the article mentions Manchester United and how that’s unfair to other United sides. But when there’s a game between Manchester City and Swansea City, the differentiation between Manchester United and Manchester City has no relevance. It’s City against City. “Swansea” against “Manchester” wouldn’t make sense, but using “City” to refer to Man City, in that context, is a slap in the face to Swansea.

      I grew up in Britain, so I know what it’s like to be a resident of the UK. But the fact that you say that everyone knows what City and United refers to proves my point. There are far more City’s and United’s than just the Manchester duo.

      The Gaffer

      1. But in the colloquial sense, no there really isn’t. There is zero confusion. You would be the first person I’ve come across who has mentioned that they were confused who the ‘City’ was relating to when Manchester City v Any City played.

        It’s not a lack of respect, and its simply not confusing. Its accepted, understood and USED by the primary audience for the English leagues and the British media.

  2. It would be like the USA being known as ‘America’. No, Canada, Mexico, Panana, Brazil are all in the American continents, yet the USA gets called ‘America’. None of the other countries take offense, and whenever ‘America’ is said, everyone knows what it is referring to. Its a non-issue.

    1. That’s not a very accurate comparison. As stated, City and United appear in several club names but ‘America” only appears in the US country name — it’s not reference to the continent. If another country — Mexico, for example — decides to change the name of the country to something like the Mexican States of America, I’d be fine agreeing that America shouldn’t be the shorthand for a single country.

      As for the article, do Swansea fans WANT to refer to the club is City? I do see the point of the article but it seems a little semantic…

  3. Frustration aside gaffer stu is correct,Man City have always been known as “City” and Man Utd as “United”. There are a lot of clubs with “City” at the end of their name but they usually adopt another nickname like in Swansea’s case “the swans”. This link seems to be an ok example of nickname, NOT definitive, but still ok.

    I think the excellent quality of football Swansea have played all season means they have the right to call themselves whatever they want really. However, it doesn’t mean 90 +years of tradition will fall away tho.

    As I have said before; I hope that if Harry goes Daniel Levy gets out the checkbook at pays whatever to get Rodgers. It may be his first season in the premiership but you can not deny the brand of football being played by swansea is first class, what could he do with that spurs squad? Exciting stuff no doubt. Respectfully, Swansea have a bunch of no names gave a lesson to city in the first half yesterday, really great stuff, not as good in the second half but still very good. the indecision about harry is affecting my spurs club and the fact harry is in denial about it makes it worse. Either say ur going, or stay limbo is not good look at the the Moderic limbo at the beginning of the season, terrible….man I really hate Arsenal…come on Newcastle!

    1. Dust, but Swansea City is the name of the club. To believe that Manchester City has more of a right to be known as ‘City’ is disrespectful to other City clubs out there.

      The Gaffer

      1. Gaffer, you’re making me laugh with this one. You’re letting your emotions get the best of you. No one does it in a condescending manner. Over time, it’s become common usage.

        Like most others, I’m loving what Swansea CITY is doing this season. They’re a joy to watch. It reminds me very much of Blackpool last season, except they’re better and know how to defend.

        1. Yep, the topic of the article hit a sore spot with me. It was a combination of The Guardian’s Kevin McCarra and EPL Talk Podcast’s very own Kartik Krishnaiyer (in today’s episode) that got me pissed off enough to write about this one. I’ll get over it soon, I think :)

          The Gaffer

      2. I don’t think it is meant to be disrespectful. It’s a Manchester thing, and because Manchester is so big and culturally important it becomes nomenclature.

  4. No one believes its ‘a right’, it just happened. It’s not a ‘Oh, we’re the only City/United that matters’ thing, it was a way to differentiate the 2 Manchester clubs and it became a national method of doing that. If there was one team in the leagues from Manchester, I’m sure they would be referred to as ‘Manchester’.

    It’s not a ‘we’re claiming the name’ thing at all. How can it possibly be disrespectful if, to bring up the previous example, Leeds United fans refer to Manchester United as ‘United’?

  5. One interesting thing to note today is the lack of press coverage about Swansea City in the British and US media. After all, they knocked the first place team off the top of the table.

    What’s the reason for the lack of press coverage? My opinion is that it’s because very few people watched the 90 minutes of this game on television. It wasn’t shown live in the United Kingdom, and was only available in the United States on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go. If this match had been the traditional 11am ET/4pm GMT kickoff, you would have seen a lot more media coverage today.

    The Gaffer

    1. I’m glad your team won but I think a reality check is in order. Fifteen more appearences in the Premier League then we can talk about clearing up who ‘City’ really is. There is no confusion at this point…

    2. The game was shown in the pubs on the Greek/Arabic channels. The British media are more interested in the fact that City got beat rather than Swansea winning. Utd are the media darlings and they won so papers full of stories of Balotelli and Yaya falling out even though both don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Same as Barry saying something to Platt coming off and then that ‘He took his boots off’ which of course he did he’s wasn’t on the pitch! But this means he was furious apparently and then of course City are in turmoil so the media‘s full of that instead. They love trying to put pressure on Utd’s challengers and always have even when they were crxp as if Ref’s that give every possible penalty decision to them (they have set penalty records yet again this year) and rarely have them against even if they are blatantly obvious isn’t enough. If Utd lose next week you’ll see nothing about Wolves just the continuance of how the some how under dogs heroes at Utd will keep the pressure on City, they don’t have to much interest in Swansea I’m afraid. If it’s any consolation though I think up to now the Swansea manager has been manager of the year, ok Norwich have done well but they have been in the prem before and in that I guess have had more money to spend.

      1. Excellent points Why. I agree with you. Manchester United and Manchester City stories attract clicks and sell newspapers. Stories about the mighty Swans unfortunately do not.

        The Gaffer

    3. This is probably where Fox coverage should be held to some blame in covering the game. I was in a pub yesterday, had my Slingbox at the ready to watch on ESPN and then realized that yes….the game was on Fox Plus so unless you had any kind of stake in the game, you really didn’t know about it.

      It makes me wonder if ESPN had rights to it if they would have found a way to broadcast both simultaneously over the air.

      If The Powers That Be really wanted to attract fans to this sport, yesterday would have been a good chance to do so with that kind of a broadcast.

  6. Well gaffer in the case of Swansea and Man City you could say the first to be named City should take the name first and that’s Man City but that‘s not why Man City get call it. Stoke City were called it before Man City but there local rivals did not have Stoke in their name unlike the Manchester teams. There is only one team professionally called Swansea so this makes it easy. Bristol has two teams also and in Bristol no doubt they would refer to Bristol City as simply City and the same with Rovers if only to differentiate between the two in that City even though there are other teams named the same. But another simple fact is that the best known clubs will take the name when it comes to the whole country or the World hence just about every one sees Man U as Utd and Man City as City. You‘d have to call Man City, City and Swansea well Swansea also as you cannot confuse the name Swansea with another team but you can with Manchester surely you see that. Who takes the name in south Wales I wonder Swansea or Cardiff it’s kind of the same thing isn’t it or is it just the Bluebirds and the Swans?

    1. Good points. If it was first dibs, that would mean that Newcastle United has the rights to use United since they were founded before Manchester United was.

      As for Swansea City against Cardiff City, it’s either “Swansea versus Cardiff” or the “Swans versus the Bluebirds,” but not Swansea against City 😉

      The Gaffer

  7. Better let Brendan Rodgers know as well

    “There have been some wonderful results over many years at this great club,” he said, “but certainly it was a terrific performance and when you take on a team like City, with the resources they have got and to dominate the game like that, it fills me with great pride.”

    “To work here at Swansea and to be allowed to work as I want to is great,” he said. “Today is the best performance and result of the season. We scored and after that we showed our maturity. We dropped into our lines and blocked spaces, and it was very difficult for them to get through us.

    1. LOL Thanks Bob. But Rodgers prefaced “City” by inferring it was the opposition. My issue is when people say City and presume that everyone knows they’re talking about Manchester City.

      The Gaffer

  8. I think the most important thing that is missing here is how the fans associate with the name of the club. Does Swansea City include “City” in all their fan chants at matches? I agree you can argue for ages about the bias towards top clubs. But remember that City hasn’t always been a top club, and that the other “City’s” and “United’s” have had their successes over the years. The fact of the matter is that the Manchester City supporters identify with, and chant “City” in every fan chant there is, simply because they identify with the name as a means to differentiate between themselves and Manchester United.

  9. Gaffer,

    No comment on this article, but was wondering why there are spanish ads at the top of main page. Makes sense for your Laliga site, but EPL? and spanish kelloggs ad? lol

    1. It’s all dynamic, so different people will see different ads depending on which part of the country and world they’re from. It could be that you’re from a more heavily-populated Spanish-language market.

      The Gaffer

  10. Gaffer, it’s hardly disrespectful, sometimes a clubs fanbase decide what there club is called in-spite of the official name. An example being; Man Utd brand themselves “the red devils”, i have never heard a chant with that in or a commentator refer to them ad that since Brian Moore on its covering an 80’s fa cup final. What are the chants on the terraces? U said urself the main swansea chant doesn’t have city in it. Until the recent addition of that Mancini o-o-o chant all Man City sang was “come on city” again and again! (as bad as Arsenal….Arsenal…ugh so crap)

    If Swansea give City footballing lessons like yesterday every time they play from now on, and the fans continue to chant “Man Shity” and sing “City”, “City” at every game for the nect 60 years then maybe Swansea will be known as “city”.

    Until them I would just revel in the great product “the swans” have put out on the field. and long may it continue!

    1. Another bitter little fellow then. All city sang was ‘come on City’ surely your getting them mixed up with Utd and the legendary and well thought up’Utd, Utd’ chant or how about the hugely original ‘champions’ sung repeatedly well 10 mins of a game rest of the time there silent even though there are 70k plastics there! Lol

      1. What? wait..I mean, Why? Who? Huh…ok, lets start again,

        Why? “Another Bitter little fellow”, LOL, not sure what about my response would be bitter? lets see, I point out a few things for chants to remind gaffer (probably the actual bitter little fellow after the “why don’t they call my Swansea City “City” its an insult i tell you! and insult, these british media suck! Article…wahh) that he should relax it is what it is and he should probably just focus on the great win and style of football of Swansea.

        United’s chants aren’t great either I just put it down to being from Manchester, As for the “champions” chant, after winning 19 not sure anyone else in uk can say much about that.

        Unless your a Man city fan or god forbid an Arsenal fan upset with the last observation I made of how crap the Arsenal terraces are (as displayed again at the scumeraites in that undeserved, lucky win against Newcastle). I don’t know what outfit you are a fan of as i don’t typically pay attention to your posts bar the response to mine ….but anyways.

        Either way…
        Here’s a chant for you tho “Are you Gaffer…are you Gaffer…are you Gaffer in disguise?….Are….you… Gaffer…in ….disguise? You know the melody right? You have actually been to a game in the premiership right?

        I’m sure if I read your posts I would find plenty of fodder to mock you on. However, I just don’t have the time or, to be frank, inclination to bother with it.


        1. ‘not sure what about my response would be bitter?’ Really? Then why write ‘Man shity’ kinda looks like you have a dislike for them, and what would that dislike be born out of? Was it there before the take over? Nope, didn’t think so, the bitter alerts flashing big time!!
          Then what about that you strangely say City fans only sing ‘Come on City’ and a Mancini song, this bitter little dig reminded my of what maybe a Man Utd fan would say, and why’s that you might ask? Well because like it or not they dislike the fact that City are now a rival it upsets them some what and makes them quite bitter theses days, well in truth their fans hate anybody who challenges them using words like ‘scum‘ to describe them so it‘s not just reserved for City they genuinely belive they have a right to win everything and if somebody else does they upset them and therefore must be scum! So this is why at first I thought you were a Utd fan at first the bitterness in what you wrote, then imagine my surprise when I bothered to read what else you wrote to find out your a Spurs fan, yes that‘s a Spurs fan talking about chants LOL. The team that’s only chants I have heard over the last few years is something that can only be described as a constant incessant slow whinge done to the tune of when the saints go marching in, they have very cleverly (lol) changed the word saints for spurs genius! Well except every other football club in the country does the same that is! Or then there’s a few shouting Bale, Bale but I’m not sure if this is for the glory hunters they picked up a season or so ago when they made the Champs league or the player, so I’m slightly confused to if they are saying bail or Bale as it’s not looking to good as it was with before especially with Arsenal & Chelsea right behind you and dodgy Arry probably leaving in the Summer for his first love (money), so is it bail out to the next band wagon?

          You choose to have a unprovoked dig at City and the fans, fans considered by many to be some of the finest and loyalist in the league which makes your bitterness even clearer. These fans are known for their sense of humour i.e inflatable bananas, The Poznan not to mention chants like the Balotelli one etc. Now ‘Inflatable bananas? The Poznan?’ you may say but your club never did anything like that did they? So why have this dig? ‘It‘s not fair, we were higher than them, they’ve jumped the cue boo hoo hoo!’ This is the bitterness I talk about, Kapish? Or is this something you do against all other clubs? So not so bitter more just a prat? Well either way don’t worry their are many like you tipping up every day, ya gotta love that green eyed monster eh? Not bitter my arse!

          As for you having a go at the writer you do know that it’s his job to write this kind of thing don’t you? And as of posting this it has 50 replies, so I’d say job done, and with a point many have talked and wrote about in the past. What’s got your back up about it god only knows!

          ‘You have actually been to a game in the premiership right?’ The games I have missed since 1986 (sporadically before this as I was a kid) not only the Premiership and including Division 1 and 2 you could count on your toes and fingers with it looking like you may have 24 of those, you should find it easy! lol. And I don’t need to look any where else to mock or see your petty bitterness it’s right here on this page! Now sling it LOL.

  11. I don’t know if i find it funny or insulting that after beating CITY,the only thing you get from it is not being called city,anyway well done.

  12. Swansea played good at home all season.. away form is not that good..

    Man City 4-0 Swansea
    Shrewsbury 3-1 Swansea
    Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
    Chelsea 4-1 Swansea
    Norwich 3-1 Swansea
    Wolves 2-2 Swansea
    Liverpool 0-0 Swansea
    Blackburn 4-2 Swansea
    Everton 1-0 Swansea
    Newcastle 0-0 Swansea
    Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea
    Barnsley 2-4 Swansea
    Bolton 2-1 Swansea
    Sunderland 2-0 Swansea
    West Brom 1-2 Swansea
    Stoke 2-0 Swansea
    Wigan 0-2 Swansea

      1. Gaffer, that link is only showing away form after 6 matches. On the full away form table they are ranked 14th, just one point above the worst three. Not good.

        1. Correct. I was illustrating their away form from the past several weeks, to show the progress they’ve been making. Being ranked number 14 for away form for the season-to-date is nothing to be ashamed of, though.

          The Gaffer

  13. I watch this game on demand at Swansea totally deserved to win the game. They took it to Man City and dominate large periods of play.

    That said, it was also clear that Man City had the superior talent and with one or two kicks could have put the game away. They didn’t though and Swansea got the lovely created winning goal off the head of Luke Moore.

    That was a great game by Swansea. Fun game to watch all around.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did, too!

      And congratulations to Sian Massey, who yet again has made a crucial call correctly. Why can’t more assistant referees be as good as her?

      The Gaffer

  14. The swans got my respect their solid and improving team but they need improve away from Liberty Stadium 3-3-8 not good at all

    1. Almost everyone — pundits and fans — all predicted that Swansea would get relegated this season, so even if they’re sitting in eleventh position where they are now, people are now complaining that they should be winning more away games. With such a small budget, Swansea is already accomplishing miracles. There’s always room for improvement, but it needs to be a realistic analysis. Everyone would love to be winning more games :)

      The Gaffer

  15. I’m a Man U fan (notice I didn’t say United?) and I always call them Man United or Man Utd whichever. United sounds too generic to me. Only people I know that them United are commentators and bloggers. Also, I don’t call them City, I call them Man City. I say Newcastle, Norwich, Leeds, Swansea, Wolves, Tottenham, Arsenal etc. I never call them by their last name. It’s either the first or an amalgamation of the first and last name.

  16. The way the teams are called by the fans when someone says “City” everyone assumes you are talking about Manchester City. Thats just the way it is. If however you were living in Birmingham, and said City it would be assumed you were talking about Birmingham City. Again same thing in Sheffield, if you said United they would think you were talking about Sheffield United, anywhere else though, and it would be Manchester. You have to remember that these clubs have been around for over 100 years, and nothing is ever going to change. Swansea will always be known as Swansea, and never as City.

    1. Mark, that’s a load of nonsense. Swansea has been around for 100 years and is known as City. But when it’s global and you have people reading the web or listening to commentators, saying ‘City’ should not presume that someone is talking about Manchester City. As the article headline says, there’s more than one City in the Premier League.

      The Gaffer

  17. The Gaffer has no idea what he is talking about, it is not disrespectfull, they have earned their title as “United” and “City” after many years of beeing two of the best clubs in England, and even in Europe, and it is them who are among the most popular clubs, so people refer to them as “City” and “United” so it has nothing with respect to do, it is about that more people talk about them, know about them and they are simply better, so they are refered to as that.

    1. Maybe I missed it, but when did Manchester City become one of the two best clubs in England? Manchester City won the FA Cup last year, but last time I checked, that’s it in terms of recent trophies.

      Clubs don’t earn the right to be called “City” or “United.” Just as there are lots of other clubs that use the name City, the same applies to United (Newcastle United, Sheffield United, West Ham United, and so on).

      The Gaffer

  18. Can’t we stick with three City teams in the prem? Stoke, Norwich, Manchester… and then Swansea can run along over to the welsh league and win all the time and they’ll be playing in europe and they will stop complaining because they will be the city in their league.
    English league for ENGLISH teams. Get Swansea out!

    And no, they do not deserve respect.

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