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.


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