Will non-Chelsea Fans Put Aside Partisanship and Choose an English Club over Bayern Munich?
In American college football, the Southeastern Conference has some of the fiercest and most legendary rivalries in the land; fueled by factors familiar to the Premier League – proximity, history, regional pride, high stakes, top talent, and, above all, passionate fans. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party – Florida v. Georgia. The Egg Bowl - Ole Miss v. Mississippi State. The Iron Bowl – Alabama v. Auburn. LSU-’Bama. LSU-Florida. Almost every autumnal Saturday brings a big rivalry game. But when fall turns to winter and college bowl season, many SEC fans, regardless of school, unite as one to cheer for whichever SEC team is left playing on the national stage. During the regular season, the hate runs deep, but when it’s one of their own against a team from another conference, the “S-E-C” chants rain down.
Does such solidarity exist among Premier League club supporters? This Saturday’s titanic tussle between Chelsea and Bayern Münich will provide the test. No doubt Spurs supporters sweating over their Champions League spot are busy memorizing the words to “Stern des Südens,” but what about the rest of you? Perhaps fans of Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Nottingham Forest don’t want Chelsea joining their exclusive club. Maybe the QPR and Fulham faithful would like to see their big neighbor beaten down by the Bavarian giants.