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How to Pick an English Premier League Team

magic 8 ball How to Pick an English Premier League Team

It’s often said that supporting a soccer team is a bit like a marriage. I could trot out the old cliches about “ups and downs” and “twists and turns.” But to be honest, some marriages don’t last, some people have two or three marriages in a lifetime. You can only ever have one soccer team, can’t you!?

So for those new to the game and looking for an English Premier League (EPL) team to support, here’s some pointers on how to make the best choice when it comes to supporting a team that suits you. But be warned, you get one choice and one choice only. Switching your allegiances is an unforgivable offense when it comes to the EPL!

Picking the right team depends on what are you looking for from your Premier League side. So here’s a selection of teams that may fit in with some of the most popular answers (other teams are of course available):

“I want to see my team spend big and win trophies”:

Manchester City – City joined an elite group last season after lifting the Premier League title for the first time in their history, and they certainly won’t be going away any time soon. The club has a seemingly bottomless pit of cash to invest in new players and look set to dominate for the foreseeable future. If you are looking to take in a match day, expect plenty of banter from the City faithful, who offer some of the most humorous chants in the country. The modern supporters football club.

Manchester United – I imagine even those who are complete Premier League virgins will have heard of Manchester United. Arguably the biggest soccer club in the world, having enjoyed unrivaled success on the English domestic front, United came tantalizingly close to a twentieth domestic championship last season before being denied by their nearest and not so dearest rivals City. Expect attacking soccer and late drama aplenty if you chose to follow the Red Devils. They will challenge on all fronts.

Chelsea – After securing their maiden European Cup success last term, the London outfit will surely be better placed to challenge on the domestic front after finishing in an unfamiliar sixth place last season. They have already strengthened for next season with the signing of the much coveted Eden Hazard. Stamford Bridge stadium is located in one of the most scenic areas of the capital but this unfortunately means that ticket prices can be expensive if you’re looking to sample a match whilst visiting London.

“My priority is to be entertained, results come second”:

Arsenal – The Gunners have undoubtedly played the most eye-catching soccer throughout the Premier League years. If you want to see soccer exhibited as “the beautiful game”, then Arsenal is the English side for you. But without a trophy in the last seven campaigns, don’t expect immediate success from Arsene Wenger’s side. Wenger has been notoriously reluctant to loosen the purse strings since Arsenal’s arrival at the Emirates stadium, but they have a plethora of young players breaking into the side which could reignite their charge towards silverware.

Swansea City – Under Brendan Rodgers, Swansea took the Premier League by storm last season with their exciting brand of possession soccer. Whilst Rodgers has moved on to Liverpool, under new manager Michael Laudrup they will no doubt look to play the role of great entertainers again. As the only Welsh club in the EPL, they could offer a different perspective to any new fans looking to get behind a team. After a mid-table finish last campaign, they will be looking towards a top half finish next year.

Wigan Athletic – If drama is what you are after, then Wigan might be a good team to follow. They tend to be written off before the beginning of every campaign as certainties for relegation. But manager Roberto Martinez always manages to steer them clear of the trap-door, with a free flowing, open brand of football to compliment them. It will be interesting to see how they fare after the speculation linking Martinez with a move away from the club this summer just gone.

“I want to see some American players plying their trade”:

Everton – USA Goalkeeper Tim Howard plies his trade between the sticks for Everton FC and he’s performed fantastically well since his arrival at the club. If you are to pick Everton and intend on attending a game to get behind the Toffees, then it may be better to come over during the second half of the season, as they tend to pick up for the end of season run in. Maybe the arrival of Landon Donovan on loan from January up until March the past couple of seasons has had something to do with this? Expect to hear chants of “U-S-A!” at Goodison next year.

Fulham – One of the best players in the EPL last campaign was Fulham’s and America’s Clint Dempsey, leading the Fulham fans to chime how he “makes Drogba look…” well, you know. Fulham played some excellent soccer last season under Martin Jol and Fulham’s resolve to keep Dempsey will be tested as he has been linked with some more illustrious clubs. Craven Cottage is undoubtedly my favorite ground in the Premier League, very traditional and situated literally on the bank of the River Thames. It would definitely be my pick for anyone looking to take in an EPL game whilst in London.

“I’m in this for the long haul, I want to see my team slowly build something great”:

Liverpool – Like Manchester United, Liverpool is a club steeped in history and world wide support, but — unlike United — is no longer the force the club once was after a few seasons of uncertainty. They are at the beginning of a new era with the club’s American owners throwing their weight behind new manager Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool’s anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is probably the most famous soccer song out there, so anyone who’s looking to support The Reds could start by going out and buying the Gerry & The Pacemakers record. The Anfield stadium atmosphere can be second to none for Liverpool’s big games.

Tottenham – With manager Harry Redknapp no longer at the helm, it’s a new dawn for Spurs too. They boast some world class players in Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, which made for some very entertaining soccer at White Hart Lane last year. Any new fans of Spurs should expect some new faces going in and coming out of the club, but should not be deferred as the owners have always backed their managers in the transfer market. Expect some high class players to be coming into the Spurs side as they look to build on their fourth place finish last campaign.

Newcastle United – If you have a fanatical personality and intend on living and breathing soccer, then you would fit right in amongst the Newcastle faithful. The club invested wisely in the side last year after the £35m sale of striker Andy Carroll. This resulted in an unexpected charge towards the top four which ultimately fell just short. They are backed all over the country by the “Toon Army” and their fans remain as passionate as any, despite the absence of silverware from their trophy cabinet for half a century. Their chief scout has been handed a new ten year contract, so expect to see plenty of exciting new talent donning the famous Black and White. They look to be building towards a bright future under manager Alan Pardew.

Queens Park Rangers – the R’s will no doubt splash the cash this summer in an attempt to build on their survival in the top flight last season.  They showed significant improvements under Mark Hughes and he has vowed to steer them clear of any future relegation battles. They definitely look to be a side on the up and play an attractive style under Hughes. Another alternative option for anyone who is looking to pick a team who are not one of the more fashionable London clubs

Sunderland – The Mackems will be looking to start this campaign in the manner in which they finished the former one. Martin O’Neill completely transformed the mood around the club when he replaced Steve Bruce and guided his side to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and a top half finish. A feat made all the more impressive after a lackluster start under the previous manager. O’Neill integrated young talents like James McClean and Jack Colback into the first eleven, so they should go on to develop even more next season. If you want to see the passion of the Premier League summed up in one game, then you should look no further than a Sunderland/Newcastle derby.

“I’m a new supporter so why not support a team returning to the EPL?”:

Southampton – Southampton completed their second successive promotion last campaign and returned to the Premier League after recovering from the perils of administration four years ago. With their ambitious manager Nigel Adkins and exciting EPL debutants Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert, the Saints supporters could see their side surprise many a big name in their first season back in the top flight.

Reading – After losing out to Swansea in last season’s playoff final, you would be forgiven for thinking that Reading may have spent the last campaign wallowing in their misfortune. However, under manager Brian McDermott they stormed to the top of the Championship and secured their promotion to the Premiership with relative ease. They will be looking to replicate the fortunes of the three promoted sides last season (all of whom avoided relegation) but could ultimately face a struggle to stay afloat in English football’s top division. Expect drama a-plenty come the end of the season if you chose Reading as your team.

“I want to support a team who are looking to make a fresh start with a new manager”:

Aston Villa – a club with a decorated history, a world famous stadium and passionate backing. They have fallen on tough times recently, selling key players and being involved in relegation battles. There is cause to be optimistic for Villa fans however, Paul Lambert seems to be a popular choice as manager amongst the supporters and has an impressive track record too. He will be looking to take them back to challenging in the upper echelons of the league, were they have spent the majority of their Premier League years. If your looking for a ‘proper’ English club, then Villa could be the right fit for you.

Norwich City – Before their foray into the Premier League last season, Norwich had achieved successive promotions under the since departed manager Paul Lambert. They had a solid first season back in the top flight and stayed up comfortably despite many doubting their abilities to do so. But with Lambert’s departure to Aston Villa, it is the beginning of a new era for the Canaries, with the popular Chris Houghton taking charge next season. Norwich supporters should expect to see plenty of hungry young players given the chance to impress under the new manager.

West Bromwich Albion – Steve Clarke will take the reigns for the new campaign after former boss Roy Hodgson took England hot-seat. Clarke has been lauded as an excellent assistant manager throughout his career, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in a managers role, especially having to follow Hodgson who done such an impressive job at the club. It would be difficult to argue however, that Clarke has not deserved his chance. The Baggies look to have finally cemented their Premier League status and could push into the top half of the table with some shrewd signings and a good start under the new manager.

“The EPL is known worldwide for its physicality, I want my team to play in that manner”:

Stoke City – If the above question is what your looking for from your EPL side then Stoke is definitely the team for you to follow. The manager Tony Pulis has been much maligned for Stoke’s style of play, but the club has more than consolidated their place in the top flight. Stoke’s Britannia Stadium is hailed as the loudest in the country creating an intimidating atmosphere for visiting sides. Whilst once famous for Rory Delap’s missile throw ins, The Potters have improved their style of football (demonstrated by the potential signing of Michael Owen) and have relished the challenge of being underdogs on numerous occasions since their promotion to the top flight.

West Ham United – The Irons are an English club steeped in history and tradition. Their fans will tell you that “West Ham won the World Cup” for England in 1966 after the successes of Geoff Hurst & Bobby Moore. Whilst being known as the “Academy of Football” for many a year, the current manager Sam Alardyce is renowned having his teams play in a way in which they are a physical match for any team and a side that are very tough to beat. Expect to hear their anthem ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ if your looking to take in a game at Upton Park.

How did you chose your Premier League team? How would you sell your side to new supporters? What other teams should new fans look at supporting?

Follow me on Twitter: @13mattj13

About Matt Jones

Matt has been writing for World Soccer Talk for more than two years, contributing pieces about myriad topics and regularly lending his voice to the podcast. Matt has covered games live for the website from a host of venues, including Wembley, London and the ANZ Stadium, Sydney. He is a regular at Goodison Park where he watches his beloved Everton, but harbours an unyielding interest in all aspects of European soccer. You can get in touch with Matt via e-mail at mattjones@worldsoccertalk.com or on Twitter @MattJFootball
View all posts by Matt Jones →

59 Responses to How to Pick an English Premier League Team

  1. Bishopville Red says:

    You don’t pick a club. A club picks you.

    • March says:

      ^ This

      • Nonsense says:

        Absoulutely…can we never see another what Prem League team to pick? If you must make an actual decision based on someones summary of clubs, it’s not your club.

    • Matt Jones says:

      Whilst this is an attractive sentiment, it must be difficult for those who are new to the game and have no affiliatilon or attachment to any kinds of teams, cities or players.

      • The Gaffer says:

        I agree with Matt. It’s easy enough to say that a team will pick someone rather than someone will pick a team, but new fans to the game need context. The above article will definitely help steer them in the direction of which team to pick.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Wongo1 says:

          Gaffer this article gives no context at all. It makes United sound like all they do is spend when United has a history of bringing youth through. It is nothing more than regurgitated nonsense. If a newbie wants info I would suggest an article like this one http://www.football-england.com/manchester_united_history_origins_mufc.html

        • SlipperyPhish says:

          I get the team calls you, but what we, Americans that are new to EPL, are looking for is passion for your clubs. Without much knowledge of your traditions and history our choices up front involve your passion and kit colors and designs. How bad would it be if we all became ManU, Chelsea or Liverpool fans without giving the other teams a chance at upfront. AS for me I have made Everton my club simply because of the goalie is an American, but I’m sure sooner or later another club will win me over.

  2. Bucky says:

    Americans will pick winners. The availability of matches on tv in the US coincided with Chelsea winning and that is why there are any here at all. Many United fans in the US are only United fans because they win. We will see many brand new City shirts at pubs this fall. Anytime I see a shirt of someone that isnt United or Chelsea I am impressed.

    • iancransonsknees says:

      The Gaffer ran a poll last year that proved exactly that point. I’d love to see who the people who follow them would support if a full-time 40 game Euro League went ahead and they weren’t guaranteed to win every year. It’d be great, something akin to football pre 1992.

      • Nonsense says:

        Really?! So then this American who supports Mainz 05 (sister has lived in the area for years) blows the poll and your theory out the water. Winning and goal scoring isn’t EVERYTHING to Americans. I LOVE THE AUDACITY and SNOBBERY that permeates this site!

        • Nonsense says:

          This site is so full of anti-American snobbery. If you’re from the states and never lived in Europe or other countries where SOCCER (I say soccer because I’m not a snob as many of you are and that’s what we call it here in America) is king you’re only getting behind a WINNING team. Regaredless if you have a connection to a Bundesliga team that is regulated every other year (such as myself). It’s pure snobbery.

          The funny part of it all is if you are an American who has no personal connection or knowledge of history you’re going to pick the team you think play best, hence one of the ‘bandwagon’ teams. Why would someone new to the sport search out a League 2 team to get behind? I’d be more ticked off because they are obviously doing it to prove some sort of anti-bandwagon point. If you are new to the sport watch it and pick the team YOU WANT!

          • IanCransonsKnees says:

            The Gaffers poll showed the majority of supporters using this site follow the top 4 teams. Most polls over here would probably be the same.

            My point being if the Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, & Arsenal fans started to watch their team in a league that was competitive across 15 of the 20 teams would those same fans switch alliegance to Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Barcalona etc if week after week they weren’t winning every game or in the hunt for trophies? I’m talking on a regular 20 team league basis not the Champions League. Losing games on the bounce could become the norm and 2 or 3 seasons finishing below mid-table would be interesting.

            I couldn’t care less who anyone from anywhere outside England supports, it has no bearing on me or my team. The big difference I understand is that outsiders will get their pleasure and enjoyment from watching a team tear up the league, play beautiful football etc. The rest of us who follow the makeweights of this artificial league get as much pleasure from watching the teams we support through a physical connection, birthright etc get just as much out of it, yet we get ridiculed for following a team that’s physical or doesn’t employ gnomes as footballers.

            In the grand scheme of things it makes no difference whatsoever to me who a foreign fan supports. There are as many bandwagon jumpers over here as there are anywhere else, Nick Hornby ,feinted for some reason as a proper fan, is the most obvious for me.

          • Nonsense says:

            That’s my point as well. Who has the right to tell someone who or why they should support a team. If you’re American who enjoys soccer then you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you want to watch top end soccer I’m sorry but your obviously going to watch European Leagues. So why should any American be ashamed or scorned because they support somoene like a Man U or Chelsea? If they have no connection to the area or teams

            These articles are ridiculous, do people on this site really need someone to tell you who to support?!

          • The Gaffer says:

            These type of articles are especially helpful for new fans to the league. Not all of us are hardcore, diehard fans.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • Nonsense says:

            I just have a hard time with someone selecting a team based off of some random author’s summary on the team. It just inherently feels wrong. Turn the TV on, watch an entire season, and you’ll have your team – based on your own decision.

  3. Ryan says:

    It is very annoying living in the US sometimes as a soccer (football) fan. And that’s because most people jump on the bandwagon and pick one of the big 4 clubs. For me, when I really got into the EPL, I read articles like this, did other research, and most of all watched some games. That way I got a feel for the club, supporters, players, tradition/history, etc. That is what I used to make my decision.

    My decision ended up being Newcastle. For anyone thinking of choosing them as your club, it will sometimes be tough being a fan, but I don’t think there is anything more rewarding. I had a chance to see them last summer on their US tour, and I am already planning a trip across the Pond to see them at SJP. In terms of fan support, history, and true love for the game and the club, Newcastle fans can’t be beat. Although you rarely find Newcastle fans in the US, when you do you will instantly have a strong rapport and have some new friends to watch/talk about the team with. Toon Toon Black and White Army!

    • RevGunner says:

      Who are the big four?

      • Xavier says:

        Currently, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur (debatable because of Chelsea’s CL triumph). Historically, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. You could arguably put Newcastle in the mix as well.

  4. The original Tom says:

    I don’t see why someone can’t be an English club polygamist, especially if their club gets relegated.

  5. Scarecrow says:

    Living in the States has gotten a lot better for football newcomers. When I first started watching there was MAYBE 1 match on a week. Since Man United were on for most of them, that became my team. That’s how I got interested in football. I didn’t realize how many teams there actually were in the EPL for a few more years after that. I stuck with United because I liked the players, and I liked Sir Alex. Once I got Fox World, then Fox Soccer, and had the opportunity to watch multiple games each week I fashioned a liking for Spurs. They were usually on whenever United weren’t, and they were completely rubbish at the time. I’ll always love United, since they were my first, but I will always root on Spurs when they play anyone but United.

    I also find myself rooting for Swansea, but I have no reason why. I just want them to stay up and competitive because they are fun to watch. I liked the orange shirts last season too I suppose!

  6. IanCransonsKnees says:

    I think the ‘steeped in history’ reason is misunderstood. Every club has history over here, mine’s the oldest top flight club in the world celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. It’s a founder member of the Football League, had the first footballing Knight play for them boy and man.

    There are some stunning stories where you dig (across all 92 league clubs), it’s just that people seem to percieve and confuse trophies with history. It’s the wrong word to describe what those people are looking for.

  7. jtm371 says:

    the team i cheer for was regulated in 1999 have not been back to top flight since.still cheer for them hope for promotion did not pick a new team in epl to be in style.however you come to pull for a side just be loyal and take the good with the bad.promotion is a great drug until your side is out of it and then you fight against regulation.

  8. gbewing says:

    I doubt band wagons are restricted to the USA – Man U has millions of fans everywhere and God forbid if some of the Englanders are on a band wagon. My experience is Man United is the most popular in my area and I liken it to the Yankees in baseball -it’s about the name and the brand
    Arsenal is second in popularity- and there is some branding there but my sense is Arsenal fans happen to become football fans when Arsenal was at their peek and much like Barcelona today people fell in love with the play and stayed loyal. -For me it appears a drop off to Chelsea or Liverpool 3rd but I know of many loyalties to a wide assortment of teams.

    Usually a team is connected with via some event -some special occasion that captures the heart and imagination. often that would be seeing a team live- perhaps as a child ones first pro match and of course that means a larger club so give people a break. Today we can see many more teams touring the US not just the big 4- here in KC we have matches with Stoke and a I believe Mont Pellier from League Un, last season New Castle so diversity is increased and loyalties will expand as well

    Football fans in the USA are not the rubes you want to believe we are-

    btw I’m tied to Tottenham

    go you Spurs!

    • Sir William von Matterdon says:

      The fact that you think Newcastle is called “New Castle” would imply that you are in fact a “rube” . . . .

  9. Dean Stell says:

    I’m a newer fan, but I “picked” Manchester United. Sure, you have to endure the sanctimony of people who think they are more wholesome and pure because they picked a side that loses more often than United.

    Honestly, their past success is part of why I enjoy them. Life is too short to root for teams that are mediocre. I want to support a side that has title aspirations.

    The other thing HUGELY in a side like United’s favor is that they’re going to be on TV almost every week and you can also almost always see their Cup games and European games. It’s just not as easy to follow a side that is only on TV once per month. This is important as an American fan.

    And another thing…..there’s a bigger online community for the more popular sides like United. I love following the transfer rumors, the reserve team, etc. I love that there’s a podcast of the Radio Manchester BBC broadcast. It is much easier to be “all in” on one of the bigger sides.

    Now….just to keep thing sporting….I always have a second side that I support. Each year it has to be a team that was within 3 points of getting relegated OR newly promoted. If they stay up, I buy a kit. If they don’t….(well….I still found a way to learn more about a side that’ll be in the Championship). I don’t know who I’m picking this year. I’m leaning towards QPR. While they did “let” City win the title, they also defended their hearts out a man down for ~30 minutes. That should be worth a little support, right?

    • Dean Stell says:

      One thing I should’ve added….I think you can defuse some of the front runner smell by also supporting you local American sides whether it is MLS, NASL, USL or whatever. I agree with the commenter below who said its weird to see Americans who bleed for a team thousands of miles away.

  10. RobG4 says:

    I laugh a little when I see fellow Americans try to go bat-shit-crazy for a team like Brits do. I think of how silly it would look to see an Englishman going all out crazy for the Yankees, or Alabama football, or the Dallas Cowboys.

    It would be ridiculous, just like it must be for someone from Manchester, or Liverpool to see an American going all out for Manchester United or Liverpool.

    I watch the EPL for the players, the stories, the drama, and the good football. I “follow” Fulham, but also follow Man City, Swansea, Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, Ryan Giggs, Mario Ballotelli, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, whomover is on my weekly fantasy roster and any other good storyline, player, or game.

    • NC says:

      Nice point, but franchises or clubs goals now is to reach around the globe for fans. The NBA certainly does this better than the NFL. NFL is giving it a go though. A guy in LA can like the NY Mets just as easily as a guy from NY can like Tottenham Hotspur (fair comparison, no?). Just because one example crosses an international border doesn’t make it more or less reasonable.

    • MG says:

      Why would that make you laugh? Baseball isn’t a global sport the way soccer/football is, and in America there are people are all over there world, some whose parents come from countries where soccer/football is the predominant sport. Just because some might follow English football and aren’t English doesn’t mean they can’t truly support and really care about the club they are fans of

      The fact that you put the word ‘follow’ in quotations in the line ‘I follow Fulham’ just tells me it means less to you than it does to many American Premier League fans who just so happen to be Americans. I’m an Arsenal fan and probably care more about Arsenal then most of my hometown teams. It’s about connection and love of the sport. It means more. That’s all. Don’t presume that it can’t mean something because of geographical reasons. That’d be very very foolish.

      • Josh says:

        I agree with this statement. I know it’s obviously not EPL, but I became a Barca fan in the nineties. Now people tease me saying I only picked a front runner. That’s only true because in the 90s, they only showed front runners in European soccer/football in the US! I think that has a bigger part in why Americans follow front-runners in Europe- until recently there was more accessibility to the matches.

  11. pete says:

    I’ve only been a true EPL fan for a few years, but I tried to make sure I did as much homework as I could before choosing a club. I knew I didn’t want to be labeled a front-runner, so I immediately steered clear of the big clubs. My preference was to support a club in London, and a club that had a few American names that I knew certainly didn’t hurt. Needless to say, I decided on Fulham.

    As some have already pointed out though, it has become much much easier to support a non-big 4 club over the last few years. I now watch every Fulham match live (either on TV or on the computer), where a few years ago, I’d be lucky to see two all season.

  12. Alex Wolcott says:

    I think the club picks you if you have any connection to the UK, but Americans will probably go to City, United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in general.

    Always seems that way in American sports – whoever is big at the moment will have a whole bunch of fans. Seems more that way than in Europe, anyway.

    A cool idea for a thread might be “how DID the club pick you?”
    I know for me I was not a big fan of anyone growing up but my college roommate turned out to be a mad City supporter and I kind of picked it up from him (this was even before Kinky Kinkladze so that was TRULY mad in those days.)

    My Dad is from Blackburn and he has never really totally forgiven me for this I might add.

  13. Michael says:

    To me, you go with the club that you feel most comfortable with and simply don’t care how other people feel about it.

  14. RevGunner says:

    I have zero respect for the all the jokers who give everything to their EPL club but can’t be bothered to support their local club. Sad and pathetic.

    Go Revs!

  15. Beth says:

    Martin Peters!
    West Ham provided the captain and both goalscorers in the 1966 World Cup final; you missed Martin Peters from the list of reasons why Hammers think we won the World Cup!

  16. steven says:

    i live in america and i grew up listening to bands that supported west ham united. i listened to the cockney rejects sing ‘i’m forever blowing bubbles’ for 10 years before i ever saw a ball kicked at upton park. when i became interested in watching the premier league they were the team i naturally gravitated towards. i have been through two relegations and haven’t felt the need to adopt another club. i have flown all night to get to upton park by kick off, have a west ham flag hanging off of my house, and ‘west ham’ as the vanity plate on my car. don’t tell me i can’t be as rabid a supporter as someone who was born within earshot of the bow bells.

  17. NC says:

    Simon Kuper’s “Soccernomics” has a chapter that discusses the different categories of fans in England. It begins with the common misconception that all Brits have one team to which they pledge their undying love. The book statistically breaks down why this is not actually true. Brits are no different than Americans in the way they approach sports. You have your died in the wool types that go to every game which is actually a smaller percentage than anyone would care to admit, you have your “glory hunters” as soccer fans like to say, and you have the casuals. I’m really summarizing here but the point i’m trying to make is that there are multiple ways to approach a relationship with the Barclays Premier League. One of those ways is pledging your allegiance to one team (understand though choosing a path other than this will lead to criticism from the “Hornby’s”). This article operates on the premise that only one method exists for consuming this product.

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      “criticism from the Hornby’s”! That prick should be supporting Reading.

      • NC says:

        The book touches on that actually. It uses the phrase “Hornbys” to describe a fan that attends every home game year after year. It is a statistic based study so most of the conclusions rely on tangible data such as ticket sales.

        • IanCransonsKnees says:

          Thanks for clarifying that. I can’t believe I’ve been tarred with the same brush as that knob!

      • MG says:

        SHOULD be. except he does what he wants. he EXPLAINS and touches on his decision to support Arsenal in Fever Pitch. It’s not like he’s denying it. He laid it out for all to see. You mention earlier why you can’t understand why he is thought of as a ‘proper’ fan… maybe because he’s lived his life around Arsenal longer than you’ve probably been born. It means more to him than you probably give him credit for. The man’s written a book about his love for the club ffs. And you seriously have the gall to shoot him down haha. he’s CLEARLY a fan.

  18. Steve says:

    I went with my local English ties. Being a Seattle Sounders fan, when I started looking at teams, Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Zakuani both came from Arsenal (as first team and a youth player). I watched an Arsenal game and fell in love with the way they played. Started using them on Fifa 10 and destroyed everyone. I got wrapped in and far too deep. Listened to all the games in the rest of the campaign. Went to a game last campaign. Spent WAY too much money to ship crap from England here. Already renewed my membership for next campaign. Sounder and Gooner for life

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      Steve, get following Steve Zakuani’s brother on twitter – Gabriel Zakuani – He’s played for Fulham and Stoke, he’s at Peterborough in the Championship now. He’s a good laugh.

      • Liam Rennie says:

        Haha, Peterborough are my local club, I have a season ticket for them and Gabs is probably one of the best defenders in the Championship, most certainly in League 1.

  19. Cole says:

    I’m only 15, so I haven’t been supporting long. But I fell in love with Liverpool in 2010. Yes, 2010 the time when their downfall had finally come public. I realize that before that a lot of people fell in love with Liverpool in the states after their good years from 2005-2009. I’ve watched the relativley horrible struggles of Liverpool this last season and while I don’t support all their decisions, they are the team I love. Reading the history of them, such as bill shankly and the way he brought such glorious years to the club and kenny daglish’s first tenture as manager are magic. YNWA<3

  20. Matt says:

    As an American, I fell in love with european soccer in the 90s watching it whenever I could on Fox Sports World and whatever preceded that. Specifically, what I caught the most and what I remember the most, was watching both Ajax and Arsenal, Arsenal being the team I support wholeheartedly to this day (along with my local team of course, Houston Dynamo). Back then was the time preceding Henry, when the legendary back four and the non flying dutchman would be the most recognizable figures of the squad.

    It wasnt the flair that we normally associate the club with nowadays that drew me, or the trophies, for I knew nothing about the trophies. It was simply accessibility and the name, Arsenal, simple yet elegant, that made me like the team so much.

    After becoming busy, and no longer following the team for several years, I saw a Champions League game on in a bar in 2006 and who did I see on TV playing? Arsenal. Since then, Ive drowned myself in their culture, and they are a big part of who I am.

    Did the team pick me? Not really. Did I pick the team? Not really.

    Id say its more like how my fiance is now an Arsenal fan, through exposure to the club. Its a subconscious decision, it just feels right.

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      Generally that’s why foreign fans will follow top four sides, accessability and exposure. Nobody can blame them for it.

      • MG says:

        Exactly.. It’s only natural. But for me, what matters is if they at least go out and get some research done. Don’t let the support stay one-dimensional. BUY or download your Season Reviews and Official History DVDs.. Get some goddamn research done. Learn the history of the club you chose to support. Learn about them, become close and familiar with them.. That way it’ll be an extremely fruitful relationship.

        A United fan who only chooses United because of success but can’t tell me who Matt Busby or even Ron Atkinson is just doesn’t get the same respect as someone who cares enough to learn about the club he chose to support as an American. It’s the LEAST you can do.

  21. Mufc77 says:

    Support any team you want for whatever reasons you want just make sure you support them through the good times and the bad.

    To me Peole who say they support multiple teams arnt real fans, they may be fans of football in general but to me a real football fan will live and die with one team EVERY week. You don’t have to be from the UK to become a real football fan but when your team is Utd or city and they get beat and your ok about it because your other team Swansea or Everton won then it’s hard for the likes of me to take you serious.

    I think it’s hard for some Americans to understand this because they usually have NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams to follow, for us fans from the UK it’s one team all or nothing every season.

    Like it’s already been said above I didn’t pick utd they picked me way back in dark days of the 1980s.

  22. I like reading blogs about English premierleague. You did really good work on here. I’ll bookmark your site. Thanks, Sebastien.

  23. Heath says:

    I think you have to observe the league for a while and settle upon a team. I started watching for the players but then the teams came later. I think a casual fan does need two teams. You’re going to pick a front-runner to watch til the end of the season, but I think its possible to have a lower club to always enjoy. You sometimes don’t know why but you like them.

    I like Manchester City… Got my Blue membership during the 2008-09 season… and I’ve enjoyed Wigan each year surging to avoid relegation as the article mentioned.

  24. MG says:

    Support whoever you want, but be a FAN and a SUPPORTER.. not a clueless dolt who only chooses United because of success and that’s it, who only chose City because they just won the league.. who only chooses Chelsea because they won the League recently and the Champions League this past season.. LEARN of the club. You’re a Chelsea fan? You should know what the Shed End is.. You’re a United fan? You’re should know who Dwight Yorke and what the Stretford End/Paddock is. You’re a City fan? You should know of the Kippax. etc etc etc. The amount of knowledge and history you want to learn is up to you, but learn SOMETHING. Become knowledgeable about your club.

    I only have trouble with Matt Jones’ guide to support City, United and Chelsea if you want trophies if it’s going to breed clueless bandwagon gloryhunting fans that become fans as clueless ‘it’s only entertainment’ viewers and STAY that way.. Otherwise, if they actually grow to truly love their club, it’s fine.. It’s respectable is what it is..

  25. Joe says:

    Yeah it can be tough for Americans to choose a team. I would like to say I support a London team because I lived there for three years. I’m torn between Chelsea, arsenal and tottenham. There’s nothing that really jumps out at me between the three teams. I like dimatteo for Chelsea but arsene wenger is also a great manager.

  26. Scott Blackwell says:

    As an American Arsenal fan, I can say that reading articles like these would have helped I think if I was reading them when trying to find a team that suits me. Honestly, I chose Arsenal because they had a cannon on their crest and I thought that was pretty cool, I’ve been a supporter for 4 years now and love the team greatly. Would I have picked a different team? maybe, but maybe I would have picked Arsenal anyway. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t hate on Americans cause they picked one of the big clubs. Some of them, like me, might not have have even known it.

  27. Liam Rennie says:

    I am a bit stuck, I don’t know which club to support. Everyone thinks that I support Manchester United, but I don’t like them that much. But if I move, I will stick with that club until I die, or get completely bored of football( Which will never, ever happen) I really like Chelsea, Swansea, and some of the smaller clubs. Please help me! :-)

  28. akase says:

    i want to be a man u fan

  29. Harry Cee says:

    Well this looks to need a little bit of an update…LOL

  30. Kerry G says:

    I’m an American (Virginia) who started following Southampton mid-season last year. I asked the father of my young son’s British teammate “which EPL team is nearest to Buckfastleigh, my great-grandfather’s home?” He said Southampton so a Saints fan I became, even though Buckfastleigh isn’t really very close to Southampton….
    Pretty damn good luck, catching them on their way up! I’ll stick with them through thick and thin now.
    BTW: my son likes Man U and Barcelona, but is coming around to the new family tradition of following Southampton! Love Adam, James, and all the lads now.
    I would definitely recommend updated this blog–much has changed (though much remains the same too).

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