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Sensory Overload: The 21st Century Neutral

Last week I made my Premier League New Year’s Resolutions. One of which was to watch more of the matches.

So on day one of the new season I trekked down to the pub to catch most of the Saturday fixtures (at least the ones being televised in the States). The Chelsea/Hull match was early and it was aired on ESPN2 so I watched most of the first half at home. I showered and then headed into Cambridge (Massachusetts).

I thought the pub I go to would be packed  on the opening day of the season, but since nobody was sure what channel it would be on until the last minute (the broadcasting rights were still up in the air until the day before), the pub only had a handful of people in. ESPN2 had something like bass fishing scheduled in that time slot and it probably wasn’t corrected in the guide so you really had to know the match was being broadcasted to know where to catch it.

I showed up late in the second half.

When Drogba put his cross/shot into the net in the 92nd minute, the pub gave off a half-hearted eruption: the two or three hardcore Chelsea supporters who where there went wild, and the others – who were apparently cheering on Chelsea all along – faked mild goal-celebration orgasms.

A half hour later, Wolves/West Ham, Villa/Wigan and Blackburn/City were all being shown at the same time. When three matches are on at once in the pub, half the room gets one match (four or five TVs), the other half gets another (four or five TVs) and the third match is relegated to a single TV in the middle. Wolves/West Ham was the one-TV match. I sat myself near that TV so I’d have a good vantage point of all three games.

This was to be a different experience for me. I’m usually a one match guy. As a football writer, I want to take in more matches, but with three going on at once, where do you throw your focus?

I was used to coming down for Liverpool. I’d park myself at my favorite corner of the bar. My friends would all be there and we’d focus on the corner TV. If the goals weren’t going in, we’d get superstitious and turn to watch the TV behind us. Occasionally we’d check the scores of other games, but we wouldn’t watch them outright unless our match was at halftime.

On Saturday though, I had no loyalties to any one team. The Liverpool match wasn’t on until Sunday. I wanted to keep up with all the matches but I knew I’d have to watch one of them more than the others or I’d be lost.

I decided to focus on Blackburn/City. City had spent all that money. We all want to know if it will come to anything. As a writer, this match would surely inspire more material.

Then I noticed something funny. There was a guy sitting at the bar in a West Ham jersey. It had Carlton Cole’s name and number on the back. It looked like an official jersey and not some Thai rip-off stiched by eleven-year-olds in a sweat shop. I mention this because if you are willing to spend the $80-100 on an official West Ham jersey with your favorite player on the back, I assume that you are a serious West Ham fan. Silly me. This dude had his back to the West Ham match. Pretty much for the entire ninety minutes.

I watched more of West Ham’s outing than he did.

He was sitting next to three guys in Arsenal kits (also with players’ names and numbers on the backs, Arshavin, Walcott and someone I’d never heard of… maybe the guy just put his own name on the back) and they were all glued to the City match.

At some point a score update popped up to show that elsewhere Clint Dempsey had scored for Fulham against Pompey. Carlton Cole Guy turned to Arshavin Guy and screams: “Dude, Dempsey scored!” They gave each other such a loud high five you could probably hear it at Fratton Park.

Now, I’m an American. I’m ecstatic when Clint Dempsey scores… for the US Men’s National Team. If he scores for Fulham, I guess I’m happy for the guy, but even if he were on my fantasy team, I don’t think I’d go apesh*t in a pub while wearing a kit for a team that wasn’t Fulham. Maybe the guy was Dempsey’s brother. I don’t know. But I found it strange.

Later, after Mark Noble had scored for West Ham (emphasis on after), Carlton Cole Guy turned to Arshavin Guy and yelled: “Dude, West Ham scored!” Another high five. At least Carlton Cole Guy was paying attention to West Ham now (though the goal had been scored three minutes before he noticed) but now why was Arshavin Guy doling out the high-five for the East-London club?

Maybe these dudes simply embraced all things London. Maybe goals from Dempsey, Drogba, van Persie, Ashton and Keane were all equally worthy of the high-five and the shouting.

Maybe this was the future of the 21st century sports fan. With three games simultaneous on TV and more on the laptop, iPhone and BlackBerry, perhaps I am getting old-fashioned by being a one-team guy. My future children will be shaking their heads: “Our dad only supports Liverpool. He’s so old.”

City ended up winning two-nil. Even though Shay Given is my fantasy goalkeeper I’d really wanted Blackburn come back from their deficit and get at least a point just to prove money isn’t everything. But they didn’t.

The triple-match feast was now over. Arsenal was the only late Premier League fixture on, but Newcastle/Reading was on Setanta at the same time. And since I’d promised myself to take in more Championship football as well, I asked the bartender to put the solo TV on Setanta. I thought I’d be the only guy in the pub keeping up with Newcastle. But the Englishman who’d let me share his table was interested as well and then about 15 minutes into the match this guy Mike – a die-hard Newcastle fan I’d met twice before – came in with a couple of friends and joined us. The Arsenal match ended up a rout and I’m glad I focused more on Newcastle/Reading for this round since it proved to be far more interesting.

There were a bunch of devout Gunners seated at the other side of the pub. I know them and banter with them throughout the year, but since I was nearest Arshavin Guy and his friends, I was mostly getting the We-Just-Started-Watching-Football-And-Want-The-Whole-Room-To-Know-We’re-Into-It kind of forced yelling and cheering. Were we in a pub watching football or were we at Spring Break? It was hard to tell.

I don’t know when I turned into the cranky old man, but the green fans were annoying me Saturday. I found myself trying to remember what I was like when I first discovered English football. Please tell me I wasn’t like Cole Guy and Arshavin Guy. If I was, I openly apologize to anybody who was next to me in a pub that first year I was watching.

Our table tried to ignore them. If I could have teleported to St James Park at that moment would have done it. Newcastle were fighting hard for those three points. Ameobi scored two fine goals from open play then, in the 75th minute, he completed his first Newcastle hat-trick by converting a penalty.

Arshavin Guy turned to catch Ameobi’s third goal. “Ameobi!” he cried, pointing at the screen. He just kept repeating it as if he wasn’t sure if anyone had heard him each time. “Ameobi!”

“Someone’s been drinking all day,” said Mike. I wondered if the Arshavin kit was just Arshavin Guy’s clean shirt for the day. Maybe he had a different football kit for each day of the week. Maybe he’d show up the next day in a Chelsea kit.

I wasn’t used to this atmosphere at my pub. I don’t know if it was because it was opening day and it brought out a funky crowd, or if supporters like Cole Guy and Arshavin Guy are there every week and I’ve missed it because I insulate myself with familiar Liverpool supporters and I am so focused on the match I automatically tune out all the Dude, Dempsey Scored! moments.

And I’m trying to figure out my responsibility here. It might be my job to be patient with Carlton Cole Guy and Arshavin Guy (and not just because a small part of me fears I was more like them than I’d like to admit when I first started following). The thing is if football is going to grow in the US, we need these guys as much as the new supporters who are wise enough to quietly take in the culture, aware that they need to learn a bit about the sport before they start shouting their take on it across a crowded room. I hope that’s more how I was when I first came to English football. And I hope that is more how I am now because there is still plenty to learn…

But next time Torres scores, dude, all bets just might be off. You know how it is.

This is Torres Guy signing off.

(Hey, at least I won’t be wearing an Everton kit when I scream his praise.)

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  1. Hunter

    August 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    i completely understand. i grew up an arsenal supporter and had a tony adams kit when i was quite young. my parents got me fox sports world for my eighth birthday so i could keep up. i watched the opening matches at a pub where arsenal supporters celebrated when adebayor scored. i felt completely out of place. but 6-1 cured my animosity

  2. Evan

    August 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve been supporting Man City for 3 years and I do whatever I can to watch their matches. But I also keep an eye out for other teams with Americans in their squads. I guess i picked a good club 3 years ago


    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Watching football in the pub will always leave you open to putting up with clowns. In England the pubs get packed out for international tournaments and some of the comments flying about will have you choking on your pint. I do like it when you find a pub showing 3 o’clock Premier League kickoffs. A trip to the bookies and three live games makes for an enjoyable Saturday every now and then

  4. Jason

    August 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    This is a great site that you have here. I just started a site myself where you can discuss sports 24/7. Check it out when you get the chance and let me know what you think. Maybe we can do a link exchange. Take care. Jason

  5. AtlantaPompey

    August 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Too each his own. Everyone finds their team, their player, their particular passion for whatever suits them. Fans that sit at the pub and do things you wouldn’t do aren’t bad, just different. Watch what you want to watch. Me? I watch Pompey exclusively when they’re playing, and usually at home. I’ll go to the pub for big matches with some friends, but not very often. Beer’s cheaper at home. I follow the USMNT, but will watch just about any good match, whether it be national teams or clubs.

  6. Joaq

    August 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm


    I don’t mean to sound rude but don’t come off as if you’ve supporting LFC your whole life. You’ve been supporting them since when the end of the World Cup of 2006? Leave the green supporters alone and let them find their own niche in the footballing world. Don’t mock them because they came out to watch a match earlier in the day. Mock those too ignorant to show up, too ignorant to follow the beautiful game, too ignorant to even search within themselves to even try to learn and find an appreciation for the game we all know and love.

    Just because you’ve read a few football books, seen a few movies, woke up early to watch a few matches and have learned a few of your club’s songs in the past three years, doesn’t make you a veteran supporter. Have you even been to the Kop?

    The newer fans you mention in your piece may have conflicting ideologies in regards to your view on football but don’t mock them for it. For you were one of those “green” fans not too long ago. Don’t forget where you came from.

    • NewtonHeath

      August 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      Completely agree with what you’ve said. Was going to say the same thing… ethan sounds as if he is “too good” for those other fans now that he has been supporting a club and the league for a few years. Everyone was a newbie at some point.

      Been a United supporter since ’94 myself and when winning the double in ’08 I started to see a lot of new (arguably bandwagon) fans pile on. At first I felt ‘superior’ to them because I’d been supporting before the treble and double. But then I sat down and realized it’s pointless to do so because there will always be new fans. When you start supporting is irrelevant. Sure, bandwagon claims can be made after a trophy-filled year. But, everyone has to start supporting somewhere. Not to mention, football/soccer needs all the fans it can get here in the states and I don’t want to discourage others from supporting in whatever way they choose (especially if it will help us get ESPN to cover more matches!)

      Supporting is a choice and there’s no rules… just let it be and as long as you’re supporting the way YOU love to support, that’s all you need. Maybe offer some words of encouragement to newbies and ask them questions… get them more involved and who knows, maybe then they’ll become ‘hardcore’ as well.

      I do very much think it is an ‘American’ thing though re: supporting multiple teams or individual players. There are so many leagues and teams that no one supports just 1 team in 1 sport and that’s it. Tough to break that mold.


  7. Duane Rollins

    August 18, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    As a City fan I’m going to ignore the rich irony of a self-confessed big four fan cheering for Blackburn to score” just to prove money isn’t everything.”

    Somehow new money is a little more crass than old, I guess?

  8. Ian

    August 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I have been a Man Utd. fan since 1989. But in the days before this year, I had to watch whatever games I could get. Over time, since I didn’t get to see the Red Devils all the time, I began to enjoy teams’ style of play, or a certain manager or a certain player.

    With that in mind, I generally want to see Aston Villa do well, and I was usually interested in Fulhamerica. Heck, I even bought a Thierry Henry jersey from the final Highbury year, just because I liked the look and the player (I would never wear it to go watch a game. I like it as a jersey to wear about)

    When I watch football at a pub, it’s always in one of my Man Utd. jerseys (my favorite is the Blue away kit with Giggs on the back.) That said, there’s so much football on now that it’s tough not to just enjoy it as much as possible.

    It is beginning to feel a bit like college football and basketball to me. And that’s a good thing. I will forever be a UCLA fan, but I live in Kansas, so I like to see the Jayhawks win. But if there’s a Pac-10 team on, I’ll generally like to see that team win. And I want everyone to beat USC.

    This is a good problem to have. Casual fans become serious fans when they have attractive football to watch. If all we got was the Burnley-Stoke match (like we might have gotten in the old days), we’d have less of a chance of earning new fans.

    So I give the loud guys a pass for now. As long as they keep coming back, they can join the club.

  9. Angry Trey

    August 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I think you have to remember that there are fans of teams, individual players, and the sport itself. (Especially here in the U.S.)

    I support Manchester United, but I am also a fan of certain players and the game. I like watching Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, etc… and if they score a sick goal or do something worth applauding I will do so.

    Im also a fan of the sport so I like watching quality teams and quality matches. Everyone is different

    That doesnt lessen my fandom of my team.

  10. Dave G

    August 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Interesting article
    I am torn on this subject…as an Irishman living in the states for 20 years, especially in a Basketball state like Kentucky, it has always been a stamp of my passion for the game of football that I would have to go out of my way to find info about or watch any real football at all
    In 1990 I was on ListServ (anyone remeber that?) in the computer labs at UofKentucky on a monday morning patiently waiting on that greenscreen to refresh with some lads at unis across europe updating the weekend scores for us from the major leagues. 1990 also had the World Cup on TNT with ad breaks DURING the games LOL…Ireland drawing 0-0 with Italy and we have an ad break..we come back and we’re DOWN 1-0…FFS!! lol
    Then a couple of years later we would have the Gopher/Netscape browsers and even though we were CRAWLINGGGG through the web, we could get some info
    Then I bought a top notch Short Wave Radio at Radio Shack with extra antenna wire and listened to BBC World Service saturday afternoons memory there was 1995 Man United v West Ham last game of the season and nearly thrashing the kitchen because Andy Cole couldn’t kick soap off a rope 😉
    By 1994 ESPN started showing Champions League games, I remember watching United getting thrashed by barcelona 4-0
    In 1995 I was paying $19.95 to watch the FA CUP Final on PPV united getting beat by Everton 1-0 was a sickner, but worth every penny to watch it live.
    Then we got Fox Sports/World and we started to watch an hour of highlights every thursday night , english and scottish league tape delay games…but we were religious about videotaping that show on Thursdays with our man Lionel!!
    ESPN showed Euro 96 or I bought it on PPV…can’t remember, but we watched it!
    98 WC was ESPN/ABC and have I mentioned yet that through ALL of this up until now. it seemed that…NOBODY ELSE CARED!! at least not anyone that was American anyway…I would watch Mexican League football on Sunday afternoons from 1994-98 because…well because it was the ONLY guaranteed live football on each week…
    France 98 helped promote the game a little since the 96 Olympics/soccer in general were a huge success and then 99 hit and the women won the world cup and the internet was exploding and all of a sudden we had people talking about the game…not exactly being fans of it, but they were building interest.
    Euro 2000 introduced me to Setanta PPV $149 for every game live with BBC/ITV feeds and pre/half/post match analysis
    I was almost giddy with delight to part with that money…LIVE GAMES! UK COMMENTARY!! I’d have paid DOUBLE to get it! But nobody else I knew had ordered it.
    The Irish and English pubs were starting to show the matches now, Champions League Final of 1999 was a memory I will never forget,
    WC 2002 was a wash I think because nobody was going to get up at 4 am and watch matches…well nobody except me of course, because even though Ireland was playing Cameroon at 3:30am and nobody else that I knew gave a shit…I did…it was the world cup FFS!
    Then Setanta PPV came back for another $149 for every game of Euro 2004 and again I signed up on the nose, this time having parties at my house to watch the bigger matches, but why was I the ONLY person I knew that had actually purchased the package?
    Then it EXPLODED!!….FSC and Setanta came onto the scene along with GOLTV
    the internet was now full of sites that had links to watch the games…well….2002/2003 there were site/links springing up to direct you watch games live online!!, downside was, they were from China, but I watched! and every week I was on Guhang Sports or CCTV or ESPN Asia!! and I watched on a grainy feed, I downloaded PPLive/TVants/TVkoo ANYTHING that could get me a match to watch early in the morning or through the dreaded 2 hours when nochannel was showing games…and then FSC started showing more games and I watched those games and loved it and they started showing more and more and I ate it all up….Sky Sports News/Fox Sports World Report etc etc
    and so…
    20 years later…
    I sat down in front of my 57inch HD TV and almost wept when I saw the first beautiful pictures of the beginning of a brand new season IN THE TUNNEL, WALING OUT ONTO THE PITCH, SHAKING HANDS, PRE GAME STUFF…PROPER COVERAGE in front of me in GLORIOUS HD AND WITH PROPER COMMENTARY…
    a full TWENTY YEARS since I had sat down there in that crowded computer room every monday morning staring at a green screen, refreshing and and refreshing it in the hope that someone out there had posted the Man United scores
    This my friends has been the journey, this is how far a football fan has come to experience the game he has such a passion for.
    That is why the new “sawker” fan in the West ham jersey, who doesn’t know the FIRST thing about our struggles, will always get on our last nerve, BUT this is also why we SHOULD embrace that new fan…bring them into the fold, share our knowledge, our joy (1992/93 season, crying in delight that we had finally won the league) our pain (Hillsborough disaster, Hysel Stadium, Bradford Fire) and our trials and tribulations in this wonderful country that has accepted us Irish/English/Scottish/Western European and every part of our heritage EXCEPT the one that we are probably more passionate about than anything else!
    Our Football!
    So I say to everyone out there…next time you see that annoying fella in the replica jersey drinking his bud light and him giving annoying high fives to his replica mates…send him over a pint of some real beer and strike up a conversation with him at half time about the game that we love so much.
    This game has given me so many memories on my journey from a 12 inch green screen to a 57 inch HD oasis…perhaps its time we spread the wealth and gave it something back.

    • hal

      August 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      Fellow Lexingtonian here, giving you a proper salute!

      • The Gaffer

        August 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm

        Dave G, thanks! That’s one of the best comments posted on EPL Talk ever, and it really sums up the passion and the trials and tribulations we soccer fans have gone through in the last couple of decades.

        I’m sure you’ve read it already, but for those other readers who haven’t, I wrote a great article a few weeks back about the history of the Premier League on US TV which can be found here:

        The Gaffer

  11. James

    August 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    It seems obvious to me that the Dempsey high-five explanation is that you were in Cambridge, MA and Dempsey played for the New England Revolution for three seasons before heading off to the EPL.

    • Matt in MA

      August 18, 2009 at 11:10 pm

      Being someone who watches soccer and is from Massachusetts as well as a Clint Dempsey fan, let me tell you that few people in this area care about the Revolution. I was at a Patriots game about 4 or 5 years ago and at halftime they brought out the Revolution because they had made it to the finals of the MLS playoffs or something, and they all got booed. It was actually kind of funny.

  12. DaveMo

    August 18, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like these guys might have been fantasy football players, and were excited when any player that any of them had on their fantasy squads came good. …the “Ameobi” repetition attributable to their following Special1 TV on youtube. A good friend of mine has started following the EPL in the last year and a half, and these two things (fantasy football and S1TV) were “passions” that caught on with him much sooner than attachment to a specific club.

    I can’t figure out why $100 West Ham Shirt Guy wouldn’t be following the Hammers match, though. More money than sense, I guess.

    Important thing is to be tolerant of the newcomers – if they return some Saturday in smaller numbers they will undoubtedly pay more attention. With ESPN getting matches now, the tidal wave of American supporters is coming, and you can only hope to acclimate them in small chunks.

    • DaveMo

      August 18, 2009 at 11:54 am

      …I forgot! O’Bama is a hammers fan. Maybe this guy also has a portugese water dog at home.

  13. Christian

    August 18, 2009 at 11:43 am

    What a pile of crap. Who are you to tell anyone how to be a fan?

    US soccer fans have it hard. If you don’t follow the game in favor of the traditional 3 (football, baseball, basketball), you’re branded as a dumb Americans. If you casually follow a team, you’re suddenly “casuals.” If you claim to be hardcore fans, you’re a bandwagon jumpers.

    Relax. People can root for for whatever team they choose and in any way they want. They don’t need “experts” like you passing judgment.

    • Joaq

      August 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm

      Completely agree.

    • Melissa

      August 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

      I agree, we do have it hard. But there are clearly some people here, who are bandwagon fans. They just want to be “associated” with a good team that wins all the time. That’s not a true fan, because once that team starts losing, their gonna move on and be a fan of the team that wins. And “fans” like that piss off true fans. I’m not gonna sit here and claim that I’ve been an LFC fan since birth. I’ve been a fan since like 2004. I was one of those fans that was very resistant to the game until after high school. Then I went to some games at school (which at the University of Maryland, we had a really good team and 2 natty champs) and then the world cup came along. And I wasn’t really a club fan until i watched some games with a a mate of mine.

      At the same time tho, I can name more than Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, can name managers, and have some general sense of the history behind the team. I didn’t just turn on a tv, watch that infamous istanbul game, and go I think I’ll be a liverpool fan. I’ve lived/worked/gone to school there and mingled with some die hard fans, and they taught me all about the true love of LFC. And I know the rules… Never Support Everton, or ManU

      And as for those casual observers. I applaud them….. they are learning about the beautiful game… and they are watching enough soccer to make a well informed decision about who they want to support. It’s the casual fan that runs the business of sport in this country, and it’s the casual fan that’s going to help boost ratings which means more and more games will be shown. You can like a team, but that’s not a true fan. I like Chelsea, but I would never support them in anything other than beating Manchester United.

      Altho, I guess really if you follow my theory on sports fandom, i shouldn’t even be an EPL soccer fan. Theory: If you don’t have a geographic, academic, and familial tie to a team, you shouldn’t be a fan. example: my family hates the lakers, i live on the east coast, and i didn’t go to school anywhere near LA… not a Laker fan. Live in DC, went to UMD, family has had season skins tickets since before my father was born. I am a Skins and Terps fan.

  14. Lakeside gunner

    August 18, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Liverpool fans arrogant? NO WAY!

  15. ju-ac

    August 18, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Welcome to American sports fans following English football. (Great article by the way.) I fell in love with English football a few years ago. It didn’t take long to realize that Manchester United was my #1 team, but then quickly found that my #2 team was Liverpool. I suppose if I ever visited England and the locals learned I was a supporter of both teams I would get my a** kicked by both sets of supporters for even liking the other side.

    • Melissa

      August 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

      yes, you would roaylly get your a$$ kicked… trust me. I’ve been in a liverpool pub, near someone who was wearing a rooney shirt, and the only reason he didn’t get beat up was he was in a wheelchair. It’s dangerous.

      that being said, I love liverpool and I am slightly disgusted that you are fans of both ManU and LFC. Not because you split your devotion (which is fine) but really to A. do it in the same league and B. between two HUGE enemies… well that’s like rooting for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas, LA and Boston… USA AND MEXICO!!! It’s as if you chose to be fans of the two most dominate teams in EPL (on average) because they are good. If you were a true fan of one team, you’d know that you would DIE before even complimenting the other, let alone supporting them.

  16. vinnie

    August 18, 2009 at 9:49 am

    or maybe they simply put some bets on demsey scoring a goal, west ham scoring the first goal and ameobi scoring a hattrick

  17. Gonzo

    August 18, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Funny article. I just discovered this site trying to find out why I listened to the Chelsea-Hull City match on Chelsea Plus at 6:45 in the morning when I could have been watching it on espn2. Keep up the good work.

  18. Melissa

    August 18, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I support The USMNT and I support Liverpool. I was born and raised in the USA, and lived and studied in Liverpool for a year, so that’s my legit claim to the REDS.

    However, I follow the teams that Yanks play for, but don’t clear my schedule to watch them like I do for USMNT and Liverpool (ex. I’m settling on a condo next Monday, and scheduled it around the Liverpool match at 3pm/ left work 3 hours early for the USMNT v. Mexico = dedication.) And when AC Milan played Chelsea in Bmore… I went, and kept it English by cheering for Chelsea in the first half, and then switched aligence when Gooch came on in the second.

    I’ll pretty much watch any Liga, EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, or MLS game that’s on television, in addition to every Champion’s League Game. But that doesn’t mean I’ll get excited everytime scores a goal. I like players in each league that I think are class, but I’m not gonna be rockin’ their jerseys or anything like that. Altho, I may get a Donovan jersey wherever he goes, cuz he’s my Boo and he’s the reason I got into footy in the first place.

    But it will always be USMNT and LFC, even if infliction of torture were in my future.

  19. Chris Breese

    August 18, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I’m not too sure about cheering when Dempsey scores, but these days I definitely ‘keep an eye’ on several clubs.

    My core diet is Fc Barcelona and Aston Villa and has been for many years, but with the availability of live football and the growing level of my obession I now also at least ‘keep an eye’ on Liverpool, Fiorentina, Schalke, and Salzburg, plus Nottingham Forest in the Championship in England.

    I think given it’s easy to follow teams no matter where you are on the planet, inevitably clubs are going to pick up more casual fans. Provided they also retain the interest of the hardcore, I can’t say I feel there’s anything wrong with that.

  20. Rob

    August 18, 2009 at 8:26 am

    I can relate to being a neutral these days. I only feel true ties to one team in all of football, the USA MNT. They were the first team I watched (WC ’06), and that jersey will be the first of my collection soon. I chose to start supporting Red Bull NY this season, but only because I’m somewhat local and I didn’t want to pick a front-runner.

    But as for over-seas, I don’t feel anything near the die-hard connection I have to the USMNT. I “like” Chelsea, Tottenham, Rangers, Atletico Madrid, M’Gladbach (M.Bradley is my favorite player), and Roma; but not to the point where I’m going to clear my schedule for a game like the USMNT. I think part of it is that I haven’t had that “footballing moment” like you guys have talked about before on this site. I think another part of it is that I’m young and getting up at 8 AM on a Saturday for 50 weeks out of the year is out of the question.

    Who knows. I plan on going to London for a semester in the Fall of ’10. Let’s just say I hope to have my moment there. But for now, any game of the beautiful game will do.

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