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Is the EPL Americanizing the UK or Is the League Anglicizing the USA?

The Gaffer’s food column last week got me to thinking. Are we Americanizing the UK or are they Anglicizing the US? For myself, I’m none too sure. I mean, I’ve just spent a Sunday morning making a breakfast out of lovely Staffordshire oatcakes that I whipped up from scratch. What is that all about? My Stoke fandom gone wild? UK moles working their way into my consciousness?

As a disclaimer, I should say that I’ve been to the UK twice. Mostly Scotland, with a shot down into northern England to see parts of Hadrian’s Wall. I suppose that has colored my thinking somewhat, but I really think that EPL Talk and my addiction to the Premier League are the true culprits.

I’ve been following the league for about 5 years and reading EPL Talk for just about as long. Over the years I have found little “UKisms” working their way into my thinking and vocabulary. I seldom think of football as “soccer” anymore. If I want to refer to our sport I will use NCAA or NFL with “football”. That’s not out of any snobbery. It’s just something that’s happened. I don’t care a twit about the usage of football v soccer. Culture is what culture is….but I’ve been “turned”.

I have found myself using “chuffed”, “you lot”, “spot on” and other strange wordings for no good reason at all. Actually, I blame this on the commentators I constantly hear and the postings on EPL Talk from UK natives and ex-pats who contribute to our conversations. To me, they are absolutely invaluable in my assimilation of the game and the culture that surrounds it, but they are eating their way into my brain! And then there’s Beckham, Adele, Rory, John Cleese, Alex Hammond, etc. On top of that, I read The Guardian and The Scotsman every day simply because I enjoy getting the view of things from a different perspective.

So, are we pushing McDonalds, et al, off onto our Motherland? Sure, but my experience is that outside of the big cities we have had little real impact. The village butcher, the bet shop, the pub, the dialects are still there. On the other hand, I sense British culture continuing to wheedle its way into my “Made in America” mind through the Premier League and EPL Talk. I don’t see how it can be stopped, although it has occurred to me that Gus Johnson may be some kind of government operative employed to try to staunch this inculcation of dangerous British ideas.

But, what about you? Am I alone here in my fantasies? Do I just need to increase my medication? Or do we need to raise the cry, “The British are coming!” once again?

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  1. rej4sl

    March 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    loved the article. As an exile Stoke person – love oatcakes – would you mind sharing the recipe.
    As for Anglicizing or Americanizing – we do both live in a bi-national relationship and we do American and British combined.

    • IanCransonsKnees

      March 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      See, that’s what I wanted more of after the success of the breakfast article. Forget Guy’s erudite take on international influencing – it’s recipe swaps we want.

      Arsenal fans eating jellied eels, Newcastle and Sunderland fans hunting down pease pudding, dirty Mancs after Manchester tart, black pudding and eccles cakes, all whilst supping on a Vimto. Villa fans seeking out faggots (the edible type), Norwich fans covering everything with Colmans mustard and Fulham fans ordering skinny lattes whilst sporting the preppiest of attire, okay yah!

      Forget your dvds of the the history of x,y and z, the way to truly connect with your club and its native followers is to seek out our strange foodstuffs and become fat b@$tards like the Geordies who insist on taking their tops off.

      I have to say so far Guy’s attempt at Oatcakes is the sincerest gesture of becoming a fan of a particular team. It’s not just about the football – when I’ve had chance to converse with The Gaffer you’ll find out a bit more about what I mean.

      Has anyone else got the bottle to conjure up some of our ‘bad’ English food and line your stomachs before watching your chosen team this weekend. Guy’s laid down the challenge has anyone else got the balls to take him up on it?

    • Guy

      March 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      This is the recipe ICK (below) posted and I used. Watch the liquid quantity. I had to wind up adding quite a bit more flour. You could also probably half the entire recipe. It makes a lot! 🙂

      • Guy

        March 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        below=above. 😉

      • Guy

        March 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm


        • rej4sl

          March 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm

          thanks so much

  2. Jason

    March 5, 2013 at 8:29 am

    The EPL has nothing to do with the Americanizing of the UK. If one assumes that Americanization is having lots of MacDonalds, KFC, etc. then how on earth does the EPL, which is not an American product, contribute to this? I’m baffled.

    As for the EPL Anglicizing the USA, I don’t see evidence to suggest that Americans are flocking to their local pubs to watch EPL games nor are waking up and having an typical English breakfast on Saturdays or Sundays. Those that do are mostly expats.

    • Guy

      March 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Title’s not mine, Jason. Take it up with The Gaffer. 😉

      No argument with your 2nd point. My tongue and pen are almost always planted firmly in cheek. Just noting some personal idiosyncrasies and wondering if anyone else is “infected”. 🙂

  3. Mark Eltringham

    March 5, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Call that bacon?

    • Guy

      March 5, 2013 at 5:00 am

      Absolutely not, Mark! 🙂

      I just didn’t want to use regular American bacon for the job, so grabbed this Canadian. Believe me, if I could have gotten some nice English back bacon I would.

  4. Sideways_Steve

    March 5, 2013 at 4:28 am

    I know I am catching some Brit and as a result, flack here because of it.

    I say ‘a bit’ too ‘often’, instead ‘some’ as ‘much’. I have instilled in my 4yr old that jaguar has 3 syllables not 2. I have slipped shouting ‘get in’ at a sporting event here, and have referred to an attractive girl as ‘fit’. I am even learning to differentiate accents and regions of the UK and can pick a Scouse out straightaway.

    Some I admit is from my other loves of F1 and TopGear. Call it as you please. My Gran would be all smiles but others (including myself at times) wonder.

  5. Dean Stell

    March 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    To me, the linguistic link between the US and Britain is so special because we can actually understand each other’s jokes. I mean, when a listen to an EPL game and the commentator says, “Have a go!” I know what he’s talking about.

    Like a lot of Americans, I have conversational Spanish, which is handy when that is the first language of ~15% of the population AND the native language of the dudes who always pick on me in our soccer league. But, if I heard a Liga MX commentator say, “Tiene tu va!” I wouldn’t have a clue what they’re talking about. So, I can’t enjoy the Mexican or the Spanish games as much as the various British leagues. And, it’s even worse with German or Italian soccer. There I just have translations.

    Honestly, the USA should be the best thing to happen to the EPL. With the linguistic tie and the fact that the US is the last unconquered land for soccer, the EPL should get TV rights $$$ far in excess of the German, French, Italian, etc. leagues. Use that money to buy the best players from those leagues and teach them some funny British sayings. 🙂

    • Guy

      March 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Just don’t spit your dummy out of the pram, Dean! 😉

      • jtm371

        March 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm

        did the better half keep you away from the tube today no comment on the Villa, City match missed you.might want to check the comments Marc L took a shot at your boys think it was tongue in cheek not sure.i agree the US beer is pi$$ water.

        • Guy

          March 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

          Watched the match. Nothing to say. Didn’t see Marc L’s comment till now.

          Being a Stoke fan one gets used to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Last year Stoke finished tied with Everton for 10th in the yellow/red card table (60/2) behind such paragons of virtue as QPR (54/9), Sunderland (59/4), Wolves (64/4), Arsenal (64/4), Newcastle (66/2), Wigan (67/3), Blackburn (66/5), Villa (70/2) and Chelsea (74/4). Facts are stubborn things, but useless against perception.

          This year we have definitely been worse, but I dare say if you subtract N’Zonzi and Whitehead we’d look a whole lot better. 😉

          • jtm371

            March 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

            like everything today style over substance.don’t let facts get in the way of public perception.their was a couple of articles at espn/soccer about Stoke and the poor performance of late one from CA and one from TP.

    • Patrick Starr

      March 5, 2013 at 12:09 am

      “Like a lot of Americans, I have conversational Spanish”


      I live in Southern California which might this might be true. but the US in general…dont think so

      • Dean Stell

        March 5, 2013 at 7:41 am

        Not saying the majority of Americans have conversational Spanish, but I’d bet you have ~10% of the population (or ~30MM) who could get around and basically function if you plopped them into Mexico. They’d be able to find food and water, ask basic directions, pay for stuff, give basic greetings…..etc.

        That’s all I’m saying….And….it is mostly concentrated in the southern reaches of the country. I’d bet the level of Spanish in Wisconsin is pretty low.

  6. Hoosiergunner

    March 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I always enjoy these articles. Being a natural anglophile I’d like to think we’ll all be eating Hob-Nobs, saying “sarky git,” and watching in Inbetweeners, MI-5, and Sherlock here in the colonies in the next couple years, but unfortunately I think the influence is largely going the other way. Hasn’t US viewership even played some role in the rescheduling of games? In my two trips across the pond (about ten years apart), I noticed a substantial difference in just how Americanized England had become. I was not impressed… in fact, it would be nice if the English could teach our youth how the game should be played so our national team and “major league” soccer program could become slightly better than average.

    • CTBlues

      March 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      I think would rather the Germans or Spanish teach out kids how to play the game than the English.

  7. Smokey Bacon

    March 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    The Brits are coming. The fact the epl is as popular as it is over here is evidence of that. That a yank can genuinely follow an awful team like Stoke is amazing to me but it shows how popular the epl has become. It’s no longer ex-pats only. All of the commentators are Brits and any we all slaughter the tv companies when they try to dumb the coverage down. Now with a major network NBC signed up, we have truly arrived.

    Simon Cowell, Adele, all these Brit actors playing Americans on tv and in film. Its the way it should be.

    Meanwhile, my old homeland gets the crappy end of the deal with McDonalds, Randy Lerner, Kroenke and terrible beer!

    • Guy

      March 4, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      The old homeland is definitely on the losing end on the beer thing. I find it unfathomable.

      • Nelson

        March 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm

        There’s plenty of great American beer, its just the only stuff getting marketed and imported over there is the cheap piss.

      • Yankee doodle dandy

        March 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        The US has the greatest selection of alcoholic drinks in the world from importing to our very own microbreweries. We get a bad name because the Buds and Coors have the money to advertise. Heck in the US you have a wider range and bigger selection of soccer leagues and games to watch on tv than anywhere on Earth.

      • Guy

        March 4, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        Nelson and Yankee—agree with you wholeheartedly. Here in NC microbreweries, with excellent selections, are exploding. It’s just disconcerting to step into a UK pub and see the guys with the bottles of Bud in their hands when there are eight taps behind them with a fantastic choice of real ales. Aackkkk! ( One negative point on Americanization for those keeping score). 🙁

    • jtm371

      March 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      don’t forget the Fenway Group another crappy item going East.

      • Daniel

        March 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        FSG has had some shaky moments getting themselves up to speed but overall I would call their stewardship of Liverpool a success. Their moves are starting to gel and the club is being run like a proper business. I would much prefer FSG to Abranovich or Kroenke.

        • IanCransonsKnees

          March 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

          That proper they’ve run up a near £90m debt already.

    • Why?

      March 5, 2013 at 4:28 am

      Yes with the help of our American cousins we have become the largest nation in Europe, well fattest any how lol. God bless burger king and McDonalds!!
      Also every is suing every one now, we don’t have the huge payouts but we have turn into the ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ nation.
      American beer I just don’t get at all the stuff here like Bud is very well marketed but taste like water to me, mind you British larger is the same. It’s gotta be from Germany or Belgium for me.

      • Guy

        March 5, 2013 at 4:53 am

        I noticed the other day that Beck’s is now brewed in St. Louis. I know it’s to a formula, but is nothing sacred? Besides that, it’s still marked up as an “import”. 🙂

      • Kris Kjellquist

        March 5, 2013 at 8:50 am

        LOL at equating “American Beer” with Bud. Come to Asheville, NC or Portland, OR and drink the best beer in the world!

        • Guy

          March 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

          Asheville is definitely a craft beer drinker’s paradise, but Bud, et al are what most people think of as American beers and their sales figures are massive.

  8. Paul

    March 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    We’re definitely being Americanised, but to be honest, it’s been happening for years. There’s plenty of US imports on TV that my nephews watch every day and get American sayings from the likes of those annoying Disney channel teeny shows. Schools over here even have proms now… that’s still a relatively recent thing but it was totally unheard of a few years ago! I suppose that’s the effect Glee must have had 😉

    The likes of McDonalds came to the UK in the 70’s so I don’t think you could lump that into the trend. I’d say that was just the norm!

    • Guy

      March 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      You are one of those moles, Paul. 😉

  9. Frill Artist

    March 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    There was a typo in your article. It’s football not “soccer”.

    • Guy

      March 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Get over it, Frill. I’ve said I don’t give a rip and neither should you.

      • Guy

        March 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm

        Football, soccer
        Lorry, truck
        Who really gives a f#€k

    • Sammy

      March 5, 2013 at 12:20 am

      I don’t understand why people like you are so sensititive to this football/soccer usage and have to make it such a big issue. Does it really matter whether it’s known as football or soccer? Haven’t you heard of “synonyms” before? If so, wouldn’t you agree that these two words are just synonyms? Unless you are trying to say that there’s something so offensive about the word “soccer” that makes it wrong for all of us to use it.

      Otherwise, I really don’t get what this hype is about.

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