Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Footy Fandom

Since none of our resident Premiership experts could be bothered, FOGTB (and longtime FOD) Ryan, aka Fat Guy in a Speedo, offers his take on finding English rooting interests. Feel free to use the comments section to tell him where he's wrong:

Greetings soccer fans and Americans. As NBC has picked up the rights to all English Premier League matches this year and Yanks can now watch more matches than anyone in Britain (blackouts prevail) it seems like a good time to get other sports fans into a lather about a 2 hour game that might end in a 0-0 tie.  Here’s how you too can get involved in the action:

Pick a team.  There are 20 teams in the PL (1st division), the bottom 3 get relegated at the end of the season and the top 3 in the PL Championship (2nd division) get promoted. Only 5 clubs have won the title (Arsenal, Blackburn (a one-off), Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United). As Americans, no one cares who we support. If we had the misfortune to be born in the UK we would be bound to support our local club and odds are they would be horrible. The PL has 20 teams and London alone currently has 6 teams in it. Growing up in NJ, I had friends who were NFL fans of the Cowboys, Raiders, Broncos etc, in England you are a ‘plastic rent fanboy’ if you are a Londoner supporting a Manchester team.   

Ten years ago, my friends who watched PL (3, 2 ex-pats) were Arsenal fans so I chose Manchester United as I had heard of them and they had just picked up Tim Howard. Ignorance is bliss, Tim was shipped off less than 2 years later but I stuck with the Yankees of the PL and they have been a juggernaut ever since. Manchester United’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, just stepped down after 27 brilliant years so the pundits are not sure if this streak will continue. In addition to being the greatest football manager ever he is also renowned for his Bobby Knight-esque rants known as the ‘hairdryer treatment’. Once, David Beckham was on the receiving end of it Ferguson kicked a cleat at him and hit him above the eye, which required stitches.

Ferguson being Ferguson refused to apologize and Beckham being Beckham forgave him anyway. Ferguson hand-picked his replacement, fellow Scot David Moyes formerly of Everton FC.

Other top teams to consider are:

Chelsea – Bought 10 years ago by a Russian oil Mafioso who has paved the way for other worldwide oil barons, tycoons and Mafiosi who are wont to change the teams logo and colors on a whim after 120 years of consistency. He has pumped over $1B into this mid-level London side and turned them into Champions and perennial contenders. Chelsea have won 11 trophies in 10 years under Roman with TEN different managers.  He recently rehired Jose Mourinho after firing him years ago mid-season after winning the title the previous year, Jose once referred to himself as ‘the Special One’ and has coached Porto, Intermilan, Chelsea and most recently Real Madrid, generally to huge success. Chelsea might win it all this year, they are a good team to be a fan of if you like to cheer on a bunch of bastards and villains as the apple doesn’t fall far from the Russian oligarch.

Arsenal (the Gunners) – This is a great London team to support if you enjoy past success and fiscal solvency. Led by the great Arsene Wenger, a French manager who is derided by opposing fans as Big Sesame Bird and ‘pedophile’ (for the record he is neither). One of his claims to fame is having coached the Invincibles in 2003-04 season. This team did not lose a single game and went on to win the title but also played ‘beautiful’ football which is very important to most fans who seemingly would rather lose playing ‘beautiful’ football than win ugly. This is another concept that makes bridging the gap difficult for Yanks.  Arsenal have won fuckall the past 8 years (there are 4 trophies a team can win over the season, the League Cup, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Premier League title) but more importantly, have spent no money on players the past 8 years but have the highest ticket prices in the League. Fourth place is still very important in the PL and Arsenal pretty much have a lock on 4th place trophies if they existed. Arsenal lost the opening game this past Saturday at home to an average Aston Villa side so it’s looking like more of the same for them.

Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool. These 3 teams round out the top 6 you might choose to cheer on. Manchester City was bought by Arab billionaire Sheik Mansour who pumped $1B in to win one Championship title as the formula seemed to work for the Russian equivalent. Tottenham are the rivals of Arsenal as both are North London teams, they are a good team for members of the Tribe (not the W&M one) as their stadium, White Hart Lane is located in the Jewish section of London and supporters proudly refer to themselves as ‘Yids’, even the non-Jewish ones.

Liverpool is a great team if you are a Dallas Cowboys fan. They have worldwide brand recognition and are the Grand Dame of the PL in terms of tradition and history. All home games are opened with a rousing rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and the supporter’s section is referred to as the Kop. Unfortunately, much like the Cowboys they’ve not tasted success for a while and last were Champions in 1989 but have never won a Premier League title as it’s current iteration was formed in 1993.
 
Lastly, Fulham are also a good team to support if you don’t want to take it too seriously and not too concerned about winning silver. They are usually mid-table and have had many Americans on their roster over the years, furthermore, they have a statue of Michael Jackson outside of their fantastically named home ground, Craven Cottage in West London.

Another perk is the games are Saturday and Sunday morning and make an excellent excuse to drink away a hangover before sports we care about, i.e. college football, kickoff.

27 comments:

rob said...

technically, the teej's michael bolton wanderers are no longer a premiership side, but you could still root for them and hope they get promoted. their season-opening 3-0 drilling at the hands of nottingham forest bodes less than well for that prospect, however.

rob said...

pour something gritty and realistic out for elmore leonard. i expect a full treatment from summer dave tomorrow.

T.J. said...

Whaaaa? My boys got relegated?

rob said...

two years ago, yes. they finished seventh in the championship last season. too much wandering, apparently.

TR said...

I know a Brit who is a Nottingham fan. He's been die-hard throughout their relegation to the Championship level and then down again into League One. Hard not to have compassion for a team, when you understand how much the team's fortunes can fall.

They clawed their way back to the Championship level a few years ago and have some Middle Eastern owners pumping some money into the team in hopes of a promotion. They could be your 2014-14 BPL sleepers.

zman said...

I dinnae ken wat yer so chuffed aboot wi aw dis footie talk, but any cunt wae doesnae support the Hibbies is a cheeky wide gadge of a cunt, likesay.

zman said...

An wot happent tae TR's post aboot baws?

zman said...

Finally, this schemie cunt Ryan has quite a way with waerds an aw an I mind that he did a better job wif this effort than maist ay the jakey radges whae post rubbish ere from tame to tame.

rob said...

i'd appreciate it greatly if z could run his next legal post through the same translator as the past few comments.

Squeaky said...

You can root for Hibs but they will never be an EPL team.

I root for three teams: The Spurs, The Addicks and The Bantams.

zman said...

There's nae translator rob, ya poxy wee rodent. If ya'd take yer coupon oot ay yer arse and put it intae a book ya'd ken hae tae translate shite like this yerself.

rob said...

piss off, yeh fookin wanker

rob said...

if you have daughters, or sisters, or nieces, or wives, or really just kinda like women or sports, you should watch tonight's nine for ix on the '99 uswnt in the women's world cup.

rob said...

dave will find this amusing:

http://pitchfork.com/features/situation-critical/9191-the-mountain-goats/

Shlara said...

so many good choices...

All of the big names listed here, and I feel like I need an underdog (yes Mark--like the Wizards.) I DON'T want to cheer for the Yankees or Lakers of the EPL. I like team-ball, which is why I like the OKC Thunder and Brad Stevens Bulter teams. Is there a Butler of the EPL?

Crysal Palace does make the connection to two of the very classy clubs in DC...

But I think the deciding factor will be the coach/manager. The new manager of Southampton is kinda hot. So I think the Saints might be my team this season.

Jerry said...

Arguments for some of the non-top teams:

Everton: Good tradition, good fans, out-perform their "chequebook" every year. They usually have some interesting characters, including Fellaini (my favorite player in the league) and Carnevale Italiano veteran Tim Howard

Newcastle: Outstanding atmosphere with a huge and full stadium, lovable losers, their fans seem the most drunk out of anyone, cool uniforms. Downside is that their fans seem to have the Clemson/Auburn/etc syndrome of thinking their team should be better than it is

Sunderland: Kind of like Newcastle (right across the river), only less famous and red stripes instead of black. Also, Jozy Altidore.

Stoke: Awesome home atmosphere, everyone hates them. Hyper-physical. Play absolutely hideous soccer. Unfortunately, they just changed managers, so some of this stuff might not stick. Old manager wore a baseball hat during games which drove people crazy. For a few years, their most effective attack (by far) was a really long (and awesome) throw-in.

West Ham: I believe this is TJ's 2nd team. Known for violence. Probably one of the better places to see a game in London.

I'd probably draw the line there. Mostly everyone else is dull and/or legit relegation fodder.

If you like Wales, there's 2 of them now. Swansea is legitimately decent and should be around for a while.

Also there were a solid 100+ Arsenal fans at Lucky Bar for the game on Saturday at 10 AM, which I found to be really surprising.

T.J. said...

Hammers on Five!
I forgot them. Thanks Jer.

TR said...

Jerry pretty much nailed it. I think most of us are Everton fans to some extent b/c of Howard. And Fellaini (and his afro) are equally magnificent. Dude is a beast.

I think Shlara'a best team choice is Everton. Always frisky, even if they usually start the year weak.

zman said...

"Frisky" is always the first word I use to describe Shlara, so Everton might be her huckleberry.

rob said...

if you pick fulham, you get to say 'dimitar berbatov' a lot. which is cool. plus, shad khan is starting to flash his cash, in addition to his stache, so we've got that.

rob said...

watched the 99ers with my little girl tonight. she was awestruck. says to me, 'they're just as goofy as we are', referring to her team. then sat open-mouthed when she realized they went to pk's in front of 92,000 people. hope you get a chance to watch it - fantastic stuff.

bonus good times: seeing bill clinton come into the uswnt locker room not once, but twice. you know his mind must've been racing.

rob said...

apparently, it's frowned upon if you fail to apply enough sunscreen to your child's face. how was i supposed to know this?

T.J. said...

MONSTER

Ryan Lecky said...

Wow, made the cut. Thanks for polishing the turd Rob. West Ham potential fans should realize that in addition to hooliganism you have to contend with Russell Brand and the club anthem is I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles.

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