In Search of an English Premier League Club
Like many Americans, I’ve been watching World Cup games when I get the chance, but I’m not so knowledgeable when it comes to the sport. I like it, though. I really do. I dig the fanfare, the passion that people give for their country’s team. I’m going to try to pay soccer (football) some more attention in the future. And what is the most important league when it comes to soccer? Why, the English Premier League, of course.
I found Bill Simmons’ article about his choice of a club to support to be pretty amusing, so I figured, “Why not make a less informed, not-as-entertaining version of my own?” Let’s.
First off, I need to ‘splain what it is I look for in a team. The professional U.S. teams I like don’t provide much insight … I basically support the teams that I grew up with. Maybe that just tells you I’m loyal. I fist lived in Cicero, IL (born at Oak Park), but I would say I “grew up” in Chicago Ridge. Naturally, I am a White Sox fan (South Side!) when it comes to baseball (went to my first Sox game when my dad took me when I was all of six months old). Football: I am a rabid Bears fan. I love the Blackhawks, and though I don’t really care much about the NBA, I suppose I am a Bulls supporter.
If I didn’t continue to identify with my childhood/hometown favorites, though, I think you could boil down what I look for in a team to these things:
- Have some history. I don’t like any new-fangled teams that wear teal and/or purple. I also can’t stand terrible team nicknames. Thrashers? I am not a fan of you. If I can remember when your sad little franchise was inserted into the league, I hate you. (See: Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, etc.).
- Don’t be one of those annoying perennial winners. Teams that win all the time: Bo-ring. It’s too easy to pull for a team that always wins. I cannot express in words how much I loathe the New York Yankees, let alone fans of the New York Yankees I meet in Iowa who have never lived in New York. “Hey, I don’t have a team that plays close to me, so I think I will choose the team that wins 25% of all World Series titles to get behind.” I would be immediately arrested if I acted on any of the thoughts that enter my brain when I find out someone likes the Yankees. If you tell me you like the Yankees, you honestly may as well be telling me that you favor the murder of small children. I hate you. (Same goes for: Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Red Wings, etc.)
- Knowledgeable fan base. Forget that this is contradictory to the fact that I don’t know much about soccer. Basically, I respect a Philadelphia Eagles fan that cheers a great block by a left tackle over a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan who sampled the food items at a Bucs game he attended because he won free tickets at bingo during AARP night.
- Simple, classic unis/logos. While I absolutely hate the Yankees, even I have to admit that they have some classic uniforms. I hate cyber logos. Even moreso when they accompany terrible, busy uniforms. ESPECIALLY when said terrible uniforms replaced much better uniforms.
Here is a listing of the 20 members of the English Premier League this upcoming season:
- Aston Villa
- Birmingham City
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Newcastle United
- Stoke City
- Tottenham Hotspur
- West Bromwich Albion
- West Ham United
- Wigan Athletic
… more to come soon. In the meantime, if you are a fan of any of these teams, please give some insight. Anyone. I don’t have to know you. Also important to note: I haven’t made a choice yet.