OT: Looking for Premier League Team Identities

Submitted by SWFlaBlue on August 13th, 2011 at 9:32 AM
I'm reaching out to the ardent soccer fans in the MGoBlog community for a breakdown of the Teams now that the EPL is starting back up. The past year and a half has turned me into an absolute soccer fan but the one thing I lack is a true understanding of which specific team I should take a rooting interest in for the season? Can you provide some analogies and comparisons as it relates to American pro and college sports teams to serve as a guide? Much appreciated.



August 13th, 2011 at 9:43 AM ^

is all true except for the part about who to eventually root for. Even the ranking are almost alll accurate. Long story short, Liverpool is the most awesome team. Excellent Jerseys, a somewhat beaten down powerhouse, just got back a coach who was very close to the program in the past who reallly really wanted to be there whom has relighted the fire of the fanbase and team. Just picked up a bunch of sweet young talent. You just know they are about to straight up crush all the opposition this year. Dude, they're basically the Wolverines. You'll Never Walk Alone.


August 13th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

I picked LIverpool for 3 reasons:

1. I used to listen to my tape of Pink Floyd's "Meddle" over and over on long roadtrips. The song "Fearless" has Liverpool fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the end of it.

2. I wanted to pick a team that isn't one of the big bullies, but isn't in any danger of being relegated either.

3. I like the Beatles. 


August 13th, 2011 at 4:06 PM ^

Liverpool is considered one of the Big Four and had the record for most titles until Man United just passed them last season. 

Liverpool reminds me of the Red Sox - a big-market team that pretends it's a plucky underdog. 


August 13th, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

They're more like the Cardinals. They have some bucks, but nowhere near as much as the top teams. They were dominant from 72-73 to 90-91 when they were lower than 2nd only once, but since then they have no titles and just 2 2nd-place finishes.

The big 4 is more like the big 6 now, with Chelsea, Man City, and Man U in the first tier with the big bucks, and Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham in the second tier.   


August 13th, 2011 at 9:47 AM ^

From last year, but great Spencer Hall (EDSBS) as always:


On a serious, personal note, I chose Liverpool two years ago when I wanted to get into the EPL. I wanted to choose one of the big four, because if I get to choose, why pick a team that has no shot at the title? However, they have never actually won the EPL (since 1992-3 ish) and have been relatively bad the past two seasons. They are currently the underdogs, I guess, of the teams at the top tier in the EPL (ManU, ManCity, Chelsea, Arsenal). They are also owned by the same group that own the Boston Red Sox, NESV, so woo America! My only reservation is that Lebron James now owns a small piece of the team. 


August 13th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

LFC, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Arsenal are all American owned.
<br>It has to be organic or it won't take. Pick your favorite player and like his team. It will grow on you. I like Henry, therefore I started following Arsenal years ago. Now, I curse Barcelona's very existence and fear this could be the year Arsenal doesn't qualify for the Champions League. Relying on van Persie and Walcott to stay healthy is futile.


August 13th, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

I have followed the EPL for just about 6 years. I never really enjoyed watching until i met my wife who is British and is huge ManU and HotSpurs fan. The EPL IMO is associated with its local community. Aresenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and ManU are the usual suspects to be atop the EPL. I find myself always cheering for the underdog tho.

So after several years of watching I pledged my loyalty to a club that is steeped in tradition but has fallen off more recently, and that club is Newcastle.

They have an classic stadium, fans, and Kits(UNI's).


One last thing, Please watch a few matches and choose your own club to support. 

Here is a quick list of possible teams that you might find some interest in ... they have american players.


Everton: Tim Howard

Fulham: Clint Dempsey

Bolton: Stuart Holden


August 13th, 2011 at 10:03 AM ^

Found that the Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool were teams that I found myself rooting for.
Found an immediate disdain for Man U but I think that has been influenced for quite some time.
Not that I hate rooting for the big boys - I really enjoy watching Barcelona play but feel guilty doing so.

I was just look for back story for the MGoCommuntiy since their perspective is often much more interesting and informative than the journalists, although I do appreciate the links above.


August 13th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

As you watch more matches and become interested in certain teams, you'll begin to realize that there are some teams you cannot like simultaneously. Chelsea and Liverpool are one of them. There are basically two types of team near the top of the EPL, with a completely different history. There are teams like Liverpool and United, who have been at the top for ages (think traditionalists) and then there are the new "hot" teams, like City and Chelsea. For me, as a Liverpool fan, I naturally despise United. Howevear, I respect their tradition. I think I may loathe the ridiculous spending Chelsea and City has done within the last 5-10 years moreso.


August 13th, 2011 at 1:47 PM ^

While they both are spend happy, Chelsea has exponentially much more history (Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. wiki), and was a reputable club before abromovich took over, whereas city was basically awful before they were bought by someone who is richer than the rest of the owners combined.

Don Keypunch

August 13th, 2011 at 12:19 PM ^

there are other Americans who support the Toon! Here's to another season of suffering through the trials and tribulations that is Newcastle United football. I was lucky enough to go to a match at St James' Park while in England on my honeymoon. Aside from the Big House it was the best stadium experience for a sporting event.


August 13th, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

I started rooting for Arsenal because I really, really liked Theo Walcott.  It isn't wise to pick a team based on its players (bye bye, Cesc, Nasri...), but it certainly doesn't hurt to have some fun players to watch on whichever side you choose.  A lot of people think Jack Wilshire is going to be one of the finest players of his generation, and he would die for The Arsenal, so latching on to a player like him would be fine.

I must warn you, it's a pretty miserable existence as an Arsenal fan.  Historical powerhouse with a guru for a coach (Frenchman Arsene Wenger) who had one of the best teams of all time (The Invincibles) just a few short years ago, but hasn't won any hardware since 2005.  Talented team that has been beset by injuries and can't seem to put it together.  Defense has been porous recently, and they tend to lose in heartbreaking fashion.  Lotsss of similiarities to being a Michigan fan.

I completely understand wanting to avoid ManU/Chelsea/Arsenal, but just remember that you're going to have a pretty rough go of it rooting for a side that doesn't spend with the top clubs in the EPL.  It's fun rooting for the underdog, but you'll need to understand that choosing a team like Everton or Fulham will mean that you'll basically be rooting to finish Top 8 most years.  

I suggest watching a few games from different team you're considering supporting and going from there.  Arsenal v. Newcastle United today at 12:30 EST!

Kilgore Trout

August 13th, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

I'm kind of in the same boat.  I read the Simmons article and it was entertaining.  I just can't see picking a top 4 team unless something really inspires me to do so.  After a season of watching, I've kind of narrowed it down to Everton, Fulham, and Tottenham Hotspur.  Hopefully it will reveal itself to me this season.

turbo cool

August 13th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

Like everyone else mentioned, take some time learning about the history of some of these clubs. You can choose a club by their players but then again, that love may be short-lived as players often will transfer.

Anyway, my club is Manchester United. You can say it's the popular pick, but yeah, whatever. I started following them when they won the Treble in '99 as a young kid and only a handful of games were televised over here. After that, I learned about defining momenets in their club history (e.g. Munich Air Disaster), their legendary players (Best, Charlton, etc.), and most importantly, their comprehensive youth academy. Man United is truly a club. 

With all that being said, if you're ever in England during the league season, go to a game. I can't emphasize enough how awesome that atmosphere is at games in Europe, and in particular, England. Good luck on finding a club! Just don't pick City, Liverpool, or Chelsea...


August 13th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

As you watch more games you will see a style of play emerge for all teams. You may like to see a more defense style like Manchester City and Sunderland or a more offense style like Manchester United and Arsenal. Watching games at certain pubs will allow you to watch games with team clubs if you are in a bigger/soccer city. It can be fun with others who are so passionate about their team. I would agree with the other posters about picking a team near the top four but I would also pick an underdog as well just for fun.


August 13th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

Style is a biggie. Stay away from any team coached by the man named Sam Allardyce.

Fulhamerica for me. And any other team with a Yank. Though my favorite player is Ji Sung Park. Slagged by Man U fans when he originally signed because they thought he was there just to sell shirts in southeast Asia Park is a superb combination of skill, style and spirit. If your son grew up to be the Ji Sung Park of plumbers you'd go to your deathbed with a smile on your face.


August 13th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

Liverpool = Michigan.

Why, you ask?

1) Liverpool has the greatest tradition of any EPL team, and despite Manchester United finally reaching 19 titles before Liverpool (stuck at 18 since 1990), Liverpool still holds 5 Champions League titles to United's 3.

2) Speaking of United, Liverpool vs. United = Michigan vs OSU. Both teams definitely mark down this day in their calendar. It's always a heated and intense match. Manchester and Liverpool aren't very far in distance, so it's similar to Michigan vs. Ohio.

3) Liverpool's other rival, Everton, is much like Michigan vs. MSU. Everton and Liverpool share the area known as the "Merseyside" in England. Being in the same city, they are obviously rivals, but Everton has always been in the shadow of Liverpool's success. 

4) Despite not winning a cup since 2005, and no league title since 1990, Liverpool's fans are as arrogant as Michigan's. Both groups of fans expect success because frankly, it's Liverpool and Michigan. 

5) Lastly, both teams have recently brought in new coaches to "bring back the glory." After both teams attempted to bring in "different" styles of play, they are returning to their bread and butter. For Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish was hired in January. He's a former Liverpool player, a previous  manager there, and is dubbed by the fanbase as "King Kenny." Michigan hired Brady Hoke, and well, you know his story. Both coaches have rejuvenated the enthusiasm in their respective fan bases.

Again, Liverpool = Michigan.

Little Brown J…

August 13th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

Liverpool is a terrible choice, and I would say that Manchester United is more like Michigan.  First of all, while you know that Liverpool and Everton are in the "Merseyside", clearly you have never been there.  Downtown Liverpool is nice, but you have to take a bus to get to the stadium (about 20 minutes away).  You also have to take a bus to get to Old Trafford, but the difference is that Trafford is a very nice area of Manchester, while Liverpool's stadium is straight in the ghetto, unlike Michigan (trust me, I've been there).  It is also less than a ten minute walk from Everton's stadium which you compared with MSU.  While that comparison is fair, a better example is for MSU would Manchester City.  Manchester City would easily be considered United's "Little Brother", and only recently in the past couple years (cough cough MSU) have they been good.  Trust me, United is a better comparison for Michigan than Liverpool.  And besides, you wouldn't want to be rooting for that Scouse accent, would you?


August 13th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

I second the notion that Liverpool = Michigan, particularly from a team indentity standpoint.

ManU just seems like too much of an evil empire (ala OSU) for me to relate to them.

So for now I say:

"You'll never walk alone!"

Little Brown J…

August 13th, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

I agree with the all of the posters already .  You should watch some games, and pick out which team stands out to you.  You should definitely pick a club that will at least finish in the top half of the table (standings), even if it is one of the big four.

As for my team, I am proud to say that I am huge Red Devils fan (Manchester United).  I first started liking them when I played FIFA 06 when they had Christiano Ronaldo.  But last semester I studied abroad in Manchester, England, and I went to the United vs. Aston Villa game on Feb. 1 where United won 3-1.  Vidic scored once, and Rooney scored twice, where the whole stadium chanted "ROO-NEY!" ROO-NEY!"  That game was easily one of the best experiences of the semester, and the atmosphere was insane.  While the stadium (Old Trafford) is smaller than the Big House, it was louder and everyone was chanting and yelling.  I also went to bar/pub and watched a few matches with the English friends I made, and it truly made the experience.

I also did a stadium tour of Old Trafford, and touched the grass (the whole EPL has to use real grass FYI).  My stadium tour was on February 6th, which also happened to be the same day of the Munich Air Disaster.  Perfect timing, since there is a memorial outside the stadium where about 100 people came for a moment of silence and put flowers by the memorial.  Like the above poster said, Manchester United is full of history, and that is truly what makes the club so great.  I also saw the stadiums of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Everton.

Good luck finding a team, and make sure you stick with them! Glory Glory Man United!


August 13th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

I follow the Wolverhampton Wanderers (probably the only American ever to do so) and I've accepted that the Wolves will probably never challenge for a Premier League title unless they get extremely extremely lucky. It'd be the equivalent of a 13 seed winning the NCAAB tournament.

The only thing that drives me crazy is that European soccer is worse the MLB. No salary cap and teams just throwing money around. There was an article last year that Wolverhampton was the only team in the Premier League to make a profit. Every other team broke even or lost massive amounts of money. It's frustrating, but that's how it's been run for years.


August 13th, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

That's right kids, those sweet, sweet Jam Tarts.  Heart of Midlothian FC.  And what better time to become a Jambo.  Just humped the sheep shaggin' Dons 3-0 this morning and have a huge European tie kicking off this Thursday against Spurs.  We will come from the north bringing pain and destruction to White Hart Lane (assuming the locals don't burn it down first) and we will taste European glory.

And even if we don't win, our crazy Lithuanian owner will be there to assure us the loss had nothing to do with lackluster management, player performance, or, God forbid, a lack of fan support.  Rather the true culprits will be exposed for all the world to see.  The referees.  Or the mafia.  Or the referees who were paid off by the mafia.  Or the other owners in the league conspiring against us.  Or the officials at the SFA and UEFA (who are probably all paid off by, you guessed it, the mafia).

So dust off your John Robertson top and start singing Hearts, Hearts, Glorious Hearts!

Musket Rebellion

August 13th, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

I've liked Hearts since I placed my created self on their team in FIFA 04 or 5, a great side with tons of idiosyncrasies to cherish. But I will definitely be rooting against them when they march into North London this week. Gotta love me some Spurs. You are right, though. Hopefully WHL still stands when they get there. 


August 13th, 2011 at 12:57 PM ^

I'm a QPR supporter, god help me, but that's due to location and having actually lived in England... I can't imagine just picking a team from scratch.

Try to avoid either Manchester side or you'll look like a twat. Ditto Chelski.


August 13th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

First, I am a huge Man U fan and have been since I was 5. This started because my 5 year old soccer team was named the Red Devils and happened long before I knew they were good.

The problem as listed above is that if you don't cheer for the big 4 (or man city because they are not in the big 4 no matter what they try to do), you honestly won't win. This is not like cheering for the tb rays where you might win the al east once every ten years, you just won't win.

If any comparison works, its that man city is like msu football if you know marky d had unlimited money to spend on 5 stars.


August 13th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

But winning the league isn't all important... it's inherent in the culture. When 3 teams are promoted including the winner from the lower divisions, league titles become comparatively unimportant. And there is promotion from the Prem, to Europe. So teams like Villa and Fulham offer plenty of opportunity to "win" (which is an utterly shallow reason to cheer for a team anyway), just not in the way Americans think of winning.

Plus, cups. Anyone can win the League Cup.


August 13th, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

I root for Norwich. they are not a good team and often are subject to regulation but I used to live a few miles from their field and I will always root for the Canaries.


August 13th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Hell yes. When QPR plays on Fox Soccer next week, it will be the first time I've ever seen them play on TV. That's the real joy of following a small club... so what if you never win the league? There's just as much joy in those little moments or in winning promotion back to the Prem or in managing to stay up (not looking good for my side, but best of luck to the Canaries)