So, you want to get into soccer. That’s fair, soccer is awesome. The first thing you’ll need is a rooting interest, and Jordan Carruth is here to help you decide on which club you should make your own…
Why pick a Premier League club?
The Premier League is widely regarded as the most competitive league in the world.
It’s also one the most accessible leagues to watch. Thank you, NBC.
And, well, you might want to have a backup football team in case another one leaves..
5 things to consider while choosing a club:
- History – What is your approach? Do you want to (finally) root for a winner? Or (finally) avoid the bandwagon?
- Location – If you travel to a match in the future would you rather visit London or Leicester?
- Stadium – It’s your new home. They’re all unique. Big, small, loud and some full of bubbles (see West Ham)
- Relegation potential – Say goodbye to watching your club on TV if they ever get relegated.
- Players – But fair warning, they like to move.
Quick background on the Premier League:
It’s technically a new league at 23 years old. It was established in 1992 but these clubs have been playing each other since the 1800’s.
Only 5 clubs have won the Premier League:
- Manchester United – 13 titles
- Chelsea – 4 titles (current Champions)
- Arsenal – 3 titles (most recent in 2003/2004)
- Manchester City – 2 titles (both in the last 4 years)
- Blackburn won in 1994/95
Let’s check out the 20 clubs competing this season in the Barclays Premier League…
|Full Name: Arsenal Football Club
Nickname: The Gunners
- Arsenal have more American fans than any club in the Premier League (Twitter/ESPN study).
- Arsenal have the 3rd most Premier League titles, including an unbeaten season in 2003/04.
- The club is nicknamed “The Gunners” and the fans call themselves “The Gooners”.
Owner: Stan Kroenke (owner of the Los Angeles Rams)
My thoughts: It wont be hard to find other Arsenal fans at local bars (try Blue Foot in North Park)
|Full Name: Aston Villa Football Club
Nickname: The Villa
- Aston Villa are one of seven clubs that have remained the Premier League every season.
- They have never won the Premier League but did finish 2nd in the inaugural season.
- The Villa play at Villa Park which is the 8th largest stadium in England.
Celebrity fan: Tom Hanks
My thoughts: There are pros and cons when it comes to The Villa. They’re not likely to be relegated but they’re also not likely to finish in the top 4 anytime soon..
|Full Name: Athletic Football Club Bournemouth
Nickname: The Cherries
- The Cherries are in the Premier League for the 1st time in the club’s history.
- A successful season would be to survive and stay in the Premier League next year.
- Bournemouth play at Dean Court which has a capacity of 11,700.
Colors: Red and Black (striped)
My thoughts: I’d stay away. Who knows how long they’ll keep themselves in the league.
|Full Name: Chelsea Football Club
Nickname: The Blues
- Chelsea are the current champions of the Premier League.
- They’ve won the Premier League 4 times, which is a (distant) 2nd to Manchester United.
- The Blues manager, Jose Mourinho, is famously outspoken.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Celebrity fan: Will Ferrell
My Thoughts: Come on you Blues!
| Full Name: Crystal Palace Football Club
- Crystal Palace are returning to the Premier League for a 3rd consecutive season.
- The Eagles finished 10th in what was a surprisingly successful season last year.
- Crystal Palace call Selhurst Park their home in London. It has a capacity of 26,255.
Club mascot: An American Bald Eagle named Kayla.
My thoughts: There’s an excitement around the Eagles after last season. Hopefully it lasts..
| Full Name: Everton Football Club
Nickname: The Toffees
- American fans have gravitated towards Everton thanks to their goalie, Tim Howard.
- The United States goalie has played for Everton since 2006.
- Goodison Park, the home of the Toffees, opened up in 1892.
Celebrity Fans: Paul McCartney and John Lennon
My thoughts: Their rivalry with Liverpool is one of the best in the league.
|Full Name: Leicester City Football Club
Nickname: The Foxes
- The Foxes returned to the Premier League last season after missing out for the last decade.
- Leicester finished 14th last season; just 6 points away from relegation.
- They play at King Power Stadium (capacity 32,262).
Colors: Royal Blue and White
My thoughts: It would be like rooting for the Milwaukee Bucks.
|Full Name: Liverpool Football Club
Nickname: The Reds
- Liverpool have one of the richest histories in English Football.
- They have more European trophies than any other English club.
- They Reds have 18 league titles but they have yet to win the (new) Premier League.
Owner: John W. Henry (Boston Red Sox) and Lebron James invests in the club, too.
My thoughts: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” would be worth the trip to matches.
|Full Name: Manchester City Football Club
- City won their first league title in 44 years when they won the Premier League in 2011/12.
- Manchester City scored 2 goals in stoppage time, in the final game, to beat out Manchester United for the title.
- They’ve struggled against the elite clubs with early exits from Champions League.
Celebrity fan: Kevin Hart
My thoughts: They’re fun to play with on FIFA. Does that count?
| Full Name: Manchester United Football Club
Nickname: Red Devils
- Manchester United are the New York Yankees of English Soccer.
- They’ve won won more English titles (20) than any other English club.
- They’ve also won 13 of the 23 Premier League titles, including 5 of the last 8.
Owners: The Glazer Family (Owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
My thoughts: Band. Wagon.
|Full Name: Newcastle Football Club
Nickname: The Magpies
- The Magpie nickname comes from their black and white kits.
- Newcastle have played at St James’ Park since 1892.
- They were relegated in 2009 for only the 2nd time in their history.
Fun Fact: Yes, it’s also the home of Newcastle Brown Ale.
My thoughts: If you like rooting for teams that dress like refs this is your club.
|Full Name: Norwich City Football Club
Nickname: The Canaries
- The club was founded in 1902.
- The Canaries are back in the Premier League after being promoted last season.
- They last won the FA Cup in 1992.
Celebrity fans: Hugh Jackman and Snoop Dogg
My thoughts: It they had Wolverine they would be an obvious pick.
|Full Name: Southampton Football Club
Nickname: The Saints
- The Saints were founded in 1885.
- They have played at St. Mary’s Stadium since 2001. It holds 32,363 fans.
- Southampton qualified for Europa League with their 7th place finish last season.
Fun Fact: The Saints nickname comes from their history as a church football team.
My thoughts: They wouldn’t but the worst choice but…
|Full Name: Stoke City Football Club
Nickname: The Potters
- Stoke City were founded 152 years ago (1863) as Stoke Ramblers FC.
- They changed to Stoke City FC in 1925.
- The Potters best finish in the top division is 4th place.
Celebrity fan: Sugar Ray Leonard
My thoughts: Who am I to argue with Sugar Ray?
|Full Name: Sunderland Association Football Club
Nickname: The Black Cats
- Sunderland A.F.C. were founded in 1879.
- The Black Cats became the official nickname in 1997.
- There are two Black Cats on their crest (see above).
Fun Fact: Sunderland had the 6th highest attendance in the Premier League last season.
My thoughts: Maybe if Jozy Altidore still played for the club.
|Full Name: Swansea City Association Football Club
Nickname: The Swans
Home: South Wales
- The Swans have played at Liberty Stadium since 2005. It holds just 20,872.
- Swansea became the 1st Welsh team to play in the Premier League in 2011.
- Former Padres owner John Moores was in negations to buy the team.
Celebrity fan: Catherine Zeta-Jones (born in Swansea)
My thoughts: I guess there’s a chance you’ll see Zeta-Jones at a match.
|Full Name: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
- Tottenham Hotspur are commonly referred to as “Spurs”
- Their home, White Hart Lane, was built in 1899 but is being replaced.
- Spurs partnered with the NFL to host 2 games/year when their new stadium opens.
Celebrity fan: Steve Nash
My thoughts: You can catch an NFL game the same weekend since the NFL will be playing yearly games at their new stadium.
|Full Name: Watford Football Club
Nickname: The Hornets
- Watford were promoted to the Premier League for the upcoming season.
- The Hornets play at Vicarage Road which recently added “Sir Elton John Stand”
- They were founded in 1881.
Fun fact: Sir Elton John used to own Watford FC and is an Honorary Life President.
My thoughts: Which do you like more? Trophies or Sir Elton John?
|Full Name: West Bromwich Albion Football Club
Nickname: The Baggies
Home: West Bromwich
- The Baggies were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888.
- They were founded 137 years ago (1878)
- West Bromwich play at The Hawthorns which has a capacity of 26,850.
Celebrity fan: Eric Clapton
My thoughts: I’ve never met a West Bromwich supporter. You could be the first!
|Full Name: West Ham United Football Club
Nickname: The Hammers
- West Ham was founded as Thames Ironworks in 1895.
- They are also referred to as “The Irons”
- The Hammers play at Boleyn Ground (35,016)
Fun Fact: Fans fill the stadium with bubbles while singing before every match.
My thoughts: Get your friends to become West Ham fans and invest in bubbles. Lots of them.
Are you ready to make your decision? I think so.
You’re armed with information from bubbles to Wolverine to Catherine Zeta-Jones. What more could you possibly need?
And whether you make your decision based on the club’s history, colors, crest or stadium just remember your choice is a refection of yourself. If you choose Manchester United, you’re jumping on a bandwagon. If you choose Liverpool, you’re a fan of Lebron. If you choose West Brom, you’re drunk.
The season starts August 8th. Good luck to your new club and enjoy those morning beers.