Last Saturday morning I watched the Arsenal - Sunderland match, 90+ minutes of slow, heat-baked passing. And I thought, the EPL is different from the MLS —- it’s slower and more technical. But then I watched the first half of the Everton - Man U match and realized that fast-paced, physical play isn’t the exclusive purview of America’s top division.
Yesterday, I purchased a streaming package that will enable me to watch most of the EPL matches this season (assuming I have the time). Time is a concern now that I am responsible for a baby brewery, a fledgling business. The real reason I purchased the streaming video package was so that I could follow the CONCACAF Champions League. I used to get those matches “for free” but now the broadcast rights are held by another group who wants me to pay for them. What’s a few dollars for entertainment? I have it in the budget.
Given that I can now follow the EPL, I’m wondering if I should pick a team to follow? Or should I just be a casual spectator who turns on the odd match here and there just to stay on top of things?
I’ve enjoyed the MLS much more this season now that I’ve let myself become a fan of my local team — a team I plan on betraying as soon as I have another local option (which may be soon). Becoming a fan of an EPL team would certain give some focus to my spectatorship. But the big clubs like Man U, Man City, and Chelsea are off limits for me. I just can’t possibly jump on the bandwagon of big club support. No, I need a quiet little team, somewhere in the middle of the table, who will have to struggle.
My buddy Hans is a huge Arsenal fan, so it makes sense that I should (at least) pay attention to Arsenal —- so we’ll have plenty to talk about when we’re hanging out at the pub. But donning an Arsenal jersey would feel slightly copy-catish, especially since I have no other connection to the club other than through my friend Hans.
As a fan of American soccer, I should probably look to a team who has an America player. I went out of my way to catch Fulham matches last year because of Clint Dempsey, but that marriage is failing. But am I enough of a Clint Dempsey fan to hang my fortunes as a fan on whatever he decides is best for his career? His refusing to play in the opening match of the season for Fulham felt wrong to me, so he lost a few fan points.
Everton? That would be a natural since Tim Howard is a star there. And Landon Donovan has been wintering on the Everton pitch. And now my MLS team has a former Everton star, Tim Cahill, on its roster.
Hmm. Choices, choices.