Intercontinental fandom is a strange thing. The best soccer leagues in the world are an ocean away, and as Americans have become more and more interested in the beautiful game, we start picking our teams for incredibly arbitrary reasons. No geographic or cultural implications, just a sense of “I don’t know, I just decided to go with them.” We’ll never weather a lonely Mancunian winter to catch United make another victory lap, but we can watch it all go down in a Plucker’s. So how about you? Have you always wanted to be a Premiership-head but never had the right team to get behind? No worries. Here’s our guide to the English soccer team that best suits you.
Chelsea makes a lot of sense for Austin for the simple fact that one of the biggest Chelsea fan clubs gathers right here in town. We are of course talking about the Austin Blues, an organization we’ve written about in these very pages. Essentially the Chelsea ilk come together at Cuatros to chant, hiss and revel in traditional warm-blooded festivities. What that means for you is you’ll have an immediate community to associate yourself with, and you’ll get to drink with your friends at six in the morning. What could be better?
Of course if an immediate community of friends isn’t what you’re looking for, and you prefer to spend your nights alone and anonymous, you ought to go with the mythical Wolverhampton Wolves. You know how Canadiens fans or Cubs fans get really smitten and glassy-eyed when they talk about their team’s ancient successes? That’s kinda how Wolverhampton people are. The last time the team did anything incredibly significant predates World War One. They’ve been kicking around mediocrity ever since, and they sport some of the ugliest jerseys in a sport known for ugly jerseys. Recommended if you have an allergic reaction to success; any and all Cleveland fans ought to apply.
Picking Arsenal makes a lot of aesthetic sense. Firstly, they’re one of the most traditionally successful teams in the league, and they sport a goddamn cannon in their insignia. A lot of the difficulty Americans have with engaging in British sports comes with the stuffy nondescript names. Chelsea F.C., Manchester United, etc. Well, here’s a team called Arsenal with a cannon. Americans should be lined around the block.
Let’s say you’re not looking for anything serious. Let’s say you want to bandwagon for a brief, adulterous affair with the Premiership with a hip team with some colorful characters in the same way everyone became a Clippers fan after Chris Paul showed up and Blake Griffin became a minor celebrity. Well, here’s Manchester City. No longer in the shadow of its powerful older brother (Manchester United might as well be the Lakers), they’ve got an FA Cup and an upbeat style of play. They also have a ridiculous Italian named Mario Balotelli who’s near-constant flow of antics rivals early 2011 Charlie Sheen.
But screw all that. You just want to shoot for the stars. You’re the Texan who’s the Yankees fan, the Steelers fan, the Habs fan and the Celtics fan. Give me a constant stream of puffed-up smarm or I’m not buying. Then Manchester United is the team for you. Easily the most branded and public club in the history of English soccer, Manchester United was winning championships before anyone alive right now could remember. They are one of those teams. Almost boring by how successful they are. You know how no matter where you go in America you’ll always find another Cowboys fan? That’s kinda how Man U works. Welcome to the party, your trophy is waiting.