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"(5) Pure evil from the 8th dimension (Man U)."
March 4, 2013 6:12 AM   Subscribe

A NFL fan discovers the joys of proper football and explains why the English Premier League is so much more exciting.
posted by MartinWisse (72 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Obligatory IT Crowd clip

And yes, relegation in US sports would be awesome.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


What? No Lectroids?
posted by oonh at 6:18 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


CAN OPEN - WORMS EVERYWHERE
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:18 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I dunno, he sounds like he is new enough to it that he is appreciating it for the differences with American sports but not long enough to realize a lot of those differences have severe drawbacks of their own. For instance, dodgy officiating leading to chaos is great (No it isn't, what?) until you notice it allows international match fixing on a massive scale. Different isn't always better.

The singing sure is great though.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:18 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Very little about is mentioned about the actual sport.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:18 AM on March 4, 2013


(This is from someone who does consider IT the beautiful game and finds my native US sports viewing excruciating by comparison)
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2013


> With the EPL (Or does Swansea make it the BPL?).

No, Barclay's makes it the BPL.
posted by The Giant Squid at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, also the lack of timeouts is great. I still would rather watch the NFL though.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:21 AM on March 4, 2013


I refreshed this page twice before realising that (5) is part of the post title and not a beckoning to fresh comments.
posted by forgetful snow at 6:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


So did I and I posted this.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


And yes, relegation in US sports would be awesome.

It might work with Baseball, possibly could be made to work with Hockey, but fails everywhere else, because there aren't enough teams. It's hard to understand just how many professional football clubs are in England. There's one NFL team in Chicago (Population ~3M city, ~9M suburban) , two in New York (~9M/20M) and 14 professional football teams in London, with a population of about 8 million.

Of those 14, six are in the EPL (Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, QPR, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.) There are more EPL clubs in London than there are teams in an NFL division. Counting the semi-pro leagues as well, there are 42 Football League teams inside of the M25.

We'd basically need to created at least 4 more leagues worth of teams to make sure promo/relegation would work. Right now, the chances of London and Manchester not having a team in the EPL are none, but with only one or two teams in the biggest cities, the chances of losing a market are too great. You could easily see a situation where the Cubs, Sox, Yankees and Mets have a set of bad seasons and there's no MLB teams in Chicago or New York. Oops.

Yeah, also the lack of timeouts is great. I still would rather watch the NFL though.

I enjoy them both. They're different games, I fail to see the problem with this. I like the pace of hockey (high, bursty), soccer (medium, constant) and the NFL (short, bursty.)
posted by eriko at 6:28 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


One thing I've always found weird about all the various levels of Cups and Championships and whatnot. When you consider, say, the European clubs, outside of each league's own championships, why does anybody care about anything other than the Champion's League? It's like... "Congrats, you won the UEFA Cup, you're the best of the also-rans!" It's like winning the NIT. ("Congrats! You're the 35th or so best college basketball team this year!")

Winning a totally different division or your own league's championship is different... different levels and/or geographical boundaries. With the UEFA Cup and Champion's League, they're all pulling from the same overall pool.
posted by kmz at 6:31 AM on March 4, 2013


It's not a lack of timeouts that makes it great. It's the lack of commercial breaks. Call timeouts what they really are.
posted by srboisvert at 6:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, also the lack of timeouts is great. I still would rather watch the NFL though.

A better compromise in my opinion is Rugby. It's basically the NFL without the forward pass and no stoppage of play after a down.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sometimes you Americans are so darn cute.
posted by Callicvol at 6:42 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mitchell and Webb: Football, Football, Football and The Use of 'We' By Fans.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:44 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Relegation battles can be exciting, but it's a shame that the European soccer leagues so often have relegation contests instead of legitimate contests at the top. The EPL is probably a little better than average in that regard* and it's still been won by Manchester United 12 times out of 20 (very likely to be 13 out of 21). There's something about the crushing inevitability of who'll wind up in the top spot that makes it hard for me to get excited about.

*I'm looking at you, the parts of La Liga that doesn't play in El Classico.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:44 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


A better compromise in my opinion is Rugby. It's basically the NFL without the forward pass and no stoppage of play after a down.

Or Australian Rules Football, which is basically a battle scene from one of the Lord of the Rings movies only both sides are orks.
posted by Artw at 6:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [29 favorites]


A question: At what level of English soccer do teams start to become semi-professional, i.e., the players have paid work besides being soccer players?

Yes, I've had that same question, especially since I became a New Star Soccer addict.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:50 AM on March 4, 2013


He forgot to mention that for a red-blooded American capitalist the corporate team sponsorship in the Premier League adds just another level of interest. The English probably don't care and are ambivalent about which company sponsors their favorite team, but in America, an Apple logo could make Cowboys fans out of anyone.

That the NFL doesn't permit an airline or a bank to put its name on the front of a jersey is some kinda socialism and more Americans should reject this.
posted by three blind mice at 6:50 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


During the past 12 years or so I too have become a big fan of European football (primarily La Liga but I watch the EPL as much as possible (and it's easier to catch those games)). Much of what the author says is spot on for me. But there's another point -- the lack of emotional baggage. I grew up in Dallas TX and so of course have a built-in relationship with the Cowboys. So much so that in just about every NFL game I watch at least one of the teams deserves to die for some past "offence" against the Cowboys. And even though I'm not that big of a sports fan anymore I feel all this emotional weight when the teams I grew up with lose. And I don't like that feeling and think it's silly.

Having come to soccer late in life and because all the good football is played in Europe (MLS is painful to watch) I do not have any of that emotional baggage. Yeah, I really like Barcelona and seeing them lose to Real Madrid twice in one week was rough but not that rough. I was over it before each match even ended. That is a good thing, it is healthy. I can enjoy watching sports again without all the associated "sports fanatic" crap. (By-the-by, having most recently lived in Atlanta I think it's a good thing that the city is not as obsessed with their teams as are cities like NY and Chicago and Boston. Being around rabid fans is no fun at all.)

Also, coming to a sport as an adult is a very different experience than growing up with it. Learning the rules, the strategies & tactics, the subtleties, etc., is fun and I am consciously aware of learning all that with respect to soccer but not at all with the major American sports (I played them all competitively growing up).

Also, again, no playoffs for the league titles. I dig it.
posted by bfootdav at 6:53 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno, he sounds like he is new enough to it that he is appreciating it for the differences with American sports

Agreed. I love both sports, but the David and Goliath observation could only come from a new fan. The metaphor only holds if David beats Goliath on the random rainy Tuesday in Stoke but Goliath goes on to win all of those nice cups while David sits home doing his books and hoping like hell he doesn't get relegated because he sort of already spent the money from next year's league fees.
posted by yerfatma at 6:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's something about the crushing inevitability of who'll wind up in the top spot that makes it hard for me to get excited about.

"This is why they are pure evil. ManU is inevitable, unstoppable, always there and always able to grind things out in the end. They are the Outer Gods who will still be there when the stars burn out, grinding and grinding.

Every so often, a mere mortal will swell with pride and hubris and attempt to challenge the Inevitability. They will construct statues of bronze and flesh at Stamford Bridge and the Ethiad, but we all know these efforts are ultimately the mewling gasps of a doomed species, each howl of imagined victory no more than a death rattle. In time, the statues will be dust beneath cloven hooves.

But fight we must, for we are human. Though we are doomed, we rise anyways, our fists held to the unblinking stars even as the night folds in around us."

- Excerpt from the Anfield Manuscript discovered in GU 78934 on Deadworld SP-153.b
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


His article seems pretty light on anything related to the sport. I mostly can't watch soccer because of the flops (same reason I'm not a huge basketball fan), and also because I either don't appreciate it at a high enough level, or it just doesn't have the tactical quality of football. I like sports where there's distinct offensive and defensive phases.
posted by codacorolla at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2013


Dear Mr Blogger-

call me in five years when your chosen Everton/Spurs/Villa fandom grows tiring because you realize you have no chance ever to win the league or even to get into Europe.

Signed

The National Football League.
posted by JPD at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


The forward pass and the down system are basically what make American Football what it is. You sacrifice fast pace for big plays and complex strategy. If there wasn't a plus side to it, yeah, people would just stick with rugby. That's the kind of thing I was talking about it my first post, different isn't necessarily better or worse.

On relegation, for example, I wish the people who run the Detroit Lions could be punished for being idiots at times but I'm glad their hopelessness is because of incompetence and not a lack of ability to financially compete with the top teams on salary. Are the people who run Manchester United or the New York Yankees really the best at evaluating talent or are we having a competition on who can write the biggest check? I'm glad we don't lose the smaller market teams in MLB over it.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I do not have any of that emotional baggage

How interesting: I've spent the last 7 years or so becoming a good Everton fan, which I assumed (probably growing up as a New England sports fan) meant learning of all past grievances and taking them on as though you'd been personally wounded.
posted by yerfatma at 6:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


A better compromise in my opinion is Rugby. It's basically the NFL without the forward pass and no stoppage of play after a down.

Or Australian Rules Football, which is basically a battle scene from one of the Lord of the Rings movies only both sides are orks.


I'm going to let you sophisticates in on a little secret. Rugby League. Its the best "non-American Football sport for American Football Fans"
posted by JPD at 7:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: high, bursty.
posted by ORthey at 7:01 AM on March 4, 2013


I figured being an Everton fan meant being consistently proud that your team was overachieving, but depressed that "overachieving" still meant 12th place.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:07 AM on March 4, 2013


For a team with an operating budget of twenty pounds, a bag of crisps, and a few boxes of Now That's What I Call Music 2005 that fell off the back of a truck, Everton is really, really good. No idea what will happen when David Moyes gets lured away to a club with actual cash to spend.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:12 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rugby League. Its the best "non-American Football sport for American Football Fans"

Well, after Rugby Union of course.
posted by three blind mice at 7:13 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes Everton is really really good for the money they have to spend. But they are never going to win the league. Maybe the Europa Cup? Best Case? And not - "not win - ohmigod we were so close we're cursed a la 1918-2004 Red Sox " but rather "middle of the table always"

One of the problems with being an adult and coming to the EPL is that its really hard to become a Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, City fan. Maybe you got lucky and picked up Chelsea pre-Roman or City pre-Qatari (because you were a huge Oasis fan? IDK). But other than that its like becoming a Yankee fan at the age of 25.
posted by JPD at 7:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are the people who run Manchester United or the New York Yankees really the best at evaluating talent or are we having a competition on who can write the biggest check?

United? Pretty much. I can't overstate how much I hate them and hope they somehow go out of business and while they do spend bigger than most they have been able to see off Chelsea and, one blip apart, Man City who spend much more.

Mostly down to Alex Ferguson and I cannot wait to see what happens when he finally leaves.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:17 AM on March 4, 2013


Re. timeouts, goals, entertainment, etc., someone did an analysis on Reddit's /r/soccer in terms of goals or touchdowns per minute of broadcasting/viewing, which showed that these were about the same for football and NFL, about one goal/touchdown every 37 or 38 minutes I think.

I'm in the US but know I can tune into a stream of a footy match and know that it will usually be over in under two hours.
posted by carter at 7:19 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, after Rugby Union of course.

Not even close. Yea! - lets kick for points again. Yea! another ruck I can't see shit in.
posted by JPD at 7:19 AM on March 4, 2013


That was basically my point robocop. If you look at projected points based on wages and transfer fees, Moyes is really good; he adds a lot of value. Not Ferguson or Wenger value, but value. It's just that he's adding value on top of very little.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:19 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't overstate how much I hate them and hope they somehow go out of business and while they do spend bigger than most they have been able to see off Chelsea and, one blip apart, Man City who spend much more.

Okay but now slash their salary in half, which would still be above most of the clubs, and how are they doing? You are only comparing them against the other teams who can afford the entrance fee to the top tier.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:22 AM on March 4, 2013


Are the people who run Manchester United or the New York Yankees really the best at evaluating talent or are we having a competition on who can write the biggest check?

The sorting bobble hat has placed you as an Arsenal fan. Your house team will develop players into excellent young stars then sell them back to the lead teams in the EU counties they were scouted from. The team will be consistently technically excellent but dodgy in defence, and you will at once dislike ManU, Man City and Chelsea but wish that your team spent the same amount.

You are confused to be behind Spurs, and unaccustomed to being in the newly dark North London shadows. You are eaten by a grue.

DEATH FAIL.
posted by jaduncan at 7:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


OK, I came to being a Man U fan as an adult. When I started watching European football the only two players I knew were Ronaldo and Beckham. I think Ronaldo was in Spain at the time and those games weren't being shown yet on my TV. So it was Becks and he was at Man U then. Therefore I pulled for Man U. I needed something to latch onto. And of course winning the league title year after year made it easy to keep pulling for them.

Which means that I was also a Real Madrid fan for a while (but switched quickly after Becks left).

I never did give a shit about L.A.
posted by bfootdav at 7:28 AM on March 4, 2013


DEATH FAIL.

I think I'm just gonna stick with the Union. MLS RULES! SALARY CAP WOOO!
posted by Drinky Die at 7:29 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay but now slash their salary in half, which would still be above most of the clubs, and how are they doing? You are only comparing them against the other teams who can afford the entrance fee to the top tier.

They would probably still do pretty well. At least for a few years. As a club they have a certain prestige to players from around the world and have one of the top 2 or 3 managers in the sport. Players there tend to get better and you are all but guaranteed a major trophy at least once every 2 years playing in one of the highest profile leagues in the world.

Now if they had to reduce spending for an extended period of time and during that time lost the most successful manager in the British game then they might struggle (I hope).
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:34 AM on March 4, 2013


Not even close. Yea! - lets kick for points again. Yea! another ruck I can't see shit in.
Awesome [stop] comment [stop] there [stop] JPD

What happened to your shorts?
Those grass stains shouldn't be there surely?
posted by fullerine at 7:35 AM on March 4, 2013


I didn't say League was better than Union, I said League was a better sport to watch for people coming from American Football. IDK if you know this, but American Football has an occasional stoppage of play.
posted by JPD at 7:39 AM on March 4, 2013


>It might work with Baseball, possibly could be made to work with Hockey, but fails everywhere else, because there aren't enough teams.

You realize that's because the leagues are run as a monopoly, and the franchise rules are absurd?

Hamilton, a good forty minute drive from Toronto, was denied an NHL team because they have an informal 100-mile rule - if memory holds.

If you created two or three more league tiers and opened a call for new clubs you'd get filled immediately.
posted by pmv at 7:39 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sorting bobble hat has placed you as an Arsenal fan.

Curse you jaduncan! Every word spot on -
posted by jalexei at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2013


The "relegation is great" crowd seem to miss a bit of the forest for the trees. Its pretty much the same group of teams flipping in between the first and the second divisions. Every once in a while someone will climb up and become a middle of the table competitor, but for the most part the cycle is

"win promotion, spend a bunch of money on new players. Finish near the bottom of the table. Get relegated, cut payroll"

If you had relegation in US sports (which BTW - would have to then be uncapped salary wise) you'd end up with a constant cycle in baseball of the same medium sized cities teams being promoted and relegated.
posted by JPD at 7:45 AM on March 4, 2013


I like me a game of football. I.e. soccer. But the Premier League drives me insane sometimes. The crappy diving, the histrionics, that stupid rolling around when someone gets the faintest of taps anywhere. the utter lack of respect for the referee, the off-field shenanigans, the banal commentary, the (thankfully diminishing) minority of idiot fans, the absurd pricing for club games, the over long season, the way managers get hired and fired like bus boys, the racism, the sexism, the homophobia, the pervasive culture of anti-intelligence that saw Graham Le Saux labelled as a poof because he read a broadsheet paper way back when. It can be a hard game to love unless it's in your blood.

Rugby isn't perfect. What it lacks in balletic grace it makes up for in physicality, lung bursting tests of endurance and putting players on the block. If you don't front up in rugby you lose. Fewer shenanigans. Far less focus on what happens off the pitch than on. Over and above that you can take your wife and kids to a rugby game anywhere in the country and never bat an eyelid about their safety. Fans mix. They take pleasure from mixing with opposing fans. There is no kick racism out campaign because it's not needed. The national men's team actively support the women's game. A British player came out and everyone just carried on as normal. There is an openly gay international referee. Referees get respect, and that culture is supported from the top to the lowest level of the game. It just means players and fans alike can get on and enjoy the game they've come to play or watch.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:45 AM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


But the Premier League drives me insane sometimes. The crappy diving, the histrionics, that stupid rolling around when someone gets the faintest of taps anywhere. the utter lack of respect for the referee, the off-field shenanigans, the banal commentary, the (thankfully diminishing) minority of idiot fans, the absurd pricing for club games, the over long season, the way managers get hired and fired like bus boys, the racism, the sexism, the homophobia, the pervasive culture of anti-intelligence that saw Graham Le Saux labelled as a poof because he read a broadsheet paper way back when. It can be a hard game to love unless it's in your blood.



I fear you might self-combust if faced with a Serie A game.
posted by JPD at 7:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


MLS soccer is great! Especially my team, Seattle Sounders FC.

Yes, I could watch higher quality soccer and get into EPL or La Liga or Serie A. Sit in a comfy bar, sip a soda, and enjoy matches being played thousands of miles away as a spectator.

Or, I could enjoy matches being played about 20 feet away from me, and become a participant. Last Saturday night, I stood in the cold and rain, dancing and cheering and singing and clapping for the entire match. We lost 1-0, I could barely feel my feet, and my formerly warm dinner was ice cold by the time I hit my seat. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


People love comparing the NFL to European soccer leagues, but a much better comparison is college football. College football is regional and its fans care deeply about local rivalries. College football has even more fights about whose league is better. College football is heavily stratified such that some teams are proud of a season where they beat their rival and do well in a minor non-league competition while other teams win championships with disturbing regularity. College football even basically has promotion/relegation now with the eternal realignment mess.

American professional sports evolved into a form that doesn't have much in common with sports organizations in the rest of the world, but our college sports systems have a lot of similarities that are partially disguised because of the tiresome hand-wringing about amateurism that the NCAA loves so much.
posted by Copronymus at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you want relegation, NASCAR is pretty much the closest thing in US sports. Drivers who do too poorly drop down to the lower league, and drivers who win in the lower leagues get a ride in the top league.
posted by smackfu at 8:17 AM on March 4, 2013


Here's the trick to enjoying EPL.

If you didn't grow up in the shadow of your team's stadium, you owe no loyalty to any team. If you love Everton's resolve but they suddenly deal Rooney to ManU, fine you're allowed to change teams as often as the players do. Do you really owe more loyalty than the players do?

Now all of a sudden you can enjoy the game. Liverpool starting to show brazen courage and putting daggers into Champions League teams? Enjoy the run until their coach leaves. Spurs showing an offensive confidence not seen outside Barcelona? Love Tottenham. Aresenal picks up a genius named Henry? Enjoy the magic.

There. You can pay me later.
posted by surplus at 8:17 AM on March 4, 2013


I agree with the rest of your comment, but would have to take issue with this.

Rugby isn't perfect.

In fact, as I read through the thread, I came in to say exactly the opposite -- that it's no fair comparing anything else with a ball to rugby. Comparing other sports to rugby is like telling a singer their version of "Respect" is "Good, but not quite Aretha Franklin good." Because, of course, if the bar is set that high...
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:28 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apple logo could make Cowboys fans out of anyone.

Jeez, that's a frightening thought.
posted by jonmc at 8:44 AM on March 4, 2013


I agree with the MLS being pretty fun soccer to watch. And just a hop skip and jump on the PATH and I'm at Red Bull Arena.

Speaking of, last night's match against the Portland Timbers was very exciting.
posted by Xoder at 8:53 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Its pretty much the same group of teams flipping in between the first and the second divisions.

Not actually true, as this list shows. It can be a long, hard fall out of the Premier League and a much harder slog back up the table. There are giants in the lower divisions, clubs that once ruled English football that now only have the shadows of past glories to sustain them and the promise one day, one day....
posted by MartinWisse at 8:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yes, relegation in US sports would be awesome.

It might work with Baseball, possibly could be made to work with Hockey, but fails everywhere else, because there aren't enough teams. It's hard to understand just how many professional football clubs are in England.


College football or basketball, on the other hand...
posted by Etrigan at 8:59 AM on March 4, 2013


My sons (age 8 and 10) played organized soccer and (less) baseball, and I am watching them settle into a sport to like. They discovered EPL games, and the older one really likes it. They also watch the NFL since that's what most other boys their age watch.

But they noticed rugby this winter, and so I have shown them a handful of games since (including most of the Six Nations games this year). They like the action, and the lack of interruptions, and the lack of commercials, and the way the players listen to the refs, and also the sheer number of players involved in many plays (e.g., pass, pass, pass, kick, pass, score).

I have to admit, I am beginning to agree with them. Now I want to find a local live match (that's not just drunken college guys) and take them to see it.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:59 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Etrigan, there's already so much voluntary foment in college conferences that relgation would just be noise!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not actually true, as this list shows.

Actually it pretty much is true if look at this more than just a bit. Over five years that group might change a bit, but its still true that the most likely candidates to change leagues are the teams that changed leagues the year before. There are like 11 teams that have been up and down 3 times.
posted by JPD at 9:56 AM on March 4, 2013


I don't know what you're seeing, but while it's true that promoted teams are the most likely to slip down next season, the converse is just not true, nor is it axiomatic that the new sides are just there to make up the numbers. Take a Swansea or a Norwich or a Stoke or WBA this season and you see teams that might look like relegation fodder their first season, but are doing decently instead.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:22 AM on March 4, 2013


Not actually true, as this list shows...
I don't know what you're seeing, but while it's true that promoted teams are the most likely to slip down next season, the converse is just not true, nor is it axiomatic that the new sides are just there to make up the numbers.


A shoutout for my team, Fulham. I'm pretty sure what Fulham have done in the last twelve seasons (not relegated, a few top half of the table finishes, Europa league finalists, club finances now in the black) is a blueprint for all newly promoted clubs.
posted by ob at 10:35 AM on March 4, 2013


WBA is like the definition of what I'm talking about. Down in '03, up in '04, back down in '06, Up again in '08' down again in '09, back in '10.

Sunderland is the same, West Ham, Birmingham.

Crystal Palace & Bolton in the 90's

I'm not saying its impossible to escape that cycle of delegation and promotion, but it does seem to exist.
posted by JPD at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2013


Yes, and all the match-fixing takes the instability out of the fandom. I mean, you know the top-tier teams are only going to take a dive a few times a year, at best. Which means a shitty team is gonna win occasionally.

Unlike the Bills, amirite?
posted by clvrmnky at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2013


On relegation, for example, I wish the people who run the Detroit Lions could be punished for being idiots at times but I'm glad their hopelessness is because of incompetence and not a lack of ability to financially compete with the top teams on salary.

"The Detroit Lions lost every single game of their season and people wanted to call them losers. How the fuck can you call somebody that went to their job everyday, and did it wrong and then drove home in a Bentley, a loser? Go to your job and let your boss say, “You should do this.” Say, “No.”, and then live in a mansion.

Now I’m not saying we should take the word, “heroes” away from people like soldiers and firemen, but we do need to redesign it to include people that can basically say, “fuck you.”, and still make millions of dollars. - Kyle Kinane, Death of the Party (great comedy album)
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Relegation scraps are bags of fun, until you're in one. Sob. (On a related note, it's always worth bearing in mind that the majority of football fans in England - and Cardiff and Swansea - support one of the 72 teams of the Football League.)

I'm always interested in how foreign fans end up with their clubs. Ipswich have a fair few, not least because back in the 70s and 80s, when we were proper good and one of the best clubs in Europe, our local TV signals could be picked up in the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

And now they're stuck with us.
posted by bebrogued at 12:12 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh by the way, none of the games that are called football are more proper than any of the others.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:23 PM on March 4, 2013


> I'm going to let you sophisticates in on a little secret. Rugby League. Its the best "non-American Football sport for American Football Fans"

An article making that very point.
posted by vbfg at 1:43 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure what Fulham have done in the last twelve seasons (not relegated, a few top half of the table finishes, Europa league finalists, club finances now in the black) is a blueprint for all newly promoted clubs.

And the secret to that success, of course, was to sign a bunch of Americans!
posted by stargell at 2:14 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


As someone who played a bit at a ridiculously bad level in England, I weep with joy at this conversation.

A close thing to relegation (and hey! topical!) Camilo Villegas having to go through Q School to play in PGA tournaments where he doesn't have a sponsors invite might soon strike a note, but I don't see much other than that in the big 4 US sports that are controlled by the leagues and franchised. Salary caps and drafts and other closed shop type practices along with strong player unions and collective bargaining agreements have always seemed sort of, well, un-American in a post Reagan sort of way, but YMMV.

Not that thats a good thing...
posted by Sk4n at 5:59 PM on March 4, 2013


Yup, tremendously successful profit sharing socialists that suck off the public tit to built stadiums.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:00 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


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