Several British newspapers are reporting that Sir Alex Ferguson is contemplating retirement after 27 seasons as the manager for Manchester United. The 71-year-old is said to be seriously considering stepping away and would go out on a high note, as Man U. wrapped up it’s 20th Premier League title recently.
english premier league
Welcome to the 4th installment of the new series on MSF, “A Journey into Fútbol Fandom!” If you haven’t already checked out the first three parts of the series, make sure to check them out here!
Last week, I took you through my first in-depth analysis of Liverpool FC, the Barclays Premier League team I’ve chosen to root for going forward as a soccer fan.
The best part about acquiring that wealth of knowledge concerning the Reds is without a doubt being able to have it at your disposal while watching a live game … which is exactly the luxury I had when watching my first LFC match this past weekend.
To put it simply, it was a blast.
Besides the fact that I had to wake up before 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning, it was an entirely pleasant experience.
Led by strikers Luis Suarez and newcomer Daniel Sturridge, the Reds flashed control at the midfield position and immense speed and aggressiveness on the attack, setting the game’s fast, offensive pace from the first whistle.
When Jordan Henderson scored the team’s first goal in the 26th minute, it drew great excitement (to go along with a quick fist-pump) that’s hard to draw a parallel for in the major American sports. Maybe you could say it’s similar to an outfielder robbing a home run or a receiver hauling in a deep touchdown pass, in the sense that you can see it coming, but you never really expect it to happen. No matter what you want to compare it to, though … it was exciting.
When Luis Suarez knocked in a goal out on the pitch just 10 minutes later, it was clearly Liverpool’s game, and I no longer had to wait with such angst.
Halftime finally came after a fun, non-stop 1st half ended what felt like quite a long time after the match began. But when you remember that it really was only 45 minutes, and that the entire event will take less than 2 hours, you realize it’s nicer than spending 3+ hours of your day watching a game like you may with football or baseball, while still getting the same riveting experience.
From there on out, I got to see pretty much everything else I could have asked for as icing on the cake. In the 59th minute, new acquisition Daniel Sturridge used his ridiculous speed to knock home the game’s 3rd goal, just 7 minutes before “the captain” Steven Gerrard got into the action, putting the game pretty much out of reach for Norwich City.
When the final whistle was sounded after 90+ minutes of exciting game action, I was obviously very pleased. A 5-0 win over a solid Premier League opposition is something that’s always great for a club that needs all the points they can get going forward in the BPL standings.
We’ll discuss more about that and other unique aspects of the world’s game in the next installment of “A Journey into Fútbol Fandom.”
As you’ll see, it may not be as easy to learn about the world’s leagues and competitions as it was to just about the Reds.
Welcome to the 3rd installment of the new series on MSF, “A Journey into Fútbol Fandom!” If you haven’t already checked out the first two parts of the series, make sure to check them out here!
My whole life revolves around sports. But for no particular reason, it doesn’t revolve around the world’s most popular sport, fútbol, or soccer as we like to call it in America.
I know this is the case for many of you American consumers of sport. Even though soccer is popular among the youth of our nation and Major League Soccer (the MLS) is growing rapidly, following professional soccer just isn’t one of our highest priorities. And though it’s been that way for a while, I think it may finally start to change.
Now it would be slow change, if anything … but change in the right direction, nonetheless. And I myself don’t want to be caught totally off guard when that change starts to materialize. That is, if the MLS having the fourth highest attendance among professional sports in the USA isn’t enough materialization for you already.
Until now, I’ve been a very causal soccer fan since my playing days ended around the age of 9. And when I say casual, I mean casual. I’ve always liked to know the main events transpiring in the soccer world, but that’s about it.
I could tell you that Messi is the best player in the world, but not too much more. Sure, I know a good amount of players from playing the FIFA video game and watching the past couple World Cups, but I don’t consider that to be actual soccer knowledge.
So I’m now on a quest, if you will, or an attempt to broaden my understanding of the world of sports and knowledge about everything that that entails, to become a soccer fan.
I don’t know how big of a fan I’ll become, I don’t know if it’s a sport that will ultimately appeal to me as much as other sports do, and I don’t know how long this’ll last. But what I do know is that it’s time for me to give soccer the chance it deserves.
So first question I’m faced with, of course, is where to start.
The English Premier League
So for those of you who don’t know, the EPL is widely thought of as the world’s top club league (referred to in England as the Barclays Premier League). It consists of 20 clubs at a time, including – most notably – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Newcastle United among others.
The Premier League is where I chose to focus my early soccer fandom about a year and a half ago when I was still worried the NFL’s lockout would cost us a season of football. One of my buddies and I figured we should have a backup sport to follow just in case, and I followed his lead by choosing soccer, particularly Arsenal, one of England’s top clubs. But not long later, his favorite player, Samir Nasri transferred to Manchester City, so we became Man City “fans.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t really hold up my end of the bargain, paying very little attention to the Blues despite their sudden spending spree and success as they won the Premier League for the first time in quite a while in dramatic fashion (video).
I should make myself clear, you don’t have to start with the Premier League. The MLS, Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain – Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc.), and others are all great options as well. But my choice is the EPL … for now.
But in choosing “my team,” I hit a bit of a road block. Should I stick with Manchester City, who similar to the NBA’s LA Clippers is the up-and-coming team of their league and has the biggest bandwagon to hop aboard. I mean, just glance at their roster. Even if you’re a casual fan you’re able to spot several big-time names.
Since I’m a huge fan of Man City striker Mario Balotelli, I’ve decided I’ll remain a Man City supporter … but they aren’t going to be my team. I’ve decided to pledge my allegiance to Liverpool Football Club, one of the most historically rich clubs in England who has seen better days but is still a solid squad perennially. And they have the rich tradition I love to see … to say the least.
When making that decision, I have to give credit to the one and only Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. After a Google search or two, I came across this article: Choosing My EPL Team (make sure to check out both pages) from ESPN’s old “Page 2.” Simmons knows us too well, doesn’t he?
Anyway, I hope for you sports fans who are in the same boat as myself that this urges you to make the same effort that I am to get into soccer. Choose your team(s), select them as one of your “favorites” on your sports app on your smart phone, and follow a couple of their best Twitter accounts.
If you become a Reds fan, I’d love to embark on Liverpool fandom with you. If you choose another club or even another league, I look forward to the rivalry and competition we’ll be able to endure in the near future. Regardless, I’m glad to say that you and I will be among the early American adopters of soccer.
What U.S. fans of English Soccer have been bracing for, and perhaps even fearing, for months has finally come to fruition.
The English Premier League is leaving FOX Soccer/FOX Soccer Plus at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.
That is the bad news – but there is also good news.