If you are anything like me, for example an American soccer fan that doesn’t know the main differences between all of the English soccer teams in the Barclay’s League, you might be unsure on how to go about choosing what British football team to root for.
I grew up playing soccer. I remember being in early grade school sitting in the library and studying all of the soccer books my school had to offer. I idolized Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, and dreamed a star recruiter would happen across me in my front lawn practicing my self-proclaimed amazing soccer skills and ask me to play for his national or even international team. Even in the wintertime, I can think back to playing soccer with my friends using ice balls. When it comes to English soccer teams, I am pretty darn clueless. I know the names of maybe 5 teams, yet have no clue how to pick which one to cheer for. I don’t live in an area in Great Britain that would make this choice easier, so how does one go about the decision process of choosing a team?
Since the beginning of its existence, there have been 7 clubs that have played in the Premiere League every season: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. There are a total of 20 teams playing in this year’s season. I will discuss in detail the following teams which I believe are the most popular.
1. Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United was first formed in the year 1878 under the name of Newton Heath LYR (Lancaster and Yorkshire Railway). The team entered into the national Football League in 1892. Also known as the Red Devils, and MUFC for short, the team has won 20 League Championship titles, 11 FA (Football Association Challenge Cup) cups, and 3 European Cups. Longstanding rivalries include Manchester City and Liverpool. Some famous fans of the club include rapper Drake, artists Justin Timberlake, Olly Murs, and Rihanna, leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un, athlete Usain Bolt, and actress Megan Fox.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
2. Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club was founded on March 10th, 1905. The team, also known as The Blues and The Pensioners, has won 5 League Championship titles, 7 FA cups, and 1 UEFA Europa Champions League. They were ranked the 6th most valuable football club in the world according to Forbes magazine in May 2015. Chelsea is one of the world’s most supported football clubs not only in English football, but in the entire world. Famous fans include actor/comedian Will Ferrell, Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls, Lily Allen, and former US president Bill Clinton.
Manager: Jose Mourinho / Owner: Roman Abramovich
3. Arsenal F.C.
Arsenal, founded in 1886, has won 15 Division One and League Championships as well as a record 12 FA cups. As one of the most successful English soccer teams, their total value as of 2015 is at $1.3 billion dollars. Arsenal’s closest longtime rival is Tottenham Hotspur. Notable players include Prince Harry, Fidel Castro, rapper Jay-Z, Jackie Chan, Queen Elizabeth II, and Piers Morgan.
Manager: Arsene Wenger / CEO: Ivan Gazidas
4. Liverpool F.C.
Liverpool Football Club, founded on June 3, 1892, has won an astounding 18 League Championship titles, 7 FA cups, and a record 8 League Cups. The club has been valued at roughly $982 million as of 2015 and is said to be the world’s 8th most valuable football team. Their most notable rivalry is notably Manchester United F.C. Samuel L Jackson, LeBron James, Liam Neeson, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Dre, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Mike Myers, Pope John Paul II, and Lana Del Ray are all notable fans of Liverpool.
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
5. Everton F.C.
Everton Football Club, founded in the year 1878 and based out of Liverpool, has won the Championship League 9 times and the FA cup 5 times. Everton’s biggest rivalry is with their neighbor Liverpool F.C. The most recognizable nickname for the team is “The Toffees”. Notable fans include Sylvester Stallone, Helena Bonham Carter, Justin Bieber, Amanda Holden, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney are all famous fans of Everton.
Manager: Roberto Martinez
6. Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club was formed on November 21, 1874 based out of the city Birmingham. AVFC’s biggest rival is with Birmingham City. Aston Villa has won the FA cup 7 times, the First Division Championship 7 times, and the League Cup 5 times. Notable fans include Prince William, Tom Hanks, and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Manager: Remi Garde
7. Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, or more commonly known as the Spurs, was founded on September 5th, 1882. The team’s home base is in Tottenham, a northern suburb in London. The Spurs have won 8 FA cups as well as 2 League Championships. Famous fans include Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Adele, Jo Nesbo, J.K. Rowling, actors Colin Firth, Rupert Grint, Jude Law, and King Harold V of Norway.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
8. Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club, often abbreviated as NUFC, was founded on December 9th, 1892 in St. James’ Park (Newcastle). The team has won 4 League Championship titles as well as 6 FA cups. NUFC’s biggest rivalry is against the team Sunderland. In 2012, the team announced that they had become the world’s first carbon positive football club. Famous fans include One Direction band members as well as Tony Blair.
Manager: Steve McClaren
9. West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club was founded originally in 1895, while obtaining their current name on July 5, 1900. The team is based out of Upton Park in East London. Over the years, West Ham has won the FA cup 3 times but has yet to take home a League Championship win. Strong rivalries include the London-based teams of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. Barack Obama, Katy Perry, and Russell Brand are a few famous fans of the club.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
10. Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club, founded in the year 1880, is based in Manchester, England. The club has won 5 FA cups and 4 League Championships. The team is estimated to be worth around $1.38 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine and is said to be the 5th most valuable football team. The club was purchased in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Kevin Hart, Alan Rickman, and Princess Beatrice of York are all fans of the Manchester City club.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Out of those 10 teams, I was personally able to lower my pick down to 4 teams: Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Newcastle. I decided to knock Arsenal and Newcastle off my list. As of the release of this blog post, I am still trying to decide whether I want to root for Everton or for The Spurs.
I hope this article gives you a bit of insight into the basic facts of the previous football clubs. Please feel free to let me know if you have any comments/concerns/questions!
Other teams not listed in detail include:
Hull City F.C.
Cardiff City F.C.
Norwich City F.C.
Stoke City F.C.
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
Crystal Palace F.C.
Leicester City F.C.