Commentary: Tea and crumpets with a side of football

By Paul Wissmiller, Staff Writer


I first became a fan in January of 2008, I turned on the TV on Saturday morning, and 5 seconds later, Didier Drogba, a forward for Chelsea FC scored his second goal of the day, a long shot into the top corner against Hull City. I finished the game, and was rewarded by watching Drogba shred the Hull defense for another goal to get a “hat trick,” or three goals by the end. The game was an English Premier League soccer match, and I was instantly hooked.

Soccer, or football as it is called in the rest of the world, is quickly gaining popularity in America. If you tune into ESPN2 on Saturday and Sunday mornings there is usually a “Premier League match of the week” on to enjoy. What is the Premier League you ask? Well, the English Premier League (or EPL) is the first or “Premier” division of English Soccer.

It is made up of 20 professional teams who compete in 40 games every year from September to May every year for the honor of being the best team in England. For each win a team receives 3 points in the overall rankings. If the teams tie or “draw” they each receive 1 point, and a losing team never gets any points. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins the league.

It is important even for teams not doing well to try and get points, because after each season the three teams with the lowest accumulated total of points get dropped to the next lower level league of English soccer (called the Championship) while the three best teams in that league get promoted to the Premier League. This keeps lower level teams trying hard to “stay up” because the money made from TV broadcasts in the EPL is significantly higher.

The benefit of this for you the fan, is that there is almost always some kind of drama playing out every week whether it be at the top or bottom of the standings.

Interestingly enough, I have seen a lot of EPL team jerseys around Olivet’s campus the last semester. Trace Conover, who owns a “Chelsea FC” jersey said “I started watching the EPL back a few years ago, when I was over at a friend’s house and he turned the game on.” He has been a fan ever since.

I’ve also seen a lot of Manchester United jerseys, since it is one of the most popular clubs to support worldwide. Manchester, or “Man U” became the most supported EPL team in America long ago thanks to the influence of David Beckham. Cody Harper, an ONU track athlete and former high school soccer player who owns a Manchester United jersey said, “since I first began watching soccer, I have always supported Manchester as my EPL team.” Lastly, I have to give a shout out to the one guy I saw last semester in Ludwig with an Everton jersey. You are my hero. There is so many teams in the EPL, that almost everyone can find one they like to watch, so next Saturday, turn on ESPN2 and give it a try!

Can’t decide what team you want to watch? Here’s the scoop on the Premier League’s 6 biggest clubs.

Manchester City “Citizens”

Color: Sky blue

Home field: Etihad Stadium

Motto: “Pride in Battle”

Biggest Rival: Manchester United

Chelsea “The Blues”


Location: North London

Biggest Rival: Arsenal

Home Field: Stanford Bridge Stadium

Unofficial motto: “Keep the blue flag flying high!”

Liverpool “Reds”

Color: Red

Home field: Anfield Stadium

Motto: “You’ll never walk  alone”

Biggest Rival: Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur “Spurs”

Colors: white and dark blue

Home Field: White Heart Lane

Motto: “To dare is to do”

Biggest Rival: Arsenal

Manchester United “Red Devils”

Color: Red

Biggest Rival: Liverpool

Home Field: Old Trafford

Motto: “Youth, Courage, Greatness”

Arsenal “Gooners”

Colors: Red and White

Home field: Emirates Stadium

Motto: “Victory Grows Through Harmony”

Biggest Rival: Tottenham








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