I’m always interested in finding out how other Americans have chosen the Premier League teams they follow. Actually, let me qualify that: I’m always interested in finding out how American fans have chosen to follow teams other than Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool.
When the team in question is Aston Villa, I want the full story: the first year I blogged here, I interviewed a lot of U.S.-based Villans, some who were born into claret and blue, others who were called to it. (You can find my own personal origin story here.)
In The Howler, Kevin Alexander (Southampton fan since 1999) writes about “American Premier League Fans, and the Surprisingly Nuanced Art of Choosing a Club.” He asked 25 American EPL fans who they support and why. I wish he’d asked me—you can’t get much more nuanced than following Villa. But it’s worth a read, for this response if nothing else:
“Stoke. Because I’m a masochist and enjoyed watching Glenn Whelan foul people. But seriously, it was because I felt like they played American soccer. In that it wasn’t very pretty, but they were going to get the ball in the air and use their athleticism and brute force to make life very tough. Holy shit, am I a Republican?”
How did you start following Villa? Were you born into it, or were you called to it? And if you’re a B6-born Brummie who’s bled claret and blue since the first time you were pricked with a safety pin, how do you feel about Johnny-come-latelies? Are you glad they share your suffering, or do you wish they’d fuck off to let you suffer in peace?