US view of each Premier League club

NBC produced a guide for Americans on 'How to pick a Premier League club' to follow. Here is what they had to say.

NBC Premier League

American connection: Largest shareholder is Stan Kroenke, owner of several teams in the U.S. including the St. Louis Rams and three pro teams in Denver.

Why you should be a fan: Great history with amazing players like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. … Has played exciting and open soccer ever since Frenchman Arsene Wenger took over. … Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch” about his allegiance to Arsenal might b the best book ever written about sports fandom. … You would never have to worry about relegation -- Aresnal has been in the Top Division since 1919.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: There is a sense that the team is unwilling to spend as much money as Chelsea or Manchester City and is fading as a real contender as a result… There is also a sense that Arsenal has moved away from its blue-collar past. While they used to be known for their tenacious reputation and boring soccer (“Boring, Boring Arsenal” they were called), they are now playing beautiful soccer in a gorgeous new stadium with the highest ticket prices in the Premier League.

Aston Villa
American connection: As strong as any team. Numerous American players, including Michael Bradley and Brad Friedel, has played for Villa. And the team owner is Randy Lerner, former owner of the Cleveland Browns.

Why you should be a fan: Tom Hanks became a fan because he thought the name sound like an island off Sardinia. … Villa has a wonderful history. The Villans are one of only five teams to have won the European Championship. … Great fan base.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: They barely avoided relegation last year. Do you want to put yourself through that?

Cardiff City
American connection: None I can find.

Why you should be a fan: Gritty bunch had 18 shutouts last year as they got promoted to the Premier League for the first time. … Also, it’s in Wales, so you’ve got Welsh solidarity happening here.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Well, they are called the Bluebirds but their shield now features a dragon to suit Malaysian owner Vincent Tan. There is a tiny little bluebird at the bottom now. People were in an uproar – though getting promoted tended to soften the hard feelings. … It could be tough to avoid relegation in their first year.

American connection: No player or ownership connection but there is Chelsea in America.

Why you should be a fan: Hugely expensive and excellent team with a billionaire owner in one of the trendiest parts of London. What’s not to like?

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Hugely expensive and excellent team with a billionaire owner in one of the trendiest parts of London. What’s to like?

Crystal Palace
American connection: Um, none really. Well, famous fan Jim Piddock co-created HBO’s Family Tree with Christopher Guest. Piddock is not American. But Christopher Guest is.

Why you should be a fan: Because you want to follow Palace’s desperate attempts to avoid relegation and stay in the Premier League. They’ve been up four times before and were relegated their first year all four times.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Do you really need that kind of anxiety in your life?

American connection: Very strong. This is where Landon Donovan found success in the Premier League, and where Tim Howard has made a name for himself. Other Americans like Brian McBride and Joe-Max Moore also played for Everton.

Why you should be a fan: Gutsy team that tends to play over its head … Into the advanced metrics and usually overperforms … Strong American connection. … Awesome nickname.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Won’t sign big players and so, in the end, they probably will always fall a bit short.

American connection: Strong – players like Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson, Kasey Keller and Clint Dempsey played for Fulham. The new owner, Shahid Khan, also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars. And, let’s face it, they have a Michael Jackson statue – the former owner, Mohamed Fayed, was a friend.

Why you should be a fan: Fantastic old stadium with a Michael Jackson statue out front. What else could anyone want. Fantastic history. Super friendly fans -- Fulham is the only team in England that has a “neutral” section where fans of neither team can sit and watch.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Fulham has never won a top league championship. Fulham has never won an F.A. Cup.

Hull City
American connection: Jozy Altidore played there for a couple of years.

Why you should be a fan: Gritty team that has fought back from relegations, near financial collapse and all sorts of other plagues. Also, their former manager once had a halftime talk RIGHT ON THE FIELD.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: it could be a short stay in the Premier League. Also, they are having a fight about what the team should be named (there’s talk of dropping the “City” and just calling them Hull Tigers).

American Connection: Boston Red Sox owner John Henry owns the team.

Why you should be a fan: Was England’s most legendary team until Manchester United emerged in the 1990s. Has won 18 top division titles and won Europe five times. … And because the crowd singing You’ll Never Walk Alone is SURE to give you chills.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: All those top division titles and do you know how many Premier League titles they have? Zero. Have not won England’s top league since 1990.

Man City
American Connection: Numerous Americans, including Claudio Reyna and DeMarcus Beasley have played for Man City.

Why you should be a fan: A historic team with a strong following – and now, because of billionaire owner Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, they have more money and and spend more money than any other team.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: They have more money and spend more money than any other team.

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Man Utd
American Connection: Owned by Malcolm Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tim Howard also spent a few years at Old Trafford.

Why you should be a fan: Well, many people are. They’re measured as the second-most popular team on earth (behind Spain’s Real Madrid). The advantages are obvious. Winning. Tradition. Dominance. Wonderful history. This was the team that came back from the Munich Air Disaster. This was Charlton’s team. This was Cantona’s team. This was Beckham’s team. This was Alex Ferguson’s team. Those names are like Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Stengel in baseball.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: They may be the second-most popular team on earth, but they are surely the most DESPISED team on earth too. That much winning and that much exposure will do that.

Newcastle United
American Connection: Not much. American Oguchi Onyewu did play for the team in 2006-07.

Why you should be a fan: Kind of the bad boys of the Premier League. They have a strong history, they play pretty rough (“proper English football,” one fan calls it), and they have, um, very passionate fans. Oh yeah, one of the team’s heroes, Kevin Keegan, left his final game in a helicopter.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: All those same reasons why you should be a fan – also, they could be in for a rough year.

Norwich City
American Connection: American Zak Whitbread played at Norwich for a year.

Why you should be a fan: The city has one of those cool English names that is spelled one way (Norwich) but pronounced a different way (NOR-idge) so you can get some quick Premier League cred pronouncing it right … A small team that is famous for overperforming – its win over famous Bayern Munich in 1992 is still remembered. They earned two promotions in two years to reach the Premier League, and this will be its third straight season in the Premier League.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: This is their owner. I mean: Come on.

American Connection: American Kasey Keller played here briefly.

Why you should be a fan: Exciting young team was buried in the third division in 2011. Earned promotion to second division for 2011-12, earned promotion to Premier League last year and then, against odds, finished 14th to fairly comfortable stay in the Premier League. Also, the club’s all-time great Matthew Le Tissier is all kinds of wonderful.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: There’s only so much success in the Premier League you can realistically hope for with a smaller team like Southampton.

Stoke City
American Connection: Strong – three Americans (Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Brek Shea) – played for the team last year.

Why you should be a fan: The oldest team in the Premier League, and are widely believed to be the second oldest team in the world (behind Notts County FC). … Fierce team that plays what others call an ugly defensive style but what locals understand has kept Stoke City in the Premier League since 2008.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Well, there is that ugly style. Get ready for a lot of boots down the field.

American Connection: Strong. American star Jozy Altidore plays for the team now, and Sunderland is owned by Ellis Short, who was born in Independence, Mo. – same hometown as Harry Truman.

Why you should be a fan: A dominant club before World War II, Sunderland has won five top division titles and two FA Cups in its long history. … Plays a rough and tumble style that has kept them in the Premier League for seven straight seasons, though last year was a close, close call.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: No, really, last year was a CLOSE call. Sunderland survived by three points. … Their manager Paolo Di Canio in the mid 2000s publicly and proudly declared himself a fascist (he would famously raise his arm in a fascist salute to fans and he often praised Mussolini) though he now says he is not a fascist. “Not a case of if Paolo Di Canio will storm out in a huff and set the Stadium of Light on fire,” the Daily Telegraph wrote of him. “But when.”

Swansea City
American Connection: Um, well, uh, Catherine Zeta-Jones is a fan. She’s not American, but, you know, she’s married to Michael Douglas.

Why you should be a fan: Plays beautiful football with lots of short and precise passes. This might because they are managed by the great Michael Laudrup.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: There’s a feeling that Swansea rises to play against the big teams, but often can’t be bothered against the others. Also: Did you heard the one about the Swansea ballboy who got kicked during a match?

Tottenham Hotspur
American Connection: Very strong, beginning with (but not ending with) Coach Ted Lasso. Spurs is where Brad Friedel plays, it was the home for Clint Dempsey before his return to America, and Tottenham has a strong presence with American fans, including Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane.

Why you should be a fan: Fun and open style of play that is wrapped up in one of their mottos: “The game is about glory.” … Strong connection to its community … Tremendous history and deeply devoted fan base.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: There’s something insubstantial about the team – Spurs has finished below rival Arsenal EVERY SINGLE YEAR since the Premier League began. … You could be setting yourself up for some serious heartbreak.

American Connection: John McEnroe is a fan.

Why you should be a fan: A strong history includes the wonderful story of the Three Degrees – three black players (Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson) who played for West Brom in the 1970s, a time when racism was rampant in the Premier League stands. The three led West Brom to strong showings and helped make them one of the most exciting teams in the country.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: The team did finish eighth last year, but there’s a sense that with the loss of scorer extraordinaire Romelu Lukaku (who scored 17 goals while on loan to West Brom) there could be a relegation fight on their hands.

West Ham United
American Connection: Fairly strong. Americans John Harkes, Jonathan Spector and Ian Feuer all played for West Ham at one time.

Why you should be a fan: The team’s thrilling history, centered around those three great West Ham players who led England to glory in 1966.

Why you shouldn’t be a fan: Because they’re still talking a lot about 1966.

The complete article can be found here at NBC.

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