How did Americans follow the Premier League in the 80s-90s-early 2000s?

Discussion in 'Premier League' started by bmbersoccer5, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. bmbersoccer5

    bmbersoccer5 Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Cincinnati
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm always interested in people >30 talking about how they've been supporting clubs for multiple decades now. Before the expansion of the EPL on TV and the internet, what were some resources people used to stay up to date on the league/European soccer in general?
     
  2. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm 31, but I didn't watch the Premier League until the 2000s. I don't know when I became a fan of Manchester United, but I was a fan by the time they won the 2008 Champions League. I started being a soccer fan by watching and following MLS, World Cup Qualifiers, and the World Cup.
     
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  3. jeremygl09

    jeremygl09 Member

    Jan 20, 2012
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    I did not start watching the premier league until the summer after 2007 when I went to the academy at Liverpool for a few weeks. And to be honest I think this is one of the reasons why our National team is so much weaker. From personal experience if I had grown up watching foreign leagues I would have know so much more about tactics and team play at a much younger age.
     
  4. Lizzie C

    Lizzie C New Member

    Feb 27, 2016
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  5. GunnerJacket

    GunnerJacket Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 18, 2003
    Gainesville, GA
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I'm in my mid 40's and consider myself a Gooner since about '81. Playing as a kid I had family in Islington and Edinburgh that would send me clippings, magazines, etc. Also subscribed to 2 US soccer magazines that would at least post tables and scores from European leagues amidst the crappy feature articles. Suffice to say my fanhood was remote but once the domestic NASL folded it was my only outlet aside from playing.

    Once the magazines and internet enabled better connections I started soaking that up right away, and was able to remain devoted to Arsenal since Atlanta has not yet been included in MLS. I've supported local minor league teams but by then had endeared myself to Arsenal as my first and favorite club. We'll see if the creation of Atlanta United eats into that.
     
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  6. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member+

    Jun 9, 2002
    One of those magazines wouldn't have been Soccer America, would it? That's how I at least got scores and tables in the mid 1980s.

    To the OP: a couple of my teammates were English. Their fathers both played 2nd-3rd division over there and were our coaches. They'd bring back tapes in the mid 80 to late 80s from their annual trips home and we'd watch them. That's about all there was until the early to mid 90s when things like CL and maybe a select match a week ran on a channel. I actually remember there being more consistent Scottish coverage in the early 90s than English. My television package would get one Scottish game a week from most of their season. I'm sure there was EPL coverage somewhere by then, but you'd have to pay through the nose for it. Internet news coverage took off more around 96 or so, which coincided with me going over to London to study and being of drinking age.

    Finally being of drinking age helped quite a bit even in the late 90s. Streaming didn't really exist (internet speeds too slow), coverage was pretty spotty, and the only real way to see things live was a bar that shelled out the money for the satellite feeds. I spent a lot of mornings at a place in Chicago called the Abbey Pub. At that time, that was by far the best place in town to watch games. Think small concert venue that taped giant heavy bed sheets over the windows to block out the light and a giant projection screen up front. My favorite day there wasn't a club day but a WC qualifying day for 02. September 1, 2001. Ireland1:NED0 to qualify, then ENG5:GER1, then Poland winning to qualify as well. Keep in mind this was in a Polish neighborhood, with English expats coming out for their game, and a lot of Irish accents for theirs from the southside. There were a couple of Irish kids. Couldn't have been older than 16, who were in their leading cheers probably 7 or 8 pints in by halftime of their game. Over the years, they kind of lost market share as soccer coverage in bars became more common. These days, those places don't have the same atmosphere that they did as streaming and regular coverage has undermined the exclusivity of the coverage.
     
  7. GunnerJacket

    GunnerJacket Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 18, 2003
    Gainesville, GA
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Probably. Was that the 4"x 6" magazine that was available through all those school magazine sales drives? I hated doing those things so basically my parents would get that for me and one thing for themselves and I'd turn it in the next day.

    That mag was black and white and tried hard to up-sell the US angle. Covered college ball and almost all player profiles were of US men.

    Did you have any issues with tape compatibility? Our original VCR couldn't play tapes from England, so when we replaced it we made a point of picking one which could.
     
  8. shizzle787

    shizzle787 Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Connecticut
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS would have been smarter to put a team in the UNC-Duke Research Triangle than Atlanta as way more people are into the sport in urban N. Carolina than urban Georgia, and two southern franchises already failed (though they were in Florida).
     
  9. GunnerJacket

    GunnerJacket Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 18, 2003
    Gainesville, GA
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Disagree. I'd say Atlanta appears to be a successful selection so far. Atlanta currently has pledges for 30,000 season tickets. Even if not all of those are fulfilled it seems the team will prove an asset to the league, with access to more financial heavy hitters than the Triangle.

    I like Raleigh and spend every other Thanksgiving there with my favorite cousin, and they may well prove a great addition someday. But whatever consideration they might have warranted over Atlanta has since been disproved.
     
  10. pookspur

    pookspur Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    Indiana
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    simple ... the Sunday Times. the main branch of my local library had a copy of the Times every Monday, so at some point during the week, I could see the results and write-ups from the previous Saturday (and a lot more of it was on Saturday back then).

    you could see the odd FA cup match on PBS back in the 70s, and I could flesh out personalities and such via occasional UK magazines - though they were always weeks behind. but the Times was how you kept up.

    by the early 90s, I was in charge of periodicals where I worked (I've been a bookseller for 25 or so years), and I would bring in loads of footy mags, which again really fleshed out my comprehension of the English (and European) football culture(s). but the internet wasn't far behind, and as you'd expect, that's when it became possible to follow your club on a day-to-day basis.

    I love being able to see it all now, and i'm grateful for English football's international appeal that makes it possible. but I have to admit, it was in some ways better back then ... when it was just English football ... not the marketable commodity (read: carnival) that it has become.
     
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  11. owian

    owian Member+

    May 17, 2002
    San Diego
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I started following the league during the 94-95 season. There was a weekly hour long Premier League highlights show on our regional FOX sports. It was similar to MOTD with lengthy highlights and lots of football without fluff which I liked. By the 95-96 season I was hooked making sure I was home from HS to watch it, and if I couldn't recording it on my VHS (yeah old). In addition ESPN usually had one match a week from the Champions league so would record those and watch them after school.

    By college the internet had become easily available so was able to keep up with the news of the league, but didn't get to see many matches. ESPN had occasional matches and so did Fox Sports West Espanol, but it was more of a random find then specifically watching.

    When I turned 21 I was able to start going to a soccer pub, called Shakespeare's in San Diego, and had a similar experiences to the poster above. Because this was usually the only way to actually watch the match you had a lot of fans of different teams all their just enjoying the football. About 50% commonwealth expats, and even a lot of the Americans had close ties with Britain. There was a usually a cover but you could buy a season ticket for about 50 bucks that got you into every match.

    This was also the time when Fox Sports World was becoming more available, and began showing more and more matches on TV which evolved into Fox Soccer Channel which made it easy to watch the matches. Which is where we are now.
     
  12. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member+

    Jun 9, 2002
    Soccer America was more of a tabloid format on normal newspaper stock, except for the cover, which was a bit thicker. I think I got it through some sort of deal with the US youth soccer.

    Tape compatibility was definitely a technical quirk you had to work through. The coach from the UK was an engineer who worked for a UK multinational. He was going back and forth regularly enough that there was always a steady stream of tapes. He probably got 2-3 matches from every weekend and went over every 3 mos for work. Given how invested he was, he was the one who figured out the workaround.

    I even had the same issue as late as 98 taping college football for a friend who moved back to France. No idea why those things aren't compatible.
     
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  13. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, there was no Prem in the 80s. I caught a highlights show on SportsChannel America during the 1992-93 season (the first season of the Prem).
     
  14. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Living on the border,you could count on CBC for finals ,internationals,and league updates.This tragically included live "breaking news" coverage of Bradford,Heysel and Hillsborough.

    MSG covered international football.PBS had Star Soccer with Mario Machado voicing over ITV coverage.

    My school library had a magazine called Soccer Corner.I wound up subscribing till college.
     
  15. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    All Star soccer with Mario Machado

     
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  16. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    OMG,that porky wanker ref.

    He ate all the fookin poies,he did!

    Good times,boys...
     
  17. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    as a referee x 32 years...there is something to be said for referees who are fully capable of managing a match and not having to be these fitness bots that we currently see.
     
  18. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well,if he came over to have a word with you,I reckon that would be sufficient.
    Who needs these card thingies,anyway?

    I actually remember ususlly getting a couple beers to watch Mario with.
    BTW, I was 16.
     
  19. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mario passed away back in 2013 and with his death part of my youth disappeared as well...but I hear that Toby Charles is still going strong!!!
     
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  20. Sykotyk

    Sykotyk Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm 33. I started watching Premier League around 2002-2003 after the World Cup. I had seen games previously but not regularly (also watched when rugby or Aussie Rules would be aired on ESPN or some other channel).

    Fox Sports Net had a lot of regional channels, and they would air games on delay in the middle of the week. I remember Everton being on of the first teams I saw. With the internet, I found sites like this one that talked about European soccer, and found that ESPN aired Champions League, so followed that extensively (it was live, mid-week). I fell out of watching EPL because I'd find out the result before I could watch the game. That was before my cable carrier added Fox Sports World (then became Fox Soccer Channel and now I think converted into one of the FS1 or FS2 channels).

    Loved that channel because of rugby and Aussie rules more, but got to follow soccer. When it became FSC, I was angered because they got rid of Aussie rules, primarily.

    I still don't really have an English team I follow. If I were to say, it'd be Nottingham Forest because I love the name, but have never seen a game on TV and they've never been top flight since I've kept tabs on them. Though at least they're in the championship this year, though down at #17 right now.

    When the Browns owner bought Aston Villa, I followed them. Which was strange, because Birmingham City was one of the teams in the top flight (at the time) that I did like. I liked Fulham due to the American connection. And to an extent Everton just because it was their game that really was my 'first' game. Now, I don't really have one. Just somebody other than ManU, ManCity, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Liverpool. Really love what's going on with Leicester City, but they're not my team.

    Hoping one day Nottingham Forest makes it to the top flight so I can see some games in the U.S. and have a team in the EPL to follow.
     
  21. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  22. Burr

    Burr Member+

    Boca Juniors
    Argentina
    Jul 8, 2014
    Tampa, FL
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's exactly how I started! It was a great show for someone who was starved for soccer back in the day. I quickly grew to hate ManU always winning so Blackburn became my team and I followed religiously as they won the league.
     
  23. Sykotyk

    Sykotyk Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No. And I wouldn't really look forward to paying for the privilege. Premier League is all over regular HD cable in the U.S. with NBCSN, NBC, and USA having matches throughout the year. Usually 3 or 4 games a weekend. So, if NFFC moved up, I'd be sure to see them a few times a year.
     
  24. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Normally at least 6 games a weekend are on TV, and sometimes there are games on Mondays. If you get NBCSN, you have access to http://www.nbcsports.com/live-extra which lets you watch the games online that aren't on TV. I understand you wanting NFFC on TV.
     
  25. Burr

    Burr Member+

    Boca Juniors
    Argentina
    Jul 8, 2014
    Tampa, FL
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My cable provider carries the Live Extra games on other channels as well right on the TV. I'm sure others do.
     

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