EPL Talk Archives for January 2007

Could the US TV Audience for EPL Surpass UK?

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During the 2006/2007 season, the average UK TV audience for a Premier League match was 1.18 million, according to the industry newsletter TV Sports Markets.

This compares with an average US TV audience of approximately 300,000 people watching a Premier League match on Fox Soccer Channel.

While there's a significant gap between the two numbers, it isn't inconceivable that the United States may surpass the UK in the number of viewers watching Premier League matches.

07/08 Ticket prices for Premier League Clubs

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As you're sitting at home watching Premier League, spare a thought for the punters who are paying significant amounts to watch their home team play. How much? Scroll through the prices below to see the top prices for each category of matches.

Category A matches are usually those versus the big four (although some clubs will expand that to include local derbies, etc).

Exorbitant Ticket Prices Fuels Arsenal's Success

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Britain and the United States do share a common language, but there are times when words don't translate so well between both countries. Such is the case yesterday when Arsenal announced a record $400 million in turnover. That's "turnover" meaning revenue, not number of jobs in and out of a football club.

Out of the $400 million in revenue, Arsenal announced that they achieved operating profits of over $100 million.

Random Soccer News

EPL Talk at related • 1 view
  • FC Reading of Pennsylvania has arranged a training academy program with Everton.

  • Did you know that The Telegraph newspaper has a media player on their site with a selection of audio and video clips? No, I didn't either. Now I know what happened to The Telegraph's Fantasy Football Podcast (it turned into a straight video clip featuring Jed Pittman, who looks a lot younger than what I imagined him looking like).

Americans Invading the English Premier League

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When we talk about Americans in England, we always mention the same names: Brad Friedel, Marcus Hahnemann, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Benny Feilhaber, Randy Lerner, Malcolm Glazer, etc, etc. But the American invasion isn't just happening on the pitch. Listen closely and you'll hear plenty more American accents associated with Premier League football.

Were Stars Playing for Mourinho FC or Chelsea FC?

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All the talk the past few days about players only playing for Chelsea because Mourinho was there got me thinking whether they'd prefer to have Mourinho FC or Chelsea FC crests on their shirts?

It's a ridiculous thought, but in a way it does demonstrate the grip that Mourinho had on his players.

Psychologically, the Chelsea side this Sunday will be a shambles against Manchester United.

Talk About Exodus By Chelsea Players Is Despicable

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Reports of Chelsea players considering an exodus from Stamford Bridge now that Mourinho has left are eye-opening. After all, who do the Chelsea players give their allegiance to (other than the almighty pound)? Is it Chelsea Football Club or Jose Mourinho?

For the manager to become bigger than the club is dangerous ground for football chairmen.

Interview with Chuck Culpepper

EPL Talk at related • 20 views

Chuck Culpepper, the author of a new book entitled "Up Pompey," is interviewed on this week's episode of the EPL Talk Podcast.

The American author, who has been twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize award, discusses his experiences following Portsmouth and what it is about Premier League soccer that so interests him and fellow Americans.

Is Jose Mourinho Heading to Tottenham?

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In April of this year, EPL Talk speculated that Tottenham Hotspur could be Jose Mourinho's next destination.

EPL Talk was derided for the article by Spurs fans who proclaimed "Rubbish" and "Stick with Jol and do it the Spurs way," and even "Give me Jol anytime, moaner Mourinho is not wanted by Chelsea and definitely not Tottenham, we are getting there and the five year plan is working well.

Avram Grant Will Be Next Manager of Chelsea

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BBC Sport is reporting that Avram Grant is set to take over as permanent manager of Chelsea Football Club.

The current director of football at Chelsea will take Mourinho's position after he departed the club "by mutual consent." As is often the case when a new manager takes over, he's thrown into the deep end as Chelsea travel this Sunday to Old Trafford to play Manchester United (11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel).

Who is Avram Grant?

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Avram Grant, whose name is actually spelled Avraham Grant, was manager of Israel from 2002 to 2006 where he took the country to the brink of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Despite being undefeated in their qualifying (four wins and six draws), Grant lost out to France and Switzerland who qualified instead.

His record at Israel was played 33, won 14, drawn 13 and lost 6, which was a win percentage of 62.

Jose Mourinho and Eggs

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Jose Mourinho will be remembered for many things over the four years he's been at Chelsea Football Club.

Unfortunately, he may regret one of his last few press conferences where he uttered these inane comments about eggs as he compared them to his Chelsea squad:

Omelette, eggs. No eggs, no omelettes. It depends on the quality of the eggs.

Breaking News: Chelsea Sack Jose Mourinho

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In shocking news, Jose Mourinho has left Chelsea Football Club "by mutual consent," according to the club's website.

We all know "by mutual consent" is codeword for getting sacked, and while the most of the newspapers are reporting that Mourinho walked out of the club, The Times newspaper believes that it's more likely that Mourinho got the sack after a meeting with Abramovich and his henchmen.

Does Shevchenko Deserve the Criticism?

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Andriy Shevchenko came under more pressure today as former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino proclaimed that the Shevchenko we know and have loved over the years for AC Milan will not regain his form on the pitch for Chelsea.

I didn't get to watch the Chelsea versus Rosenborg match last night in the Champions League, but I did watch the highlights.

Dark Side of Premier League Ignored by Press

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The sun shines brightly for the Premier League right now. The new season has kicked off without the plague of TV problems that La Liga has encountered. The play on the pitch, so far, has been exciting and much better than the slump we saw last Fall. The only negatives thus far have been the controversial refereeing decisions with teams like Fulham, Liverpool and Chelsea -- to name but a few -- having key decisions going against them.

The Magic 1,000 Number

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This is the 1,000th post on the EPL Talk Blog since it launched on January 2, 2006. That's roughly 50 posts a month for 20 months in a row, which is approximately 1.5 posts per day.

During that time, we've seen a lot. The 2006 World Cup. The improved amount and quality of Premier League coverage on U.S. TV and broadband. The launch of more soccer podcasts and, of course, some excellent comments by you, the reader.

Do You Fit The Stereotype Soccer Fan?

EPL Talk at related • 9 views

As a soccer fan, are you overweight, balding, religious and enjoy playing video games? And do you have debt in the form of student loans, like riding dirtbikes, remember the 1970s, occasionally rent a car and are looking for cheaper auto insurance?

According to Fox Soccer Channel, that's the type of viewer you are -- or at least who their advertisers think you are.

Broadband Best Place for Euro 2008 Coverage

EPL Talk at related • 5 views

In less than one month, the next round of qualifying matches for the European Championship begins with England taking on Estonia, Scotland against Ukraine, Ireland against Germany, and the big match - England away to Russia on the plastic pitch, which could seal the destiny or fate of the England national team. To whet your appetite for the matches (to be played on October 13 and 17), here's an interesting find by EPL Talk reader Jeffyhash (aka Unoriginal_name):

I was just reading your post about international matches on CCTV, and it reminded me of something I found earlier during the qualifying tournament.

The Guardian Guilty of Sloppy Journalism Again

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Martin Jol has accused English football reports of a conspiracy. Quoted in The Guardian newspaper, Jol stated that "I feel there are two worlds here in London. There is you guys and then there are the supporters who read your papers. Although they read your papers they are still backing me and that's a great feeling."

While Jol would be wise to focus on his team tactics and helping his footballers get much needed shooting practice, he does have a point about the conspiracy.

Four Horse Race in EPL Remains Unchanged

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In the song "Once In a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads, the words "same as it ever was" are repeated over and over. After watching another predictable weekend of Premier League football, albeit entertaining, the likelihood of a club cracking the four horse race seems as remote as ever.

What clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers lack is that killer instinct.

News Snippets from the World of Soccer

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  • Just to show how big the EPL is becoming worldwide, travel agents in Malaysia are offering package tours to watched Premier League matches in England.

  • Sven Goran Eriksson considers the Premier League the best in the world.

  • This week's EPL Talk Podcast features an interview with LA Times freelance writer Chuck Culpepper, author of a new book entitled "Up Pompey" which recounts his experiences following Portsmouth and their recent escape from relegation.

Hammers Taunt Boro Fans with Strange Dance

EPL Talk at related • 1 view
Don't ask me why, but there was a scene during the West Ham against Middlesbrough match this past weekend that I can't get out of my head.

It wasn't an on-the-pitch incident, despite the entertaining football that West Ham showed and Tucay's continuous attempts for Middlesbrough.

Instead it was after Tucay missed a glorious chance to score for a goal for Boro and the ball skimmed past the far post.

Day of Reckoning for EPL Four Horse Race

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The return of the Premier League action this Saturday will be quite telling. At precisely 2:15pm ET (7:15pm GMT), we'll know whether the EPL is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world or whether it's still a predictable and oftentimes boring four horse race.

After the full-time whistle blows, we'll be able to reflect on a day of action where stronger teams from "The Other 16" battle against the top four (Everton against Man United, Spurs versus Arsenal, Portsmouth against Liverpool and, last but not least, Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers).

Graham Poll Interview

EPL Talk at related • 2 views

This week's episode of the EPL Talk Podcast features an exclusive interview with former Premier League and England referee Graham Poll, author of a new autobiography entitled "Seeing Red."

In the lengthy interview, Poll answers a lot of questions about the proposed rule changes to the sport, his memories from that historic day at the Dell in 1996 between Southampton and Manchester United where Fergie had his side change strips at halftime and much more including his most memorable match he refereed.

BBC Criticized for Negative England Coverage

EPL Talk at related • 13 views
  • Here are more details about Liverpool's new TV channel, LFC.tv, which is scheduled to go live on September 20. It's frustrating for Liverpool fans in the United States because no one will be carrying the channel over here. GolTV dropped its coverage of Liverpool TV at the end of last season. LFC.tv is produced by Setanta Sports but will not be available via Setanta Sports USA.

EPL Fixture Congestion Reveals DirecTV Benefits

EPL Talk at related • 18 views

If you live in the United States and you can't decide whether to choose DirecTV, DISH Network, your local cable company or ITVN to watch as many soccer matches as possible, the next Premier League weekend will help answer that question for you.

When the English Premier League returns from the international break on Saturday, September 15, that Saturday will feature four massive matches:

  • Everton v Manchester United
  • Tottenham v Arsenal
  • Portsmouth v Liverpool, and
  • Chelsea v Blackburn.

When Will International Matches via CCTV Die?

EPL Talk at related • 5 views

During an international break, it's an unusual experience watching Euro 2008 qualifiers in the United States. The most talked about match, England against Israel, isn't even on U.S. television (it's only available via pay-per-view, so you have a choice between paying $30 to watch it at home, or pay $20 at the pub).

So, if you instead choose to watch Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday, you get to see three live matches which are 'B' matches that will be very predictable and won't create much excitement:
  • Russia v Macedonia, 11am ET
  • San Marino v Czech Republic, 2pm ET
  • Iceland v Spain, 4pm ET
Setanta Sports, meanwhile, will be showing 'B' matches also such as:
  • Malta v Turkey, 4:30pm ET
  • Serbia v Finland, 6:30pm ET
The only exception from Setanta is the 'A' match between Sweden and Denmark at 2:30pm ET.

Soccer Fans: 3pm Kickoffs Thing of the Past

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Fans and supporter groups outraged that there'll only be one 3pm GMT kickoff on Saturday, October 6th should calm down. What alternative would they prefer? That most of the matches be played on the Saturday? Then they'll complain that the clubs competing in the UEFA Cup will be too tired to play. You can't have it both ways.

Presumably in the United States, Setanta Sports will show the Aston Villa against West Ham United match on that Saturday at 10am ET, while the only other game that Saturday will be Manchester United against Wigan Athletic at 12:15pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel.

Premier League Media Coverage News

EPL Talk at related • 9 views
  • Weekly highlights from Fox Soccer Channel are now available on TivoCast, a relatively new service for Tivo customers.

  • Irish musician Sinead O'Connor, of all people, is the latest music artist to record a song for Fox Soccer Channel, which is now being aired on the channel. The Rising Sound's "Get In The Game" has been heard for months on the network.

Football Weekly 0-1 The Game Podcast

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Since the 2006 World Cup, everyone from daily newspapers to amateur broadcasters have jumped on the soccer/football podcast bandwagon attempting to grab market share and win over listeners with a superior product.

Out of the dozens of podcasts available on a regular basis, there are only two that consistently provide quality content and feature seasoned football pundits.

Interview with Dougie Brimson

EPL Talk at related • 7 views

Author Dougie Brimson is this week's featured guest on the EPL Talk Podcast.

The Guardian describes Brimson as "football aggro's pornographer in chief," but he's better known by many as the screenwriter of the movie "Green Street Hooligans" starring Elijah Wood about the rivalry between West Ham United and Millwall hooligans.

Brimson is the author of nearly a dozen books on the topic of hooliganism, both fiction and non-fiction.

Liverpool Shows Tottenham How To Do It

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At last, fans of Premier League football had an extremely entertaining Saturday to watch on television. The majority of entertaining matches in the season thus far (the few that have been) have been on Sundays.

Today was a perfect example of the difference in quality and tactics between Liverpool and Spurs. Both teams played against sides with woeful defenses.

More Foreign Stars Leaving EPL Than Arriving

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Another summer transfer window has come and gone. Last August, we were salivating at the prospect of all of those Italian World Cup heroes coming to play in England for large amounts of dosh. Most of them were players from Juventus, yes, but we were told there would be an exodus. There wasn't.

This past transfer window that just concluded had the same hype about it.

Sky Sports Transfer Deadline Coverage a Joke

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Watching Through The Night from Sky Sports, their nightly sport news show, is usually an enjoyable experience. But Friday night's episode on the final night of the August transfer window was so full of hype and nonsense that I had a sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The show was on Sky Sports from 11pm to midnight UK time, but was shown slightly tape-delayed (as it always is) in the US on Fox Soccer Channel from 7-8pm ET.