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English Football

A Trip to Sunderland

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ABOVE: Sunderland AFC fans in the Stadium of Light.

by Anders Imboden

Never mind how I got to be an Arsenal supporter. It was a gradual process. What really counts is that I love football – not the third-down-and-ten-to-go, hut! hut! hike! thing – but real football, played by kicking a round ball into a big net. You know… the world’s most popular sport.

I’m from Minnesota in the U.S.A., but I spent my first year of college in Scotland, at the University of Edinburgh. While a long way away from Arsenal’s home of north London, I still found myself engrossed in the culture of football. The problem with the Scottish game is that it’s been dominated by two teams for decades, Rangers and Celtic, both of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. Edinburgh may be the home of Scottish Parliament and plenty of culture, but its two clubs, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian, have lived in the shadow of Glasgow’s so-called Old Firm duo for many years.

The effect of this Glaswegian monopoly is that unless you’re a Scot, there’s not a whole lot of excitement in watching the games. The season’s glory is a variable shared between two sets of fans, while the rest of the country fights over the scraps.

So, as a result, I fell into the trap of the English Premier League. Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle, Arsenal. The famous teams, the famous players – and the most competitive league in the whole world.

Next page: A trip to Sunderland AFC

In this article:
English Football - Introduction
A trip to Sunderland AFC
Practical advice, precautions, and links

photosAbout the author:

Anders Imboden researched this article while studying Politics at the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Premier League football at Maltings International, where he became a wee publican.

Text and Sunderland photos copyright © Anders Imboden. All rights reserved.
Anders Imboden photo copyright © Heather Magers Keefe.