As preseason football kicks off here, world football seasons officially begin across the Atlantic this weekend.
The English Premier League, the world’s most popular domestic league, has 20 clubs vying for this season’s title. (Note: Really just six.)
The league slate features seven matches this Saturday morning, two on Sunday and one on Monday afternoon and with Fado in Center City closed until late August for what their Instagram account calls “staff training,” the early-weekend morning soccer bars are down one popular haunt.
With a good number of new clubs in the Premiership over the last few seasons — from Bournemouth and Burnley to Middlesbrough and Watford to reigning title holders Leicester City — we sought to find where local supporters of all 20 EPL clubs will go to watch the matches of their favorite teams.
Let’s be honest: Philly is a great soccer city, especially for EPL clubs, but the options for fans looking to hook onto a winning side are pretty limited. So really, of the 20 clubs, only eight or nine have representative followings.
That said, this is a very incomplete list of where each supporters club — or, for Arsenal fans, support group may be more apt, am I right? — gathers to watch matches in Philly.
(Note: if you are part of a supporters club and would like to be added to this list, please contact us.)
Arsenal have perhaps the most dedicated supporters in the world. In truth, Gooners are a lot like Eagles fans during the Andy Reid era, in that their team is always competitive yet can’t manage to win a title, and everyone wants Arsene Wenger fired because of it.
Gooners who are part of the Arsenal Philadelphia supporters club watch matches at Misconduct Tavern, located at 1511 Locust. Join them in their misery this season, as a spot in Champions League will prove not good enough, yet again.
Bournemouth were new to the Premier League last season after winning the Football League Championship in 2015, thus promoted to the top division in England. Bournemouth has been around as a club in one form or another since 1899, and have been tabbed The Cherries since 1910.
We couldn’t find any supporters group in Philly, so we reached out to the national group in the United States, who sent us the local Cherries twitter.
It’s a very small club here in Philly.
Burnley have been in and out of the EPL for the last few seasons, winning the League Championship in 2016 to earn a spot back in the Premier League. We reached out to their American supporters club to inquire if there is a Philadelphia chapter, but their administrators weren’t sure, which probably means they’re hanging out on that one Bournemouth fan’s couch.
As Chelsea look to rebound from a poor season last year with new manager Antonio Conte now in charge, the Blues supporters in Philly — Called the Philly Blues Supporters’ Club — will gather at Tir Na Nog to watch their matches, per Chelsea’s official supporters page.
Tir Na Nog, located at 1600 Arch, is one of the largest and most soccer-driven pubs in the city.
Palace are looking to improve from a bottom-half finish last season, the first full season under Alan Pardew. Palace did make the FA Cup Final last year, so hope is high for a promising campaign this season.
Their supporters have a super cool logo that’s a combination of the CP logo and the old Kelly Green-era Eagles logo. They gather at…Tir Na Nog. Knowing as many Chelsea fans as one might, let me say how sorry I am. (Or suggest you find another bar!)
Everton supporters have a renewed sense of optimism this season as Ronald Koeman takes over for Roberto Martinez and, hopefully, a bunch of money is going to flood in from new benefactors.
Everton is a mid-table mainstay lately, but has a huge following in America (including yours truly) thanks in part to Tim Howard’s extended presence with the club the last decade, as well previous spells by Joe-Max Moore, Landon Donovan and, briefly, Brian McBride.
Hull City have a lot of problems, so a lack of fans in Philly isn’t remotely high on the club’s list. We asked the Hull City USA reps if there were any supporters in the area and he said that to his knowledge there aren’t, but he knows there are some fans in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and, “I believe one in Scranton.”
Is there any room on the Bournemouth couch for a guy from Scranton this weekend? (Methinks yes.)
The reigning champions of the Premier League have a TON of new fans in America, so there could be a grassroots Foxes clan somewhere in the city. Best we could find right now is Temple professor and local poet Pattie McCarthy, who tweeted her support for the Foxes this past spring.
Liverpool, like Arsenal, have an enormous fan base around the world. And, like Arsenal, fans of Liverpool FC are impossible to watch a match with, and even worse to be around afterwards. (We kid. Sort of.)
Liverpool has a dynamic and deep squad this season, the second under Jurgen Klopp, with an expectation to compete for a spot in the top four and, if things don’t go the way of the two Manchester clubs, a real shot to win the title.
LFC Philly gather to watch matches at The Victoria Freehouse, located at 10 S. Front Street. Because Liverpool fans have to be everywhere at once, there is another group called LFC – Philadelphia out in Horsham. They meet at the Iron Abbey.
Update! We heard from Nick Cejas at Jose Pistola’s: “We proudly support Liverpool for some reason and use the hashtag #YoullNeverGuacAlone in our posts. We are open for every game no mater what godforsaken time it is in England. Cheers!”
Man City are the title favorites this season, as Pep Guardiola has already made one of the top sides in Europe stronger in the off-season. There are some challenges ahead for the new manager, namely who will play in the back four, but City fans should be out in full force this season, expecting to compete for the title all year long.
The Manchester City Supporters Club of Philadelphia meet at Devil’s Den, located at 1148 S. 11th Street; the intersection of 11th and Ellsworth. (Update: Sometimes. Check their Facebook page week to week.)
As Manchester United begin the Jose Mourinho era, excitement is back to a near “Sir Alex” level. Surely the most popular EPL club on the planet, United have no short supply of supporters in the Philadelphia area.
Middlesbrough were promoted after a second place finish in the Championship division. Pundits are already figuring them for relegation, though stranger things have happened. As it were, there aren’t too many Middlesbrough fans in the area, though the organizer of their national supporters club on Facebook did reply that she “sent a message to the few blokes I know living down there” so we are eagerly awaiting their reply.
The Saints finished sixth in the Premier League last year, though did just lose their manager to Everton, as Ronald Koeman was replaced by Claude Puel who has come to the EPL from Nice.
Per our search, there was little to be found in the way of Southampton fans in the city. They probably have a couch of their own somewhere.
In terms of interest in Philly, Stoke are in a similar spot as the Saints. Stoke finished ninth in the EPL each of the last three seasons, which is incredibly hard to do. The Potters feature American international Geoff Cameron on their side, so there is some general interest in America, if not a ton of public involvement in Philadelphia.
Sunderland narrowly avoided the drop last season, and the season before that, and two seasons before that. They haven’t earned more than 40 points — that’s three for a win and one for a draw in 38 matches — since the 2011-12 season. If there are any Sunderland fans in the area…why?
Fun fact, though! There may not be a Sunderland bar in Philadelphia, but there is a Philadelphia bar in Sunderland. Small world.
Swansea does (update!) have an official supporters club in Philly! Check out Jacks in Philly for updates on where they are watching this season’s matches. Also, like Sunderland, the Swans have another Philly connection. Who wants to travel to Wales to get a cheesesteak?
Tottenham Hotspur were close to winning the EPL title last season and despite improvements for both Manchester clubs and Chelsea, many pundits have Spurs in their top four, and perhaps even a favorite for the title this season.
Spurs supporters in Philly are plentiful, but lurking on the Philly Spurs Facebook page has revealed they don’t have a home. Until, perhaps, now.
It’s imperative that if we are going to be an official fan group, we have a home where we go to watch the games. While its certainly not required to only have one place, it will help tremendously if we know that “place X” is THE Spurs bar of Philly.
Currently, we are spread out over a slew of places. We are open to suggestions as to where this should be, but at the meeting it was proposed that at least for this upcoming season, we make Tavern On Broad in Center City our home.
Tavern on Broad is located at 200 S. Broad Street. If that’s the place. Spurs fans need to get their act together.
Watford finished 13th in the EPL after earning promotion last season, a very impressive finish, but not impressive enough to attract a ton of fans in Philadelphia.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom, like many other middle to bottom tier clubs, doesn’t seem to have the same draw as the top sides around these parts. Couches for Baggies fans, it seems.
West Ham United
The Hammers have a new stadium and a ton of related interest this season, as the 2012 Olympic stadium is finally ready for their home matches.
West Ham also have a supporters club in Philly called the Philadelphia Irons. Their admin on Facebok said the group used to go to the Dark Horse on 2nd and Lombard, which is now Cavanaugh’s Headhouse Square.
It was unclear if they still go to the same bar, located at 421 S. 2nd St., but it might be worth checking out for any Hammers supporters in the area. For the first match, supporters told us they are headed over to Tir Na Nog. Isn’t that where Chelsea fans go? Watch out for fights, and enjoy the match!