Man. Utd. Buccaneers
Today, my friend Rob from work asked me to draw comparisons between teams in American sports and their closest footballing equivalents in the UK. For the sake of clarity, this request (and my subsequent action) should not constitute active comparison of life in the UK to that in the US, a condition imposed by ‘Mario’ as part of his generous sponsorship for my Nike 10k run.
First of all, in the world of baseball, we have the New York Mets (Man. City) and the New York Yankees (Man. Utd.). The former will likely never win anything, while the latter will always be there or thereabouts. You could also compare the Yankees (Bombers) to Chelsea, given their relentless obsession for signing the big names, although Chelsea don’t really have a hapless rival.
Just up the coast, we have the Boston Red Sox, who share a fierce rivalry with the Yankees. Fenway Park, the Sox’ ancient and quaint stadium, is a nightmare to play in, with its quirks around the perimeter of the outfield, along with the deafening sound created by its oft partisan crowd. Maybe this is your Liverpool (with its century-old Kop) although 70-plus years without a win may put it more in Newcastle’s bracket. Their (the Sox’) drought came to an end in 2004, after they overcame a three game deficit to win the series against the Yankees 4-3 (a moment of joy on my first visa-legal day back in the US, 20 October, 2004) on their way to destroying St. Louis in the ‘World’ Series itself. Newcastle’s drought continues.
Last year’s winners, the Chicago White Sox, never seriously threatened in their 80-year drought, so maybe they’d be an Everton, or a Spurs.
On the American Football front, it’s a little more difficult, with the draft designed to even the teams out from one year to the next. I suppose I liken the Pittsburgh Steelers to Charlton Athletic. I’m not sure why; maybe there’s the underdog factor coming into play. Hopefully Newcastle will write the Denver Broncos’ story, with so many almosts (Shearer playing Elway) making way for a spate of wins. Alternatively, you could argue that the Buffalo Bills, who have never bounced back from their series of Super Bowl defeats, are more representative of the Toon. A few teams have had their day: San Francisco was the team of the early 90s, so maybe there’s a Man. Utd. comparison to be drawn.
As for basketball, I’m not entirely sure. Although I followed the Celtics in the Bird/Johnson era back in the 80s, I’ve never since taken an interest, so can’t make any parallels.
Thoughts? (BTW, the title of this post was inspired by an inspired banner being waved by an opponent supporter during United’s take-over by Malcolm ‘cock-sucker’ Glazer.)