Stokies Round The World: New York
3,346 miles away but never closer.
I know this blog is for anything Stoke, so now; I want to share my experiences of what it is like to be a Stoke fan in a place of so few. I am from New York City, a place known for its hustle and bustle, its exciting lifestyle, and its skyscrapers. Yet, I am fascinated by a place known for its pottery, and its football. Yes, I am talking about Stoke-on-Trent, the home of Stoke City, the club that I support.
First, let me give some background on how I became a Stoke fan. I have been a fan of football since the age of 7, but I was not a fan of any specific team; I was just learning the game and finding a league to follow. I settled on the Barclays Premier League as I had heard it was the best league in the world (and still is). I wasn’t a fan of any team, but my dad is a huge fan of Bolton (our first opponents in the BPL) and so we went to a bar in August of 2008 and we watched the game. Even though we lost 3-1, I loved the way Stoke fought against Bolton and the heart they showed. I have been a diehard fan ever since.
Now I am sixteen years old and in 11th grade (equivalent of college). In my school football takes a backseat to the main sports of baseball, basketball, and American football. We do have a good football team, but the talk of football in the school is a bit hard to come by. Especially, with the fact being that there are no other Stoke fans in my school. The majority of kids that do follow the BPL support the bigger clubs. The majority of them support the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea. Liverpool, Everton, and Tottenham have some supporters in my school, but they are harder to come by. Even my brother is a Man United fan!
Despite not having anyone to talk about all things Stoke to, I am able to stay connected through The Bear Pit TV’s videos, showing me what its like to go to games. Also, the club is usually quite active on the socials so I am able to connected to the team. Now watching the games is a different story. NBC has a deal with the Premier League so that they bring the games to the US, via streaming and their NBCSN network. But, Stoke games are usually not televised unless we are playing in a primetime slot or playing against one of the larger clubs in England. Watching the FA Cup is not as easy but Fox has a deal with the FA to stream the games via FoxSports Go or they air the games on the Fox Sports networks. The Capital One Cup is a lot more work as I have to search for a website to watch but usually the quality isn’t that bad. But, I am very fortunate that the Premier League and the larger English tournaments do a good job of reaching viewers over 3,000 miles away.
I also stay connected to the team through Facebook groups for Stoke fans from the U.S. There is always chatter on the page of people meeting up to watch the game in different cities throughout the states. But, because I am not 21 yet, I am not able to go to any pubs in downtown NYC to watch the game. There is one in particular, Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub, where the Stoke City Supporters Club joins to watch the games.
I hope to soon make my first trip across the Atlantic to England, and then north to the potteries where a dream of mine would be fulfilled, in that I would attend a game at the Britannia. So, despite my distance away from the club, I always have felt connected to the club due to their growing global outreach through their rise in the Premier League.
Written by Spencer Brown
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