Posts Tagged ‘ EPL ’

Walking Through the Storm, Ken Kendra

Walking Through The Storm: Watching the 2015-16 Liverpool Football Club season at the North American pubs their clubs call home

Ken Kendra is the founder of Raleigh Reds, the Official Liverpool Supporters Club in Raleigh, NC and traveled around the States during the 2015/16 season to follow the Reds, meet fellow fans and write a book. The result is Walking Through the Storm.

The book is several things: a series of match recaps, an assembly of memories and stories, and a look into the life of a fan and supporter group organizer. Liverpool’s season was not boring with a managerial change, frustrating results and two cup finals. The account of the second leg against Borussia Dortmund is quite good which feeds into the trips down memory lane for both the author and the fans he meets along the way. From the most recent fan to the lifelong supporter, everyone has a story to tell. Finally, the Official Liverpool Supporter Group (OLSC) covers the entire US and the book gives insights into not only match days around the country and the fellowship created by gathering to watch games week after week but also into local drinking laws and how to start a local chapter.

The book is an easy read and a must read if you a Liverpool fan, especially in America. If you’re not a Liverpool fan, still worth the read as Ken recaps the season and recounts stories that every fan can relate to.


For more book review, check out my Recommended Reading page.

ATL Gooners


SoccerNomad podcast: ATL Gooners

Some of the Atlanta Gooners came on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk about the Supporters Group and the club. From the 2016 Summer Tour to Highbury to the classic Manchester United/Arsenal games of the late 90s/early 2000s to kits, we covered a lot of ground and had a great conversation.

Find out more about the group on their various platforms:


Learn more about Arsenal Football Club from the following resources:


  • Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
  • Invincible by Amy Lawrence
  • Addicted by Tony Adams


SoccerNomad Blog posts on Arsenal

Arsenal America Supporter Groups


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

An American’s Guide to Soccer in England


An American’s Guide to Soccer in England

English groundhopper Paul Gerald came back on the SoccerNomad podcast to recap his latest trip to the UK. Paul hit Watford, Tottenham, West Ham, Bristol and others as he gathers material for his upcoming book, An American’s Guide to Soccer in England. Paul provided some great insight and tips for fans interesting in going to matches. He plans to have his book out in the summer of 2017, so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, check out his blog English Soccer Guide and follow him on twitter @authorpaulg.


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

SoccerNomad Podcast: EPL 16/17 Kit Preview


EPL 16/17 Kit Preview

JR Francis (@paynomind) returned to the SoccerNomad podcast to look at the kits for the upcoming EPL season. After we both rant about the Manchester teams, we gave comments on the rest of the league and picked our top 5. Plus there’s some news and notes on the manufacturers.



Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Personal Kit Collection 2016

Inspired by a series of tweets late 2012, I took stock of my kit inventory and put together a post documenting my personal kit collection at the time. As you can see my collection was all over the place in terms of teams, manufacturer and style. Since then, I have had a couple of realizations (read: interventions) and talks with myself. Combine that with a big move and my collection is now under 30 jerseys. I have probably owned over 50 shirts through the years but things happen. My collection pales in comparison with others, especially JR Francis, as we discussed on one of his appearances on the SoccerNomad podcast, but I love collecting and talking about kits.

Manchester United




IMAG0528 IMAG0530

US National Team


National Teams


FC Barcelona




Atlanta Silverbacks


My current plan is to follow my self-created rules.

  • Since I’ve narrowed my focus to just following Manchester United at club level (and Atlanta United when they take the field in 2017), only buying a shirt every three years or ones that match my tastes. I’m currently back filling my Manchester United collection.
  • In terms of national team kits, only buying ones of the United States Men’s National Team. Why? Because I’m American, if only by an accident of birthplace. (Of course, thanks to Nike, this policy has been a real problem as they keep designing crap shirts.)
  • Only buying personalized jerseys (printed with JUNIOR 7) and not buying “hero jerseys”.
  • Only buying shirts on sale (promotional or otherwise) or wait until the release of the following set of kits.

Since I put these into effect a couple of years ago, I have done quite well, only breaking the rules once, and that was to get an authentic Holland Away jersey from Euro 2012. It was 50% off at Classic Football Shirts and I couldn’t pass it up. However I’m close to breaking several of the above rules for the new Croatia Euro 2016 away shirt.


For all the posts on kits that I have owned, own currently or want to own, please visit the Strip Club page of the SoccerNomad blog.

Here are some good resources, especially if you’re looking for vintage or retro shirts:

Feel free to share your faves/collections or great sites for shirts in the comments below.

Top Five Matches

I came across a post on reddit asking Which five matches changed your life?Loved the question and after thinking about it for a bit, here’s what I came up with:

1996       England v Germany Euro 96

download (2)

This game created the template for watching soccer while working. ESPN picked up the rights to this tournament and I fell in love with Croatia, saw Gazza’s wonder goal against Scotland, and the Czech Republic’s heartbreak in the Final against Germany. In the previous round, England played Germany in a rematch of the 1990 World Cup Semi. I was working as a summer intern at the FBI and snuck up to a conference room to watch the second half and penalties. England were so close but after 11 perfect spot kicks, Southgate’s miss condemned the Three Lions to defeat.

1999       Bayern Munich v Manchester United   Champions League Final

99 ucl

As my love for the Red Devils continued to grow, the Treble season reached its dramatic conclusion in Barcelona. With no Keane or Scholes, United was up against it and when Basler scored in the opening minutes, I didn’t believe. Negative by nature I just waited for Bayern to seal the game and accept defeat. But when Sheringham poked home from close range I screamed with excitement. And when Solskjaer put the ball in the Germans net, I ran around the house in sheer joy.

2002       USA v Portugal   World Cup 2002 Group Stage


In the days leading up to the game, I had a dream that the US crushed Portugal like 6-0 but I had missed it by sleeping in. Due to the time difference, the game kicked off at 4am ET. On the morning of the game, I drove frantically to a friend’s house who was hosting people. After the early US blitz I thought maybe I had had some sort of premonition but alas, Portugal fought back and made for a nervous last couple of minutes. That tournament was amazing and I got up at all hours to watch the matches.

2009       Real Madrid v FC Barcelona     La Liga


In the late 90s and early 2000s I start following FC Barcelona and watched a dramatic 2006 Champions League Final against Arsenal. In the years following, that magic team was broken up and rebuilt and taken over by Pep Guardiola who drove the Blaugrana to an unprecedented, at the time, Treble. Real Madrid hunted Barca down in the league and set up a crucial meeting at the Bernabeu, and when Los Merengues scored first, a sick feeling came over me. And then magic happened with Henry and Messi tearing apart the hosts, each scoring twice, and also getting goals from Puyol and Piqué. It was breathtaking and set the stage for Iniesta’s moment of magic at Stamford Bridge and an amazing finish to the season.

2012       Manchester City v QPR     English Premier  League


The dramatic end to the 1988-89 season was before my time, so when United came back from 0-1 against Spurs in the final league game of 1999 to clinch the title, I didn’t think it could get much better than that. I was wrong. A bunch of fellow fans gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings for Fox’s Survival Sunday, with all ten games on an array of channels. With fans from several different teams present, cheers and groans were constant depending on the action. Eventually we started calling out the TV numbers to keep track of the events. United secured victory at Sunderland and with City down 1-2 against QPR, another league title looked secure. But the fickle finger of fate intervened and Dzeko equalized, setting up Aguero’s moment of glory. Stunned I drank several shots as I watched the celebrations at Etihad. Gutted by the result, it was still one of the greatest soccer community events I have ever experienced.

Let me know what games impacted your soccer support in the comments below.


Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Manchester United Away 2003-05


LONDON - MAY 1: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Charlton Athletic and Manchester United at The Valley on May 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

(picture courtesy of Metro)

Ahead of the 2003/04 season I was lucky enough to attend some of Manchester United’s preseason tour in the United States. Seeing some of my favorite players (Solskjaer, Giggs, Keane, and van Nistelrooy) and future greats (Fletcher and Rio) was fantastic. However, no Becks, which equaled #sadface.

The 03/04 and 04/05 seasons were part of the transition from Fergie’s second United team marked by the Treble to the third version which culminated with three straight Premier League titles from 2007 to 2009 and a European Cup in 2008.

Entering the 03/04 season, the defending Premier League champions said goodbye to Beckham, Veron and Barthez and the following season moved on Butt, Chadwick and Forlan. In their place came a new crop of players: Bellion, Djemba-Djemba, Howard, Kléberson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dong Fangzhuo, Alan Smith, Saha, Heinze, Pique, Rossi and Rooney. While Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney would become club icons and Gabriel Heinze would be a good servant, most of this group would be plagued by injuries, poor form and a lack of quality.

Thinking back on the season 03/04 all I could remember was that Arsenal were invincible and Tim Howard made a critical error in the Champions League. Upon further review, United led the league for the first half of the campaign before a wobble handed the momentum to the Gunners, who ran out league winners in similar fashion to the finish of the 1998 season.


(picture courtesy of Soccer Bible)

The following season saw a slow start from the Reds but the squad picked up points and momentum during the middle third of the season, getting all the way to second in the table. Back to back losses in April ended their challenge and United finished third.

The Reds won the 2004 FA Cup Final, stopping Arsenal from winning the Double with a win in the Semi-Finals. The victory over Millwall was their 11th title, the most in the country at the time. Turns out it was their last as they lost the 2005 Final to Arsenal on penalties and have only had a couple of Semi-Final appearances since then.

In Europe, Fergie’s men lost out to eventual champions Porto in 2004 after a disallowed goal and a mistake from American goalkeeper Tim Howard. The following season AC Milan knocked out the Reds in the Round of 16.


(image courtesy of Historical Kits)

United returned to the black strip last used in 98/99. The strip was marked by a couple of design elements: a geometric pattern and a distinctive collar. As the Pride of Manchester Website notes, A ‘watermarked’ flower pattern adds a nice touch to the jersey, but to me it only looked like a bunch of interlocking throwing stars. The pattern was not really visible during the match so no biggie. The collar saw a rounded elastic band around the neck which was squared off at the throat area. In theory I liked this design but it never quite fit right on my neck, with one side flopping around.

Away 03-05

I received this shirt as a gift from the Haslett High School Girls Varsity team. Knowing of my love of United, the ladies presented it to me at a post season banquet as a mark of appreciation. While I think this is the best designed of the United black kits, the shirt I received had several issues. For one it was too big. I’m a large at best and the shirt was an XL which meant it hung on me like a muumuu. And two, Beckham was on the back but unfortunately he wasn’t on the team anymore, he didn’t wear this particular shirt, the name and numbers were stitched on instead of being heat pressed, and the number used was 23, his new number at Real Madrid. As a result I don’t wear it that much and am keeping my eye out for a better fitting version.

Following sources were used in this post:

Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.