Football in England, otherwise known as soccer in the United States, is at the center of almost every community. A football team bonds a community together through success and can tear one apart through struggles.
Here’s a list of tips from my experiences attending soccer games abroad as they relate to things like buying tickets and leaving the stadium, which are far different in England than they are in the United States.
1. Get a club membership.
It is hard to find or buy tickets to English Premier League games as a local, and even harder as a tourist. Premier league matches are always popular and in constant demand. Demand is so high because the majority of stadiums are small compared to the size of the club’s fan base. Additionally, seats are allocated to season ticket holders, then members, then the general public. Very rarely are their tickets left by the general public stage. To better your odds, the best solution is to become a member of the club that interests you. A membership grants a lot of small perks like the club newsletters and club insight, but more importantly access to buy tickets before the general sale date.
2. Be sure to sit in the right section!
Each stadium is divided into a home section and an away section. The home club by rule is required to allocate a minimum of 10 percent of tickets to the away team’s club. The majority of stadiums do not include a neutral section, so you are either a fan of team A or a fan of team B; you cannot be both. Each stadium takes extreme caution to enforce this rule and prevent any interaction between home and away fans. Dress and act according to where you sit. Don’t support the home club in the away section and vice versa. This only results in negative attention and often times ejection.
3. Don’t be a Chatty Cathy.
Football matches in England are filled with passionate and supportive fans. During the course of live play, stay away from conversation with your neighbor or be prepared for silence. Small talk is only allowed outside of the stadium, during the warm ups, and halftime. Like talking, leaving your seats before halftime is an unnecessary distraction and taboo. You’ll want to wait to use the restroom and eat.
4. Pay close attention.
Observing the game closely is crucial because the stadium television monitors do not show replays. The main reason is for the safety of the referee. A referee is only at his best when he believes his calls are correct; fans booing and yelling against him only creates a second-guessing of a decision. Don’t waste time waiting for the replay, it won’t come. The solution is to put away distraction like phones and watch attentively.
5. Get involved.
Chanting is a staple of English football. Don’t worry if you can’t grasp the chants at first, they are frequent. Pay attention and listen closely! By the end of the match you will be able to recognize each chant and participate to the fullest.
Now you have the knowledge of how to act and what to expect it is imperative to see a game live. The game live is far more entertaining and a one of a kind experience. The wait for tickets is worth it.