Interview with soccer historian Dave Lange ahead of City v Chelsea in St Louis - Manchester City FC

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Busch Stadium high shot
Season 2012/13

Excitement builds ahead of City in St Louis

  • 23 April 2013 14:59
  • Posted by @mccarthy_mcfc / Photos by:Jason Patrylo

Soccer fans in St.Louis are counting down the days until Manchester City and Chelsea arrive in the ‘The Lou,’ for their much anticipated pre-season friendly.

Tickets for the game on Thursday 23 May sold out in just twenty minutes earlier this month and excitement levels among football fans is already at an all-time high.

“This is an extremely important match for the soccer faithful in St. Louis,” said soccer historian Dave Lange [pictured below, left].

“It is viewed as a first step toward other international matches coming here. Fans in St.Louis hoped for an eventual sell-out, but few, if any, thought the tickets would go in less than 20 minutes. We are extremely happy that it happened!

“If these matches continue to attract big crowds, then soccer fans here hope that an investment group will put forth the funds to build a soccer stadium and bring a Major League Soccer franchise to St. Louis.”

Dave Lange

Although America has its own football league, Major League Soccer, Dave says there is a growing appetite in the States for the English Premier League.

“The EPL has a large following here and that is one reason that the tickets sold so quickly,” he said.

“A good gauge of the interest here is to watch the shirts people wear. Up until a few years ago, one only saw shirts from, shall we say, 'another' Manchester club!

“Now, it is common to see people here wearing shirts from a wide range of EPL clubs, including Manchester City.

“There are watch parties at about a half-dozen pubs around town every weekend. Some EPL teams even have their own supporters’ groups here.”

St Louis has a rich soccer history, dating back to the 1880s when many people from the UK began to settle in the city.

Dave believes this match will provide a great boost for those who are involved in the sport.

“About 40,000 kids play soccer in the St. Louis area today, so to have such a big game come to their City is just great for them,” he said.

“We continue to produce high-level players here, including Tim Ream at Bolton. Others include Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis, U.S international defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Lori Chalupny, who has 92 caps and eight goals with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

“Former players from St. Louis, including those enlisted in the soccer hall of fame [pictured below (L-R) Al Trost, Denny Long and Pat McBride] are also very excited about the recent developments.”

Hall of famers

There is no doubting the popularity of this post-season friendly among the football faithful who hope that is will be the start of a string of Premier League fixtures in the future.

“We would love to see more EPL games in the States, but even better, here in St. Louis,” said Dave.

“Very few of us have been fortunate enough to go to England for a match and experience the atmosphere of an EPL game.

“It is one thing to watch on television, but it is far better to be there in person.”

We will bring you full coverage of the tour that will immediately follow the Barclays Premier League season here on mcfc.co.uk.

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