James Bremner’s devotion to his football team bordered on obsession. James Bremner

The 36-year-old Londoner attended his first Tottenham Hotspurs match at 9 years old, but didn’t become a regular attendee until age 11 when he started to go to nearly every home and away contest. The stalwart missed only nine games the North London club played in 25 years.

But that ritual ended in April of 2007 when he moved to New York to be with his fiancée Lola, whom he met on a business social networking Web site in 2006, and sold his season tickets.

“It was excruciating,” Bremner said of selling his tickets.

A bar on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn eased Bremner’s pain and displayed the continued growth of English football in America as he found a pub full of Spurs supporters. Floyd N.Y. (watch video), located on the border of Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens, hosts the New York Tottenham Hotspurs Supporter’s Club for televised matches.

Bremner found the group shortly after he moved to New York and it’s been a godsend for him. For the Carling Cup Final in February, more than 200 Spurs fans filled Floyd to watch Spurs defeat Chelsea, 2-1, in extra time.

“Five hours after the final whistle they were still singing and dancing,” Bremner said as he stood outside Floyd during halftime of a recent Spurs match. “For it to be like that in New York is something special. This place is unique.”

Spurs are part of the England’s top division of professional football, the Premier League, which continues to gain fans in the United States. More than 30 million homes subscribe to Fox Soccer Channel, which has increased the number of Premier League matches it televises each season to more than 200. The television ratings for top matches are often better than NHL and NBA games. The league’s biggest club, Manchester United, estimated it now has five million fans in America. United and other clubs have played several exhibition games in the U.S. over the past five years. The league has also contemplated playing regular season matches in the U.S.

The increased interest in English football has now spread outside the traditional top clubs of United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. In New York, supporter groups have formed around middle-of-the-pack clubs like Spurs, West Ham and Everton (see map). And many, like the Spurs club, include a lot of American converts, not just former Brits.

Pages: 1 2

View Larger Map

By Fritzie Andrade, Eliot Caroom & Matt Townsend: CUNY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM