Skip navigation
Crystal palace

      Palace USA: Lasso, Lowe and lighting up Detroit


      As Palace prepare to jet off to the United States for the next leg of their pre-season preparations, a passionate and diverse group of fans prepare to welcome them – from expats to all-American Eagles, there is a growing love of all things red and blue across the Atlantic.

      Roy Hodgson’s men head to Chicago and Detroit to face Millonarios and Sevilla respectively, and are expected to be backed by a strong contingent on both occasion. You can find out more about both games and purchase tickets by clicking HERE.

      “It’s a good time – Palace are on the big stage,” says Richard Bamber of Colorado Palace, a British expat whose dedication to the Eagles has not diminished since his move 13 years ago.

      “There is a lot of football on TV, access to the game is better than in UK. Palace just need to keep building. We’re hoping [during the tour] that we can cement some fandoms – people will watch Palace a bit and will move along a bit in their fandom.”

      A pre-season tour marries two disparate but complementary groups, and Bamber has been a part of both at different times: the travelling fans and the American hosts.

      “On tours you really meet the die-hard fans from England,” he says. “That’s what I did. My first tour was in the United States in 2006, we went on tours to Europe. There was another tour in 2009 when I spent four days off tour and got a job here!

      “I went to Hong Kong, that was pretty amazing. It was quite crazy as it was 10 hours behind Denver and I never changed time zone: we were up all night, went to bed at 7am, slept all day and got up at 3pm to go to a Palace game.”

      There are no regrets, however, and Bamber can’t wait to do it again in his own backyard.

      “[Tours] are such a fun time of year,” he says. “You get access to players and the staff that you wouldn’t get at a normal Premier League game. Everyone is in a good mood.

      “Normally we win or get good results! You get to combine Palace and travelling – I love travelling. I’m excited to create some more memories in two fantastic cities.

      “Chicago doesn’t need to sell itself. Detroit you will find is a gem, it’s going to be really good. The game is right in the middle of downtown.”

      As for the Palace fans eager to welcome their heroes across the pond, Bamber says there will be a huge presence.

      Quote Icons

      You get access to players and the staff that you wouldn’t get at a normal Premier League game.

      Richard Bamber

      “Americans are more predisposed to organised fan groups,” he explains. “[Palace] are quite unique in the Premier League in having such an organised group in the Holmesdale Fanatics. Their ideas definitely don’t just come from traditional British support.

      “Americans, from their experiences in college, are used to joining clubs to just have a good time. Supporters clubs are a big thing. You will have a European ultras thing, but the other thing you will have is a massive South American contingent who love football.

      “Lots of them are based in the United States. Our opposition in both games, and certainly the Colombians, will be very loud, bring lots of drumming, lots of jumping up and down, lots of chanting.

      “They tend to be less responsive to the game. In England we pride ourselves on seeing something in the game and responding to it, whereas theirs is more just a wall of noise.

      Palace fan Rebecca Lowe is the face of NBC's Premier League coverage
      Palace fan Rebecca Lowe is the face of NBC's Premier League coverage

      “The other difference is that in the US we don’t deal with a lot of restrictions. Fans can mingle freely, with no backdrop of the violent 1970s and 1980s.

      “They are used to a more chilled game: we are in a baseball stadium for one of the games, so it will be more relaxed. It’s like cricket, with a few drinks during the game – there aren’t those mad rushes, that intensity.”

      Two major factors have led to the marked boost in the popularity of football in the United States, and both have a significant Palace connection.

      “The biggest thing is the TV contract signed with NBC,” Bamber explains. “The coverage is fronted by Rebecca Lowe who is a massive Palace fan. What NBC did with football coverage in the USA is take it to another level.

      Quote Icons

      Palace are on the big stage.

      Richard Bamber

      “They do documentaries. They realised that every year three clubs get promoted who people may not have heard of. We were one of those clubs 10 years ago, and so they did documentaries explaining us, how CPFC 2010 saved the club, the fans marching on Lloyds Bank, Steve Parish and his consortium, telling those stories.

      “The other big one now is Ted Lasso. That is incredible. There are people who don’t even like football in America talking about Ted Lasso. It is absolutely huge.

      “And Ted Lasso has so many in-jokes. It’s like South Park: you can watch that and find it funny, but if you live in Denver, Colorado – where it is from – we get a whole new level of jokes. It is the same with Ted Lasso.

      “In the first episode where she points at why she has bought the club, it is a picture of the chairman in the bath with the models; we all know that was a story that happened in the 1970s at Palace.”

      The cast of Ted Lasso with Roy Hodgson
      The cast of Ted Lasso with Roy Hodgson

      Think Malcolm Allison – kids, ask your parents. The series is filmed and set at Selhurst Park – albeit renamed to host AFC Richmond, the team managed by hapless by loveable American coach Ted.

      “It’s great because with CGI they get rid of ‘EAGLES’ and add in ‘GO GREYHOUNDS’ [on the seats in the stands]. I can tell people: ‘You know where I actually used to watch my football? It is on the ‘H’ in ‘GREYHOUNDS’. The connection is there.

      “The Ted Lasso bump means the trajectory of football in the USA continues to go up. The big rumour coming is whether Messi is coming to play here, and then the Women’s World Cup which they are expecting to win.

      “Palace are on the big stage.”

      As Palace head across to the big stage this summer, Bamber and his fellow supporters from clubs across the country will descend on Chicago and Detroit to make their presence known.

      “The message came out very quickly on which seats to buy, so we won’t be spread around,” he says. “We will be concentrated. A couple of thousand dollars has been raised for ‘Tifo’ – what some Palace fans would call balloons and flags.

      “You will notice which blocks are Palace blocks in the stadium. If everyone wears red and blue, w will bring a massive splash of colour to those cities on gameday.

      “You will know we are here.”

      Remember, the only way to watch both of Palace’s games in the USA – as well as the rest of a packed pre-season schedule – is to subscribe to Palace TV+ by clicking HERE.