We're English. We're proud of our football leagues. Real leagues of tradition, of history, and our match-day routine is about the closest thing to stability in our lives. But with that, comes stubbornness, and with stubbornness comes denial. While we've been paying over the odds for 90 minutes, Major League Soccer has flourished and new clubs have approached fan experience from a fresh perspective that's got us thinking whether the Americans are the ones doing things right after all.

Ok, hear us out. We've not got off to a great start, but we will try to explain. The Premier League is unquestionably a better standard of football than MLS, but that's not what this is about. We (The British) have always been quick to dismiss and ignore soccer in the USA. We've laughed at it, we've mocked it. We've made lazy assumptions that it's not real football. And yes, at times they've not helped themselves; some clubs have played at baseball stadiums, a penalty should never be a PK (rich coming from 'Soccer'Bible, we know), their chants need some work, too. What do they know? We ask. Well turns out, quite a bit. They know even more about hospitality, showmanship and how to put on a spectacle, and look at their fans and tell us they're not enjoying the experience more than we are.


Above: Orlando City SC are one of many MLS clubs with safe standing and pyro zones.

Starting from scratch has allowed clubs to build stadiums that challenge and enhance the fan experience; they can drink in the stands, they have bars and pubs within view of the pitch. They embrace pyros with specific safe standing areas, and the tickets are cheap. Clubs encourage fans to arrive early and stay long after the game. In most British grounds you're shown the exit as soon as the whistle goes; the food outlets are closed and you can't stand around and have a post-match pint in the ground while the crowds disburse more comfortably.

A lot of these perks that the Americans are enjoying come down to trust and reputation. Minnesota United have a 60-foot 'Brew Hall' bar with two balconies that overlooks the pitch. 96 taps and huge screens allowing fans to use it on match day, but also non-matchdays where they can come in, watch a game on the TV and have a beer overlooking the pitch. D.C. United have the Heineken Rooftop bar behind one goal which is essentially a pub where you can watch the game from. A pub which, as of yet, no one has lobbed a stool onto the pitch from. Behave yourselves and you're trusted.


Above: D.C. United's Audi Field and its Heineken Rooftop Bar. Below: Minnesota United's Brew Hall with all 96 taps on offer.


It's the type of experience where it becomes less about the quality, it's about going home and knowing you had a brilliant time. That experience potentiality masking a bad result or dull game. So can English football learn from MLS? Absolutely. And we already are. Tottenham's new stadium is all about the concourse and the 65m Goal Line Bar. Get in early, enjoy a vast choice of food and drinks without having to queue for long. Enjoy the spacious pub-styled layout, and even get back inside at full time for some live music and more drinks. A club that is maximising your experience whilst you happily hand over money to them, not begrudgingly.

As for the on-pitch experience, the game is only as big as the atmosphere for players. If it's a 60,000 sell out and it's bouncing it could be Champions League or semi-pro, it's about the enjoyment, the entertainment, the big show.

Okay, the weather helps, we can't deny that. Could you have a tailgate party in Barnsley in February and enjoy it as much as you could in Los Angeles? No, you could not, but are our clubs doing as much as they can to make us fans feel fulfilled? We'd argue that they're not, and MLS is most definitely a league they can all learn from. Some aspects won't directly translate, but we'd be wrong to believe there isn't features that would complement our traditions.

You'd love a brew hall in your Kop wouldn't you...