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For football fans looking for a reason to take in some futbol, here’s why you should come to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, July 28.
Tottenham Hotspur’s competitiveness with Liverpool Football Club is similar to the animosity between the Ravens and Steelers, says Darren Eales, the Director of Football Administration for Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s certainly an intense rivalry,” Eales said.
“Even though it’s only the preseason, both teams will want to win the match because psychologically it has a big effect going into the Premier League season. If you can get a victory over your rivals, that gives you the bragging rights and helps you going into the season.”
The two teams tend to be at the top of the Premier League standings every year, similar to the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North. They also similarly play each other twice a year during the regular season, so every match is big.
“We don’t get to play against Premier League clubs [in the preseason] normally, so this is a sort of unusual situation where we thought we’d take it to America,” Eales said.
The environment in M&T Bank Stadium is expected to be similarly electric, but also unlike any football experience.
Eales took a tour of M&T Bank Stadium on Monday, and came away highly impressed. He said the players enjoy coming to America, where they often take vacation anyways.
“It’s an amazing stadium. We’re really excited about coming here to play,” he said.
“The crowd is very knowledgeable. I played over here in college and was part of a professional league staff. Certainly in 15 years we’ve got a lot more knowledgeable crowds, we’ve got people now who have been brought up watching the game.”
Eales said playing in Baltimore was a “perfect” match because in March, Baltimore-based Under Armour announced a multi-year apparel agreement with Tottenham, making the Spurs the first Barclays Premier League soccer team to sign with a performance apparel retailer.
And the Ravens are also Eales’ favorite team. He and Comcast SportsNet’s Brent Harris are former roommates.
“This is my American football team. I hope we have a good season and I hope the Ravens do as well,” Eales said, adding that he stays up late at night on Sundays in England to watch games.
“We’ll try to get as many of our players to be Ravens fans as we can; I’ll make sure of it.”