The English Premier League is widely regarding as one of the most competitive leagues in world football. And yet, since it’s inception in 1993 only four teams have managed to win the title: Manchester United (12 times), Arsenal and Chelsea (3 times) and Blackburn Rovers (once).
Other teams have attempted to break this domination, usually with the help of some hefty foreign financial backing, including Liverpool, Tottenham and, most recently, Manchester City. As the form begins to settle down for the 2011/2012 season the old familiar faces are appearing at the top of the table and the rest will be left fighting for scraps or desperately trying to avoid relegation.
So where do we get this complacency about our league? Is it the influx of foreign players? Perhaps. But the novelty of watching the biggest names on the international stage plying their trade at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford has surely worn off. The effects on our national team have been well documented with no sign of a trophy to add to our 1966 World Cup. Hopes of anything appearing in the trophy cabinet any time soon will have taken a dent with our recent scrambled qualification for Euro 2012 via a 2-2 draw in Montenegro and our “star player” sent off for a loutish kick that would have been better suited to a Sunday pub team.
What is perhaps more remarkable is the fact that the collective debt of those clubs fortunate enough to enjoy life in the Premiership is a staggering £3.3 billion. This is often blamed on ridiculous transfer fees and enormous wages needed to attract the biggest names from around the world. Chelsea smashed the record to prize Fernando Torres away from Liverpool for £50 million. Spurs and, possibly future England boss, Harry Redknapp bemoaned the huge amount of money being spent on players and then tried to force Chelsea to go to £40 million to buy Luka Modric. As good a player as he is…is he really worth £40 million? So why is nothing being done to put a stop to it?
The cream of the Premiership are forever boasting about their youth squads and yet the fill them up with youngsters snapped up from abroad. Every year they farm out these “promising youngsters” either on loan deals or to the lower divisions. As long as the Premiership continues to be run in the same way as the country, piling debt upon debt as if there is no tomorrow, then nothing will change.
We have already witnessed the decline of the League Cup into a reserve team competition. The F.A. Cup is heading in the same direction as the emphasis is put on the so-called “Champions League”. It is not a league, it is a cup which is dragged out by its qualifying pool stages before the knockout stages begin. The theory goes that our home-grown talent will benefit from playing with the best on the European stage. In reality it is a gravy train for the big boys. Our best young talent has to gain experience by watching from the substitutes bench and hoping to get 20 minutes during the qualifying stages.
So what became of the good old English game? Players ankle-deep in mud, hoofing it up to the big centre-forward. Well that still exists but is the reserve of the less-fortunate teams that get to compete against the super-rich. Every now and then they will use home advantage combined with a wet and windy British winter to stun their wealthier rivals and send them packing. However, when the points are added up at the end of the season the gulf in class is clear for all to see.
So is our Premier League the best club competition in the world or is it a sell-out of our national game to the television companies and a playground for wealthy investors? You will have to draw your own conclusions.
This is a guest post written by Harvey Mayson, Harvey is a writer for libertygames.co.uk a football tables specialist.
- Five Sports Stars Who Refused to Let Age get in the Way (fryingpansports.com)
- Rugby: ‘A Hooligan’s Game, Played by Gentlemen’ (fryingpansports.com)