The Premiership: Good or Bad?

July 15, 2009 at 4:56 am | Posted in General Football | 5 Comments

Here it is, early July, and there is something missing from life…  Oh, yes, it is the English Premier League (EPL).  The EPL, formed in 1992,  is now the world’s number one football league.   Since it is the top dog, it is blamed the world over for any number of ills in football.   It is blamed for ruining the English player, the English Coach, other countries domestic leagues, etc.   People feel there is too much money involved.

There are also internal problems.  There is a huge lack of parity between the top clubs, the mid tier clubs and the bottom clubs.   Every year, there are only really three teams in it to win it, last year being Chelsea, Manchester U and Liverpool.    So dominant has money become in the game and so predictable are the results that you wonder why supporters of clubs like Wigan, Bolton, Hull City, Stoke, etc. even bother showing up at all.   They are in a relegation battle right from the start of the season!

Contrast this with Nottingham Forrest of the 1970’s.  In the 1976-77 season, Forrest were promoted from then division two by finishing third.   In 1977-78 they won the Division one championship.   They then won the European Cup the following two years in a row.  Does anyone expect Burnley to do anything like this?   In many ways the sheer financial gap between the teams is making football very predictable indeed.    Yet, I suppose people continue to watch because of the sheer competitiveness of the matches.  While English players are less and less Englishmen, foreign nationals seem to play like Englishmen once they arrive.   They play fast, physical aggressive football and give their all.  The passion of the fans keeps them honest.

Those who blame the influx of foreign players in the EPL for the decline in English players and the English national team need to take a look at football history.   Even when the English game had an overwhelming number of English players playing for the top English domestic teams, England often failed to qualify for big tournaments, notably the 1974, 1978 and 1994 World Cup finals.    Since the influx of foreign players the English always have qualified: the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups for instance.   And they have always qualified for the Euro Championships as well since the start of the Premiership (except for 2008 when they had an English coach!).     English players benefit from playing alongside the best foreigners.

English coaching is another matter, and this is the big problem in England.   England needs foreign coaches, as the failed term of Steve McLaren proved.   English coaches have always stressed effort and physicality over skill and tactics, to the detriment of the English game.    Having foreign coaches from Spain and Italy where tactics are highly developed can only help the English game.

The other thing is the money.   Here there is no blame to be put at the feet of the EPL.   Investors are flocking to get in on the best show on earth, and who can blame them?  English football is fast, spectacular and competitive.  The fans are the best in the world, being consistently passionate and committed across the league.  The EPL looks great on television, which is the big revenue provider.   If I had the loot I would buy a team myself!!!

Football is only following the same pattern as the world economy.  World trade has become liberalised, the iron curtain has fallen, and technology has made possible “just in time delivery”- including the delivery of the best football players from around the globe.

If football wants to become more fair, reform the Champions League so that smaller countries and teams get some of the cash too, and stop giving the big leagues so many spots!

But don’t blame the EPL for being the best footie league in the world.  I can hardly wait for kickoff!!!



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  1. Whaddaya mean “Top League in the World”? Last time I looked, those fancypant temporary Catalans from Barcelona were totin’ around the Champions League Trophy and young Ronaldo was on his way to play with the big boys in Real Madrid. Something tells the rest of the world (perhaps outside you…) that the best league resides in sunny Spain.

    And what about those English players? It seems any EU “foreigner” can go to England, adapt and blow them away, but the English don’t seem too keen on proving themselves in Germany, Italy or Spain…where the big boys play. Almost all of them end up rotting on the bench until they can come home and sign for a small club like West Ham.

    Yeesh, such offensive comments from this blog. Rest assured, the Internet Police will be hearin’ about you soon! Blech!


  2. Barca won and were the best team in Europe. Don’t forget however, there were 4 English teams in the Quarters, 2 Spanish teams, and in the Semi’s there were three English teams and one La Liga team. And don’t forget that but for one desperate injury time goal, it was Chelsea-Man u in the final again.
    I don’t see Real Madrid’s spending being anywhere near matched by any other Spanish club.
    Don’t forget that AC Milan took on 33 year old Beckham on a loan and started him. And you say this is where the big boys play? Serie A is in massive decline. And Wolfsburg winning in Germany? Bayern Munich were the only German team in the quarters and got slaughtered. Nowhere near the quality of the Premiership.


    The World Cup has been fantastic. Now I understand why I hate English football.

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