The last time I wrote a post, it sparked mass controversy. This time I’ll try to keep it more low key in that sense . I’ll also keep it (relatively) short and to the point.
Many people (myself included) believe that the premier league is the most entertaining league. Fast football. End-to-end stuff. Arsene Wenger even goes as far as saying that this (England) is the centre of the football world and that the English fans are “unique”. My question is: is it becoming the most dominant league in the world?
A much talked about point of late is that 3 of the 4 CL semi-finalists last season were English clubs – something that (I think) has never happened before (for English clubs that is). Some say that it’s an anomaly – a one-off. Others (Sir Alex included) say it illustrates that English football is finally starting to dominate Europe – something the Spanish and Italians have done for a while. By dominate, I don’t mean one club only (e.g. Liverpool in the 80s) but 2 or 3. In Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool; England have 3 such clubs that could start such domination (Arsenal fans will argue that they should be in this – I’m not so sure ).
Another point is the growing number of takeovers in the English game reflecting the growing attraction of ownership of English clubs. Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa to name a few that have foreign owners. Why so? The fact that total club revenues (according to Deloitte) for 07-08 were 1.8bn, 40% higher than its next competitor (Serie A), makes it is easy to understand why. But thats just the beginning of the good news for English clubs.
Next year, as is well-publicised, will see the introduction of an extremely lucrative TV deal that will, for the first time, match our counterparts in la liga. Actually, the TV deal will result in English clubs surpassing Spanish clubs. Next season’s top club will be compensated with £50m. The bottom club will earn a reported £27m. Not too shabby heh? To put this into perspective, the premier league will only be behind the NFL in terms of TV deals. So what does this have to do with dominance? In fact, it has a lot to do with it.
More money (significantly more), for all English clubs, will mean that they can compete even more with foreign clubs for the best players; for the best talent. Couple this with the fact that many clubs have foreign owners who are eager to invest in players and the picture is even brighter. Some of the effects can be seen already. West Ham, for example, were prepared to offer £18m for Darren Bent. This is a club which just survived relegation. Villa spent big in the Jan transfer window (for a mid-table club). Compare this to the other major European leagues and I doubt you would find either a mid-table club or relegation club spending as much.
In addition, the premier league is now attracting young talent more than ever – like a moth to a flame. Make a list of all the best ‘young’ talent in the world and see how many are now based in England. When I say young talent I mean guys that have proven themselves in some sort as being quality players. Consider the following players: Ronaldo, Rooney, Fabregas, Denilson, Messi, Higuain, Sergio Ramos, Aguerro, Torres, Tevez, Nani, Anderson, Eduardo da Silva, Giovanni Dos Santos, Robinho, Mascherano, Podolski, Lennon, Mikel, Robben, Martins, Schweinsteiger, Dani Alves, Huntelaar, van der Vaart….there are more players, which I have missed out on so dont harp on that. My point is this, how many of those players are now based in England? Quite a few I would say and definitely more than ever before.
To conclude the post: the premier league is now the most lucrative league and together with investment from foreign owners, clubs are able to prize away more talent than they could before (and possible, in time to come, more than other top European leagues). Ultimately, this could result in the premier league becoming the dominant force in European football.
As usual, I would love to hear your guys thoughts.