The Premier League is the best league in the world, no? According to Sky Sports, various sports journalists and most of the general public it is. Before I go further, I am not here to batter the Premier League and say another league is now at the forefront of European football – that’s just boring and I’ve seen it covered on Natter Football not so long ago. Plus, I’m a fan of English football’s top flight, I just feel it is on a downward spiral.
Surely the imminent departures of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal to Barcelona and Carlos Tevez to god knows where, are disastrous for a league that, last season, was already being touted as fairly dull and lacking a huge amount of quality throughout the campaign.
Personally, I recall watching a few matches that were left wanting of any sort of spark and any real creative flair, with managers crowding out the midfield and playing one upfront, more scared to lose than having the strong desire to take the game to their opponents and win the match. In games like this, it takes a special sort of player to step up and arouse our footballing senses. Players just like Carlos Tevez and Cesc Fabregas.
How many times last season did Fabregas or Tevez come on and change a game for their respective sides? I’ve lost count, especially in Tevez’s case.
So, why leave the money ruled, highly praised and, reportedly, much sought after English Premier League? For Tevez, it’s been well documented that he clearly doesn’t like the lifestyle in Manchester and wants to be closer to his kids, supposedly. Despite earning a ridiculous wage, playing with top class players and being hailed as pretty much the best striker in the league, he still wants leave. He isn’t a fan of our finest fish and chip establishments (what’s wrong with a chip diet?) and, as this next quote demonstrates, hates living in Manchester too:
“Marbella is different from Manchester. You can buy a holiday house in Marbella, but I’m never going back to Manchester, not even on holiday, not for anything.
Of Course I would buy a house in Marbella. The weather, everything. Manchester has nothing.
In Marbella you can buy a house by the beach, relax there and later you can go on holiday and everything.
But a house in Manchester? On top of that a house in Manchester costs six or seven million pounds. Pounds!”
Manchester City madman, Mario Balotelli, has also had an anti England rant, constantly praising various cities and clubs in Italy and showing no respect to the people of Manchester or his current employers. I’ll admit, probably not the best example to make as Mario is clearly not the full quid!
As for Fabregas, he wants to return home to Barcelona and be reunited with old friends and family. Adding to that, he’ll be playing in one of the best teams ever seen and be living in a beautiful city, which is familiar to him.
Adding to the departures of these Premier League stars, we’ve lost others over the years to, arguably, better leagues, nicer climates and sought after lifestyles.
On top of that, players such as Lille’s Eden Hazard have always stated he’d rather sign for a Spanish side than a club in England. Palermo’s Javier Pastore reportedly turned down a chance to join Chelsea because he’d rather live in Paris than London, so he joined PSG. Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin, before joining The Gunners, said he wanted to go to Spain, but nothing materialised and he signed for Arsene Wenger’s side.
In other words, what I am trying to say is – we have a fantastic league with top players but our climate, economy, huge rates of tax and the lure of other leagues, mainly La Liga, seem to be hindering the quality of the Premier League. Players are more commonly squashing interest from top English clubs, declaring an interest in playing elsewhere and, if already playing in the Premier League, wanting to return home or to a warmer climate in an instance.
We can watch Sky Sports, read the newspapers and get behind the hype, but the fact is the Premier League is no longer the attractive proposition it once was. It is still a fantastic, exciting league with exhilarating matches regularly featured, but that isn’t enough, nor does it happen enough.
I’ll leave you with this, if you were a footballer and had the choice of signing for a team in a foreign country with a tropical climate, superb cuisine and a Villa with a swimming pool, or joining a club in a rainy city in England, a house with no swimming pool, weather that is frustratingly inconsistent, plus being lumbered with the majority of your wages being taxed – what would you do?
I could get slated for this post, but the fact is, tremendous talents are leaving and turning down ‘the greatest league in the world’ and for me, it’s a sad state of affairs.
We’re in for a Premier League decline. Get used to it.
By Wayne Curtis – Accrington Stanley fan