Let’s be honest, the Premier League is an amazing league, filled with great talent, great teams, and great managers. The league makes ungodly amounts of money for the clubs. But here’s my problem with it, outside of the ‘big six’ teams (Arsenal, Liverpool, the Manchester Clubs, Spurs, and Chelsea) who else is really capable of going up the table and competing?
It wasn’t too long ago that in the old First Division, you could have small teams sneak up the table, and grab second place. Heck Everton, who have never been a world beater have two First Division titles, and a European Cup Winners Cup from the 80’s.
We’ll never see a club like Wimbledon, or Norwich City, or even something like Oxford. While it looks like I’m sitting here and opining on a begotten era, and hating the new fangled league, let’s not forget something, the Premier League has been around since 92. So it’s not new, it needs some fixing. Let me also say this, I haven’t seen much of the football from the 80’s, and being American I never did.
The best example nowadays we have to a small team challenging for Europe, or being in that next mid-table section of the Premier League, is Stoke. And no one is ever going to mistake them for the great Everton sides of the 80s, or Brian Clough’s Forest teams, because they can’t. They’ll never have the capital or have players that want to join the club.
What needs to happen is each team out of the European places, and above the relegation zone needs to get extra money from the Premier League. While the prize money, and the TV money from finishing in each spot is great, it needs to be better for teams to rise above the big boys. An extra £20-40 million per club wouldn’t hurt. And I would only do this once every five years. Added to that, I’d make the clubs who aren’t in Europe have to spend 40% of their profits on building the team, (new talent, better facilities, better coaching, etc). Chairmen should have to put money into their clubs to keep succeeding.
There needs to be more parity in English football, the days of Watford coming up getting second in 1981-82, and in the FA Cup runners up in 1983, need to come back. As much as I (a Liverpool fan) love the top teams, and the great players, who would love to see a smaller team make a run in a cup or the league? Who would love to have 1987 again? When Luton won the League Cup. Or who wouldn’t want 1988 again? When Wimbledon famously beat Liverpool and won the FA Cup. Two small clubs having unheard of success. Will that ever happen again? Doubt it.
More recently, English football fans will remember the run Stoke had to the FA Cup final last year. That was fun because it could get boring seeing the same four teams every year, or the random Aston Villa sighting.
Is there a solution to the problem?
By Stephen Brandt – Liverpool fan – @KingKennyfanlfc