Football’s Coming Home? It Never Left: Celebrating the Premier League
The dust has settled on England’s fairly successful 2018 World Cup bid. People’s car windows are not proudly displaying the St. George’s flag anymore. Your...
The dust has settled on England’s fairly successful 2018 World Cup bid. People’s car windows are not proudly displaying the St. George’s flag anymore. Your news feed may no longer contain a tsunami of It’s Coming Home memes and videos. But that doesn’t mean that we will ever forget how a young and multicultural England team united the nation with a common cause and a communal joy.
It also doesn’t mean that we are not thinking about football right now. Why? Because the Premier League (PL) – with all its heartache, meticulously selected fantasy squads and cheap pies – is back. Which is awesome, because we have the best football league in the world. We’ve all grown up with the PL. Which means that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the shimmering beauty and intoxicating excitement of it all. So, here’s a reminder of the fundamental attributes at the core of the PL’s DNA. Attributes that make it the best football league in the world.
For all the innovation and tactical strategy and multi-million-pound budgets, the pace and physicality of PL players is the great leveller. Fans are stirred by it; sponsors are attracted by it; defenders are alarmed by it. Make no mistake, pace and physicality wins games – it dictates the outcome of whole campaigns. And the PL has that in droves.
If there was one word that we would associate with the PL, it would be ‘diversity’. In 1992, there were 13 foreign players playing in the PL. A quarter of a century later, in 2017, that number had jumped – to 68 percent of the players, from 57 different countries. This was a record for football leagues everywhere. This diversity is not only represented on the pitch, it’s the same story for the fans in the stands and watching on tele at home; people from pretty much every country watch the PL every year. Plus, the stadiums are nearly always full – PL fans rock!
The No-Nonsense Approach to Racism
Another awesome thing about the PL is that they take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination of any kind. Whilst discrimination such as racism has plagued the sport of football in the past, now the FA make sure that it is not tolerated in any way. Players are routinely banned if they are found guilty of being racist and fans are barred for life from stadiums if they exhibit discriminative behaviour. And after a recent rise in discrimination in English football, the FA have vowed to respond.
The Level of Competition
The PL is both breathtakingly dramatic and magnificently exciting to watch. Whether it’s the competition at the top to win the ultimate prize or the relegation dogfight at the bottom, the level of competition is nothing short of staggering. It’s no secret that the level of competition in the PL is one of its best assets; it’s what makes it the best of the best – the gold standard of footballing leagues. It’s no wonder that there’s a saying that ‘easy games don’t exist in the PL’.
When the PL was first introduced in 1992, it came during a dark time for English football; hooligans were running amok in stands up and down the country, stadiums were crumbling and racism (amongst players and fans alike) was rife. But now, 26 seasons later, English football has been credited with revolutionising how footy is both played and watched. And when you look at some of the attributes of the PL mentioned above, that makes perfect sense.