10) They don’t have to worry about match-fixing (ahem… Italy!)
There hasn’t been a whole lot of controversy surrounding the English Premier League, and the rare times there has been, it has been nowhere near as severe as the match-fixing scandal in Italy a couple of years ago. As a matter of fact, the biggest controversy in the EPL in the past few years has been the league’s proposal to play a 39th league game in a foreign country. Not really that big of a deal.
9) Foreign ownership
Speaking of ‘foreign’… foreign ownership seems to add a little spice to the EPL. Look at the uproar the Glazers takeover of Manchester United caused. And what about Gillett and Hicks takeover of Liverpool? It’s made for some intense animosity between die-hard supporters and their club’s respective owners (Notice I said ‘respective’ not ‘respected’). Nine Premier League clubs are currently occupied by an owner from a foreign country (Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, West Ham, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Aston Villa). Foreign ownership also speaks for itself, confirming the global appeal of English soccer.
The EPL is the most lucrative league in the world, with annual revenues reaching as high as £1.8 billion. This figure is the fourth highest of any sports league in the world. Only the NFL, MLB, and NBA can boast higher revenues.
7) The Media
The media attention the EPL receives is unbelievable. Sometimes the media can blow a story out of proportion, while other times they are prominent for distorting the truth to make the story more interesting. None the less, the media is partly responsible for the popularity of the English Premier League. No other league in the world receives so much attention from the press.
6) Global Appeal
The EPL has come a long way since the 80’s, when few players from abroad were willing to play in England. In 1992 there were only 11 non-English or Irish players in the league; hardly enough to even form a team of players from abroad. Now there are enough players from abroad to form 22 teams!
So if all the English players were to suddenly hang up their boots, the EPL would still go on. Some of Europe’s top players ply their trade in England and even Asia and Africa have a large number of their top players playing in England.
5) The Supporters
I’ve always felt that England is home to some of the most passionate supporters in the entire world. But it stretches even further than passion. The EPL is also home to some of the most loyal supporters in the world. Look at all of the clubs whose teams struggle in the relegation zone for the majority of the season. They still show up at every game and sing their teams praises even if their team is being slaughtered.
It’s true that every now and then the fans will turn on a manager. You might ask, ‘what kind of loyalty is that?’ That’s simply the supporters wanting the very best for their club and showing their eagerness for that to happen.
The Premiership is also the most watched sporting league in the world, with over half a billion people in 202 countries tuning in to watch live matches every weekend.
4) It has been a showcase to some of the best players in the world, past and present
Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen… the list could go on and on.
Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Alan Shearer, David Beckham, Gary Lineker, Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola, Roy Keane, Sir Bobby Charlton, Patrick Vieira… the list is endless and I think I’ll let it do the talking for me.
3) The Rivalries between Managers
It seems to get better every year. A few years ago the hostility between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger was at its peak. Any Manchester United or Arsenal supporter should be able to recall the bitter confrontations the two managers have had, and continue to have with each other. Jose Mourinho also sparked a lot of controversy between rival managers.
And don’t forget about Kevin Keegan and Sir Alex Ferguson back in the 90’s. Those two had, and probably still have some bitter feelings for each other. A lot may argue with this point, but in my opinion the various managerial rivalries only make the Premiership even more interesting.
2) The Rivalries between Clubs
Manchester United vs. Liverpool, Arsenal vs. Chelsea, Everton vs. Liverpool, Manchester City vs. Manchester United, Tottenham vs. Arsenal, Newcastle vs. Sunderland… the number of rivalries between various clubs in the Premiership is seemingly endless. I’ve only listed a few and I know there are still quite a few more. It’s these rivalries that add a further appealing component to the Premiership. The fans and the media always get hyped up for these matches and the players rarely let anyone down.
1) The Big Four
I have a feeling I’m going to get a lot of criticism for claiming the Big Four helps make the EPL the best league in the world, but I’m going to say it anyway. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool all occupy the Big Four, with Everton the only team to have managed to break into the fourth spot in the past few years.
The Big Four may dominate the Premiership, but they do so much more than that. First of all, they have established the EPL’s dominance in Europe, with three English clubs reaching the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the past two seasons. An English club has also been involved in the last four Champions League finals, winning on two of those occasions.
The Big Four also provides strong competition for the rest of the league. Clubs outside the top four are bolstering their squads and doing whatever it takes to finally gain a Champions League berth. Look at it this way: The Big Four inspire the rest of the league to reach the same level as them.
I understand a lot of people will disagree that the Premier League is not the best in the world, but that’s my opinion and these are ten of my reasons. I’ll leave you with a quote…
"Last season proved once again that, as well as being the hardest league in the world to win, it's also the best." - Sir Alex Ferguson