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How the Premier League Compares to the First Division

The game of English football has changed considerably from the 80s to today. In some ways, it’s unrecognizable especially in the stadiums and the business dealings off the pitch. But how much has it changed, if any, on the field?

EPL Talk would like to get your valuable insight and observations on how the Premier League of today compares to the First Division, as it was called back then, in the mid 1980s.

Below we have four different video clips from a documentary series entitled “Match of the 80s.” Here’s how it’ll work. Simply view the videos and afterwards leave a comment. What we’re looking for is your feedback on what differences you saw between the mid-80s and now, whether the game is slower or faster, the technical skill level and any other interesting observations.

For many of you, this may be the first time you’re seeing a lot of these video highlights. Others of you may not have even been born before 1985. It’ll be very interesting to read your observations no matter how young or old you are.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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5 Responses to How the Premier League Compares to the First Division

  1. dragonki2012 says:

    A lot more passion coming from the fan’s and maybe that’s the reason for all the riots.

    I believe that the International games back in the ’70′s and ’80′s were far more fast paced and the players played for their country as if they were fighting for it.

    The First Division isn’t near what the Premier League is because of all the revenue, more fans, no violence. But the First Division was far more interesting to watch, points wise, you know?

    I could watch the table change week-to-week, I saw Arsenal and Man utd at the top one week and then later they weren’t near the top.
    It’s weird.

    Not being racist here and I’m sure they were(back in the day) But I saw no Black players on the pitch, what’s up with that?

    Not to mention that all the players were British.

    I like the Premier League more than the First Division, and everyone’s opinion will differ, but it’s what I’ve grown up watching and the First Division reminds me of leagues in 3rd world countries, if you’ve ever seen those kind of games, you’d understand.

  2. No39thGame says:

    Give me the 3rd world countries’ leagues any day over the sanitised predictable Prem.

  3. Joe says:

    2 things that everyone else also sees:

    1) the intensity of the fans and the density of the crowds. It sure looks like bigger and livelier crowds.

    2) the intensity and passion of the players, especially the Everton-Bayern match. I’d like to find a tape of that whole match.

  4. TheScout says:

    Well…the kits were bloody awful for sure ! :) Seriously though, the football on display did not look vastly inferior to what’s played today. That Everton side of the mid-80s looked as complete and capable of either griding it out or playing “liquid football” as any team in the Prem today. I’ll have to track down some DVDs or VHS tapes of matches at some point and do a full comparison.

  5. Rob says:

    @TheScout: “Well…the kits were bloody awful for sure !”

    What, don’t you think they are bloody awful NOW? garish, overly-fussy designs defaced by tacky, tasteless sponsors’ logos. There was none of that in the 70′s…club strips were simple, bold and distinctive, WITHOUT sponsors’ logos or other needless adornments. And they didn’t change the design every single bloody season to sell greater numbers of replicas to gullible kids either.

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