What was your favorite Premier League-related story of the past decade (2000-2009)? That was the question I posed this week to the writers of EPL Talk and here are their responses. But before I share them, I also want to find out what your favorite story was, so be sure to post that in the comments section below. Here are the top 8 Premier League-related stories of the past decade (in no particular order):
1. Alvin Phoon: “April 21, 2009. Andrei Arshavin announces his arrival to the Premier League with a quartet of goals against Liverpool. 2 months had passed since he officially signed for Arsenal, and his goal tally stood at just two. Many, including myself, were beginning to doubt if the £16.9m was well spent. Arshavin wrote himself into Arsenal’s history books that day, and has since proven himself to be a tremendous signing. There is no doubt now that he ‘is Gooner’ through and through.”
2. Jesse Chula: “For we Americans, the coverage of the Premier League has grown by leaps and bounds in the Noughties. Gone are the days of overly expensive PPV packages, arrived are the days of having more game day matches at our fingertips than citizens in the UK (and it’s affordable!). We truly are a spoiled lot these days. When ESPN announced the acquisition of Premier League rights in ’09, I immediately melted. I quickly realized the game that I love so much and am passionate about is finally being taken seriously by the biggest sports broadcasting company in the country. With other channels like the Fox family taking notice and providing HD broadcasts, football fans are definitely in for another great decade of being able to follow the beautiful game stateside.”
3. Randy Capps: “Fulham pulled off one of the most remarkable escapes in recent memory in 2008. The Whites won four of their last five matches that season to stay up. The highlight of that run was a game at Eastlands which saw Manchester City grab a 2-0 lead at the half. At that point, with the other results going against them, the Whites were mathmatically eliminated. Fulham grabbed three goals in the second half, including two from substitute Diomansy Kamara, to win the match. On the final day, Fulham avoided relegation with its third straight away win with a 1-0 decision over Portsmouth at Fratton Park, courtesy of a Danny Murphy header in the 76th minute.”
4. Kartik Krishnaiyer: “The rehabilitation of Glenn Hoddle as a manager with Southampton and Spurs, and Kevin Keegan with Man City. Former England managers are always ripped in press but Hoddle and Keegan proved they are both good managers when they returned to English football management after getting the sack from England. McLaren also but that is better for Erevidese Talk.”
5. Eric Altshule: “The best story of 2000-2010 in the Premier League is the ongoing and changing relationship between Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson. For most of the decade, they were bitter rivals who clearly hated each other. The mercurial, intellectual Frenchman and the red-faced, pugilistic Scot are as different in type as they were successful in their trade. They were so victorious that they became the model for other teams to follow and for a while it seemed that every team in England had either a shouting Scotsman or a professorial European as a manager. For most of the decade, it was clear that Wenger and Ferguson bitterly disliked each other, and their emotions were carried onto the pitch by their captains – Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane. Yet, as the decade wore on, and Wenger and Ferguson emerged as the only two managers that would start and end their decade with the same team, their rivalry added a layer of deep and abiding respect. They recognized in each other a reverence for football tradition, an esteem for the game, a passion for competition and mutual dislike for teams like Chelsea and Man City that purchase rather than develop success. Sometime over the next decade, both Wenger and Ferguson will retire, and when they do I would not be surprised to see a friendship develop between them. And if they decide to go into the football commentary business together, their show would be the best appointment television in the history of broadcast football.”
6. Adam Rotberg: “The 2003 purchase of Chelsea FC by Roman Abramovich inexorably changed the landscape of the EPL signaled the peak of the globalization of the league. For better or worse, Premier League teams have become coveted ‘toys’ for some of the wealthiest individuals. Along with these international owners have come massive infusions of cash rarely in line with a clubs actual finances. While many traditionalists complain about international billionaires perverting the English Game; the money and attention is a result of having the most popular domestic league in the world. Some controls are probably necessary to control the free wheeling owners but I believe the disruption to the establishment will ultimately benefit the league with continued growth in worldwide popularity. Don’t fight the progress.”
7. Paul Bestall: “My top Premiership stories in the decade were either Mourinho’s dog smuggling escapade, the death of Bobby Robson or season from hell that Derby County endured.”
8. The Gaffer: “For me, the top story of the decade was the rise and fall of Leeds United. Here’s a team that had, at a young age, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Keane, Rio Ferdinand, James Milnar, Jonathan Woodgate, Paul Robinson and Lee Bowyer in their prime. In 2000, they finished third in the Premier League. And in 2001, they achieved incredible success by making it to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Then everything went wrong. Although the general public were unaware, chairman Peter Ridsdale had taken out large loans against the prospect of gate receipts from future Champions League games. As Leeds had failed to qualify for the competition, there was simply not enough money coming in to repay the debt and the club were in a freefall. in 2004, Leeds United were relegated to the Championship. In 2005, the club went into administration. In 2007, Leeds were relegated to League One where they have stayed ever since.”
Feel free to post your favorite Premier League-related story of the past decade below in the comments section.
On behalf of EPL Talk and our family of bloggers, I’d like to personally wish you and your family a Happy New Year! Thanks for all of your support in 2009, and let’s enjoy a wonderful 2010 with the World Cup, the best Premier League season ever and who knows what soccer surprises that are in store for us!
Photo credit: Coachie Ballgames.