Is the Future of the Premier League Bright or Not?

Football needs to be careful. We all love the drama of a good transfer deadline day and that feeling when your club lands a great player is brilliant but the whole situation is becoming scary.

As I sit and write this, Fernando Torres is moving for nearly £50 million and Andy Carroll is the subject of a bid of nearly £40million. Not to mention the Darren Bent transfer last week.

The so called people’s game is moving closer to the edge by the month. The average fan can not help but feel that they are becoming less and less relevant to the running of their club. Actually, that is not quite true, their wallets are still very relevant but beyond that, one has to doubt. The influx of billionaire owners means that even the old reliance on ticket sales is lessening.

This is not an article moaning about the financial behaviour of clubs, there are enough of them already. This is an external processing of serious worry that I have for the future of the game.  The success of football was built on a connection between clubs and fans and while this has almost entirely disappeared over the past twenty years or so, the situation is now becoming ridiculous.

How can fans still feel part of their club? How can they honestly believe that they are at the centre of the owner’s minds anymore? I honestly believe that radical changes are going to have to come in before the bubble bursts. A salary cap, greater financial equality and more investment in lower leagues are all needed.

Unfortunately all of the above are very unlikely. A salary cap would see many players leaving for Europe unless it was brought in there as well. The big clubs, which hold all the power, are not going to pass any rules which see their financial potency diluted. As for investment in the Football League, the chances of foreign owners suddenly embarking a round of philanthropy are very slim.

As fans we are faced with a difficult question, would we trade the big name, high wage players for a more equal, more sustainable league? Would we suffer a dip in the quality of play in the league for a league where we could see more clubs challenging for the top places? It is a dramatic suggestion and a choice that, in all honesty, nobody wants to make but it is one that could well be facing the game in years to come.

What do you all think? What, if anything, needs to be done to improve the future outlook of the Premier League?

22 thoughts on “Is the Future of the Premier League Bright or Not?”

  1. I don’t see why you are complaining because when the clubs have no use for players anymore, they discard. I don’t see the “fan” complaining then. It’s always been that way. It’s just that now the players wield more power.

  2. I agree that the spending is becoming ridiculous but, without a Transfer Fee or Salary Cap that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    But regarding your question, “How can fans still feel part of their club? How can they honestly believe that they are at the centre of the owner’s minds anymore?”

    I’d say the answer is when owners are respectful of fans the way NESV/FSG have, to date, shown…by forming a Supporters Committee:

  3. what the heck are you talking about

    the PL is massive success story

    it stopped being a fans game when Sky Sports and satellite TV got involved back in the early 90’s

    player salaries and high spending is just an uindication if a robust business

    quit moaning

  4. And in one fairly ironic comment, andyinva has summed up exactly what I mean. Why should success be measured in a business sense? Was that why people formed football leagues? Should the football reports in newspapers now be in the business section?

    Sport is meant to be about entertainment. Pure, frivolous, meaningless entertainment.

    1. success is not measured in a business sense ????????

      chelsea lost 70mil last year and are league champions

      its not about business at all

      although we love the game, they are also stock held businesses

      all this transfer nonsense doesnt change what happens on the pitch

      thats all i really care about

    2. Sport is about pure, frivolous, meaningless entertainment. And that is at your local park, at summer leagues, etc…
      but once you talking about the professional game (people making a living playing a sport), then it stops being frivolous and meaningless. In the case of football, one might argue that the minute professional leagues got created the game stopped being just pure fun. Certainly in the case of english football, the very creation of the EPL is nothing but a statement about sport being a business.
      The irony is that the more the game became big business, the more people tune in. So not sure I agree with your point that growing business interest in the game means the end of football.

  5. what are you complaining about

    The PL is a great product and liked the world over

    the game ceased to be about the fans that go to the game ever since the early 90s and satellite TV

    the high wages and transfee fees are just a reflection of a robust business

  6. You are entitled to your opinion, but by your verbage, it’s quite obvious you are Scouse. That is the only group I know of that believes it has some say in the mangement of the club. Go anywhere else in the world, with any type of sport on a large, mega commercial, international basis and you are not going to find any fan or supporter of any sports team that believes they have a vested interest and say in the daily, monthly, yearly and lifelong direction of any sport team.

    As I said, you’re entitled to your opinion and obviously by stating it you have received several people that have read it and taken the time to comment on it, but I do honestly believe you are in the minority. The only group of fans to think in this manner that I have ever witnessed are scousers. What happened at Anfield, for better or worse, was handled inappropriately. The fan base corrupted the finances of that club to the point that the EPL understood it had to institute a change behind the scenes or the entire situation might be lost for years to come.

    In my belief, I am the fan, the supporter, the spectator of as you said, the sport, the spectacle, the amusement and entertainment being provided to me. That’s it, nothing more. There are time where I don’t like decision being made but I don’t necessarily understand them either. I am not part of my clubs organization and by that I mean business, and that is exactly what it is, a business to provide entertainment at the end of the day.

  7. Easy, they are a still stock holder owned with a board of directors and hierarchy in mangement. The fans don’t cry out “keep Bret and don’t play Aaron” and even if they did, no one would care because at the end of the day it’s about that organization winning at the end of the day and producing a financially strong bottom line. I’ve never seen the fans boycott or have an uprising at that organization even when “the Majik man” was their qb or they were absolutely horrible in the ’80’s.

    Man, I hope you’re a sooner fan cause that’s the only good team I’ve commented on in this post. I’ve got vomit in my mouth talking about the scousers and fudge packers.

  8. I’m a Sooner (class of ’05) and a Liverpool fan…

    You keep saying that ONLY Scousers have this approach to their club but, what about…
    -the anti-Glazer movement at ManUre? If Mr. Alex wasn’t doing so well their revolt would be just as loud.
    -the fans at Newcastle?
    -the fans at Portsmouth?

    Perhaps the only difference in any of these is the pure, unadulterated passion of the fans on the Red half of Merseyside.

    The fact remains that NESV/FSG are implementing a Supporters Group Committee at the Club. Will it have any impact on Club operations? That is yet to be seen and I would admit if there is any impact it will likely be negligible.

    But, while football, and all sports, is simply an entertainment business…it cannot be denied that without the fans there would be no business.


  9. I want to see the Premier League reduced to 18 teams. Less fixture congestion. Do what Serie A used to do.18 teams with relegation of 4 teams.

    1. Serie A can’t support 20 teams because it is not as financially strong as the EPL.
      The EPL could become even stronger if they allow draft and salary cap but that would put EPL at a competitive disadvantage with other European leagues.

      1. A draft would never work in the EPL (or any non-American soccer league).

        The draft works in US sports because players come through college, so each year you have a fresh batch of unattached new players ready to be distributed throughout the league. It doesn’t work that way in European soccer because the clubs themselves are responsible for the development of young players.

        1. I agree with you Dave C (a draft wouldn’t work in the EPL) but when was the last time an English club really developed their own English young players? It seems to me everyone buys players instead developing them except for Arsenal and they are grooming overseas players bought when they were 12 or 13 years old.

          1. just about team has an academy

            even if kids dont make the first team they get sold or loaned out to lower league clubs

            kids get signed at incredibly low ages, as low as 11

            although most will sign to a team between 14 and 18

  10. It’s interesting of the other references but none compare to the zealots of Anfield, almost holy war type mentality. Newcastle have lived in the lower ranks for years without going crazy, definitely same in Portsmouth as brave Pompey just loves their team; win, lose or draw. United fans were so far off base just like the scouser faithful last year. They ultimately support the club and yes SAF said some words but the real difference was SBC speaking on behalf of the owners and then the issues with Rooney.

    Anyways, you’re entitled to your opinion as well. I cannot believe I sat here and had a conversation with a sooner/packer/scouser considering I’m a lifelong husker/bear/chelsea man, I just happened to get my master at OU.

  11. It’s been pointed out that the game is no longer about the fans at the actual stadium, and it’s been that way since the advent of satellite television. Not to say gate receipts and season tickets don’t play a big part regardless.

    The same can be said about American sports as well. Salaries have spiked considerable over the last 20 years, and you don’t need to look much further than the TV deals the NFL has in place.

    And I don’t know, sure it would be brilliant to see the likes of Stoke, Bolton, or hell, even Spurs mount a serious title challenge.

    As a fan of the EPL, I can say that this season is as exciting as ever. Yes, the title race might realistically, at least at this point, really be a 2 or 3 horse race, but overall the league is very competitve. At least in terms of the top 5-7 teams. Someone is going to have to miss out on the UCL, and it’s rather refreshing to see teams like Man City and Spurs challenge.

    And while you can speak on the health of Seria A, I think it’s a rather entertaining league. If it weren’t for the match fixing scandal, I think you’d see a bit more parity in that league as well. But no you’ve got Inter, Milan, Juve (rebuilding), and that golrious run Roma put together.

    Besides Spain, I’d say most of the European leagues are rather competitive. Even if it is just with the top 5 or so teams.

    As much as fans love domestic football, it’s quite evident that the Champions League really has taken precedent. And while we may not see a European Super League, it’s quite fair to say, the casual observer (those of us fans who enjoy the game via satellite) would probably rate the Champions League as their highest priority.

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