The Premier League is Not, in Fact, a League

Set in Stone

Set in Stone

Those of us round long enough to remember the Ipswichs, Blackburns and QPRs of old running rampant in the early days of the Premier League may have winced listening to Setanta’s commentators gag with delight as Dossena’s lobbed long ball made it Liverpool 4, Manchester United 1.  “This is why this is the greatest league in Europe, and quite possibly the world,” they gargled, screaming like a pair of bible thumpers who, after praying for sunshine, point to the cloudless sky and shout, “See?!”

Except Liverpool’s win, like the odd sunny day, doesn’t prove a damn thing.  Today Tottenham, who lagged behind in every meaningful stat minus the goal tally, kicked Villa out of the top four.  Of course, our friends supporting any one of the Big Four clubs will say, “It’s down to O’Neill innit?  He just didn’t buy right, he got his tactics wrong, not like our Fergie or our Wenger or our Rafa” as if the Premier League exists in a monetary vacuum where things like geographical advantage, historical popularity, immense television broadcast fees and sponsorship support don’t exist and even if they did, certainly don’t play a part on the pitch.

At the end of the day, it’s an eleven-a-side game, innit?

Perhaps if you’re Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester United and playing each other.  Take Saturday for example; Sir Alex was right—United were the better team on the day, but Liverpool scored the goals.  It was probably for this very reason the Setanta crew were practically convulsing with delight—”Take that, doubters!  Our league is an awesome league because the shit club won, and the race is back on!”  Yes, a lot of topsy-turvy for the clubs near the 55 to 65 point range.

But the rest of the league is either in one massive relegation fight (ten clubs are within six points or less from the drop) or holding off faint hopes (and I use the word ‘hopes’ guardedly) for the Europa League.  Villa were the only club who even managed to get pundits to talk about breaking the Top Four, let alone the league title, for more than one news cycle.  Their loss means it’s normal service resumed, with only the unlikely possibility of a Liverpool title pip providing any narrative tension.

The Premier League is the not best the league in Europe (though the Big Four are certainly the best European clubs at the moment) because it’s not a “league.” A proper league, as the name implies, features a number of clubs who each has a chance at winning the league trophy.  The odds don’t have to be equal; there may be dominant clubs and shit clubs. But when money creates a feedback loop to the extent that we’ve seen in England, when the same top four clubs ride the crest of historical popularity, ever-increasing broadcast fees and significant geographical advantage, the idea of a “league” dissolves completely.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family


  1. Jack March 15, 2009
  2. Richard Whittall March 15, 2009
  3. Jones March 15, 2009
  4. useless March 15, 2009
  5. ArthurArseGooner March 15, 2009
  6. ArthurArseGooner March 15, 2009
  7. The Gaffer March 15, 2009
  8. ArthurArseGooner March 15, 2009
  9. ArthurArseGooner March 15, 2009
  10. Richard Whittall March 15, 2009
  11. ArthurArseGooner March 15, 2009
  12. nasser nsubuga March 16, 2009
  13. whitewash March 16, 2009
  14. cftv March 16, 2009
  15. Kartik March 16, 2009
  16. Simon Burke March 16, 2009
  17. Will March 16, 2009
  18. Romandinho March 16, 2009
  19. Romandinho March 16, 2009
  20. Simon Burke March 16, 2009
  21. Romandinho March 16, 2009
  22. Robbie March 16, 2009
  23. Simon Burke March 16, 2009
  24. tony March 16, 2009
  25. PX54 March 17, 2009
  26. PX54 March 17, 2009
  27. Steve March 17, 2009
  28. AKUDE STANLEY OKECHUKWU March 19, 2009

Leave a Reply

Translate »