The Groundsman’s Shed


The Ever-Increasing Gap in the Premier League: Why? by groundsman

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a country an ocean away, the gap between the team winning the top English league title and the club facing relegation would not be guaranteed to be a jaw dropping 60 points.  Of course, if you listen to the men at the pub, Baddiel and Skinner shows, or read most English websites, that was back when everyone was brilliant, they still played music on the radio, and men were men and shorts were short. 

This isn’t that type of blog.

We don’t live in the past, but we do ask what the future holds for the English Premier League.  Does a mid-table team like Villa or Blackburn really have a chance for the title next season- or any season?  Let’s say Sunderland and Newcastle each go on a terrific run during the first half of the season; could they possibly compile the resources to make it past the bottom dregs of the league, up through the middle of the table, all the way to the top?  By resources of course, I’m referring to players.  Depth may have been what hurt Arsenal’s season this year, but the talented first string players managed to disguise this handicap for over half of the season.  Arsene Wenger spent money like a club just up from the Championship, rather than like the manager of a team consistently at the top of the table- and the frugal gamble may have backfired.  We’re using the Arsenal Example only to show how important money is for the placement in the league.  

On John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman’s terrific podcast “The Bugle” this comment was made about the current state of the Champions League competition:

“Among the very last teams in the competition are the FOUR RICHEST TEAMS IN EUROPE. 

So what are the odds that the FOUR RICHEST TEAMS IN EUROPE would reach the final stages of a European competition?  Well, the odds are depressingly high.  This is- the death of football.”

So is money the death of football?  The hardscrabble-pennysaving-handknit scarf wearing-terrace mourning half of The Groundsman’s Shed says “yes”, and the prawn sandwich eating-moet drinking-Cricket shopping half says “I’m not sure.” 

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