Premier League’s decline continues

Admittedly, the two Manchester clubs may not be heavily motivated by the Europa League. Nevertheless, the Premier League’s two leading teams put full teams out last week and still crashed in Europe’s second competition. Of its two representatives who made it through the group stages of the Champions’ League, one mounted a decent but ultimately failed comeback, and the other has its work cut out this week to survive.

It is only four years since the European Cup Final was an all-Premier League affair. It may be a while before that is repeated, however. Indeed, it may not be long before England loses its fourth Champions’ League place.

The Premier League’s decline in quality has been obvious ever since, particularly when compared with representatives of La Liga in Spain. Yet it has not been much remarked upon – the media have preferred, essentially, to put their fingers in their ears and hum!

The real problem is this: if the decline continues, the best players will drift away – not just to Spain, but also to a surging Russian League (and even some neighbouring ones in Eastern Europe). The attraction of buying Premier League clubs, or even remaining at them, will also decline – after all, why would a Russian oligarch bother with Chelsea when Zenit St Petersburg or Dynamo Moscow can win European trophies?

The issue with all of that is, I have warned repeatedly on this blog, the Premier League is not sustainable in its current form. Clubs consistently make heavy losses, television revenues cannot possibly hope to match salaries of six figures per week, and in any case the overall “marketing” of football will inevitably decline in hardened financial times. (For the first time in 23 years this season I did not possess a current Arsenal home shirt at the start of the season!)

The 100,000/week salaries depend on 60-quid tickets and 45-quid shirts – a financial model which no longer adds up. Thus, they depend on Arab billionaires, Russian oligarchs or American super-investors – but they have other options now. Just like the real economy, it’ll only take one drip to create the flood. Losing a club or two (even down the food chain) or a fourth Champions’ League place will soon create the trickle…


One thought on “Premier League’s decline continues

  1. In competition terms Premier League’s still on top
    For another year perhaps. It does help having nearly 10 teams and somehow managing to win Fair Play places time and time again.

    Russian football is on the up … the other Easternly European nearly men of club football such as Turkey, Ukraine, Greece are stil up and around there, and they’re being joined with Cyprus, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic and Israel all around the top 20.

    Romania and Bulgaria are heading up while Sweden, Norway and Scotland are moving closer to the position that the Airtricity League holds now. Perhaps the overspend of Western football clubs is coming back to haunt them, perhaps crowds have been shunned by a more elitest football competition are other factors than the Oligarchs. Certainly hosting the World Cup should boost Russian club football further.

    Hopefully people who made a mokery of the quality of the teams in Group A in these summer’s Euros will eat their words. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Euro 2012 trophy actually stays in the East.

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