The Premiership- Fantasy Football Made
Along came Roman Abramovic, a man with more money than sense and a bank balance bigger than the Queen’s. So he bought Chelsea and before long had pretty much bought the premiership. Since then the Glazer family have bought Manchester United, Hicks and Gillet have bought Liverpool, Randy Learner has acquired Aston Villa and Thailand’s ex Prime Minister has snapped up Manchester City. However, despite the investment in typically less successful teams, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool still command the best odds for the premiership crown at 9/2, 15/8, 13/10 and 7/1 respectively (with Blue Square betting). It will take some years for this balance to change.
But with sky high television revenues attracting worldwide interest, the English Premiership is fast becoming the real life version of fantasy football. No longer are Spain and Italy the chosen destinations for footballers wanting success, other than a certain Portuguese chap with itchy feet named Cristiano Ronaldo. England had four teams in the 07/08 season champions league quarter finals, three in the semis and two in the final. The first time that both teams playing the final have plied their trade in the same domestic league. The premiership is being invested in at an alarming rate, and whilst the Glazers have been admirable in their management of United, Abramovic has so much money to waste that when he wants a player, he pays more than they’re worth to secure their services. Whilst some may frown upon the growing tendency of teams to splash the cash, the fans cannot deny that these are exciting times. Players who previously would have been tied to a club for years as potential suitors could not afford the transfer fees are now being courted by premiership clubs, take Shevchenko’s move to Chelsea and the constant rumours of Samuel Eto’o moving to play in England.
Envisage this; ten years down the line most, if not all, premiership clubs will be owned by billionaires who have brought world class players to play in England. The balance of the ‘big four’, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, may be turned on its head as twenty teams fight match by match with more than the usual four having a chance at being crowned champions. For the football purist this is the biggest sin, but for most fans, and for those who realise they really must accept this change in the sport, exciting times beckon, starting this season.