Is Tottenham striker Peter Crouch’s first-touch really that great? I mean it’s not bad for a big man, but not that exceptional to keep harping on about it. On my Football Manager game it’s rated as 15 and I even think Sega were being a bit generous to the England international with that score. You hear so many commentators raving about Crouch having a ‘good touch for a big man’ that you start actually believing it is true.
I highlight this as a reference to the common myths and misconceptions that I believe are rife throughout the Premier League. This article attempts to deflate such fallacies, although I’ll let you to decide about Crouchie’s first touch.
The Premier League is the best in the world
This summer’s World Cup exposed the myth that the English Premiership is the best league in world football. While England were clinically dispatched in round two, Germany marched to the semi-finals alongside the delectable trio of Holland, Spain and Uruguay. So do the majority of players from the top four sides in world football come from the English league? In short, they most certainly do not.
Before the summer the entire Germany squad were playing their football in the Bundesliga, while Uruguay did not have a single player in their squad playing Premier League football. Meanwhile Spain had just three England-based players. Holland are the slight exception to this, but the majority of their squad were still playing away from the Premier League.
In terms of revenue and attendance, Germany’s Bundesliga is the most profitable in the world and also tops the list as the most watched live on average per week. Goals mean excitement and England’s top flight has also been beaten in the scoring charts by the frequently labelled ‘dull’ Italian League. The Serie A has seen more goals than the Premier League in two out of the last three seasons, bagging 988 last term, to our 860.
English players don’t dive
Well it turns out they do. The notion that stereotypical hard-working English players do not dive is laughable. Arsenal fans will tell you that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney appeared to go to ground rather easily under minimal contact from Sol Campbell in 2004, a result which ended the Gunners 49-match unbeaten run. Or what about Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard exaggerating contact in the Atletico Madrid box to win his team a penalty in stoppage time in the club’s 2008 Champions League campaign.
‘Marmite’ players such as Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo have rightly been criticised in the past for play-acting, bordering on the ridiculous, to gain their side an advantage. While in some European countries players are applauded for bending the rules to their benefit, yet Chelsea stalwart John Terry claims English players are just ‘too honest’ to dive.
While English players certainly are not as bad as Ronaldo and Co. they are not immune from a bit of theatrics from time to time themselves. Make up your own mind below:
The Arsenal side is full of kids
Why have Arsenal not won a trophy since 2005? Arsene Wenger will have you believe it is because he is blooding a young side that need time to develop. Yet the average age of the side playing in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Bolton on Saturday was 25, no spring chickens there by any stretch of the imagination. While throughout the 2007 and 08 campaign Wenger’s first-team squad’s average age was strikingly similar.
Wenger’s vision is a masterful one and the Gunners squad is certainly packed with bright emerging young prospects ready to challenge for first-team action. Yet should the Frenchman finally win a trophy this season it will not be won necessarily by just kids but with a helping hand from a few experienced professionals along the way.
The Premier League is the richest football league in the world
On the surface this statement may appear to be true in the world of television rights and mega-money sponsorship deals. Indeed, four English clubs make it into the top ten of the Deloitte Football Money League. Yet the truth is the Premier League is funded through high-interest loans which pile clubs with debt.
The Premier League is now responsible for 56% of the total debt between clubs in Europe and are collectively £3.5bn in debt. Meanwhile Premier League players are far from being the highest paid sports stars on the planet. Findings revealed players such as Drogba and Wayne Rooney’s wages are dwarfed when compared to that of American NFL and NBA stars.
Foreign players in the Premier League are to blame for England’s decline
Foreign players have had an impact on the national side’s decline but cannot be held solely responsible for England’s failures. Years of backwards coaching and lack of youth development are also to blame. England have not suddenly stopped doing well since the inception of the Premier League and the increase in foreign players which followed.
During the ‘70s an influx of Welsh, Scottish and Irish players flooded the First Division as England failed to qualify for the 1974 and ’78 World Cup, as well as the 1976 European Championships. The amount of English players deteriorated even further during the ‘80s, with Liverpool’s 1986 double winning side not containing a single player eligible to play for England.
All Premier League footballers are money-grabbing, disloyal mercenaries
The likes of William Gallas, Javier Mascherano and Ashley Cole just give the 95% of other loyal and committed footballers in the Premier League a bad name. Some demand transfers, refuse to play and are prepared to go on strike to get their own way, yet not all players are the same.
For every traitor like Argentine Carlos Tevez there are two more dedicated servants such as one-club men Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes of Manchester United. Instead of looking to cash-in, both players have committed their careers to Manchester United and are the true role models of the modern game.