You could almost hear the orgasm in Clive Tyldesleyâ€™s voice asÂ he announced, without any sense of irony the biggest game ever between two English club sides, the ultimate vindication of the media fallacy that the Premier League is the biggest and best footballing arena in the whole wide universe. Yes, it’s great, but in reality having three of the four semi-finalists in European football’s biggest money spinner tells us little about the state of the domestic game.
Outside the corporate world of the top four sides the story is completely different. Football doesn’t flow, but is permeated with fear, of relegation and financial ruin. In any one season there will be twelve or so sides that feel the breath of the championship on their neck at one time or other, but only two or three that look to the top.
The price of fear? Well it certainly isn’t beautiful football. It makes for drab games and bizarre decisions. Look at Bolton and Megson’s choice to basically chuck away any chance of progression at the expense of a six-pointer that they lost anyway.
Even amongst the top teams things aren’t exactly rosy. Avram Grant and Rafa Benitez jobs have been under threat all season despite their relative success whilst the current situation of Sven at City says all you need to know about the unrealistic expectations of the new breed of football chairmen.
So, we live in an environment of increasing foreign control, manned by a mercenary league of nations and yet we’re expected to believe that our beautiful game is in the best state it’s been in for years. Iâ€™m not sure I want to buy that dream.
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