As a Premiership football fan, European nights can be a nightmare. I’m not sure what the rivalries are like in other countries, but I’d say without a doubt, the Premiership has more grudge matches and unofficial derbies than any other league in the world. Spurs vs. Arsenal, United vs. City, Liverpool vs. Everton, Sunderland vs. Newcastle, and United vs. Liverpool, West Ham vs. Spurs, we could go on forever.
However, over the past few years a few new ones have cropped up. Spurs vs. City, Liverpool vs. Chelsea and Arsenal vs. Stoke all spring to mind. Without doubt, our league has more watchable games than any other because of this reason.
Collective hate has become something of a marketable product over the years.
Deep powerful voices that declare grudge matches and games of the season are great ways to help sell important subscriptions and increased viewership. This has equated to more money flooding into the game which has improved the level of our clubs and given us four Champions League spots (Italy just lost their fourth spot to Germany).
That though is not a foregone conclusion. If we were to slip out of the top three in the UEFA coefficients, we’d lose one of our places which could be disastrous for the Premier League’s image as number one and also financially difficult for one of the major teams in the league.
So it begs the question, do you support English teams (including your rivals) because they are
English and for the sake of the country’s football reputation? Or can you not bear to cheer on any team other than your own, regardless of
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the fact that they are ambassadors of English football?
How did Spurs fans feel about Arsenal playing Barcelona?
How will Arsenal fans feel about seeing Spurs gracing the quarter finals of a trophy they’ve been knocked out of?
Are you a football purist who
puts quality before league success?
Or do you just not care at all?
Well, I’d put league supremacy over grudge matches. If there is one thing I hate more than anything it’s the media slating the game in
this country. A strong Premier League is good for the country, good for the health of our game and good for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. After all, as sick as you may feel seeing a domestic team lifting the Champions League, surely it’s more appealing than seeing a team from another
land lifting the prize?
But this is not a common view. This week the airwaves were littered with people giving there views about whether they would or wouldn’t support an English team in the Champions League, because of their allegiance. To be honest the opinion was split. It was amusing that this week was almost North London week in the Champions League, Arsenal first against the mighty Barcelona, and then Spurs against Italian league leaders AC Milan. The majority of Spurs fans wanted Barcelona to beat Arsenal, and vice-versa in regards to the Arsenal fans. We all know rivalry is healthy, but what about the bigger picture?
I am not saying that by supporting or not supporting teams there is any affect on the actual teams performance. But when a supporter hopes other English teams exit European competition due to domestic rivalries, this can only be bad for the game in this country.
The bigger picture here is what would be the repercussions if English team’s were to perform badly in the Champions League and be dominated
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by team’s from other
leagues in European. Ultimately we could follow Serie A and end up losing Champions League spots, think how the landscape of the Premier League would change.
Less big name players coming and playing here, a league that slips to be fourth or fifth best in the world, money going out of the game meaning ticket prices get even higher to supplement this loss. At the moment, in a boom period we can’t see it, but like the crash of the property market in this country – all bubbles burst.
For this reason I
want to keep supporting English teams in Europe, regardless of my allegiance. The bigger picture is more important. I love our position of power in Europe as a footballing country. This is something special and something to be proud of. I don’t want to go back to the times where only one or two English team qualify from the group stages, I always want to see English teams in the final regardless of who I support.
I want to keep watching the best talent in the world on my doorstep. I want to pick a fantasy dream team that is made up of the world’s best players because they all play in the Premier League. There are already plenty of reasons for players not to come here (taxes and the weather), but they do because we are the most exciting league in the world and can pay good wages. So let’s get behind the English teams, not bow to collective hate, and hope for English teams to succeed in European competition … especially in a year
where the final of the Champions League is being
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