One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Money buys the Premiership Title: True or False?

Its no longer our league season so not all pieces on this site will continue to just be about The Arsenal. This is one such, although I hope you'll still consider it Arsenal related.

So Manchester City grabbed their first ever Premiership title somewhat late in the day. Thus winning the title for only the third time and their first in some 44 years. Some would argue that it's their first in a four year history, but I won't be going there. The point is that now makes it just five winners of the Premiership - a total which many regard as being rather thinly spread for a 20 year history. For those who claim you can only win the title by pouring money at a team you have to agree that the case would seem fairly well proven. With United already the richest club in the country when the Premiership was inaugurated you'd expect them to do well and they have. Money making money buying more titles. There have also been titles for the nouveau riche Blackburn (yes I know not now, but they were then). Not to mention the nouveau mega-rich in Chelsea and Manchester City, whose purchase of the title has been altogether painfully more obvious. That leaves just Arsenal punching above their weight without the financial backing of a disgustingly rich owner. But even Arsenal were at least one time regarded, somewhat jealously by the rest, as the 'Bank of England' Club. Arsenal although not currently cash rich due to their Stadium millstone have benefited greatly for a long and sustained run in the Champions League season on season.

So it would seem that the Premiership has to be purchased theses days. But then again hasn't this pretty much always been the case? The Football League was first contested in 1889-90 when it comprised a rather pitiful twelve fairly local teams from the Midlands and Northwest of England. But that area was then the industrial powerhouse of England - so essentially it was where the money was. Albeit working class leisure money on a much lower scale than today. Back then it was not the backing of mega rich owners but large-scale support from local workers and businesses.

The Premiership is currently regarded by many as financially flush and elitist. And yet the clamour from the yo-yo clubs to gain and maintain entry into this elitist Club and pit themselves against the so-called big boys carries on unabated. The Norwich's, Burnley's, Southampton's, Wigan's, West Ham's, Bolton's, Stoke's (god help us) and such continue to fight the uneven battle because that is what football is all about.

Given the age of the League some might argue that its quite amazing that the title has only ever been won by a total of 23 teams since 1898, which was some 124 years ago. It would appear to me that there have always been 'elitist' clubs with just a few interlopers such as Ipswich, Preston, Portsmouth, Forest who come win it and go. Whereas now the clubs are financed by rich individuals coming from cash rich countries, in the past they have been financed by cash rich urban areas with massive potential support.

It could be argued that what follows, regardless of current status, is a league tables that matters when it comes to deciding who is and subsequently who isn't a big club. It shows the number of League Titles (Division One and Premiership). Despite their current indifferent showing few would argue that Newcastle, Sunderland and Villa were not big Clubs. This derives from years of past achievement but just as much perhaps from the aspect of location and potential support. In short it shows that big conurbation's, cities and towns are the one that produce the big clubs. You'll note that London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds are all represented only Bristol and Teeside (Middlesborough) have failed.

Manchester United - 19 titles (1 year since last)   
Liverpool 18 titles (18 years)           
Arsenal 13 (8)                   
Everton 9 (25)                   
Aston Villa 7 (31)               
Sunderland 6 (76)               
Chelsea 4 (2)                   
Sheffield Wednesday 4 (82)           
Newcastle 4 (85)               
Manchester City 3 (current champions)       
Blackburn Rovers 3 (17)
Leeds United 3 (20)
Wolves 3 (53)
Huddersfield 3 (86)
Derby County 2 (37)
Tottenham 2 (51)
Burnley 2 (52)
Portsmouth 2 (62)
Preston 2 (122)
Nottingham Forest 1 (34)
Ipswich 1 (50)
WBA 1 (92)
Sheffield United 1 (124)

Whether these days anyone will ever be able to plough sufficient money into a club such as Ipswich or Preston to achieve a title again is highly questionable.

Certainly the concept that money buys you the title is difficult to argue against. But I'd argue that this has always pretty well been the way with just a few notable exceptions. It's perhaps just been a tad less obvious in the past.

Brian @Gooner48

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