Friday, May 29, 2009

EPL and European Football Was Fun

Another long year of English Premier League and Champions League in the bag. Long being the key word.

It started in August 2008 and ended this week with the Champions League final in Rome with Barcelona dominating Manchester United (a team whose many players and manager I despise) and the FA Cup final on Saturday between Chelsea and Everton at Wembley.

I closely followed the Premier League this year. I did so by playing fantasy soccer, specifically Fantasy Premier League. I did quite well, I think, in the various challenges and overall positioning. Of the 1.9 million register teams, I finished in the top 0.43 percentile (8400th place). Pretty good for one with no cable or satellite TV (though with Liverpool live audio streams and video streams from Asian Web sites).

My favorite team, Liverpool, had a decent season but did not win a single trophy. Nothing in Europe, no FA Cup, no Carling Cup, and second place, behind ManU (whom they beat twice) in the Premier League.

European football, especially English football, has its problems, especially financial. They spend money they don't have, try to stick it to their fans with high ticket and paraphernalia prices, and are loaded with looser, on-the-field shenanigans and personality tirades.

Team relegation and no team salary cap mean the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. One does not need to be a genius to know that ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal will be at the top and qualify for the high-euro Champions League. The only real questions are a) which teams will qualify for the Europa League (the old UEFA Cup) second best grouping, b) which teams will be relegated (West Brom, Newcastle and Middlesborough this year), and c) which teams will be promoted to the Premier League from the second tier Championship League (Birmingham City, Wolverhampton and Burnley this year).

The Premier League finish is very often anti-climatic, unless you feel the battle of the worst is exciting -- who gets related and who get promoted from a lesser league.

I follow the EPL because I think it is the best league in the world. No disrespect to La Liga, Serie A, or Bundesliga. In 2 months, it starts all over again. And you thought Major League Baseball was long.

No comments: