Premier League changed football forever, unrecognisable from what it was 27 years ago.
Founded in 1992, the numbers attached to the twenty-team Premier League playing a total of 38 games per season on average are staggering. For instance, the League has produced 21,553 goals in total with Manchester United leading the count at 1,989.
These stats, while they may not show the whole picture, proved that there is more to the league than the hype and money.
A league of its own
English football is always pitted against cricket and rugby, without an identity of its own. But those were the 1990s before the digital wave came into existence.
Football is now on a separate section of the newspapers and websites too. The sport had never experienced any letup in terms of media coverage. It’s a visual entertainment, from 18 games on live TV in the former First Division to 60 and now, 168 televised games every season.
Stakes are high
Each televised comes with a hefty price tag–the TV rights auction alone amounts to £$8 billion in total. A football match today is worth £10 million when the entire finals of the 1991-92 season cost around £15 million.
In terms of broadcasting rights, there had been a 2,728% increase over 25 years. Predicting where the Premier League is broadcasted is harder to predict now more than ever. For now, it was available in 189 countries worldwide.
Ticket prices skyrocketed as well from £30 at the highest end to £97. So were the transfer fees. Club owners, which may compose of Americans, Middle Easterners, and Chinese, are billionaires. Thus, football is no longer the working man’s game. Instead, it can be considered a professional elite’s game–a lifestyle choice rather than just a sport.
A healthy mix of players
English football has a global appeal because of the talented and well-loved players from different parts of the world. When the League started, there were only 13 players from overseas out of 242 players in total. In the 2016-17 season, about 112 out of 220 players started the match on the last day of the said season.
Overseas players are well-represented today; they hailed from 113 different nations throughout the years since the Premier League started. In 1999, the first team without a Brit player played in the League. Speaking of which, out of the 20 teams, 13 has a non-English manager.
Discernible style of play
How the game is played was very different now. Agility and physicality are two vital changes. Not just the speed of the players and the way every match turns out, but also the club management takes care of these players more so physically. Diets are improved, and alcohol is removed from the regimen.
With this, football players are more interesting to watch while in the field. Their display of athleticism is salient.
On the other hand, with cards issuance in mind, the players of before were more disciplined. In the first week of 1992, no player was sent off, and three of the games had no booking. Compared with today, in just 10 games, 34 cards were issued. Red cards were also given to players.
English football has changed beyond recognition. However, it is still the same sport that binds people – Brits or not.