The main feature of a top-ranking football tournament in Albion is a constant, strong competition that is in full swing at all levels of the tournament ladder. This situation is skillfully fueled not only by the entire British football community, the media, but also by the huge budgets of football clubs. Unlike other top world championships, the Spanish examples, the Italian “A” series or the German Bundesliga, the English Premier League has a pronounced group of teams that are not only the strongest in the English championship, but also financially the most rich European clubs. The so-called “great six” is represented by the richest clubs, each of which sets itself the maximum results. The elite of the English Higher Football Society includes both teams from Manchester, Manchester United and Manchester City, London clubs Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Aloof in this cohort is Liverpool – a team that has its own, healthy ambitions, which is a constant irritant to teams from Manchester and London.
Of these six, five teams belong to a foreign owner and only Tottenham Hotspot continues to be a purely English club. In general, more than half the clubs of the elite football league in England belong to foreigners. Foreign billionaires willingly invest in English football, without even thinking about the end result. Another thins is paradoxical. Having huge budgets, the English clubs, despite the visible profits, in the end, according to the Royal Ministry of Finance and taxes, are considered the largest debtors. From bankruptcy, most of the English clubs are saved by financial immunity, introduced in the British kingdom specifically for football teams. Long tax holidays allow not only football club accounts to avoid arrest, but investors’ money does not fall under the basic British investment laws. All this allows you to stay afloat throughout the huge colossus, which is the English Premier League.
The biggest debtor and loss-making team in the entire Premier League is the Manchester United team. The amount of losses for 2013 has already exceeded the record of 2012 and amounted to £ 220 million. In second place at a loss, is London Chelsea, whose losses amount to 80 million pounds. In general, the English Premier League is a tournament of debtors. Of the 20 teams participating in the tournament, 15 clubs are considered to be unprofitable enterprises having a negative balance. The total loss of all Premier League clubs is 400 million pounds, which is equal to the annual budget of Man U.
The sum of all contracts football players of the six major English clubs, ranging in the range of 2.5 billion pounds, i.e. more than 70% of the total value of all players covered by the tournament participant insurance policy. The leading positions in this aspect belong to the team of Abramovich and two teams from Manchester. Moreover, if in Chelsea and MU the average cost of a player is 14 million pounds, the townspeople pay 18 million pounds for each player. All 20 English clubs spend on their players more than 3 billion pounds a year. By this measure, the English Premier League is ahead of the Italian “A” series.
Even with a sharp division into rich and poor clubs, the English Premier League has a very solid layer of middle-class clubs, which form the basis of the English top division. “Manchester United” is the most titled and richest English club, which has 31 players, which are covered by “manna from heaven” in the form of a club budget in the amount of 450-470 million euros. According to this indicator, “MU” is constantly competing with Madrid “Real” and “Barcelona” for the title of the richest football club in the world. This title in turn is owned by each of the three teams. The market value of the club itself and the entire football industry, “Manchester United” today is estimated at 1.2 billion British pounds. Today, the second team from Manchester, which thanks to the financial support of its new owner, Abu Dhabi United Group from the United Arab Emirates, has been able to adequately enter the number of elite clubs in the English Premier League. Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea in London is trying to keep up with the teams from Manchester in terms of finance, but if the club basically has to rely on the constant investments of the Russian oligarch, the clubs from Manchester have a well-established financial system, which brings considerable income to the club’s treasury every year.
Typical for English clubs is the attitude towards the entire football industry. Even the teams of the very bottom of the elite league, and those, have a well-established mechanism for receiving money from the sale of rights to television broadcasts, the effective work of the entire club structure. The British are willing to spend their hard-earned savings on the football paraphernalia of their favorite teams, they are actively involved in various promotions, bringing clubs some profit and a lot of money for charity. Only the sale of tickets and season tickets for all matches of the Premier League accounts for almost 40% of the total income received by English clubs. Teams such as Arsenal, Liverpool and both teams from Manchester, thus, receive the lion’s share of their income.
The tournament of the English Premier League is international in terms of the composition of the players. According to this indicator, the Premier League is ahead of all the leading European championships. Here 350 have found their refuge, with the citizenship of other countries. The share of foreign players in English clubs is almost 64% of the total number of players. The bulk of foreigners in the English clubs are represented by the French Foreign Legion. The French successfully play in such clubs as Arsenal, Newcastle, where they make up more than 70% of the main players. In second place are the players from the Iberian Peninsula, and closes the foreign legion – players from South America.
World of English football: teams
- Aston Villa. Football club “Aston Villa” was created in 1874 by members of the cricket club “Villa Wislian Cross Chapel”. Finding rivals was a difficult task, as rugby was the most popular in Birmingham, so in the first match of Wilson Road, players met with Aston Brook St. Mary’s rugby players. By agreement, the first half was played according to the rules of rugby, and the second – by football. In those days it was common practice, for the rules of both kinds of sports were just being formed. The first half ended in a draw, and the second – ended in a victory, “Aston Villa”.
- Birmingham City. The club was founded by a group of parishioners Bordsley Green in 1875 initially it was called “Small Heath Elayens.” In September 1879, he met with the Aston Villa club, which marked the beginning of many years of rivalry between the teams. The record of the results of that match was preserved: “Small Hit” – 1 goal and 1 controversial goal; Aston Villa – 0 “. A year later, the club moved to St Andrews Stadium, which had a capacity of 32,000 spectators. Three days later, Benny Green scored the first goal at St Andrews, receiving the piano as an award. They say that by that time Green has already found a buyer for this musical instrument.
- Blackburn Rovers. In November 1875, residents of Blackburn, mostly graduates of the city Grammar School, formed an amateur football team. The club did not have its own field, and the source of funding was the entrance fees of its members. In the first year of existence, Blackburn Rovers, the amount of contributions amounted to 2.4 pounds. With this money we managed to buy a soccer ball and goal posts. In the 1876/77 season, the team acquired its own field – a small plot of farmland in Uzhead with a puddle in the middle. At the time of the game, the puddle was covered with a plank and sod flooring.
- Ipswich Town. In 2007, Ipswich Town was the first (and still the only) English football club with a zero balance of carbon dioxide emissions. To achieve this result, the team’s fans committed to using energy-saving technologies and in six months reduced carbon dioxide emissions by a total of 3,200 tons. Having achieved a zero balance of carbon dioxide emissions, the club received significant funds to purchase players from its sponsors – the gas company “E.ON” and the environmental protection fund.
- Liverpool. In the finals of the English League Cup in 2005, the world record was noisy at football stadiums: after a goal scored by Liverpool player Riise against the London club Chelsea, Liverpool fans who were in pain at their club in the stands made a loud exclamation of loudness of 130, 7 decibels. The achievement of British fans was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. The previous record of 128.74 decibels was set in 2000 on the home arena of the American club Denver Broncos.
- Manchester United. The club, established in 1878, finished the season in 1901 in tenth place. Bankruptcy was inevitable when John Henry Davis, director of the local brewery, came to the rescue. The team was rescued by St. Bernard its captain Harry Stafford. Stafford took the dog with him for sale. Upon seeing the St. Bernard, Davis wanted to buy it – Stafford refused, and a conversation ensued, during which Stafford was able to persuade Davis to invest in the team. To mark the new stage of its history on April 28, 1902, the Newton Heath was renamed Manchester United.
- Middlesbrough. In the early stages of its history, the club joined in the fight for trophies of English football, but for the first 128 years, luck always turned out to be on the side of rivals. In 1986, severe financial problems led to the start of the bankruptcy of the club. Under the new rules of the Football League, Middlesbrough was obliged to urgently pay a registration fee of £ 350,000. The closing seemed inevitable, but Steve Gibson, a member of the board of directors, took out the money, and the club was registered ten minutes before the deadline expired.
- Newcastle United. In 1895, Newcastle United was dubbed the “Forty.” The origin of this nickname is still the subject of controversy. According to most fans, it is associated with black and white players’ T-shirts. Other football experts say that the players themselves chose the bird as a talisman, since magpies nested in the park closest to their stadium (Lysis Park) from time immemorial. Newcastle once had another talisman – the team favorite dog named Rex. Once, during a match, Rex ran onto the field and joined the attack team.
- Portsmouth. Interesting facts and curiosities have become the hallmark of the team. The goalkeeper of the Portsmouth amateur team was Arthur Conan-Doyle. In 1956, Portsmouth became the first club, at the stadium of which the match was held with artificial lighting. Among the curious achievements of Portsmouth are three goals scored by central midfielder Noel Blake in his own goal in the 1984/85 season, the same number of goals Blake sent that season to the gates of the enemy. And in the 1982/83 season, the players of “Portsmouth” punched a penalty 17 times, sending the ball eight times past the goal.
- Reading. Reading was the first British club to allow the coffin manufacturer to use the club’s symbols on its products. The first coffins, decorated with blue and white stripes, as well as the emblem of the club and the image of a football, appeared in the United Kingdom in 2005. Bins are issued with the Reading logo and a pattern of blue and white stripes for fans that prefer cremation. Under the terms of the agreement, the coffin manufacturing company is obliged to direct part of the profits from their sales to charity.
- Sunderland. The secretary of the Redcar club, one of the teams competing with the team, heard about Sunderland and asked: “Where is it located?” Within a few years, none of the representatives of the British teams had such questions. Sunderland won the championship in 1892, 1893 and 1895, becoming the first three-time champion of the English Football League. And a large banner with the motto “We came, and we stay” was posted outside the gates of the team’s home stadium shortly before these events.
- Stoke City. This team belongs to the “older age category” of British football clubs: only Notts County of the existing ones is older than it. Stoke City was created in 1863 and is the same age as the London Underground. It is authentically known that graduates of the Charterhouse school founded a football club in 1863, but information about the matches held in those years was not preserved. In 1868, there was a report in the local press about a club established by Charterhaus school leaver Henry Amond. Amond scored the first goal in the history of the team, but soon left the club, choosing a career as a civil engineer.
- Tottenham Hotspur. Every hundred years, various interesting curiosities took place with this British club: in 1884, the team had to change its name, because at that time in London there was another club called London Hotspur and this made the work of local postmen who constantly confused the correspondence of the teams. And in 1988, Paul Gascoigne became the first player in the history of the Championships of England, who sent the ball into the opponent’s goal despite the absence of one boot – he scored a goal at London’s Arsenal.
- Wigan Athletic. Wigan Athletic is the fifth football club based in Wigan: four previous attempts failed. One of the predecessors – “Wigan United” – is famous in the history of English football, thanks to the memorable victory over the club “Stalybridge”: on match day, the field was literally flooded, and the visiting team, having decided that the match would not take place, left without waiting for a judicial decision. But the decision was unexpected – the judge gave the signal to start the match. Players “Wigan United” went to the empty goal rivals and … limited to a single goal.
- Fulham. Despite the fact that “Fulham” never achieved victories in serious tournaments, the club became a real “forge of cadres” and participated in interesting events in English football. For example, in 1887, the meeting of “Fulham” and “Millwall” was interrupted after the first half, because all three goals, prepared for the game, exploded. In addition, since its inception, the team has played at home in as many as 14 different stadiums. This fact is explained by the fact that the requirements of the Premier League to the playing fields and stadiums gradually increased.
- Hull City. Initially, the team held friendly matches at the Boulevard Stadium, the home field of the city’s rugby club, as well as on the cricket field at Enlaby Road. A year later, Hull City was elected to the second division of the Football League; debut ended in fifth place. In the pre-war period, “Hull City” was constantly at the top of the second division standings. The best result of those years was the third place in the season 1909/10. In those years, the most famous player, “Hull City” was David Mercer, who participated in 218 matches in a row.
- Chelsea. In 1904, the Mirs brothers acquired the Stamford Bridge Stadium: it was to become the home field of the Fulham Club. But the lease negotiations were at an impasse, and Fulham refused the offer, and the brothers decided to sell the railway company’s stadium as a coal warehouse, but Parker (Henry Mirs’s colleague) persistently persuaded him to create his own football club. In the midst of a dispute, scotch terrier Mears pounced on Parker and bit him on the leg. Parker just smiled. Impressed by the companion’s excerpt, Mears decided to accept his proposal and establish a football team.
- Chester City. The English football club “Chester” appeared in 1885, when two clubs, Chester Rovers and Old Kings Skolars, decided to unite. In 1983, the name of the club changed to “Chester City” and eventually acquired the current sound. During its long career, the team managed to visit all five divisions of the English football championship, and in 2001 there was even a real threat of the club’s departure to the League Unibond (analogous to amateur competitions of sports teams and UK factory teams).
- Sheffield United. At the end of the 19th century, goalkeeper Henry Fulk, known for his weight (over 140 kg) and cool temper, went on the field for Sheffield United. During the match of the season 1896/1897, Henry Fulk decided to have fun, hanging on the crossbar of his own goal. Unable to withstand the load, the crossbar broke, and the match was stopped. The refereeing in another match caused such indignation of Fulk that the goalkeeper rushed to the referee in the dressing room, but he slipped into the closet for inventory. In an effort to reach the judge, Fulk tore the door off his hinges, but was stopped by the tournament organizers.
- Everton. At the beginning (at the end of the XIX century) the colors of Everton became white and blue, but later the form turned black. The fact is that players who came to Everton from other clubs were allowed to enter the field in the form of their previous teams. This created confusion on the field, followed by a decision on a uniform color, and to save the whole form was simply painted black. The team was called the “black watch”. Later, a new nickname appeared – “toffee”, which the club owes to a small shop near the stadium, where fans bought candy before the match.
The most fundamental opposition of English football
English football can’t be imagined without principled derby. Fighting players, mass deletions, fan fights and a lot of work for the police – during the derby on the field and beyond it is a real war. This Saturday will be one of these confrontations – “Liverpool” against “Manchester United”. In honor of this, I propose to recall the most principled derby of English football. You can write about some derbies for hours, about others there is little information. Some people rattle all over the world, a few people know about others, but it is worth mentioning them all.
Sheffield United vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Steel City Derby)
This is one of the most passionate confrontations in England and certainly the most irreconcilable derby outside the Premier League. The clubs first played each other in 1890 and since then have played 141 games. United are ahead of their opponents by just one victory – 49 against 48. The most memorable match these teams played on December 26, 1979, which went down in history as Boxing Day Massacre. “Wednesday” then won 4-0, but the match was remembered not so much by this victory, as by the tough, sometimes bloody, fan-made skirmishes that accompanied the game. Despite tense fan relations, clubs are not hostile to each other, and sometimes even unite for the sake of common projects. So, in 2011 they announced a joint sponsorship agreement, thanks to which United and Wednesday had the same sponsors on T-shirts and earned a six-figure amount, which is quite good for such small clubs.
Norwich City vs Ipswich Town (East England Derby)
This confrontation is jokingly referred to as Old Farm Derby, by analogy with the famous name Old Company Derby between Celtic and Rangers and in honor of the developed agriculture in this region. Ipswich and Norwich are the only professional football clubs in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, so the winner of this derby takes the right to be called “the pride of East Anglia”. And while this title is worth giving “Ipswich” – they won 60 games from 142 against 57 victories against “Norwich”. In 2008, this derby was called the second in principle and rigidity in all of England. Such rivalry can be caused by the fact that each of these teams represents a whole county (“Norwich” is Norfolk, and “Ipswich” is Suffolk). Even book was written about this derby.
West Bromwich Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Black Country Derby)
This is one of the oldest derbies in the world, the first game of which was played in 1883. Both clubs have approximately the same fan base and a similar story, which adds to the principle of this opposition. A total of 160 matches were played and so far ahead there are “blackbirds” – 64 wins against 53 against the “wolves”. Many fans call this the toughest derby in all of England and they have a reason to say so.
Fans of “West Brom” and “Wolverhampton” openly feuding and constantly arrange mass fights. In 2011, the fans of “wolves” threw a smoke bomb into the sector of fans of “thrushes”. The latter, in response, began to throw into their offenders everything that came to hand. The standoff at the stadium after the match turned into a mass brawl in a pub near the arena, after which 7 fans were arrested and sentenced to prison terms. And in 2002, fans of these teams met in the center of Amsterdam before the game between the national teams of the Netherlands and England and staged a real massacre. Wolverhampton fans took their opponents into a siege in one of the pubs and started throwing bottles at them. “Drozdy” after a small rearrangement jumped out into the street and attacked the hooligans “wolves”. Frames of this fight then spread around the world.
Liverpool vs Everton (Merseyside Derby)
The relationship of the fans of the two clubs still remains pretty calm. A certain tension in the relationship was observed after the tragedy on “Eisel”, since Everton fans accused Liverpool hooligans of having lost their English clubs to the European cups. But after the tragedy at Hillsboro, the fans reconciled and boycotted the Sun together for their provocative article about the incident.
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City (Second City Derby)
The irreconcilable standoff between the two Birmingham clubs has always been tough and explosive. The clubs first met in 1879 and have played 120 games since then. Villa won 52 games, and their opponents – 38. Fans of Birmingham constantly felt like the second team of the city, given the success of “Villa” in the international arena in 1982 and their constant participation in the Premier League since 1992. Everything changed in 2002, when Birmingham returned to the elite division and delivered Aston Villa in both matches with a total score of 5: 0. Both of these derbies were accompanied by fan fights both at the stadium and beyond.
The next tough skirmishes occurred in 2007. Fans after the end of the match, in which Villa won Birmingham with the score 1: 2, staged a massive brawl near St. Andrews, in which more than 20 policemen were injured. And in 2010, when the police once again took away the fighting fans near Villa Park, the Birmingham chef was among the detainees. In December of the same year, Birmingham managed to beat Villa for the first time since October 2005, and its fans decided to mark this event with several fights with fans of the Lions right in the stadium. The clashes continued outside the stadium, when the “villans” attacked the pub, in which the “blue” fans gathered. One of the fans called the events of that day a “war zone”.
Portsmouth vs Southampton (South Coast Derby)
This derby is unlikely to come to you first when they ask you about the most principled confrontations in England, but in fact the fans of these teams hate each other more than the guys in North London, Manchester and Merseyside together. This feud began in the early 20th century, and its source was not at all football matches, but the conflicts of port workers. In 1912, after the wreck of the Titanic, sailors from Southampton refused to go to sea on a similar ship due to the lack of lifeboats. But dockers from Portsmouth agreed, what caused the incredible anger of their colleagues. As a result, they had to arrive at Southampton deep in the night by sea, because doing it during the day and on the way just dangerous for their lives. Since then, the dislike of each other among the inhabitants of these two cities has been passed down from generation to generation. Portsmouth also often competes with AFCB Bournemouth.
The legend of the “saints” Matt Le Tissier recalled in his book that once their goalkeeper Alan Blaine hung his towel on the back of the goal net and a couple of minutes some Portsmouth fan set it on fire. In 2004, after the victory of “Portsmouth” near Fratton Park, fan clashes occurred, after which 94 people were arrested, among whom was a 14-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy. They got a ban on visiting the stadium for three years for aggressive behavior. This is the brightest episode of the numerous fights and clashes of fans of the two clubs.
Also in the English Premier League there are the following football stars: Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Spurs, Huddersfield, Cardiff City, Watford, Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham United.