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Ten Reasons To Avoid The Prem.


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England’s spectacular failure at the World Cup has had little impact on the inevitable transfer rumours linking stand-out players with moves to - and in some cases away from - the Premier League.

The likes of Luis Suarez, Asamoah Gyan, Mesut Ozil and Luis Fabiano have all been linked with Premier switches, although they should approach any possible move with a heavy dose of caution.

Why, you ask? Because the self-proclaimed Best League In The World just isn’t so hot right now…

1. The fragile state of our economy

Not that any so-called foreign mercenary should care about public sector cuts or the difficulty in obtaining a fixed-rate mortgage plan, but unless you are one of the lucky few dozen or so at Manchester City do not expect a significant pay rise on moving to England. We’re in the middle of a recession, no-one really knows how the coalition government will hold up, you will be heavily taxed and a burger costs upwards of £15 at a 'gastro' pub in town. Spain may be almost bankrupt, but foreign footballers barely pay any tax over there and everything’s well cheap anyway.

2. The missus will hate it

It’s not just the weather - Germany and Northern Italy get pretty cold - but the drinking culture and inevitable cabal of cackling WAGs will leave your life partner isolated, lonely and yearning for somewhere of a sunnier disposition, socially and meteorologically. Just ask Javier Mascherano or Nemanja Vidic. Mascherano’s agent has been angling for a move to Barcelona or Inter for the past few seasons, with his wife’s unhappiness at life in Liverpool a driving force. Only to be expected from an Argentine, but even Serb Vidic reportedly complained about his wife Ana’s unhappiness and that "(Manchester's) main attraction is considered to be the timetable at the railway station, where trains leave for other, less rainy cities".

3. You will play like a toilet for your country

It is hard to think of a Premier League star that didn’t flop at this summer's World Cup. Ghana’s John Pantsil had a decent tournament, in part because he had a nice winter break when injured for Fulham, and while Nigel 'Kung Fu' De Jong and Robin van Persie got to the final with the Netherlands the former was notable more for his fouling and the latter for his relative anonymity. Pretty much everyone else was a bit rubbish. The only player who stood out was Cesc Fabregas, who was cleverly used as an impact sub by the winners. The physical and emotional demands of our league are such that everyone is knackered by the summer and in desperate need of the break they should have been given at Christmas.

4. When you do play for your national team, 'club-over-country' means you will get it in the neck from the gaffer

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have made no secret of their unhappiness when players come back from internationals tired, injured or low after a defeat. Fergie even had the cheek to suggest resting all his World Cup 'stars' for the opener against Newcastle United, even though they all came home early and in some cases didn’t even play (Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney…). And in a bizarre example of a Scot shunning patriotism, Birmingham boss Alex McLeish expressed his delight at Barry Ferguson’s continued exile from the national team. The attitude is not helped by how early the Premier League re-starts - the Spanish get an extra two weeks rest.

5. The theory that foreign imports are ruining the English game

ED doesn't agree with this - the Bundesliga and La Liga have a similar proportion of foreign players (or at least naturalised South Americans) but the locals they do develop are taught the mental and technical skills to cope with international football. England were not particularly successful in the 1970s or early 1980s - when there were hardly any foreigners in the domestic game - while Italy, which until recent financial travails was a huge pull even for English players, won it in 1982 and 2006 and got to one final and a semi in between. Still, there is a constant, nagging concern expressed by fans, the media and even players that there is not enough opportunity for local youngsters to develop in first teams due to the availability of cheaper, ready-made talent from abroad. The likes of Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell and Joe Hart may disagree.

6. We're bad at football

Okay, ED didn’t really mean that. But the English game is in a state of mini-crisis at the moment, not because we’re genuinely rubbish but because all the really good teams in Europe have worked out how to handle our direct style of play. The physical, up-and-at-em ethos of the English game is great fun at times but lends itself to binary football, and even its more sophisticated proponents get out-passed and out-thought by the likes of Barcelona and Internazionale - who, incidentally, are not averse to a scrap either. Last season saw English clubs stall in Europe, with the exception of little Fulham - who under Roy Hodgson played a short-passing, organised, 'continental' style of football and were ultimately beaten by a better Atletico Madrid side.

7. Spain and Germany are really good at football

ED did mean that. Spain have their mesmerising, one-touch style that Barcelona perfected some time ago and this has translated to the wider Spanish game. The Germans, meanwhile, seem to have got the balance right for a quick, physical, counter-attacking form of play that is both exciting and effective. For some reason English football has stalled over the last few years - maybe it’s a level of complacency afforded by a domestic game became so internally rich that it did not need to adapt and develop; the others did, and the precarious financial situation many of the clubs are now in means it needs to move fast.

8. The weather

Okay it’s a huge cliché, but the cold winters – and the fact that we play right through it, even increasing the workload over Christmas – result in more muscle-related injuries and fatigue by the season’s end. Furthermore, if you hail from a warmer climate, it may take six months to adapt to the weather; time fans, media and coaches are not prepared to give. Just ask Alberto Aquilani.

9. The number of games

Now that clubs are expected to take the League Cup seriously, if your team has any level of domestic and continental success you will be expected to play upwards of 50 games for your club side, plus another 10 or so for your national team. Without a winter break this can only take its toll on either club or country form.

10. The British media

It may seem unusual to stick the knife into ourselves, but we really don’t help. It is fair that performances on the pitch should be open to scrutiny, but your personal life will be monitored and criticised, and everything you say deconstructed as a veiled attack or flirtation with your own or another club.


"Winning isn't everything, but it beats anything that comes in second." - Paul Bryant

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