Football

Premier League stars must be allowed to speak freely

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Every year fans from all over the planet are always eager indulge in every twist, turn shock and surprise the Premier League has to offer.

These spectators tune in to watch an ever-changing cast perform at the same theatres, following the same format to produce a consistently unpredictable plot.

However, the league's biggest appeals are its familiarity and continuity.

Players and managers come and go, champions rise and fall but the incredibly lucrative Premier League lives on.

Football, like all sports, offers an escape, a distraction from the toil of everyday life and unlike the majority of American TV and film series, the Premier League successfully continues to use the same formula to captivate a global audience.

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Premier League must evolve

But like every other entertainment series, it has had to evolve to be able to continue to enthral.

Since the Premier League's inception in 1992, those in charge have always upped the ante, with ever-increasing investment and an endless influx of foreign talent.

But in February 2015, the league reaffirmed lavish status by selling the television rights to its games for £5.136bn.

An unfathomable sum, that no one would ever pay for the rights to broadcast a fourth Hangover film or even another series of Breaking Bad. However, it is time for the TV companies to demand that they receive more value for their money.

Premier League needs characters

It is time to give the league's characters their voices back. Of course a fan's foremost concern is the players' and managers' performance during the games but something must be done about their monotonous interviews.

These interviews once enhanced the spectacle, but they now dampen it. PR has prevailed and players are no longer able to express themselves off the pitch. These characters have become extremely one dimensional.

In front of tens of thousands of impassioned supporters, these men have no problem expressing themselves, but when they are faced with a camera and a microphone they resort to churning out the same boring PR tripe, week in week out.

Why? Because they have been conditioned into providing harmless, mistake-free answers that are about as interesting as a one-horse race.

Bored of same old clichés

We know that all footballing conclusions are reached at the end of the day, we know you just want to go out and enjoy your football and we are well aware that away venues are always a tough place to go! Enough is enough, we are bored.

It has not always been this way. Once upon at time, Premier League players were not afraid to portray themselves as people with personalities outside the confines of white lines and whistles.

In the mid 90s, Tim Flowers was not afraid to hit back at Alex Ferguson's claims that Blackburn lacked bottle, by exclaiming: "Don't talk to me about bottle, because that is bottle out there!"

In the same year, Eric Cantona surprised and confused the media, following his infamous kung fu kick, by delivering the unforgettable line: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

And throughout the last decade of the twentieth century, the likes of Ian Wright and Roy Keane rarely failed to provide spectators with evocative and often controversial outbursts.

Of course the league has progressed, money has poured in and players are now representatives of the brands that are their clubs. They are not alone, most other professional sports have censored their athlete's opinions to prevent them from blurting out anything that could damage the image of their brands. They want special bodies, not sharp minds.

Even managers are being restricted

Managers now seem to be the only source of any interesting quotes but even they have their speech restricted.

Jose Mourinho offered his opinion on Cesc Fabregas' yellow cards after the game against Southampton in December 2014 only to be charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA).

Louis Van Gaal is known for his raving rants, but when he claimed that "every aspect of the match" had been against his side when they drew 0-0 away at Cambridge, the FA charged him with bringing the game into disrepute.

These are just two examples of countless cases brought against managers by the FA. When did everyone become so overly sensitive? And what was that rhyme your mum used to recite about sticks and stones when you got called names at school?

Let them speak freely

Just let them speak freely. Do not shove a microphone down their throat and demand their opinion only to punish them for it later on. They are entitled to their perspective and as entertainers, players and managers must be free to express themselves.

We are not expecting a Mohammad Ali style master class but an honest account of events is certainly not unreasonable, especially when each game is soon to be valued at more than £10 million. The TV companies should expect every single second of their match-day broadcasts to be brimming with entertainment.

Racism, sexism, homophobia and profanity should always be punished accordingly, anything short of that should be fair game. A laissez faire approach to interviews would undoubtedly spice up proceedings and provide matches with much more riveting context.

Feathers would be ruffled, feelings would be hurt and tempers would flare, but what does everyone want to see when they tune into a dramatic series such as the Premier League?

Drama.

Does the Premier League need more outspoken characters? Have your say in the comments below!

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Topics:
Football
Premier League

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