Is the Premier League bad for English Football?

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The Premier League, "the greatest football league in the world," in many people's eyes.

But why do so many smaller clubs hate it, and why do clubs so desperately want to get in?

Obviously you can put it all down to jealousy, but is the Premier League actually good for the rest of English, and even British football?

Parachute Payments are fees payed to clubs relegated from the Premier League over two seasons.

These started in the 2006-2007 season and begun at £6.5 million per year. This amount has since risen to £11.2 million in 2007-2008 per year.

This is a fee payed by the Premier League, a generous gesture to help clubs deal with the loss of Premier League television money (about £45 million per season).

However, it still leaves a loss of almost £35 million per year, and many clubs including Portsmouth, Southampton, Wimbledon, Bradford City, Leeds United, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City, Blackpool, Burnley and Charlton Athletic are just some of the clubs to drop out of the Premier League and not immediately return.

That's 15 clubs, 10 of which either dropped to League One or lower. Wimbledon were relocated as MK Dons for business purposes mainly - so AFC Wimbledon was born in 2002.

An article shows that 60% of League One clubs have been in administration, more than those in League Two and the Conference, which suggests most problems come due to Premier League losses in clubs relegated to League One.

People are always surprised when teams like Wolves go straight from the Premier League to League One in minimum time, don't think for one moment it won't happen to your club. Look at Man United's debt, they have a very high revenue so are unlikely to fall, but if Moyes does indeed manage to mess things up, if United don't get top for, fans start losing faith.

When a club is that big, fans just stick. In foreign countries, if failure starts becoming more common than success, fans will go.

It may start this year, Spurs, Arsenal, City and Chelsea all look stronger than United, they are all clubs in great financial situations. The new financial fair-play rules will try to counter this, but it won't be unheard of even then.

The Leeds United fans of 1975 never thought their club would one day be losing 2-0 to tiny Hereford United in League One just over 30 years later, but these days, it can happen quicker than that.

Portsmouth were FA Cup champions in 2008, a Harry Redknapp, a few dodgy chairman and four years later they sit in League Two. This wasn't Redknapp's first Premier League failure, and not his last. He was relegated with Southampton in 2005, they dropped to League One afterwards, before good business and football got them back to a great position back in the Premier League.

Redknapp then overspent again at QPR, he was lucky that Tony Fernandes wasn't the same chairman he was unlucky enough to have at Portsmouth. Although if Fernandes was to leave for his beloved West Ham, QPR could be in a huge amount of trouble.

The parachute payment system is supposed to avoid situations like Leeds, but Wolves proved money was not always the problem, they had the quality with players like Kevin Doyle and Jamie O'Hara to stay in the Championship and probably should have bounced back, the players let Wolves down.

The argument against it is, it doesn't necessarily help the clubs as it's not really enough, but giving free money is unfair on smaller clubs, especially as Championship clubs get about £1 million per season from TV money, and League One clubs get even less.

Many people believe that the amount foreign players in the Premier League harms the quality of the British (particularly England) nations. For me, this is untrue. There is a rule that Premier League clubs must have at least eight home grown players in their squad, of course, when Fabregas was playing for Arsenal, he counted as home grown, but for the most part it stays within the British nations.

Also, realistically the England, Wales and Scotland and both Irish international managers will be looking to the Premier League for the majority of their squad. And they will have about 50 players to watch (at most).

The fact that the PL have so many foreigners not only means that these players are tested to the highest possible level, but it also allows national managers to see what players are like vs certain players, whereas in Germany and Spain, (strangely enough, probably Europe's best two teams), they don't get this to the same extent.

The reason I believe Germany and Spain look so good right now is that it's simply their time.

Barcelona have been building their academy since the start of the Premier League, and it's only just starting to pay off, and now we have Bayern Munich, look at their squad, nothing amazingly special player by player, but they're managed extremely well, and the cheap ticket prices mean their stadium is always full.

However, look at the money the two clubs have spent over the past few years, they've achieved the same amount of success as Manchester United since 1992, and Inter Milan came up in 2010 to win the Champions League due to a certain genius who brought in Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich rejects, and won the Champions League.

They brought in foreigners such as Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto'o and Lucio and won the Italian treble. And then at Madrid, Mourinho couldn't even get the Copa del Rey in his last season.

La Liga is dominated by two teams, the Bundesliga is ultimately dominated by one with about 10 other teams rotating power. The fact is, these teams are dominated by home grown players, but players like Fabregas, Villa and Pique were not made at Barca, they were made great by smaller or foreign clubs, players like Fabregas and Marco Reus left their supported clubs, and returned when it got good.

Ronaldo, Bale (Welsh), Modric and Alonso all made their names in England, and when Madrid bought them, the overall quality of the Premier League had increased, whilst La Liga has become more like the difference between the Premier League and League One, than 1st and 20th.

When you look at last year's 14th place team in the Premier League, Southampton, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse are four great young English talents, they also have Rickie Lambert who could be crucial for another disappointing England World Cup campaign.

Southampton also have Steven Davies, an important Northern Ireland player. They also have the academy that produced Gareth Bale, a player who could be the difference between 1st and 2nd for Real Madrid in La Liga this year.

Currently placed 14th Premier League, Southampton, struggling in the Championship when Bale joined Spurs. Funnily enough, Bale had a clause in his Spurs contract, that when he was sold, The Saints would get a chunk of the fee, but Spurs bought this out for about £1 million due to the Saints needing the money at the time because of relegation from the Premier League.

But that £1 million, helped them massively. La Liga's 14th place team from last year are Real Valladolid. Their biggest international is Manucho, a player who struggled in Man Utd's reserves.

The point of all this is, La Liga seem to have a lot of Spanish talent, but most of their league is unproven, because they have too many Spanish players.

I believe Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Cole and Ferdinand would have killed their careers had they moved away from England, like Michael Owen, Steve McManaman and David Beckham did, who were all good enough at Madrid, but did little after leaving.

Spain's team is set up mainly of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, the same as Germany with Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Whereas clubs like Atletico need foreign players like Felipe Luis and Falcao for a third place finish and a Copa Del Rey win.

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona buy up all the great young talent because they have the youth coaches to develop them properly, that's the problem in England - the coaching.

Although, look at the way clubs like Swansea, Southampton and Everton play, it's similar to that of the Spanish teams, funnily enough all of their managers are either Spanish or have managed in Spain.

I believe, the difference is in the coaching. Look at the successful British coaches, Sir Alex and Clough, probably the best. People are forever comparing them, it's because there's very few like them, they are the "golden" managers.

But the new era, headed by José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and I believe Michael Laudrup and Roberto Martinez, look great and look more suited to the modern era, whereas living in the past by Manchester United with the appointment of David Moyes seems like they're trying to get the "Next Sir Alex", and not the first Mourinho, Guardiola, or perhaps Luadrup or Martinez.

I believe these are the best four managers in the world right now, some will doubt Martinez but the Wigan story is possibly the greatest FA Cup story since the start of the Premier League, I guess we'll wait and see.

I think the Premier League as a whole is good for English football.

Yes, it has ruined clubs in the past, but we can hope that the new rules will start stopping that (perhaps, just in time for Manchester United). It should hopefully stop teams like Madrid buying success and it should allow teams in lower divisions to strengthen in all leagues across the world.

The parachute payment does help teams and does hinder others, but teams like Wigan, Hull and Swansea have all climbed the leagues and proven it's possible on a budget within a space of time.

England is still where football's at, it's why Nick Powell is playing for Crewe in League Two one minute, and scoring a screamer in the Premier League the next, something that doesn't happen through Barcelona and Real Madrid's complex youth system, the English leagues are still more exciting as far as young talent is concerned. 

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