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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Premiership in the dock
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea's Jose Mourinho: We don't have an 'obligation' to entertain
The Premiership has become predictable, it is too expensive to go to games and the players have lost touch with the fans.

These are the conclusions of the 606 message board users after BBC Sport asked them for their view on football's top-flight.

The majority also thought there were too many games on television and that unhelpful media hype and excessive players' wages are spoiling the game.


The majority of the 550 people that responded to our questions said the Premiership was boring because of the dominance of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. However, there was a division over whether the game's top clubs have an 'obligation' to entertain with some saying 'definitely' and others saying 'not always'.

Due to the dominance of the "big three" many results are becoming too predictable. The number of games a team loses in winning the title is now ridiculously low in comparison with Europe's other top leagues.

However the games between mid-table to bottom clubs are still competitive and the general standard of football is still high.

Another problem now is the prevalence of the maligned 4-5-1 system and the negativity it has brought to the Premier League which was once noted for its attacking bravado (at the expense of defence).
West Brom fan

Wenger and co are kidding themselves if they think fans want to see games with more entertainment. Football does not have an objective to entertain the way the theatre does or eating out. It is subjective, so fans will come to see a successful team but that is not the same thing as wanting entertainment.
Newcastle fan

The Premiership will not be won or lost this year - it will be bought, just like last year. Chelsea finished top with the best team last year and still strengthened their team by spending 50m. Is Mourinho one of the best managers in Europe? Yes. Does he need to be? No. I'm sure Ranieri would have topped the Prem last year with Chelsea.

The uneven playing field that now exists in the Prem is no good for football. Do Man Utd, Arsenal or Liverpool fans really believe they can win? No, and we're only six games in!

It's not even the lack of goals over here, just the predictability of four defenders hoofing the ball 40 yards, five midfielders locked in a pointless midfield tussle, and a lone striker hammering the occasional shot into row Z.


All of the fans thought the price of watching a game had become too high. Although they wanted to see their teams play live, most accepted that a lot of the time it wasn't worth it as the money could be better spent elsewhere, the result was too predictable or the quality would be poor.

Premiership tickets have always been expensive and people have always paid whatever prices for these tickets. Now they're starting to realise it's not value for money. Up the quality of football and the fans will go back and pay 50 per ticket no problem.
Spurs fan

The problem is that football has turned from a sport into a business. I have a much better time going to Loftus Road than watching anything to do with the Premiership. Behind all the packaging and glitz the Premiership can often be quite average, the Championship on the other hand has retained it's spirit and hasn't sold its soul yet.
QPR fan

Why would I spend 25 on travel, 30 on admission and 5-10 on food/drink when I can watch 8-10 games from the comfort of my couch for the same cost. All without the risk of being sat behind someone who won't shut up throughout the entire match and keeps standing up the second anything exciting happens thus forcing a kind of vertical Mexican wave up the stand.

The telly offers a better view than being there.


A lot of the fans blamed too much football on television for the current feeling of boredom. They also felt the amount of 'live' TV games affected attendances and ruined the 'match day experience'. But some felt TV had increased the games appeal and catered to fans unable to go to matches.

TV has spoilt football as there is too much of it on. But football is no longer a country-wide only sport as so many people live and work abroad. I would love to be able to work back home and get a season ticket and see the Toon every week but its not possible so seeing them on TV is a bonus to me. It's swings and roundabouts unfortunately.
Newcastle fan

Absolutely not. Like most football fans I would choose to see a game live over TV any day of the week but obviously living so far away it's not an option but I still travel over once a year to see my team play. Having the games on TV is great and allows transplanted fans to be able to watch their teams instead of trying to survive on a diet of five minutes of highlights and two live games a season.

In my view the whole 'match day experience' has become boring.

I saw a TV advert the other day showing a gang of lads going to a football match and I thought to myself, "when was the last time I was able to do that"?

I remember meeting in town with a huge bunch of lads, getting the train to Old Trafford, watching United get beat and absolutely loving the experience. Now I drive down with my son, sit next to some guy I don't know, in an atmosphere less ground watching United scrape a 1-0 win against some duffers with 11 men behind the ball having paid a small fortune for the privilege.

I find myself thinking, "just what is the point?"
Manchester United fan

It's obvious that too much football on the TV is the main reason for boredom. Sometimes there are two games on Saturday, two games on Sunday, one on Monday then there are the Euro games with one on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That is half of Premiership games live on TV - far too many.
Mr P


Overwhelmingly the fans believed that the players could not possibly identify with the 'ordinary' man on the street. The majority thought that unnaturally high wages and media hype, meant players lived in a bubble which made it hard for them to know what real fans think or expect from them.

These guys are earning, in some cases, nearly five times the average national annual salary in a week. In those situations how can you have any concept of why Average Joe doesn't want to fork out 100+ to go and see a first round European tie against a team he's never heard of? Regardless that it's his club's first foray into Europe.

It'll be on TV anyway and the cash can go towards a game on a Saturday against a team he's heard of and where the result is final.

I have to say there are only one or two players worth their salt. Shearer for one gets it right. He knows the fans at his club are totally involved and expect nothing less than total effort, much like all supporters. However, the difference is that he reacts to it and makes the extra effort on and off the pitch.

Rooney 'once a blue always a blue' saw the money and ran. Can't say I blame him but don't tell me the players care about the fans' reaction any more as the game is too commercial to make me believe it.

And if one more player kisses their badge!! That's only ok after they have been at the club for a while.
Spurs fan


The responses to this question were varied and included: capping players salaries, less football on television, a reduction in foreign players, shortening the Premiership season and bringing down ticket prices. But all agreed that something had to be done.

Let's have less football, more three o'clock Saturday kick-offs, a lot more cheaper prices and squad and salary limits would give more teams a fair chance. The atmosphere in grounds is not as good as it used to be, so maybe some limited terracing could be reintroduced, surely this could be done safely now fences have gone?

In an ideal world I would say lower players' wages and bring down ticket prices. I think this needs to happen worldwide though, not just in the Premiership, and that footballers will have a greater pride in winning competitions if it does.

Make it more regional so that each team must have at least one player on the field born within a 20-mile radius of the town or city they represent and no more than two or three foreign players at any time. Britain has enough cultural diversity for this to work without it being seen as in anyway racist or non inclusive. If this happened teams with smaller budgets would find themselves in the Premiership, and more capable of staying there.

Halve the ticket prices. Return top-flight football to being that special occasion and make it a viable option to the family once again like it used to be.

Put a cap on the huge wages. Maybe players shouldn't earn more than 10,000 a month? Surely every player in a team should earn the same with win bonuses on top? If it's their fault they miss a game then halve their wages...

Bring the game back to reality please before it goes pop!!!
Liverpool fan

Paying the price
22 Sep 05 |  Premiership


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