Good Evening (and please vote ‘Clumpany’!).
With the greatest of respect to Ibrox-based football clubs, Level5 PR, and each and every member of the Scottish sports media, NO ONE does excessive hype like the English Premier League Fettishists.
And so it is that the arrival of Jurgen Klopp to be the next manager of Liverpool is being covered like a State Visit or perhaps as though humanity is about to experience its first contact with extra-terrestrials.
You can understand some of the excitement. Klopp is a high-profile name and did after all pip The Warbmeister to the job, and that clearly makes his arrival in England particularly significant.
However, even that remarkable achievement can’t really justify the circus that has unfolded. The coverage of his likely appointment has been relentless for days. And this live blog from the Telegraph, covering his arrival in Liverpool (no it isn’t a spoof) demonstrates just how silly things have become.
Here are a few snippets to marvel at…
The Telegraph blog may be rather tongue-in-cheek, but it does point to a wider truth: the completely saturated and ludicrously overhyped nature of the coverage of every single aspect of the English Premier League.
We have long been told that the EPL is the ‘Best League in the World’, and have had over two decades of Sky Sports giving the impression that watching their coverage is a near-religious experience.
The fact that the Spanish and German top flights are demonstrably better – not least in the games that Sky (and BT Sport) themselves show – is utterly irrelevant. And to a degree you can’t blame them for hyping up their expensively-acquired ‘product’.
But the hype has long since gone past the point where you can excuse it as a bit of ‘artistic license’ on their part. Things have now gone into the realms of fantasy.
The written media is just as culpable: covering almost every bit of minutiae as if it is a profound development in the history of human endeavour. I don’t doubt that it helps to sell newspapers, but it doesn’t exactly treat readers as if they have a brain, does it?
It tells its own story that so much of the EPL hysteria is focused on the unbelievable amount of cash that is sloshing around within it. Transfer fees are no longer merely obscene. They are x-rated. Sky Sports News’ twice-yearly Transfer Deadline Day extravaganza is now arguably a bigger event for the network than any actual game of football they televise.
What started off as impressively comprehensive coverage of last-minute transfer news has become an utterly self-absorbed exercise in drooling over the splashing of incomprehensible amounts of money. Presenters giddily report that the cumulative expenditure has exceeded the GDP of many countries, and never stop to ask whether English Football is experiencing an utterly unsustainable bubble that might just burst with ‘apocalyptic’ consequences.
But then why would you if – say – Stoke City have just bought a player for £20m?! Because that’s all the confirmation you need that the EPL is indeed the ‘Best League in the World’!
Is this all sour grapes from a fan of Scottish Football?
Well I wouldn’t mind some of that TV money coming into our game, and those running it still need to explain how on earth they managed to ‘negotiate’ such a poor deal. Furthermore, I envy the EPL for having media coverage whose starting point is to be upbeat rather than negative.
However, I do think that the permanent euphoria surrounding the English game, and the exponential increase in spending based on a TV market that could be undermined by changing technology is utterly reckless.
I don’t envy any English fan whose club’s survival is dependent on the bubble continuing to expand for ever.
They say you should be careful what you wish for. I certainly wouldn’t wish for my club to be in the vicinity when the EPL bubble goes ‘pop’. It could be messy.
NB Astonishingly, The Clumpany has made it to the final of the Football Blogging Awards 2015! Many thanks for your support! All previous votes have now been wiped out so your renewed support would be greatly appreciated!
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