Actually, Premier League Years is very depressing

In theory, I should love Premier League Years.  Sky Sports’ season round-up series is in heavy rotation at the moment and, for many, it’s the perfect way to satisfy football cravings during the off-season.

And what’s not to like?  A two-hour long blend of goals, music, memorable matches and melodrama - it’s a neat precis of everything that has made English top-flight football so popular.



At this time of year, Premier League Years is actually a daily reminder of what football in this country has become and I spend my Summers growing increasingly resentful of it.

Superficially, it’s fine.  The goals are entertaining and you quickly realise how much of each individual year you tend to forget.  But watch a couple of episodes back-to-back and you’ll soon recognise just how formulaic Premier League coverage has been allowed to become.

Premier League Years mirrors the in-season broadcasting.  Rather than being a round-up of what happened in the division within a certain year, it’s actually a loving re-cap of the journeys taken by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs over an eight-month period.  Every goal, every game, and every little top-four story arc is faithfully recounted, to the effect that it emphasises how disenfranchised all the other teams have become.

Viewed from that perspective, the program is almost a parody - it’s a real-life version of that famous Mitchell & Webb sketch.

What Premier League Years really - unwittingly - conveys, is that the competition has become a protracted blur of Grand-Slam Sundays and Title Showdowns and very little else, always with their own carefully crafted vignettes based around some ludicrous, vague premise, all promoting games contested by the same old teams in pursuit of the same old rewards.

It’s Liverpool versus Man United, Man United against Liverpool.  Chelsea against this team, Chelsea versus that.  Did Arsenal maintain their challenge?  Did they SLIP or STUMBLE?  What about Liverpool?  Are Manchester City in a slump?

It’s more than a little stale and the louder the insistence is that we should all be fascinated by it, the more resistant to the entertainment we invariably are.

If you’re a fan of one of the other fifteen teams, it’s essentially a two-hour reminder of why you, ultimately, are an irrelevance.  Your side might fleetingly appear, but only in a slightly clumsy way that resembles a drunk extra stumbling onto centre-stage.

“You’re not supposed to be here, West Brom. Get off, we’ve got a football season to recount.”

We all know why it has to be this way and we also recognise that it will never be any different, but - rather than whetting the appetite for the new season - Premier League Years is just a reminder of how futile it has all become.

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Umaxit: Eric Cantona’s perfect retirement.



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