The North-South divide and the changing face of the Premier League.
GUEST POST from Bryn Robinson at thesefootballtimes.net
Premier League Focus
The North-South divide in England has always been an area of contention for the nation.
With London and the South typically favoured by politicians and businesses, the North is often neglected and maligned. However football is one area where the North can be seen to rule supreme, with teams from the north of the country traditionally dominating the league, winning 39 top tier titles in the last 50 years.
In the 2011/12 season there were 9 teams from the North of England in the Premier League, with Manchester City running out the eventual winners in what was essentially a two horse race with rivals Manchester United. However just 12 months on, (and with United winning on the Horses this season) teams from the south are having a resurgence. With the promotion of Cardiff City and Crystal Palace, the 2013/14 Premier League season is set to contain 9 teams from the south, including for the first time two teams from South Wales.
With Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool and now Wigan Athletic slipping into the Championship in the last 2 years, it looks that the balance of footballing power may be shifting subtly towards the south.
But just what is causing this shift in demographic? One key factor can be linked with the influx of foreign players to the Premier League, with London clubs in particular taking advantage of the city itself in order to lure players in. Clubs play on the more temperate climate, wealthy culture and cosmopolitan attitude present in the capital in order to sell their club to players from abroad when trying to complete transfers.
However the draw of certain northern clubs cannot be underestimated. Manchester United and Liverpool both make use of their wealth, historic successes and large fan bases to land big name stars. Whereas Manchester City are able to offer huge sums of money to bring in global superstars such as David Silva, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero. Clubs from the north of England still have clout when it comes to acquiring top players, yet this seems to be limited somewhat to the largest clubs, with smaller clubs receiving the raw end of the deal when compared with their southern counterparts.
Though clubs from both North and South compete at the top of the Premier League and in Europe, it seems that the North’s general dominance of the English footballing pyramid could be set to change.
With both Manchester clubs changing managers, it could be argued that each will undergo a transition season, and although they will be aiming to challenge for the title, it may not be as easy as under a settled manager and squad. This is surely the best chance for teams like Tottenham and Arsenal to try and break the northern dominance over the Premier League. With stable managers and the funds available to strengthen their squads, next season could provide an opportunity for these well positioned clubs to make a serious challenge for the title. Is this the time for southern clubs to turn their current strong position in the league into silverware?
Agree/ Disagree – Drop your comments below!!