Monday 13th of May saw Manchester United parading their Premier League trophy through the red side of the city of Manchester. It was all pomp and fanfare with the team in their open double-decker bus with beaming players and the out-going manager and man of the moment, Alex Ferguson. On the other side of town, the Blue half, the storm was brewing over the future of the manager, Roberto Mancini. The same place that planned and hosted Mancini and his players were fuming with anger while watching the more successful neighbours parade with the trophy they had for just last season. By the day’s end, Roberto Mancini was relieved of his duties, given a £7m compensation and booted out of The Ethiad. What a way to end the season for the man the Blue Half of Manchester celebrated just last season.
A look at the Premier League table and one would notice something…that the change of management won’t be at Manchester United alone. Roberto Mancini won’t have another day to plot his revenge to snatch back the trophy the way United did. Rafa Benitez won’t be leading Chelsea out next season, David Moyes leaves Everton for Old Trafford and other coaches would definitely go the way of Mancini soon. By the close of the season, many more managerial changes would take place. For those thinking the dominant days of Manchester United were over may just be wrong and deluded, United may just be more than ready for their competitors next season. With the gale of managerial changes already taking place, should we expect a massive change in the top 3 of the league next season?
THE TOP 3 ARE THE RICHEST AND THE TREND DOESN’T LOOK LIKELY TO CHANGE ANYTIME SOON.
Followers of the modern game would notice that in the past 10 years, the league title is usually between 3 teams and the others acting as supporting cast. Until 2009 that Liverpool made and appearance and 2010 that City broke through, the EPL had been between United, Chelsea and Arsenal. La Liga in the past decade had been between Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia; Athletico Madrid are just usurpers and like Sevilla and Malaga they’ll return to their place. The Serie A of the last decade was between Juventus, Inter and AC Milan, the Calciopoli scandal of 2006 appeared to have broken the dominance but as soon as Juventus returned from Serie B they reclaimed their spot while Inter Milan have dropped theirs for SS Napoli. The Portuguese SuperLiga remains exclusive property of Porto, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon. The European leagues are fought for by the richest clubs. The only way to break into the top 3 is with tons of money like Paris Saint Germane just did in France (and Monaco is presently gearing towards making a charge). So what fans of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham should be looking for right now is owning their own Fort Knox because it’ll take all the gold in the world or the oils in the Arabian sands to make it happen. The league usually is won by clubs able to pay the most talented players not the luckiest teams.
IT WILL TAKE A BILLIONAIRE TAKE-OVER TO CHANGE THE STATUS QUO AND NONE IS HAPPENING OUTSIDE THE TOP 3 RIGHT NOW
It will take something massive to change the status quo of the EPL, not just whimsical managerial changes like we witness at Chelsea and Manchester City. In the past decade, the only massive change that turned the tide of the Premier League is the introduction of a new billionaire owner. Chelsea had theirs in Roman Abrahamovic, City had theirs in Sheik Al Mansoor. Until something significant like a new billionaire owner taking over a big club, the signing of a manager and players of megastar status or something going terribly wrong with your competitors mid-season, the title doesn’t go out of the top 3. Rumourville hasn’t reported any take-over at Arsenal, Tottenham nor Liverpool since the beginning of the year; they still have the same old ownership. So nothing new is happening anytime soon. No team outside the top 3 is making any significant signing, rather they’re bracing for significant players making their won exits. The only consolidation appear to be taking place in the top 3 not outside of it and it goes to show that it’s only at the top that the real competition will take place. The kind of money to make a massive tide of change flow through the league like it did in 2003 and 2010 isn’t coming this summer, so we aren’t expecting any change now. No team outside of the top 3 appears financially prepared to break into that position, not even Arsenal and Liverpool with their present financial backing.
WHAT USUALLY FOLLOWS A MANAGERIAL CHANGE IN THE EPL IS A SLOW START
With the exception of Jose Mourinho in 2004/2005 season, no new manager has won the English Premier League in the first season. Arsene Wenger didn’t. Carlo Ancelotti didn’t win it too. Juande Ramos got fired, AVB too. Going by this statistic, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City should forget about winning the league right? Wrong! Even though these 3 clubs have changed managers, I don’t see them being slow enough to allow the teams behind them overtake them. I doubt if Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are even likely to make any managerial changes of their own. They lack the financial muscle and their players lack guts to make new changes. Arsene Wenger already is too used to finishing in 4th place and will see his own contract out in the coming season, Villas Boas would be consolidating his own position at Spurs and Liverpool won’t touch Rodgers. No managerial shuffling expected there. Tell me what new thing these gentlemen gaffers would do or come up with that they’ve not done before? No clubs outside of United, Chelsea and City have the clout to do something significant and the race for the title remains between the 3 of them. The worst that’ll happen is an inter-change of positions between the 3 mammoths.
So dear followers of the EPL, thinking Manchester United will go down right now is mere wishful thinking. They will go down the moment another club that can match their players’ wages and salaries turn up. As long as United remain in top 3 richest clubs in England, they remain unshakable no matter how hard the teams below them stared at the top. All we can do for the moment is grab the Coke bottles and popcorn, sit down and enjoy the drama that will unfurl in the final days of the season as major events might still take place in the final episodes of our beloved sitcom, the English Premier League.
That’s my take, what do you think?