deltech wrote: Not withstanding the other comments in this thread, I truly do not see the attraction in these "must see" English fixtures you refer to. Having lived in England since 1993 and been to several TOP League fixtures, an watched an excrement-load (auto-editted) of games on TV, I can honestly say that the majority of the games in their Top League are arguably not worth watching. The real talent in that League lies with a small handful of teams, notably Manchester United (consistently) Liverpool (inconsistently) Chelsea (only recently) Arsenal (previously).
You're certainly entitled to that view and I know some others who share it. However, it's undoubtely true that Sky did help create enormous media interest in a game which only a few years earlier had been cast out of European football and had club chairmen talking about electric fences to keep supporters in. The English game couldn't have been more unfashionable in the late 1980's but, for a variety of reasons including Sky, they were able to transform it in the 1990's attracting, for good and bad, a lot of new supporters and global interest.
My own take on it was that the major Scottish clubs thought they could repeat the trick in the late 1990's, on a smaller scale, but were unable to do so.
I disagree with the view that the predictability at the top-end of the English Premiership has some kind of comparison with the SPL. There's a world of difference in the quality of the two leagues and this sustains a huge amount of interest by itself. Yes, West Ham or Aston Villa might not win anything but you'll watch some good players, some decent matches in a modern stadium which is nearly almost always full. This is a totally different 'football experience' from that outwith the Old Firm in the SPL, in my view.
In saying all that, I don't watch the Premiership as much as I used to. Watching one set of millionaires play another set of millionaires for the benefit of some Russian/Saudi Arabian billionaires is less appealling to me nowadays. But it's still incredibly popular to a huge number of supporters.
deltech wrote:Further, no amount of SKY razamataz can actually improve the quality of an otherwise mundane and insignificant match involving such QUALITY teams as Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton (post-McGinley of course), Derby, Fulham, Hull City, Leeds (remember them?), Middlesburgh, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Stoke City, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan, to name but a few.
Blackburn Rovers have players like Roque Santa Cruz - a player who would comfortably grace the SPL. Stillian Petrov, a player who was a huge star at Celtic, is now an Aston Villa squad player. Some of the names in there are nothing special but Sky money has allowed most clubs in the Premiership to have at least 1 or 2 really talented players in their squad. I'm not going to disagree that Sky hype mundane fixtures - I more or less said as much earlier.