Since the English Premier League was created in 1992, Manchester United has won the league in 12 of the 20 seasons and they are well on their way to win their 13th in the Premier League era (20th overall). It’s safe to say that Fergie’s boys — as much as this pains me to say — are “the” team in Premier League history. However, when is it time to give an upstart the respect they deserve?
Sir Alex is one of the best, but at some point it is okay to say that other managers are good enough to shine his shoes.
We all know about England’s “Big Four” and their dominance through the years. Outside of Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City only three clubs have won the Premier League; United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Meanwhile, Liverpool gets included for their exploits in Europe.
Blackburn was a flash in the pan. They went as fast as they came and they are now in the Championship, having never come close to winning the league since and will probably have a tough time repeating 1994-95. Blackburn’s meteoric rise and plunging fall is the reason that football purists don’t give credibility to teams like Chelsea and Manchester City.
“They bought the league” is something you hear when asked about Chelsea’s back-to-back under Jose Mourinho and City’s thrilling last day title clincher last season. United, Arsenal, Liverpool, those teams would never do that. They would never spend millions to position themselves to bring home the title.
It’s true, Arsenal hasn’t spent much under Arsene Wenger. His financial policy is well known and the fact that the Gunners have been paying off the Emirates is also well know. I’d like to point out that since the Invincibles season and the one following, Arsenal hasn’t finished higher than 3rd in the league. They now sit in 5th place by Spurs and Chelsea.
Liverpool… hasn’t won the league in the Premier League era.
So that leaves us with Manchester United. As far as transfers this season, only one club spent more on players than Fergie — and no, it’s not their crosstown rivals. It’d be difficult to say that Robin van Persie hasn’t been the difference in United’s 15-point lead. How many winners has the Dutchman scored this season? Basically, it can be argued that United bought the league by buying van Persie from Arsenal.
But that will not be the case because United has “credibility.”
Whether just or not, teams do not get respect for winning the league in England because United has won it so many times. Teams do not get respect for finishing high because that’s something that Arsenal does on a meager transfer budget.
It took Chelsea winning the Champions League to earn some form of credibility with the purists and they are still defined by their owner’s purse strings.
I’m one to believe that constantly finishing near the top of the league should earn a team the respect they deserve as one of the more dominant teams in English football. Manchester City has finished 5th, 3rd, and 1st in the last three seasons and they will likely finish 2nd this season. They will have won a trophy in 3 of those 4 seasons should they get past Chelsea and Millwall/Wigan.
If that isn’t deserving of credibility then the league’s name needs to be changed to the “Manchester United will win” Premier League.