The Premiership is the richest and the best football league on the planet. There’s no doubting that, or the huge divide between it and the next tier down, the football League Championship. Just look at how hard it is for promoted clubs to survive just one season in the Premiership, however much money they throw at it. And it is all about money, television money that sucks in the best talent from around the world.
But even within the Premiership there are leagues within leagues, differentiated again by money. And the Premier Clubs within the Premier League are the Big Four: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Make no mistake; the gulf between the top four and the rest is far wider even than between Premiership and Championship.
Never was there a starker illustration of that than the results of the Champions League and UEFA Cup matches to decide the quarter finalists in the respective competitions.
As last year, the Champions League has been dominated by English clubs and indeed the same four English clubs. All the Big Four Premiership teams are through to the last 8 in the Champions League.
But is this English dominance echoed in the UEFA cup? Not a bit of it. Spurs, Bolton, Everton all failed to progress. Last year was little better, Spurs making it to the quarter finals and Newcastle falling in the previous round.
So our top four are better than the whole of the rest of Europe, the odd good performance by AC Milan or Barcelona apart, but all clubs below that are fairly easy meat for the better teams in Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
It must be even more exasperating for the ambitious clubs in the upper reaches of the Premiership trying to break into England’s cosy clique of Champions League regulars than for Championship clubs hoping to escape into the financial paradise that is the Premiership.