Is The Premier League Becoming Football’s Answer To Golf’s Champions Tour?

The Premier League appears to have continued its decline into mediocrity with the emergence of emergency players into ailing Clubs based on hopes and dreams rather than logic.

How else can the trio of Landan Donovan, Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes be explained, and how can the Champions really believe that a central midfield duo of Ryan Giggs and Scholes with a combined age of 75 can ever beat the likes of Barcelona’s Iniesta and Xavi? Of course give our exit from CL maybe it doesn’t matter, but to me it does.

Everton may have an excuse, their erratic form, the loss of Phil Jagielka (injury) and Mikel Arteta (gone to Arsenal) and the lack of any threat out wide combined with the work ethic that Donovan brings gives some credence to the decision to sign him again.

However he is a player from the MLS which is generally considered to be pretty low down the leagues in the world, and he is not exactly in his prime, so how can one of the oldest institutions in English football see a player of this calibre as as saviour of the season? He is, at best, a squad player who will bolster an injury hit squad and do a half decent job.

But in Henry, the man relied on his electric pace, he was always a threat for that one reasons alone and with age goes pace. Now he is just a slow version of the player that Barcelona bought and a weaker version of the player they sold.

This is just a nostalgia buy and brings the panic buying at Arsenal into focus. Far from youth plans this team now relies on older players and the entire Wenger era looks like it will end with a squad of average young players with unfulfilled potential and older players on serious pensions. It’s not pretty.

And what of United, the best team in England by virtue of being Champions now have Rio Ferdinand, Patric Evra, Michael Carrick, Giggs and Scholes at the core with each waning in power as age overcomes ability, an inevitable decline for any athlete and the reason why transfer budgets are created.

The UK is in recession and maybe these Clubs are feeling the pinch. After all Sir Alex probably doesn’t qualify for Government support for his heating bills and he is 70 now and probably feels the cold. But what does it say about the best league on earth when the newest players into it are a trio of people who should be resting and reflecting on what was a great past.

We pay to watch this, it’s our cast of characters, our hopes and our dreams that these people are playing with.

For me it’s starting to feel like the Champions Tour of golf, just one last payday for the memories, just one more cheque and one more trophy. But is that what we want, I think not.

My memory of Henry and Scholes is unlikely to be enhanced by this experience, an the odd flash of the pasties hardly an investment in the future.

It’s short term, cheap, stop-gap nostalgia of the worst sort because there are hungry, ambitious and talented young players who will be disenfranchised by these moves, and that’s the sadist part about the whole matter.

I wish the 3 players well and hope that they stay injury-free but we will be left with the bill and the outcome, and in totality it adds nothing to the League.

By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve


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