30 Years of the Premier League: Learn about the league’s creation story and the path to success

The Premier League celebrates 30 years of existence and opens its new season with the duel between Crystal Palace and Arsenal, this Friday. O THROW! tells about some of the factors that led to profound changes in the structures of English football and how the league became an example of credibility and leadership in Europe.

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher took over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from the Conservative Party. The Iron Lady, as she was known for her strict political measures that affected the working class, played a questionable role in the drastic changes that took place in English football.

Manchester United, one of the most traditional clubs in the country, was founded in 1878 by a group of railway workers. The relationship of several teams with the working classes of the United Kingdom lasted for years, but this relationship began to unravel in the 1980s.

In May 1985, tragedy struck in the match between Bradford City and Lincoln City at Valley Parade Stadium. A fire engulfed the wooden stands at the place of the match and the event caused the death of 56 people.

The cause of the fire remains unclear to this day, but the fire is believed to have spread after a lit cigarette was thrown into a pile of rubbish, according to British media. The fact made Thatcher begin to create a greater disdain for the sport.

After two weeks, Liverpool traveled to Belgium to face Juventus in the Champions League final. Before the match, 39 Old Lady fans were killed.

In the period when hooliganism was very much alive in England, Reds fans were blamed. The charges did not take into account the conditions of the stadium and the poor distribution of tickets at the Heysel Stadium. As a result, the prime minister ordered English clubs not to compete in European competitions. Which only happened again in 1991/1992.

Hillsborough tragedy

Hillsborough disaster changed English football

In 1987, the duel between Luton Town and Millwall was marked by acts of violence committed by fans of the visiting team who invaded the pitch. At the time, 47 people were injured, including 33 police officers.

These cases caused the Iron Lady to implement elitist measures for the sport. In 1989, the Football Spectatos Act was created and its function was to restrict public access to stadiums to fans who had a kind of license.

In the same year, the greatest tragedy in English football took place. In a match between Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday, played at Hillsborough Stadium, exactly 96 Reds fans died at the opposing team’s home.

The event, known as the Hillsborough Disaster, disrupted the sport. South Yorkshire law enforcement officials, as well as Margaret Thatcher, sought to blame Liverpool fans for the fatalities.

After the tragedy, Lord Justice Taylor was appointed to lead an inquiry into the event. In 31 days, the Chief Justice of England pointed out the failures of control by the local police as the main cause of the disaster.

In addition, Taylor wrote a series of recommendations that would change the way football is done in the UK. The report stated that the accommodation of standing fans was not safe, which promoted a change in the country’s stadiums, which now have a chair for each spectator.

The Taylor Report served as the basis for what would become the Premier League. In 1992, English elite clubs decided to create a new league. After a meeting with members of the English Football Association, the announcement of the emergence of the competition took place.

Before that, in 1991, Judge Rose paved the way for English clubs led by the Big Five (Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton) to create a top division in England.

After the Football Association’s approval in 1992, teams avoided a strike between players. To please the English Federation, the clubs were also willing to create a league with 20 participating teams in order to wear out less athletes so that they could play more vigorously in tournaments such as the Eurocup and the World Cup.

Shortly after the creation of the Premier League, BSkyB acquired the broadcasting rights to the competition for five years for a value of 304 million pounds (almost R$ 2 billion at the current price), which surprised other competing broadcasters.

Manchester City - Premier League Champion 2021/2022

With Arab money, Manchester City became a protagonist in England (Photo: OLI SCARFF / AFP)

With fewer and fewer cases of hooliganism in stadiums and a stronger Premier League, both from a sporting and economic point of view, the Premier League has become a case of success for world football.

Credibility made teams that did not have a great tradition in the English scene gain prominence in the 21st century. The most explicit cases are those of Chelsea and Manchester City, which are not considered modest clubs, but from the 2000s onwards, when they were bought by large investors, they went from extras to protagonists.

In 2003, Roman Abramovich bought the Blues for around £140 million. Until that year, Chelsea had won a single Premier League title and 11 in all. After the arrival of the Russian tycoon, the London team won another 21 trophies.

In 2008, Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City and invested a lot of money in the Sky Blues. The club that used to frequent the English second division has already won 17 titles of the national elite since it was acquired by the billionaire from the United Arab Emirates.

The Premier League is the most money-making competition in the world, being televised in over 190 countries. As a result, English clubs are the ones that have the most power to move the market and, consequently, acquire the best players in search of a stronger and more attractive championship. And that starts, for the 30th time, this Friday.

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