Two decades since the formation of the Premier League and the football landscape in this country has changed dramatically. The Taylor Report brought in all-seater stadia; the advent of television money has resulted in TV rights increasing from £50m in 1992 to £3bn today; the availability of talented Englishmen has dropped precipitously as the league has filled with foreign-born footballers, and home-grown players no longer ply their trade abroad. Why?
There are several ways of approaching this, but the most obvious is money. Players in England benefit from a laissez faire wage structure – indeed structure is arguably too generous a term. Clubs pay players what they want, and the more desirable an individual is, the greater the outlay will be from the side that wishes to retain or purchase them. Wages of £100,000-plus per week are commonplace, creating a safety net for English footballers who are of sufficient ability to be remunerated so generously.
The internet masks true identities. Companies use it to present a honed, targeted and user-friendly brand image. Celebrities attempt to show their “other sides” to the general public, while the great mass of Twitter users vent their frustration or anger on the micro-blogging site, or merely speculate on the issues of the day.
Yet Twitter also provides a shield for cruelty, hate and genuine abuse, the type of which would not be long tolerated in the street, on the Tube, or at any social gathering. Today, Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield failed to bring home the gold medal (or indeed silver or bronze) for Team GB that many had hoped they would. The pair dived excellently in their opening three attempts, and were leading the table before a disastrous fourth dive condemned them to exactly that position.