Do you think that the Premier League is the most difficult in the world? This is what many call it is quite understandable given the quality of the teams, increasing the size of transfer fees and wages, and the greater exposure he is subjected to all corners of the planet.
But does that make it true? I don’t think so. I am on the point of returning to the top category with Brighton and for a large part of the summer, I posed the following questions:
â€œHow are you going to adapt to the Premier League?â€
â€œHow many signings do you need to do?â€
â€œHow much money will you need to spend to be competitive at the next level?â€
So, what are the main differences between the Championship and the Premier League and is the gap really that large?
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My professional career has almost exclusively been spent between the bottom half of the Premier League and the first half of the Championship, so I have a very good overview of the two and the qualities necessary for success.
My opinion may surprise many inside and outside of the game, but it is this: I have found it easier to play Premier League football than the Championship.
As a player, the physical, the difficult nature of the Championship, coupled with the fact that there are eight more games to play, often with much smaller groups, make an effort to the league.
The time to prepare mentally and physically between games is often non-existent and you are often playing with knocks, strains and fatigue due to the volume of matches. If you are a follower of the tactics of a football player, you will actually find the Premier League more suitable to your qualities, where the play of the game and be in a position to sound are as important as the physical attributes.
You can add to that the fact that the Premier League calendar rarely has midweek fixtures, giving teams and players the time to heal from the previous part and adapt the tactics to the next possible opponents.
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I would also say that in my experience, the quality difference between the bottom half teams of the First League and the first half of the Championship is a lot closer than people are. What affects the opinion on the contrast due to external influences, such as wages inflated, the more, the more the transfer costs, and the increase in exposure to media.
However, if you actually sat down and analyzed a game between, for example, Watford and Burnley last season, would it be that much of a higher standard than Sheffield Wednesday against Fulham? Playing these types of games, I can honestly say that it is minimal at best.
In fact, I would go further. I think that the huge amount of money talked about today’s bloated transfer market, has blinded people when it comes to assessing the level of the Premier League, especially in comparison to the Championship.
Obviously, the first seven teams of the Premier League are miles ahead in terms of quality and size of the teams. But last season when Everton had ended seventh and Southampton eighth, the gap was a whopping 15 points, while a difference of only six points separate 8th place Watford in the 17th. That, I believe, is a more realistic appraisal of most of the teams are in the relegation zone and just how tight the bottom half of the Premier League.
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The argument that it is a big step to the Premier League is understandable, especially to compete with the power of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, etc â€“ but that is not where a club like ours in Brighton will actually be measured.
Success for us this year, it is the rupture of the 40-point barrier and maintaining our Premier League status for next season, and that includes competing with teams like Bournemouth, Burnley and Watford. This does not mean that we need to spend over Â£20m on a player in order to guarantee our objectives this season. With a strong team spirit and structure are much more important qualities, at any level.
The incredible sums of money that we have seen already committed this summer on players more distortion of the view that the key to success is to spend in the transfer market, and we have become obsessed with the size of fees and wages. To add perspective, we should also factor in the increase in TV rights money, and the conclusion is as simple as the fact that football is the exploitation of a market.
If the price of players have increased, it is because the market has dictated, this is not the actual quality of the player that evaluates the costs. It is normal for the fans to worry if the team they follow up against one that has been signed by millions of pounds, but the fact remains that the beauty of this wonderful sport that it is still 11 play as a team against 11.
In Brighton, we will do well to remember that, to play without fear and enjoy the experience, because if we do we can have a bit of â€œseveral million pounds ” superstarsâ€ of ourselves.