A LOOK AT LA LIGA
So the house keeping is all done with three rounds of La Liga to go; we know the champions, the Champions League representatives and who we won't be seeing in La Liga next season.
“You wouldn't get this in the Premier League,” reasoned the student who clearly isn't a 'straight A student'.
I was guest lecturer for a Sports Media course and my reasoning was that there is parity between La Liga and the English Premier League, ignoring the ability in the market and actually organising events.
The kid couldn't believe it. So here is my reasoning.
For Barcelona, read Manchester City; we've known the champions for months and only had to wait until April for confirmation. Neither are the complete package and there are positions to be strengthened but they are both built for the marathon that is the domestic season.
Real Madrid and Liverpool have obvious comparisons as they will meet in the Champions League final in Kiev. Two teams who play cavalier football but the squad doesn't allow this every weekend and they tend to peak on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.
Atlético are concentrating on the Europa League this season as Manchester United did last season when they took the continent's secondary title. Valencia are like Tottenham, they promised plenty but just lack the extra quality to truly challenge and will have the consolation of playing in the Champions League next season.
West Bromwich could be twinned with Malaga. Not that you'd book an all-inclusive two weeks in the Black Country! Two clubs with a passionate and noisy fan base, tidy stadium but a tendency to change manager every few months. We know both should be doing better.
Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna are the other two relegated, clubs from cities with large populations and serious expectations of their football teams. Southampton folk are always likening their climate to the Canaries and sadly their team has mirrored the underwhelming season. Deportivo La Coruña and Stoke share a national perception of places with unattractive footballing teams. On this season's performances, neither will be a big loss to the big league.
My theory even extends to mid table where there's a uniformity among promoted team. Getafe and Girona have both managed solid seasons, along the lines of Newcastle and Brighton. Levante will finish just above the relegation zone, which is still the position of Huddersfield.
I can even extend the philosophy to mid table where Athletic Bilbao with their modern stadium and loyal vociferous fanbase could be a pen pal for West Ham. There's disaffection with the club's coaches too. Maybe the Hammers should implement a 'Cockney Only' signing policy?
So, I thought I made a very solid academic argument.
The student just sloped his shoulders and repeated, “Nah. The Premiership is the best in the world mate.” I wanted to correct him and remind him that it's actually the Premier League - the term Premiership was changed years ago but I'd given up arguing!