From Amateur to Professional: A Short History of Premier League Football

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The Premier League is one of the best football leagues in the world, sporting legend status players and attracting millions of eye balls every single week. But how did we get from such humble amateur footballing beginnings to here? Let's take a look.


The Beginnings

Throughout the early 1880s, football was being played and watched. However, during this period, only amateur clubs were playing and it was very much an unorganised sport. So the quality of game play, organisation of matches, cups and leagues was nothing like it is today. 

So talented footballers were showcasing their skills in local and regional leagues at that time. Over time, the clubs began to find ways to attract successful players as football started to gain more recognition on the sports scene and attract more spectators.


In 1885, football started to reach many more people when a group of clubs came up with an idea. That idea was to form a football league. Although the league’s journey started with only 12 clubs, it quickly became a dominant force in English football and formed the basis of today’s modern English football league system.

Developments Through the Years

Throughout the 20th century, the Football League remained the main professional league in England. This lasted right through until the late ’80s. As time went by, the league was struggling to compete with European leagues in the ’90s. Many top English clubs began to fall behind because of revenue and difficulties in attracting global interest and audiences.

These problems became more and more apparent as time went by. And it was these struggles that became the roots of something new and big in English football – a group of top-flight clubs decided to separate from the Football League and they formed the Premier League. As soon as the new league was established, it quickly became one of the most prestigious football leagues in the world.

The English Premier League’s formation had such an astronomical impact on football in England. First of all, it led to increased wages for players.

Secondly, it attracted some immense commercial sponsorship which meant that investment back into the clubs was increasing. It led to Premier League clubs being able to improve their facilities and their coaching staff and was a huge contributor in the massive improvements we saw in the game in the years to come.

Better facilities, better coaching, bigger audiences and more money in the game ultimately meant that the Premier League was to (and continues to) attract huge global superstars and the best players in the world.

As the league grew, more investment went into commercial aspects of the game like branding, marketing and engaging fans.

Clubs were also investing more money into developing their own young players through academy systems and improved facilities at youth level.

This would be imperative going forward.

What Does The Premier League Look Like Today?

The Premier League today continues to be one of the most popular and most competitive in the world.

A 20 team league today, some of the teams in the founding dozen are no longer in top flight football. 

But the league includes the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

These are teams with millions of fans globally and English Premier League clubs regularly progress in European tournaments.

SO it’s fair to say the Premier League continues to go from strength to strength and football’s come a long way since the amateur playing days of the 1800s.


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