The English Premier League – A Brief History
Ask any football (soccer) fan pretty much anywhere on the planet, what the best football league in the world is, and the vast majority of the time, they will reply with the EPL (English Premier League).
Often referred to by keen football fans as the Premiership, the English Premier League is one of the most competitive and lucrative football leagues in the world and has created some truly exceptional players, teams, managers, and moments alike.
Founded in 1992 and replacing the First Division of the English Football League as the number one league, the English Premier League is relatively new. Despite this, however, it’s also one of the most competitive and most lucrative, which is why so many aspiring footballers dream of one day playing in this very league. Many consider it the best football league in the world.
But how did the English Premier League originate, and why was it created in the first place?
A gradual decline in English football
Since the year 1888, the top football league in England was the English Football League First Division.
The First Division created some incredible players and football teams, with many of the latter still dominating the game today. Despite this, however, as the decades ticked by, English football gradually declined.
As other countries created their own football leagues, fans began to lose interest, and teams struggled to fill stadiums. In addition, there was a distinct lack of home talent as many players chose to play abroad in countries like Spain and Italy. To make matters worse, football hooliganism was on the rise, so there was a lot of fighting and trouble at matches.
With many of the most famous names in English football choosing to play overseas, English football was in real trouble by the 1980s. By 1985, a new season began without any TV coverage due to the fact that networks couldn’t agree upon a deal. This was a disaster for the game.
With empty stadiums and people unable to watch matches at home due to a lack of TV coverage, the biggest names in the game knew that something had to change, so they concocted a plan to create a brand-new football league.
Forming the English Premier League
By the 1990s, the beautiful game was once again becoming more popular here in the UK.
In 1990, the English national squad performed very well at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, reaching the semi-finals. The 1990 World Cup really brought football fans together and once again, English football fans welcomed the beautiful game back into their hearts with open arms.
1992: Birth of the English Premier League
In February of 1992, the FA Premier League was officially formed, consisting of the top 22 teams in the country.
This brand-new and exciting football league kept the league system which was popular in the UK, though it was no longer a part of the Football League. The three teams that finished with the lowest number of points would be relegated and would drop down into the First Division. The three teams that finished in the top 3 of the First Division would be promoted to the English Premier League.
Broadcasters saw the huge potential in this new league and knew that fans wouldn’t be able to get enough of watching the best teams in the country battling it out to be crowned the Premier League champions at the end of the year. Sky secured the TV rights to broadcast the matches and fans tuned in by the bucketload!
Each season would begin in August and run until May, with 38 matches being played. Each team would play one home match and one away match with every other team in the league.
Notable English Premier League facts
As of 2022, a total of 50 teams have played in this prestigious league.
Manchester United have won the most Premier League titles, having won it a whopping 13 times under manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Their last league win was in the 2012/2013 season. Since Sir Alex departed, they have never really threatened for the title.
The league’s top goal scorer is Alan Shearer, who netted an incredible 260 goals.
The player with the most league appearances is Gareth Barry, with 653. In second place is Ryan Giggs, who had 632 appearances.
Since its inception in 1992, only 7 teams have won the Premier League. These are: