Tuesday 06 August 2013
The 2012/13 Barclays Premier League Season Review is out with exclusive interviews with players and manager, statistics and features reflecting upon the events that took place on and off the field of play last season.
"English football is in a much better place than it was 27 years ago"
Sir Alex Ferguson
The review is the flagship publication from the Premier League, looking in depth at the work the organisation and its shareholders, the clubs, have done over the past year. On the pitch it focuses on not just the first-team players but also on the referees and on the investment being put in place to develop new talent, while charting the improvement in the match experience for fans in stadiums, watching at home on television and following on social media.
The business of the League is reviewed and how the income generated from sponsorship and TV rights is redistributed to the local communities of the clubs and beyond as well as the soft power the League has in promoting British business.
"English football is in a much better place than it was 27 years ago," says Sir Alex Ferguson, in the Foreword he wrote exclusively for the Premier League after his final season in charge of Manchester United. Ferguson cites the improvement in stadiums, in the development of players, in the level of interest in TV rights, and in the treatment of fans. "Competition is healthy and it is what sets this league apart from others in Europe," he writes. "You know that no team is going to give you an easy match."
Last season's PFA Players' Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and and Barclays Player of the Year Gareth Bale also shares his thoughts on what was a remarkable individual campaign and how he became the world-class player he is now. In the review, record Premier League goalscorer and Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer also analyses Bale's 21 goals for Spurs alongside those of the four other leading forwards last season.
"What sets the Premier League apart, is the work away from the pitch that the players and clubs do to help communities and the people in them"
The 2012/13 season was also an impressive team effort by Bale's club, Tottenham Hotspur, whose best-ever 72-point haul, as Richard Scudamore, the Premier League Chief Executive, highlights "would have secured them second place two seasons ago", underlining the increasing competitive nature of the league.
In his introduction to the review, Scudamore also focuses on the success of the inaugural Barclays Under-21 and Under-18 Premier Leagues, and the continued pursuit of best practice in Youth Development where the £340m commitment to across the four divisions aims to deliver a sea change in how the game approaches the recruitment and development of players. Scudamore finds great cause for optimism in that in a thrilling five-goal Barclays U21 Premier League final, the winning team, Manchester United, included eight English players who hail from within 21 miles of Old Trafford.
Last season clubs brought in 13.6m supporters through the turnstiles, producing a record stadium occupancy of 95.3% and West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady explains in the review how the club's variable pricing is bringing in a new generation of fans.
The review also showcases examples of the great work the League and its clubs have done off the pitch to help grassroots football and beyond. One such work highlighted is Chelsea's Education Through Football programme. The Review speaks to Chelsea forward Juan Mata, who visits the programme which takes schoolchildren out of the classroom to help the development of their maths and language by using football and their love of the game to help motivate and inspire them.
"The wonderful thing is it is reaching out to everyone"
"What sets the Premier League apart, is the work away from the pitch that the players and clubs do to help communities and the people in them," Mata tells the review, adding how "amazed" he was when he first arrived at the club from Spanish football at the range of community work that Chelsea was involved in.
Another piece of good work undertaken by Premier League players which is revealed in the review is that of Swansea City defender Neil Taylor, who saw at first hand how the Premier League Kickz programme has been a success in Kolkata, where his mother hails from. "People go into the most deprived and crime-ridden areas and start projects there," Taylor says. "The wonderful thing is it is reaching out to everyone. I saw girls there who do football and taekwondo for self-defence."
There is a lot of great community work that takes place behind the scenes as the Premier League's virtuous circle business model continues in its quest to put on the best possible show, get spectators through the gates, generate revenue and reinvest that money in grassroots football and worthwhile causes.
To read the review, click here >>