Is the Premiership Really That Good, or Just Part of BSkyB’s Successful Marketing?

To British subscribers of BSkyB, and in particular Sky Sports, you might have noticed that the message that the Premiership is the place to be has been hammered down your throat on more than one occasion. Is the Premiership really that good, or is this just part of BSkyB’s attempt at successfully marketing their brand?

The Premiership is arguably one of the wealthiest leagues in the world, in part thanks to BSkyB’s massive TV deal, which eclipses any other league in the world. BSkyB recently agreed a new three year deal with the Premier League, and Sky will pay £1.314 billion for 92 games. Other revenue comes from Setanta, who are paying £392 million for 46 games, and foreign TV rights have been sold for £625 million (even Internet and Mobile Phone revenue will generate £400 million). This new deal will mean that the clubs in the Premiership will receive £50m (which includes prize money and TV revenue).

With such lucrative sponsorship deals, the Premier League has been able to attract some of the finest players in the world, mainly due to the high wages on offer. In turn better player enables clubs to compete more in the various European competitions, like the UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Cup. If the Dutch Eredivisie had such lucrative sponsorship deals, would the leagues various clubs see an exodus of talent each year? The question is undoubtedly no, as it would be able to compete with La Liga, the Premier League, and Serie A, in terms of attracting players, and offering them financial incentives.

More finance in the top tier of England’s league pyramid, is steadily creating a gulf (in financial terms) between teams from the Premier League, and teams in the lower divisions. This means that when a club is promoted from the Championship, they will generally struggle (with a few exceptions), and end up relegated back to the division where they have just come from. This statement seems a bit absurd, but you only need to look at the past few seasons in the Premiership to see the facts for yourself.

The gulf in finances is gradually seeing the rich get richer, and it is also seeing them pull more and more away from the rest of the pack, who are trying to keep up (and is some cases some have gone into administration as a result). If you think this is another absurd statement, just have a look at which clubs have finished in the top four (Champions League qualification places) over the past four seasons. Only one club (Everton in 2004/05) has managed to break into the top four, from outside the so called Big Four (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United).

Sky’s argument and constant marketing that the Premier League is the best league in the world, to me seems a bit far fetched. Clubs which gain promotion into the Promised Land generally struggle, as they can not compete financially, and generally end up relegated within a season or two of promotion. The gulf between the rich and poor is getting bigger each season, and clubs outside the so called Big Four, are finding it harder and harder to gain a top four finish. At the start of each season, clubs outside the Big Four have their own mini league, and compete amongst each other for a UEFA Cup place, and trying to avoid the relegation places. Sound like an exciting league?

If you listen to the constant advertisements on BSkyB regarding the Premier League and also to their football commentators, you will get a different story. Towards the end of the 2006/07 season, each week the matches involving Manchester United and Chelsea (the two teams competing for the league title) were hyped up to an unbelievable level. The fact that there were only two clubs competing for the title after Christmas, was brushed conveniently under the carpet. The clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (towards the end of the season), was being billed as the match of the season, and one you just could not afford to miss. Unfortunately I wished I missed that match, as by that point the title was already at Old Trafford, and both teams played their reserve sides in a drab 0-0.

In contrast the Bundesliga, Eredivisie, and Portuguese Liga titles went down to the last match of the season, and proved to be more entertaining then the Premiership title race. Going into the last round of fixtures in the 2006/07 Eredivisie, AZ, Ajax, and PSV were all tied on 72 points; and their goal differences were +53, +47, and +46 respectively. During the course of the last matchday, the fate of the title swung between all three clubs, as the scores changed constantly. AZ only needed to win to clinch their first Eredivisie title since 1981, but they surprisingly lost 3-2 away at lowly Excelsior. Ajax beat Willem II away 2-0, but they lost out on the title due to goal difference. PSV thumped Vitesse 5-1 at home, to finish level on points with their fierece rivals Ajax, but clinched the title courtesy of a goal difference of +50, compared to Ajax’s +49.

The 2006/07 Portuguese Liga also proved to be just as entertaining, with Portugal’s Big Three (FC Porto, Sporting, and Benfica) all within two points of each other going into the last matchday. They all duefully obliged with wins on the last day, and the title was retained by FC Porto. A similar story to the end of 2006/07 season in the German Bundesliga was also unfolding, with VFB Stuttgart, SV Werder Bremen, and FC Schalke all battling for the title heading into the last rounds of the championship. Werder slipped up in their penultimate match losing in a shock 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, knocking them out of the title race. On the last matchday, there were only two points separating VFB Stuttgart, and FC Schalke, and they both obliged with wins, meaning the title returned to VFB Stuttgart for the first time in 15 years.

BSkyB failed to mention in any of its programmes the exciting climaxes of the Dutch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga, and Portuguese Liga championships. This is understandable as BSkyB are solely interested in marketing their own brand – the Premiership; and to mention how entertaining other leagues are, could be seen as damaging to their product.

One of the most entertaining, and competitive leagues in the world is the Spanish La Liga. La Liga is similar to the Premiership, in terms of big clubs, and star players, but the main difference is how competitive the league is, and recent history has shown this. Unlike the predictable Premier League, were you find the usual suspects claiming a top four finish each season, La Liga have had eight different teams claim a top four finish in the past few seasons (compared to five from the Premiership).

La Liga had four clubs competing for the title with three matches to go (at time of writing) towards the end of the 2006/07 season. Valencia suffered a home defeat at the hands of Villarreal which knocked them out of the title race going into the penultimate match. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla (with 72 points, 72 points, and 70 points respectively) are all still gunning for the title, and La Liga looks set for one of the most exciting climaxes in recent years.

La Ligas strength is also shown in the UEFA Cup, were mid table clubs fair well in the competition. At the 1/2 final stage of the 2006/07 competition, Spain provided three of the four clubs (Sevilla, Espanyol, and Osasuna). You can argue that England provided three of the four clubs at the 1/2 final stage of the UEFA Champions League during the same season (Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United); but they all failed to claim the trophy (in comparison to the Spanish clubs who claimed the trophy for the third time in the past four seasons).

There is no arguing that the Premier League is a good league, and it is a joy to watch, but it is not the place to be. The league is becoming very predicable, with the same clubs competing for the same honours each season (in reference to the league and FA & League Cups), and some fans are starting to become restless due to this. This is evident in the drop in attendances for some clubs during the 2006/07 season (and some had to even slash ticket prices to attract fans).

Part of the Premier Leagues success worldwide is down to BSKyB’s successful marketing, and not solely down to football. You will find numerous people who will argue this point, but a leagues true strength should be judged on how well their teams perform on the European stage. Sadly since the formation of the Premiership, English clubs have failed to perform on the European stage, claiming only two European Cups, and one UEFA Cup. In comparison Spain has claimed five European Cups, and three UFEA Cups, whilst Italy has claimed four European Cups, and five UEFA Cups during the same period.

For BSkB to claim that the Premiership is the place, first the gulf between the Big Four and the rest of the league needs to close, and English clubs need to start performing on the European stage more regularly – once this is done, then BSkbyB can truly claim the Premier League is the place to be.

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Every goal from Matchweek 14 in the Premier League | NBC Sports



Watch every single goal from a wild weekend in the Premier League, featuring multiple worldies and last-gasp goals. #NBCSports #PremierLeague #Matchweek14
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Hot Soccer Mom

It's always exciting to watch live football games and be treated to breathtaking moves as well as hot soccer mom. Everyone loves the contact sport. Children, teenagers, and adults are hooked to world class football. Even gender is not an issue when it comes to soccer as men and women crave for the sport. Women in particular are fascinated by the athletic looking individuals playing on the field and bringing out all the skills they have. Let's face it, these handsome players most of the time win the affection and attraction of the beautiful and charming girls. But the story does not end there.

Pretty and amiable mothers also love to watch thrilling matches. Most of the time, they go out with their little kids. At times they get so focused on the game and their kids that they do not notice the male fans staring at them. These mothers who hunger for soccer are hot items in the venue as they usually wear sexy and tight clothes. It's always a satisfying thing to see beautiful and attractive mothers during a soccer game.

The World Cup as well as the major football leagues throughout the world takes pride in its festive atmosphere and huge audience attendance. It is interesting to note that through the years the attendance of women in a match has considerably increased. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that women's football is already getting more popular than in the past years thus their interest in the sport has increased much. As a consequence, even young girls are already drawn to the game. They conquer the various game venues with their hot soccer mom.

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The Lifespan of Soccer Cleats

Whenever a quality pair of soccer cleats is sold, there is a very common question that is on the mind of almost each buyer: how long is my pair going to last? Well, this is the question that brought you to this page. Read on to know more.

First of all, if you are a regular player of soccer and play this game 7 days per week, expect your cleats to last two seasons at most. Here are a few factors that will affect the lifespan of your soccer cleats.

Lightweight shoes

Soccer shoes that are lightweight are not as durable as the heavier ones. This is because they are made from thinner stuff, which makes these shoes more fragile.

Playing Surface

Just like other things, the surface you are going to play soccer on is also important. For grassy surfaces, we suggest that you buy firm ground cleats. You must not wear these cleats to play on artificial turf or the lifespan of your cleats will decrease significantly.

Your activity level

If you play 7 days a week, you should by an additional pair of soccer cleats. Wearing the same pair of shoes throughout the week will reduce their lifespan.

How Hard You Play

If you don’t play as aggressively as the professional players, your shoes will last longer and vice versa. So, you need to be realistic and go for the right pair of shoes based on your aggression level during a play. If you want your cleats to last the longest, make sure you take good care of them. Here are a few tips that can help you with this:

Loosen Your Cleats

Whenever you buy a new pair of cleats, you should put them on for jogging or before a game. This way you can loosen up your cleats. After a few days, the new shoes will become the right fit for your feet. Then you can use these cleats for your soccer play on the ground.

Dry Your Shoes

After each play, we suggest that you air dry your shoes. Another good tip is to stuff a few pages of some newspaper in each pair. The paper will absorb the extra dampness and will also keep your pair in shape. Excessive exposure to the sun is bad for your shoes, especially when they are drying.

Detachable Cleats

After each play, you should remove your detachable cleats. If you don’t remove them after a play and walk on hard surfaces, your cleats will become blunt. As a result, you won’t be able to use them.

Clean Them

Each time you get back home from the playground, don’t forget to clean your soccer cleats. This will prevent the dust and debris from causing damage to the leather. Aside from this, you should remove debris from the stitches of the shoes as well. It’s better not to use cleaning agents while cleaning your cleats.

Leather creams

It’s a good idea to use a good leather cream on your shoes as it will keep your shoes soft.

Don’t use hot water

It’s very important that you don’t use hot water to clean your cleats or you will end up ruining them for good.

So, I hope now you have a pretty good idea of how long your soccer cleats will last if you take the right steps.

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5 Star Luxury Hotels in Scotland

If you’ve got the cash to splurge, or if you just fancy dreaming, Scotland has a number of top luxury hotels to match its spectacular scenery. Here are ten of the best. Some of these are famous names you may well have heard of, other perhaps not so. All of them however are amongst the most opulent accommodation you’ll find in Scotland.

The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa

Situated on the outskirts of Aberdeen amongst 11 acres of woodland grounds, this privately owned hotel is a lovely blend of the traditional and contemporary. The spa boasts aromatherapy, massages, and body treatments, whilst hunting, shooting and fishing are available on the local estates via the hotel’s agents. There is a strong focus on local and regional cuisine in the Marcliffe’s Conservatory Restaurant, with lunch often being served outdoors in summer. This is a hotel strongly focused on comfort and relaxation.

Kinloch House

This is a truly authentic Scottish country house hotel, elegant with an old world romance. Kinloch House is located a few miles outside the town of Blairgowrie in rural Perthshire amongst 25 acres of grounds. Family owned and run, it’s a popular wedding and big business meeting venue. The rooms echo it’s days in the Victorian era as a luxury sporting lodge, with intricate period details and lavish furnishings. Its restaurant is thought to be amongst the best in Perthshire, with top quality locally-sourced ingredients always on the menu.

Turnberry Resort

A famous name in Scottish accommodation which, like a couple of other hotels on this list, has a strong golfing association, having hosted four Open Championships on the course which it overlooks. Turnberry, located in rural Ayrshire, has received numerous accolades, including the Scottish Hotel of the Year award and the Golf Tourism Scotland award. It has a strong Edwardian feel, with the rooms boasting spectacular views across the golf course and the Firth of Clyde. There’s also a luxury spa with 20 metre swimming pool, fitness studio, sauna and steam room.

2121 Restaurant with Rooms

Something a little different – 2121, located in Edinburgh, is a Michelin Star restaurant which also sports four lavishly appointed rooms, each with a different theme and with fine views across Scotland’s capital city. As well as said Michelin Star it’s received a plethora of accolades for its cuisine and accommodation from the likes of the AA, the National Restaurant Awards, the Scottish Tourist Board, and the Scottish Style Awards.

Old Course Hotel

Another golfing Mecca in Scotland (indeed it’s the home of the game) is St Andrews, and just like Turnberry here you’ll find a another grand hotel perched by another famous golf course. The Old Course Hotel offers a 3 AA rosette restaurant alongside several other acclaimed (but less formal) bars and restaurants. There are 144 beautifully appointed rooms, including 35 suites, featuring amongst other lavish touches, silk lined walls, whilst a number possess private balconies. The hotel’s opulent spa features a 20 metre swimming pool with cascading waterfall, hydrotherapy pool, rooftop hot tub, steam room and sauna.

The Witchery by the Castle

At the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town, hidden amongst a muddle of historic buildings, you’ll find this little gem. Established in 1979 in the basement of a then derelict building, such is the reputation The Witchery has built over the years that it’s been said it’s ‘almost a famous as the castle itself’. Its reputation is built on an excellent restaurant, boasting the best of Scottish cuisine, which has proven a real hit with local residents, not to mention a plethora of celebrities. Its eight captivating suites have been described as ‘one the seven wonders of the hotel world’, each totally unique, filled with antiques and historic fixtures and fittings. This is a place to stay like no other.

Loch Ness Lodge

Recently the recipient of a prestigious UK & Ireland small hotel award, this exclusive, intimate venue is located on the banks of Loch Ness a couple of miles from the village of Drumnadrochit, and is particularly geared towards romantic escapes, weddings, and small house parties. Rooms are individually named and styled, taking inspiration from the lodge’s natural surroundings. There is excellent fine dining on offer, with the hotel always striving to source local, organic and ethically prepared produce, whilst also boasting its own kitchen garden. There is easy access to many local activities, including kayaking, fishing, shooting and pony trekking, and you certainly won’t find anywhere more sumptuous to stay for a spot of Nessie hunting!

Gleneagles Hotel

A most famous name in Scottish hotels, this world-renowned Spa & Golf Resort is located on an 850 acre Perthshire estate. It’s 232 rooms are all opulently appointed, with a choice of the traditional or the modern, whilst there’s also 26 suites available, the top one of which, the Royal Lochnagar Suite, is the absolute last word in luxury. The hotel’s spa is an incredible experience, designed to be the most tranquil space possible. Additionally there are two swimming pools, gym, saunas and Turkish bath. Outdoor activities provided include shooting, fishing, equestrian, 4 x 4 driving and of course, golf – Gleneagles has three championship courses and is set to host the Ryder Cup in 2014.

Inverlochy Castle

If you ever wanted to stay in a castle in Scotland, here’s how to do it in style! Located just outside the town of Fort William, Inverlochy is an incredible luxury hotel and restaurant located in the most spectacular of settings, among the glens and mountains of the West Highlands. In its former life as a 19th century private residence Queen Victoria once spent a week here, and as a hotel it very much retains that massively grand Victorian flavour. There are 17 individually styled and named rooms, all very spacious and sumptuously appointed, with facilities including laptop with internet access, and a personal safe. The restaurant is internationally recognised and boasts a Michelin Star. Sporting and Country Pursuits can be enjoyed on the local 75,000 acre Achnacarry Estate, as well as golf on Fort William’s 18 hole course, mountain biking, and winter sports at the nearby Nevis Range.

Glenapp Castle

Of course if you prefer your hotel castles in the south of Scotland, the Ayrshire village of Ballantrae to be precise, this one might fit the bill. Glenapp Castle, like Inverlochy above, is a an incredibly luxurious, opulent and sumptuously appointed Scottish hotel. To give you some idea, even the smallest of its 17 individually named, themed and styled rooms is big (198 sq. feet) and features an original fireplace with real flames. It boast one Michelin Star and four AA Rosettes for its fine dining restaurant, with an emphasis on the highest quality local Ayrshire produce. 36 acres of gardens are available for the exclusive use of guests, who can also can also enjoy access to a nearby normally private members spa.

League of Legends – A Great Free Online MOBA Game

League of Legends is a pretty recent introduction to the free online MOBA game world. Still it brings with it some amazing features that are quickly propelling it towards the title of #1 free online MOBA game. In terms of mechanics it is very similar to other MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games. However a combination of constant updates, exciting customizable options, and truly free game play really sets it apart from the competition.

Like many other free online MOBA games, League of Legends splits players into two teams. Each player picks a unique champion and then the two teams face off against each other on a virtual battlefield. The goal is to push your way through your opponents defenses and destroy their nexus. This is done by earning gold from killing minions and enemy champions to buy more powerful items. Games typically last between 20-40 minutes and end in one team destroying the other teams base.

As stated above the premise in League of Legends is similar to the other MOBA games available. However unlike those games the developers for League of Legends are constantly working to make their game better. They release weekly patches with small balance changes that help move the game towards being perfectly fair. They also develop and release a new champion every 3-4 weeks, which helps keep the game from getting stagnant. Perhaps one of the funnest things they do are the seasonal changes. During holidays like Christmas the developers change the map slightly so that it is themed for the holidays. It really helps you get into the spirit of the holidays while playing League of Legends. Small things like these really set League apart from it’s competitors.

League of Legends also offers every player a variety of options which help them customize each character to fit their play style. For example each player can equip runes and masteries before each game which allow them to boost certain traits they really want in their character. Players also earn gold in each match which they can use to buy items which boost their abilities even further.

Perhaps the one thing that truly makes League of Legends the best free online MOBA game available is it’s free! That’s right, League of Legends is 100% free. You purchase everything that affects the game using influence points (IP) which you earn while playing. If you feel like spending some money you do have the option of buying neat new looks (skins) for your characters, but no player will gain an unfair advantage from spending more money than someone else.

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