England’s radical evolution from the dark days of the 80s to the Premier League era

Things have changed drastically in England since the 80s. Yes, England has had their fair share of rich history, but with history comes a dark past that some prefer to forget. 

To start on a lighter note, Mullets were a thing in the 80s, and that’s just the beginning. If you would like a mental picture of what they looked like, here’s a photo of the notorious Chris Waddle mullet.

  • Waddle played over 100 games for both Newcastle United and Tottenham in the 80s.

Games were not safe for children in the 80s.

And no it’s not because of the hooliganism, we’ll get to that later.

For some ludicrous reason, wearing tight as f*** shorts was a thing in the 80s. If I was a child back then I’d be scarred for life. 😂

Another thing that football had back then that we don’t have now is unrestrained tackling. There were no holds barred in the 80s, and we definitely think that defenders back then wouldn’t survive today’s game.

You definitely can’t tackle like this anymore…

You have to feel for the thousand of fans who drop ridiculous amounts of cash to watch their beloved clubs week in week out. There was none of that in the 80s, with dirt cheap tickets and booming crowds.

Whilst the fans provided a unique atmosphere at games, they ultimately led English football to its downfall. Hooliganism was at an all time high. And no, we aren’t talking about one flare being lit and everyone losing their minds in the A-League. We’re talking about proper rioting in the terraces, forcing games to be abandoned.

High policing, high fences and hot headed lads.  

The black mark on England’s name from their dark days arguably still exists today. Many other European footballing countries still hold a grudge against traveling English fans due to the unfortunate events from almost 30 years ago.

Football hit its breaking point in 1985. Millwall faced Luton Town in the Fa Cup Quarter Final at Kenilworth Road. Thousands of Millwall fans packed into the away terrace and not soon after it all kicked off. Both sets of fans charged at each other whilst hurling missiles in the process. 80 were left injured and one man left fighting for life.

Another tragedy came just two months later.

European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus.

Heysel Stadium was not capable of fitting the entire Liverpool faithful especially after only being granted one half of a terrace. One skinny wire fence was all that divided Liverpool and Juventus die-hards. Reds supporters tried tearing it down after being so cramped in resulting in things getting very ugly. 39 fans were crushed to death due to the poor organisation from match organisers and stupidity from fans. UEFA banned England from any European club competitions for five years!

Four years later and Liverpool were involved in one of the most well-known football tragedies in England – Hillsborough.  Still today, many Liverpool fans refuse to read The Sun after the negative spin that blamed the fans for the incident that killed 96 people.

These events eventually led to all-seater stadiums for all clubs.

The Hillsborough horror didn’t stop the Reds from dominating the decade. Liverpool won six league titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups in the 80s. Add two European Cup titles just for good measure.

They also had the best player in the land – Kenny Dalglish, who was a ‘leader of men’. Yes, I did just use the FIFA 17 player description reference. Dalglish won 14 trophies with Liverpool in the 80’s as a player/manager.

Not even Sir Alex Ferguson could stop Liverpool after promising to “knock Liverpool off their perch” when taking over Man United in 1986.

1986 was also the same year Diego Maradona knocked England out of the World Cup with his ‘Hand of God’ goal.

A NEW ERA:

In 1991 the FA brought in the FA Premier League and never looked back. The well-needed image had changed and resulted in the construction of Wembley and other world class stadiums.

Foreign investors, players, and big money sponsorships have helped transform the Premier League into arguably the most entertaining league in the world.

From where football was, to now, it’s certainly come a long way. Unfortunately, racism and anti-social behaviour still occurs and will never be eradicated from the game completely.

Just this year, Spurs forward Heung-min Son was on the receiving end of racist chants from Millwall fans. Although many of the older generation are fading out, the old school mentality still exists around a lot of historic clubs. The FA Cup game saw a section of Millwall fans yell out things like “DVD” and “he’s selling three for a fiver”.

What did Son do? Well, he scored three goals to shut those fans up nice and good.

We are in the 26th season of the Premier League and it’s only getting better.

BEST PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM EVER?

Arsenal’s Premier League winning team of 2003–04 season is regarded as the best ever. The famously acclaimed ‘The Invincibles’, went 38 games undefeated under current manager Arsene Wenger.

THE CINDERELLA STORY:

Leicester produced the greatest title win in the history of the Premier League. They were predicted to be relegated in the 2015-16 season, and ended up winning the Premier League. It wasn’t a great year to be a bookie, they lost a shit ton of cash. In an era of rediculous money driven teams, it’s unlikely we will ever see anything like this again.

THE IMMORTALS SO FAR:

Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Spurs have never been relegated since the Premier League’s inception.

KINGS OF THE PREM:

The era of Sir Alex Ferguson saw Manchester United win the first ever Premier League title, before winning 13 in total. The Red Devils are the most successful team in the Premier League era with Chelsea next in line five titles.

TOP DOGS IN EUROPE:

When you compare the big five leagues in Europe: La Liga (Spain), Ligue 1 (France), Serie A (Italy), Bundesliga (Germany), the Premier League generates the greatest with £4.5 billion last season.

  • Annual revenue media rights – 500 million euros 
  • Asian countries dominate one-third of the Premier League’s International rights fees
  • All Premier League Kit Sponsorships combined: 226.5 million GBP

Whilst there were many negatives in the 80s, there’s no doubt that a countries passion for the world game has majorly contributed to its worldwide success.

Ari Charilaou