English Premier League
The English Premier League is the top flight of English league football. It is also considered by many as the best league in Europe. The League was founded in 1992, taking over from the old First Division which was established in 1888.
The transition from the first division into the Premier League came after the low point to which English football has descended in the late 80s after the Heysel Stadium and Hillsborough Stadium disasters. The establishment of the Premier League made English football teams more prosperous. Modern stadiums with higher standards were built and clubs' income increased significantly thanks to TV broadcasting contracts. As a consequence, the Premier League has become the most attractive league for football fans and top players all over the world. 20 clubs take part in the league each season with the top 4 teams qualifying for the following season’s UEFA Champions League.
The Premier League’s most successful club since its inception in 1992 is Manchester United who have won the title 13 times, all of which came under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. The only other four steams to have won the title are Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. In total, Manchester United have won20 championships, over passing the 18 championships record of Liverpool (Which won its last English championship in 1990).
The Premier League is thought to be the most popular football League in the world and is watched by millions of fans from across the globe. The League boasts world class superstars such as Chelsea's Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanches, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure of Manchester City and Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria and Rademal Falcao of Manchester United. The league is also known for its abundance of young talent, such as Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw and Belgian Eden Hazard.
The premier league holds an almost century old tradition of playing a full fixture during the "Boxing day" - A day after Christmas (December 26th). In the past during the Boxing day employers gave money, clothes, food and other valuable goods in Christmas boxes to their employees, hence the name. Today, it is a day dedicated to sporting events and mark the start of the post-Christmas sales.
During the early years of the 20thy century the league scheduled 2 adjacent fixtures on Christmas and Boxing days where every 2 teams met twice. Each team played at home and away Vs. the same opponent.
Both Boxing day and New Year's day fixtures in the Premier league are played when other leagues in Europe are on winter break. Naturally during this week the world football fans' attention is focused only on the Premier league. Many tourist take a full advantage of so many fixtures' proximity and come to England for shopping and the opportunity to watch several football matches.
It seems that what makes the Premier League so fascinating is the long tradition of football culture amongst all clubs' fans.
2013-2014 season was a real thriller, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool competing all the way to the final fixture, after which the "Citizens" celebrated their second Premier league title, and their fourth first division title.
In the 2003-04 season Arsenal famously went the entire league campaign without losing a single match, earning them the nickname ‘The Invincibles’ as well as a gold (as opposed to the standard silver) Premier League trophy. It is mostly due to that season that a statue in the image of Thierry Henry welcomes all visitors to Arsenal's stadium.
As of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger is the league’s longest-serving manager, having been appointed in 1996.
Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs is the player with the most Premier League appearances, having played 672 times for the Red Devils. Alan Shearer is the league’s all-time leading scorer with 260 goals, followed by Andy Cole with189 and Wayne Rooney with 176 goals.
If referring to records that also include the first division eras before the Premier League was established then Everton holds the record of season appearances (110), goal keeper Peter Shilton holds the record of individual appearances (849) and Jimmy Greaves holds the record of individual goals (357).
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