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Soccer Roundup: English Premier League wasn’t always a global beast / World Scores

LONDON (AP) — Somerville, Massachusetts, 26 May, 1989. Answerphone message, Beep:

“It’s your brother-in-law, Andre. Arsenal needed to win by two clear goals at Anfield to win the league and did it with almost the last kick of the match!”

And that tinny, brief and precious Trans-Atlantic message was how I found out in post-university U.S. exile how my North London team had its greatest moment since 1971, winning the First Division title at Liverpool, a team that had dominated the English game since the late 1970s.

It’s now globally known as the English Premier League, a multi-billion-dollar behemoth that is ubiquitous outside the stadiums in which it is played, paying some of the most eye-watering wages to international household names – Manchester United’s World Cup Winner, Paul Pogba, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero to name but a few of its biggest stars. The new season begins Friday and the hype is in overdrive.

And where does this marauding cash cow get its vast mountains of money? In Great Britain, Sky Sports and telecoms group BT pay nearly 5 billion pounds ($6.43 billion) per season to the EPL to show live games. The league’s 20 teams get a hefty cut, thus enabling huge wages for some superstars and also some extremely average players. In America, NBC has the broadcasting rights, for which it pays handsomely. A six-year contract through 2021-22 is worth about $1 billion. Stateside, games are shown in designated bars, or, via cable, on a phone or tablet.

Time zones are a challenge: get up early in the U.S. for weekend matches, watch later at night in parts of Asia. Acceptable to have a drink at 7.30am Eastern Time at kick off? Probably not. At Noon for the early evening game across the pond? Sure.

In the last few years, I’ve seen Arsenal play live on a screen from afar or caught video clips of goals seconds later online in several U.S. cities, France, The Netherlands, Greece, Morocco, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Failing that, there are countless live blogs or running commentary from increasingly agitated and deranged legions on Twitter.

Rewind to the early 80s, the start of my time away from England in the U.S.

A weekly phone call home with my parents was the key source of football information, or perhaps “The New York Times” or “The Boston Globe” would deign to print half an inch of results buried deep in the Sunday Sports section.

Later in the same decade, the Columbia University library provided recent copies of the British newspaper “The Guardian” where I could devour match reports and neglect my graduate studies on languorous afternoons.

It was all a long way from watching Arsenal in the flesh, a sometime visceral experience in the late 70s that involved some hair-raising, anxious encounters as a youth at home and away with supporters from rival teams.

Hooliganism was the scourge of the game in Britain for a good two decades and it had a death toll, spilling blood into Europe, as did poorly built stadiums up and down the country, and policing that treated fans like animals. Woe betide anyone who threatens the image of the EPL now – violence, empty seats at games, the cameras will swing away quickly.

But controversies over in-match refereeing decisions, playground spats between managers, as well as the actual action itself? Pile them on the gravy train.

In Britain, Sky Sports and BT, which demand monthly payments to watch live matches at home or in the pub, and the rather zealous tabloid media can’t get enough of saying the English Premier League is the best in the world.

But is it?

Some would doubt that when exhilarating matches between the top tier of teams are a rarity. Around a dozen teams , also paying big wages, are desperately trying to stay in “The Show,” to borrow a baseball phrase from the film “Bull Durham,” and keep a grip on the revenue and public garlands for the teams’ multi-millionaire owners.

It’s certainly the most omnipresent. But Messi, Ronaldo and Mbappe – no introduction needed – don’t ply their trade there.

____

WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

FT
PAOK Thessaloniki FC
Spartak Moscow
FT
Salzburg
KF Shkendija
FT
Celtic
AEK Athens
FT
Dulwich Hamlet
East Thurrock United
August 8
FT
Energie Cottbus
Unterhaching
FT
Hansa Rostock
Wehen
FT
KFC Uerdingen
Meppen
FT
Osnabrueck
1860 Muenchen
FT
Sportfreunde Lotte
Sonnenhof Grossaspach
August 8
FT
BSV Rehden
SV Drochtersen/Assel
FT
FC Germania Egestorf-Langreder
SC Weiche Flensburg
FT
Berliner AK 07
Babelsberg
FT
Budissa Bautzen
FSV Union Fuerstenwalde
FT
VSG Altglienicke
VfB Auerbach
FT
Optik Rathenow
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin
FT
FSV Wacker Nordhausen
ZFC Meuselwitz
FT
TSG Balingen
00
Hoffenheim II
FT
FC Rottach-Egern
Bayern Munich
Canc.
Hertha Berlin
??
Al Shabab
FT
FC Remscheid
Fortuna Duesseldorf
FT
Real Sociedad
Deportivo Alaves
FT
SD Huesca
Real Oviedo
FT
Villarreal
Real Zaragoza
FT
Sporting Gijon
00
Getafe
FT
Cagliari
Atletico Madrid
FT
Reus
Girona
AP
Albacete
Levante *
FT
Gimnastic
Espanyol
FT
Perugia
00
Spal
FT
Real Valladolid
Rayo Vallecano
FT
Cerezo Osaka
Independiente
August 8
FT
B 1913
Kolding IF
FT
Birkelse IF
Thisted
FT
Dalum
Odder IGF
FT
FC Djursland
Vatanspor
AET
Fremad Valby
AB
FT
Hirtshals
Brabrand
FT
Holbaek
HIK
FT
Holstebro
Silkeborg
FT
Humlebaek
HB Koege
FT
Karlslunde IF
Naestved
AET
Nykoebing FC
Lyngby
FT
Ringe BK
Fredericia
FT
Ringkoebing
Skive
AET
SGI/SSK
FC Sydvest 05 *
FT
Skovshoved
Frem
FT
Slagelse
FC Helsingoer
AET
Vejgaard
Aarhus Fremad *
FT
Vildbjerg SF
Viborg
FT
CBS Sport
GVI
August 8
FT
AC Oulu
Klubi 04
August 8
FT
KA Akureyri
FH Hafnarfjordur
FT
Fjoelnir
Keflavik
FT
Grindavik
Vikingur Reykjavik
Postp.
Stjarnan
??
Valur
August 8
Canc.
FC Tambov
??
Anzhi Makhachkala
FT
Tom Tomsk
Baltika
FT
Spartak Moscow II
Fakel
FT
Shinnik Yaroslavl
Khimki
FT
Tyumen
SKA-Khabarovsk
FT
Zenit St. Petersburg II
PFC Sochi
FT
Avangard Kursk
FC Rotor Volgograd
FT
FC Tambov
FC Krasnodar II
FT
Mordovya
Sibir Novosibirsk
FT
Nizhny Novgorod
Luch Energiya Vladivostok
FT
Chertanovo Moscow
Armavir FC
FT
Boca Juniors
Libertad
FT
Colo Colo
Corinthians
FT
Flamengo
Cruzeiro
FT
Cerro
Bahia
August 8
FT
Lamadrid
Club Atletico Platense
August 8
FT
Ceara
Santos FC
FT
Universitario
Bolivar
FT
Sporting Cristal
Academia Cantolao
FT
Ayacucho FC
Sport Huancayo
August 8
AP
Deportivo Walter Ferreti *
Club Franciscain
FT
Santa Tecla FC
Club Sport Herediano
FT
Tijuana
Toluca
FT
Cruz Azul
Atlas
FT
Alebrijes Oaxaca
00
CD Guadalajara
FT
Tigres
Cafetaleros de Tapachula
FT
Charlotte Independence
Bethlehem Steel FC
FT
Tampa Bay Rowdies
00
Charleston Battery
FT
Tulsa Roughnecks FC
OKC Energy FC
FT
Real Monarchs SLC
Reno 1868 FC
August 8
FT
Philadelphia Union
Chicago Fire
AET
Houston Dynamo *
Los Angeles FC
FT
Utah Royals
Washington Spirit
August 8
FT
Home United FC
Ceres-Negros FC
August 8
FT
Asan Mugunghwa
Jeonbuk FC
FT
Busan I’Park
02
Ulsan Hyundai
AET
Cheonan City
Suwon Bluewings
FT
Jeonnam Dragons
Chuncheon FC
FT
Daegu FC
Yangpyeong
FT
FC Seoul
Jeju United
FT
Gimhae
10
Gyeongju H & N
FT
Incheon United
Mokpo City
August 8
FT
Pyramids FC
El Entag El Harby
FT
Al Mokawloon Al Arab
Misr El-Maqasa
FT
Smouha SC
00
Nogoom FC
FT
El Geish
ENPPI
FT
Baroka FC
Cape Town City FC
FT
Chippa United
Orlando Pirates
FT
Free State Stars
Maritzburg United
FT
Lamontville Golden Arrows
Bloemfontein Celtic
FT
SuperSport United
AmaZulu FC
FT
Austria U19
Cyprus U19

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