Since the 1970s, two teams have dominated the English top tier soccer competition. Liverpool ruled the 70s and the 80s, while Manchester United has ruled from the 90s until now. No doubt, other teams have occasionally grabbed the honors in between. Right now, the English Premier League seems to have entered a period where there is no dominant side. The top teams seem to have equal strength, unlike Germany where Bayern Munich reigns or Spain where Real Madrid and Barcelona rule alternately.
The Era of Liverpool
Liverpool dominated the domestic scene from 1975 to 1990. The club has won 18 first division titles, and most came from this era. During this period, they also won four European club honors, besides other honors. The club was then a European soccer superpower. Kenny Dalglish was the star of the 80s. Since 1990, the outfit has never won the domestic title; but in 2005, they won the UEFA champions league fifth time by beating AC Milan against the odds. However, the club has lately experienced resurgence and is a genuine title contender.
The Era of Manchester United
The year 1992 saw the top teams break away from the football league to form the Premier league, which gave them more TV rights. Manchester United won the first title. The club has won an amazing 13 titles since then. The other competitors have been in the shadow of United in this era. Four teams have won it among themselves the eight times that Manchester United did not win. Chelsea and Arsenal have won thrice, and Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers once each.
When Alex Ferguson arrived at Man United from Aberdeen in 1986, his expressed desire was to knock Liverpool off the top of English soccer. He spent a few years revamping United, and in 1991 won the UEFA cup winners’ cup and the UEFA super cup. During the Ferguson years, the side also won five FA cups. The year 1992 saw them win the inaugural Premier League title. Since then, they have won a further 12 titles. In 1998, the club won the famous treble- the PL, FA, and UEFA Champions League. The year 2008 saw them win UEFA champions league against Chelsea. The team has had superstars in that period: notably, Eric Cantona, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Robin Van Persie.
Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after taking his 13th PL title; and former Everton manager David Moyes took over. Manchester united has taken a dip in form that the league has not known for years. It used to be very hard to beat them at Old Trafford but that seems to have changed. This term, they have lost even to West Bromwich Albion at home. As things are, the club is in real danger of missing a chance of 2014/15 UEFA Champions League. No doubt, manager Moyes is trying to rebuild the outfit.
As things stand now, there is no dominant club in the English League; rather a number of teams stand equal chance of taking the title. Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool are all in a position to be crowned champions. Manchester United and Tottenham are farther back, with the only realistic hope being Europa League places.
The last few years have seen wealthy individuals and groups buy English clubs, which has enabled them to buy world-class foreign players. Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City, and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea. Manchester United and Liverpool have also come under American owners in the last few years. Arsenal itself has had an American majority shareholder since 2011.
Having a galaxy of players may not always guarantee victory, but many times, it may do. A side like Manchester City has assembled some of the best players in the world, owing to the purchasing power at their disposal. Buying of players is one of the main reasons the balance of English club power is changing.
A coach who has a strong personality and shrewdness is also vital to the success of a club. Alex Ferguson was both shrewd and an inspirational manager; so is Jose Mourinho.
The English Premier League appears to have entered an era where no outstanding club reigns. Instead, a number of teams that are equal seem to be set to challenge for honors going forward. Time will prove whether a certain team emerges as the alpha male.