This article about the poor performance of British teams in the Champions League lays out the major problem with British soccer: Hopeless overestimation. We should be making a few things clear before talking about the weaknesses of British, or better, English soccer.
First of all, the Barclay’s English Premier League is the strongest league around. However, that is not because all 20 teams are stronger than the rest of the world’s teams, that is because the first 6 or 7 teams have incredible funds at their hands to buy everyone that can walk straight and pass a ball down the line. The rest of the league, I am sorry to say, is not much better than European average, if at all. It is also true that in the Premier League the most money changes hands. This is the reason why English soccer is broadcasted all over the world, not the quality of soccer.
Let’s also make it clear that the Premier League is not so strong because of all the English talent. The reason for the quality is that in England is the most of the soccer money. Everyone that can kick and swim across the channel goes there. Take all these foreign superstars off the pitch, what’s left? You would get cold feet, if you would have to look at that.
All the other major soccer nations in Europe are catching up as good as they can. As the gap narrows down, results are changing. There are some teams showing up at the “Theater of Dreams” and take points away. Not that long ago, that was unthinkable. Besides that, England is a difficult platform to celebrate soccer. It is great when everything runs smooth. As soon as the first problems come up, it turns into a nightmare. The English press can be a nightmare when they try to sell their papers. A lost game can turn into a six month shaking marathon because the press discovered also that a player just had an affair with the admin of the club and the owner ran naked through his house. Everything will be pulled through the public swamp and nothing is off limits. That is causing a lot of differences in performance, even for the best players. Because the major teams have uncounted players on their roster (I just read that Manchester City has 63(!) players), play time for the stars is limited and that causes their performance to drop, for more than just this reason. I love to watch Premier League soccer, but watching Barca against Real Madrid or Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund is just as entertaining.
As far as “pure English” soccer goes, well, England hasn’t won anything for a very long time. As a matter of fact, in big tournaments the English take an early exit on a regular basis. Sometimes they don’t even make it to these tournaments. There is no reason whatsoever to suggest English soccer could rule the world. At this point the truth is, England is far away from ruling the soccer world in any way.