String Of Retirements Bring First Premier League Era To A Close

Posted: May 17, 2013 in Football
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With the football season easing to an end with very little of real importance still to play for, there’s a teary-eyed sense of nostalgia in the air.

Sir Alex Ferguson is set to retire. David Beckham following suit as he ends his playing career. Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher; all bringing their careers to a close. This is an end of an era my friends.

Whilst we can’t overlook that football did in fact exist before 1992, the Premier League and Sky Sports, for those of us like myself born in 1987 or afterwards, as far as coherent memories go, the Premier League is all we’ve ever really know in a live format.

And the aforementioned group of players and managers have basically defined this era for all of us, having played in the vast majority of seasons and been at the focal point of our viewership until now.

While Beckham may have not played in the Premier League for the best part of ten years and Michael Owen has had hamstrings made of twigs, never have they strayed far from our back pages and a bar room debates.

The knowledge that I have never known another man to manage Manchester United in my lifetime was perplexing enough, but to lose this set of players from our screens (punditry doesn’t count) makes you think back as to what these men have brought to the game and how it has changed around them.

They have brought about the era in which football became no longer just a game, not merely a spot, but a business, an industry.

Football is no longer about simply rocking up on a Saturday, lacing up your boots and hoofing a leather sphere around a park for 90 minutes.

It is business. Agents regularly fill up column inches talking up player fees and wages, takeovers from wealthy tycoons are the norm and technology and science play as bigger role in football as any coach.

Anyone who marches down the tunnel in full kit is now deemed worthy of the title ‘celebrity’ as opposed to just the playboys of the 70s and 80s, with the word ‘role-model’ being thrown around more than is strictly necessary for a bunch of guys who are mere men like the rest of us, just possessing an athletic ability.

Whether this selection of players have contributed to all of this or not, the loss of them brings about the end of an era.

Like when dinosaurs ruled the land, the world of the Premier League will be divided up (the Fergussic? No?) and English football has now lost so many of its iconic figures.

While the likes of Robbie Fowler, Ian Wright and David Ginola are long gone, this group of Manchester United and Liverpool groomed stars almost brings to an end this world that I, among many others, have inhabited for the duration of our sporting memories.

Judging by the anarchy coming out of Stoke, I know I can’t be the only one who has these apocalyptic visions as the end is nigh.

Ryan Giggs may still just about be hanging on, and Arsene Wenger can only continue for so much longer without delivering success. And maybe one day we will wistfully be looking back on a world of Rooneys and Bales.

But the retirement of this bunch of icons brings to an end the first era of the Premier League. And things will never, ever be the same again.

 

As well as the comments section, you can also discuss this matter on Twitter @SmParker8. Thanks for reading. 

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