The Premier League, commonly known as the English Premier League or the EPL, is arguably the highest level of the English football league pyramid. With a few variations existing in the different countries that are members of the league, it caters to a different audience across the world. Competing 20 clubs, it functions on a points basis with the English Football League having a championship tournament. Every season, four teams will progress to the playoffs, where the eventual winner will take the title.
The first season of the EPL was known as the relegated season. This is because some of the lower-tiered sides had not made it to the playoffs. Starting with the third season, the Premier League expanded its remit to allow lower-tiered teams to join. The need for these new teams was due to the fact that many English teams had failed to gain a foothold in their domestic leagues and were relegated. These were the first teams to be granted rights to participate in the competition.
During this first season, only two teams made it to the playoffs. Manchester United and Coventry City were given a chance to prove themselves and make an impact in the competition. Manchester United’s signing of Portuguese striker Rio Ferdinand sparked a flurry of activity among English Premier League teams looking to sign the powerful striker. A number of other players joined United in such a big way including goalkeeper Edwin van der Vaart, defenders Martin Keown and Michael Owen and goalscorer Wayne Rooney. Ultimately, though, it was not enough to lift the trophy and qualification for the next season was eventually abandoned.
The second season was a much different affair. After dispatching relegated clubs from the competition, the Premier League returned with a brand new format. Each team would be required to win three games against teams from other leagues and the bottom club would lose their title. This was the format that helped define the competitive nature of the league and brought thrilling matches to its viewers. In addition, the new three-way fixture created great rivalry and popularity between the top clubs in England.
The first season of the Premier League featured teams that are part of the Football League Championship. The winners of these matches would go on to join the premiership club as champions. In the first season only relegated teams were permitted to compete in the league. It was this rule, which sparked the interest of football fans all around the world. When the second season of the competition was introduced, it was then possible for any member of a club to be eligible to play in the championship matches.
The first season of the English premiership was not without controversy. A controversial topic which arose was whether or not foreign teams should be allowed to participate. Despite attempts by the government and the FA to introduce a compromise, many English fans boycotted the fixtures in order to support their own clubs and prevent the foreign teams from taking part.
With the first season finished, the Premier League returned to the top of the sporting rankings. This was achieved through the awarding of automatic status to the four teams that made up the FA Premier League. This was done through a competition which had extra points due to the teams finishing in the same position at the end of the season. The four automatic titles which were awarded included Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and the Championship winners Newcastle United. The new status also meant that previous reserve teams who had finished in the lower leagues, including non Barclays Premier League sides, became eligible to play in the competition. This was a great boost to the promotion process, which was desperately needing a boost.
The second season of competition saw major improvements in the standards applied to the teams competing in the Premier League. There were new rules introduced, which helped to standardise the way in which goals were scored, and the manner in which goals were converted. The first season was also marked by a new television deal, which saw more matches telecast live around the world than ever before. This helped to increase the appeal of the game, and established it as something more than just a summer hobby for English people. The emergence of football as a truly international sport was also a huge step forward, which has helped the league to grow even further.