Premier League

25 years on, the Premier League brand is going strong but how much of it is just hype?

A look back at how much the English football league has changed over the years.

More than two decades of drama and 9,746 matches later, here we are on the cusp of the 26th season of the re-branded Premier League.

Perhaps the idea of a Friday night kick-off was inconceivable in the era of the Football League, but not so in the Premier League with Friday’s Arsenal-Leicester City fixture. It shows how much the English league has transformed since its re-inception in 1992.

Arsene Wenger revolutionised the English game with his idiosyncratic dietary requirements, replacing local staples with nutritional food. He banned alcohol and ordered players to stretch. They frowned at all the particulars the Frenchman introduced, but soon Arsenal’d topple the sky with “The Invincibles”. Two seasons ago Leicester were the authors of a Cinderella story, with a “Dilly ding, dilly dong” coach polishing a squad of prosaic players to forge a tale so thrilling that they instantly entered the pantheon of the greats.

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These two clubs will not have much chance of glory in May, but they will be part of the support cast, alongside neophytes Brighton Hove & Albion and Huddersfield Town, in a Homeric tussle at the top between star-spangled coaches and mega-clubs, whose lofty ambitions are shaped by out-of-control swirls of money.

In the past 25 years they, however, have given us deep pleasure. Here is a non-exhaustive listicle of iconic PL-moments: Sergio Aguero’s season-defining strike, Jose Mourinho proclaiming himself the “Special One”, Luis Suarez’s bite out of Branislav Ivanovic, Roy Keane’s unceremonious exit at Old Trafford, Thierry Henry’s hat-trick against Liverpool, David Beckham’s audacious goal against Wimbledon and of course, the Eric Cantona karate kick.

Eric Cantona, the first hero

Perhaps the irascible French striker was the first, enduring hero of the Premier League. The Premier League was a defensive mechanism designed by the “Big Five”. Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham were frightened by the prospect of bankruptcy following the Hillsborough disaster and the damning Taylor report. They broke away from the historic, four-division Football League.

Cantona arrived at Manchester United in 1992 at that crossroads moment: club executives, the media brigade and global money plotted a “brave new world” for the English game. He recounted, of his first goal on English soil that “the thousands of supporters who were behind the goal seemed to dive toward the pitch” and that only in England, “ecstasy could be found”.

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That collective delirium and fandom perfectly facilitated the Premier League’s magnification. English football was transformed forever: the 1992-‘97 Premier League TV cycle generated £191 million, the current three-year TV deal is worth £5.1 billion. Clubs enjoy a collective revenue of £3.3 billion.

With those bountiful broadcast deals, the Premier League has long abandoned reality or normality. In pursuit of mega-money, the new league commodified the game with a ruthless crudeness. Arsenal-Leicester City will be played at a corporate palace, with a large prawn and sandwich club in the skyboxes and the middle tier. That corporatism envisages a different fandom across the stadium: a middle class of lawyers, doctors and architects and their families, who go to the ground to enjoy a day out, but who are, in general, not emotionally invested in the game. For them, football is not serious, but merely a weekend game to be “consumed” with crisps and a soda.

The “Entertainment League” or, as, Brian Glanville coined it, the “Greed is Good League” has another profound problem: the standard of play is often lacking. Arsenal and Leicester may both proffer their own version of the game at the Emirates Stadium to kick off the new season, but since Chelsea’s last 2012 win in the European Cup, one could argue, that the Premier League has stagnated.

The ‘Greed is Good League’?

In England, clubs combine technique, tactics and physicality. It makes for compelling viewing and knife-edge competition. La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 may not be so holistic, but those leagues each excel in their own specialist area. The Premier League’s triumph is a balance between competitiveness and quality. At the same time, the league suffers from a vaunted predictability with a top six of clubs – Leicester’s fairy tale notwithstanding – playing for the ultimate prize.

In the era of the mass media, the Premier League will remain an enthralling product, a weekly soap opera of high performance football in HD, generating tabloid story lines and tapping into feelings of tribalism. The nonsensical level of hype endures, with unending narratives: Will “Fraudiola” redeem himself at Manchester City? Will Mourinho galvanise Manchester United at last? Will Conte defend Chelsea’s title? The curtain raiser offers a delicious 90-minute starter, filled with intrigue and subplots as well: Will the Wengerocracy survive in North London? So bring on the 9,747th Premier League game and oh yes…Happy Birthday.

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and Logitech X300 Bluetooth Speaker at 58% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.