While Cardiff and Portsmouth slugged it out at Wembley, and just one week after Manchester United were crowned Premier League champions (again), England's biggest teams are already splashing out the money in time for next season.
"Chelsea have already acquired £16.1 million [approximately $32 million] of defender in Jose Bosingwa," writes Nick Townsend. "United have any
number of possibilities, including the strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Ajax's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Meanwhile, Liverpool's Rafa Benitez has been offering rather more than a come-hither glance towards
Aston Villa's Gareth Barry." It's the same teams ensuring their grip on the same top four places in the Premier League and, therefore, the Champions' League too.
"The truth is that
of the 16 clubs who had absolutely no chance of claiming the title, over half of them were more busily employed avoiding the purgatory of the Championship. What kind of competition is that?"
Townsend agrees with Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan that, essentially, the Premier League is dull, and that
even making a challenge for the title "is as relevant to most observers as the Sex
and the City's air-kissing quartet are to real-life relationships." The main attraction comes from the dark fascination of seeing which teams can avoid the drop.