As far as we’re aware there haven’t been any requests for footballers to put their hand prints in clay in a star-adorned pavement down Wembley Way nor are there any plans to erect a giant sign spelling out PREMIER LEAGUE on the hills above Burnley. And the only Oscar to grace the division is Chelsea’s out-of-favour Brazilian midfielder, Oscar.
But in terms of income generated, English football’s flagship club competition is an undisputed hit of Hollywood-esque proportions. In his book, I’ll Tell You What…: My Take on the Modern Game of Football, loud-mouthed former midfielder turned TV pundit Robbie Savage actually claims that the Premier League is bigger than Hollywood itself. Savage making outlandish statements? Never! He wrote: “The Premier League is bigger than Hollywood with regards to how much money it generates and how many people it attracts. It is a fact.”
We get your drift Robbie but sadly you’re wrong, certainly on the money claim. It’s fiction not fact. Deloitte’s annual review into football finance in 2016 forecast that the Premier League’s worth will increase by over 20 percent in 2016/17, to over £4.3 billion. Impressive figures, there’s no doubt about it, but the income generated by Hollywood, according to an article in the online media and entertainment section of Forbes, hit an all-time high of $38 billion in 2015. Even the most limited of mathematicians will be able to work out that Savage was having a blonde moment.
The title-winning season of Leicester City, one of Savage’s many former clubs, was certainly the stuff of Hollywood though, and would no doubt be a big box-office hit if the script landed in the right hands.
Indeed, Jamie Vardy, a key player in that success story as it was his goals that fired them to the top, is already in talks with the production team behind The King’s Speech about turning his rags-to-riches rise from the depths of non-league football to an England international into a biopic. Vardy has already said he wants hard-man Vinnie Jones to play him. Jones, however, thinks he is better suited to playing ex-manager Nigel Pearson. Albert Steptoe is probably a better fit for the scrawny Vardy. Pearson’s successor in the King Power hot-seat, the Tinker Man himself, Claudio Ranieri, has chosen Robert de Niro. “Why not? He’s a fantastic actor,” he said according to The Sun.
The Foxes’ first-ever Premier League titles was all the more remarkable when you compare the amount they shelled out on players to the wages on offer elsewhere. Premier League clubs’ wages totalled over £1blllion at the last count in 2014/15, and Chelsea, unsurprisingly, were the top earners collectively with a whopping wage bill of £191.4m. Burnley brought up the rear with £25.34m, while Leicester ranked second-bottom with a collective wage bill of just under £50m – a quarter that of Chelsea’s but their players were probably five times as good.
However, Hollywood producers should probably hold off the script for the Leicester story. On this seasons form, a tear-filled ending could be the final scene if results don’t pick up.