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James Frey Premier Drama

from ESPN

The Premier League’s drama problem

Posted by Roger Bennett

David Price/Getty ImagesArsenal’s struggles — and our collective schadenfreude — have defined this season more than any memorable or good play.

Writer James Frey, a long-suffering Arsenal fan, recognizes the power of English football’s narratives. “The Premier League is like reality television with a ball,” he said. “If you watch any of the ‘Real Housewives’ shows you can glimpse exactly the same storylines: Crap people wishing others misery and hoping they will succeed while those around them fail as the rich get richer and the poor get crushed.” The bestselling author continued: “English soccer is 21st-century entertainment. Everything is about the story in our society, be it sports, politics or entertainment.”

Frey highlighted the recent North London derby as a case in point. “Tottenham dominated the game early until Emmanuel Adebayor’s tackle — the dumbest play ever — earned him a red card,” he remembered. “Adebayor’s behavior dominated the postgame conversation. The human dimension of his actions overshadowed any of the goals that were scored.”

John Terry and his Instagram account¬†are another prime example for Frey. “How many column inches are dedicated to Terry’s behavior relative to the number that analyze his actual play?” he asked. “These rivalries, heroes and villains always existed in English football but now with the 24-hour news cycles and social media we need to know everything about everybody all the time so we can make a big deal out of it.”

Frey refers to the phenomenon as the “WWE-ification” of the Premier League. “WWE figured out that sports is all about stories,” he said. “We all want to see who wins the game, but whereas that used to be the entire story, today it is just a detail.”

“The Premier League is all narrative now,” Frey concluded. “What you used to get in a book you can get everywhere. Why read when you can get it watching soccer?”

[ click to read full piece at ESPN ]

Posted on December 21, 2012 by Editor

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