Sacks of cash, sound and light but how about a real Premier League title race? | Barney Ronay

Thrilling sprint to the line is what’s needed in the Premier League’s anniversary year, plus a pride-restoring Champions League success and a shoot-for-the-moon season for Everton or West Ham or Huddersfield

And, breathe again. After a lingering summer of cold turkey sweats and chills, of August dog days spent slurping down another spoonful of transfer window gruel, relief is at hand. As of Friday night the Premier League is back, strutting in through the double doors, twirling its malacca cane, tipping its purple fedora and doling out another hit of the most colourfully framed footballing drama on earth.

Even in a league where every season is more pantingly hyperbolic than the last, this feels like a significant point for English football’s great project. Most obviously it is an anniversary year. Next weekend marks a quarter of a century since the first Premier League season in 1992, when the talk was of ever-escalating modernity, of self-imposed hock to the broadcasters, and of wildly inflated transfer fees for young English talent following Alan Shearer’s sensational £3.6m move to Blackburn Rovers, an amazing £0.7m uplift on Dean Saunders’ switch to Liverpool the year before.

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