By Shane Thomas
There are those who have been lauding how exciting the Premier League title race has been this season. With the top three clubs (Manchester United, Chelsea & Arsenal) currently separated by 2 points, it is being tipped to be the closest title race in Premier League history.
While this gives credence to some one-eyed fans who seem to forget that football is a sport that also gets played in other countries, as well as the broadcasters at Sky Sports & the BBC, who are paid to whip up as much interest as possible, may I divert your eyes elsewhere if an open, nail-biting race to be National Champions is what you're after.
Been paying attention to the French Premier Division (Ligue 1) much? Didn't think so. Until recently, neither had I. However, when I stumbled across their League table it made for some interesting reading:
1)Bordeaux 28 56
2)Montpellier 29 56
3)Auxerre 29 55
4)Marseille 28 53
5)Lille 29 51
6)Lyon 29 51
Well, do you want to back a winner out of that group? Five points between six clubs is close in anyone's book. If I may quote from Monty Python for a minute, it's almost "waffer thin". For the uninitiated, you get 3 points for a win, so it's very conceivable than any one of those six clubs could go on to take the French title.
Already I hear protests of, "But it's the French League, it's hardly a high standard of football". Well it's not much worse than The Premier League. The fact is we haven't had the best league worldwide for about two seasons now. Go and watch some games from La Liga in Spain and then come back to me if you still disagree. Added to this, France has as many representatives left in the Champions League - the playground for Europe's elite - as England do.
While I'm not suggesting that we cancel our Sky subscriptions, boycott Match of The Day and find any means possible to watch the climax of Ligue 1, I still feel due notice must be given to a domestic title race as close as this one. Especially as (unlike in England) they don't feel the need to try and convince us that their domestic Championship is the only place that football should be watched & enjoyed. It's not often I say this, but Vive La France!
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