One of the most exciting factors in American sport is the premise of the ‘all-star game’. The all-star format pits the best players in the league against each other in a friendly game of competition. The NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB leagues all host an all-star game each year with the best players in each conference (a conference is the team’s region e.g. East and West). These games are exciting and exhilarating to watch and can often lead to untimely moments of humour much like when Fergie belted out the national anthem at the NBA all-star game. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading, watch it, come back, laugh, then continue reading. Seen it? It was one of the most hilarious moments last year, watching Fergie add her own twist on a traditional National Anthem (which the Americans take very seriously). Anyway, back to my original point, the all-star format is a nice break from the heavy competition to just have a bit of fun.
My proposal, the Premier League right here in England should host its very own all-star game. Pitting the best players from the North such as Paul Pogba, Mo Salah, and Sergio Aguero square up against the best players from the South. This would be one of the most exciting games of the year and would be highly anticipated. This match could even be a charity match, raising money for causes. Watching the likes of Eden Hazard link up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or seeing Mesut Ozil assisting Harry Kane would be a sight football purists have only dreamed of.
Players would be voted in by the fans over a number of weeks leading up to the event, and it would be a perfect replacement for one of the many international breaks (which no one enjoys) for an upbeat all-star weekend. There could be all-star challenges such as crossbar challenge, dribble course or top bins. It would bring a new vibe to English football, something which would sit well with fans and players alike. The game could be played at Wembley or hosted by a different Premier League team each season; which would change the scenery and make things more interesting.
I understand why certain people would not appreciate an all-star game as it would mean we are becoming more Americanised and not keeping with our British culture. The event may cost too much money and an all-star game in the middle of the season would annoy managers – especially with the danger of injuries to star players. And if it was scheduled as a season-ending event it would disturb the transition to summer tournaments such as the World Cup.
However, Soccer Aid follow a similar format with celebrities and retired players competing with each other. But wouldn’t it be more fun to see the world’s best players right now compete and play with one another? And why stop there? What if we took that idea a step further with a Ryder Cup-style Team Europe vs. Team Americas? The likes of Ronaldo and Messi captaining each team respectively all for charity. It would be one of the biggest matches on the planet!