Nothing seems to capture the imagination more than the enthusiasm with which a television sports presenter tries to lift the mood of a nation, if not the world, at primetime on week days.

The other day it came like some life-changing science discovery — that four English Premier League teams had become the architects of securing the Europa League and Champions League finals.

Exhilarating stuff, it was, tabled as a sense of accomplishment that the spin-off from such a feat was somehow going to reshape the landscape of the beautiful game.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will face off in the Champions League final in Madrid, Spain, on June 1 while Chelsea will lock horns with Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29. The English clubs had, inexorably, created European football history in claiming the four berths in the continent's two major competitions.

Advertisement

At face value, absolutely. The professional brands will have the cash registers ringing hysterically with the sale of myriad merchandise.

But the reality is quite grim once you start delving deeper into how the economic and political factors dictate what constitutes the English vista.

Here's an analogy:

Fans, akin to those driving by a swanky restaurant knowing they could never afford to eat there on their income, one day find a discount voucher to the eatery on the back of a supermarket receipt and start to entertain thoughts of patronising the joint ... albeit at a cost. (The tickets seem reasonable from NZ$50 to NZ$240 to Baku but it's the travel and accommodation — a 57-hour drive if flights become impossible — that could put individuals out by more than NZ$2000, if they're lucky).

Frankly England is caught up in a loveless marriage in not just its European liaisons but also the EPL, even if money isn't an issue.

Put another way, it's a Brexit impasse without a referendum because the public has weighed up the pros and cons and still couldn't careless either way.

The irony is when the European Cup, as it was known, was born in 1955 the vision was to provide a platform to decide which elite victorious teams from each nation's league, and the defending champions, was the mother of all clubs, as it were.

It went swimmingly well for Spain as Real Madrid book-ended the competition with five victories straight up and claimed four of the five past ones, bar 2014-15 when Barcelona clinched it for a country that has claimed 13 crowns.

England's best patch was a cluster of six titles from 1977-82.

The European Cup had mutated to the Champions League in 1992-93.

However, a platform where patriotism prevailed to see if Real Madrid, Benfica (Portugal), AC Milan (Italy) or Bayern Munich (Germany) were better than Liverpool was becoming wobbly because it started to stray from its preamble of entertaining the cream of European league nations towards the end of last century.

Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac (arms raised) punctuates the mood of teammates at the end of the Europa League semifinal, second leg victory over Valencia. Photo/AP
Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac (arms raised) punctuates the mood of teammates at the end of the Europa League semifinal, second leg victory over Valencia. Photo/AP

The NCEA high school examination authority types had begun to infiltrate the competition in 1997-98.

The feel-good ogres started slipping passes to the league runners-up and, before you knew it, the powerhouse countries started fielding up to five teams in a season.

By 2000 the competition had drifted as far as it could possibly do from its mission statement — in 2000 Real Madrid v Valencia had started a rash of five same-nation club finals.

With 22 champion clubs to date in the Champions League, it's interesting to note 26 sides, including four from the EPL, had secured direct passages to the group phase while the minnows had to engage in up to five slog fests in three qualifying stages to just make the cut.

Uefa's second-tier Europa League isn't too far from displaying similar symptoms in accentuating such disparities. When the Gunners play Chelsea, the EPL sides will become the first to do so since 1971-72.

Well after the euphoria of last week subsides, how many fans are aware — or care — that of the 88 starting XIs from the four semifinalists only eight hailed from England.

For argument's sake, a cursory glance at the 29-member Liverpool squad shows 11 of them are Poms but, damningly, Rhian Brewster, Isaac Christie-Davies, Rafael Camacho and Curtis Jones have not earned a cap yet while Alex Oxelade-Chamberlain has one.

Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate making the final of the Champions League after breaking Ajax hearts at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo/AP
Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate making the final of the Champions League after breaking Ajax hearts at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo/AP

Ditto Tottenham Hotspur — Harry Winks, Timothy Eyoma, and Alfie Whiteman are playing the waiting game while Luke Amos has made a solitary appearance.

Not a single head coach from the semifinalists represent the motherland and no Pom got on the scorecard, never mind who bankrolls the English clubs or calls the shots in the dimly-lit boardrooms. For the record, Manchester City are the newly crowned EPL champions.

As unpalatable as it may seem to the global EPL fan base, the English football ecosystem is nothing but a bad taste Tupperware party caught up in the cacophony of a bygone era of the 1950s and 60s.

More than buying and selling the plastic kitchen containers, it is a chance for some to invite friends and neighbours to catch up on a make-believe lifestyle in trying to escape from the daily grind.

Hey, we all know where the plastic industry is headed even though its manufacturers and aloof consumers remain in denial.