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Is the brightness of English football a major reason why it’s so popular?

A viral tweet posed an interesting question about the brightness of English football compared to other leagues around Europe

Twitter is a barren wasteland of hate, lies and Thomas the Dank Engine memes.

But, every so often, Twitter dot com throws up an absolute gem. An online fire starter that burns bright amidst the virtual rubbish, sparking a conversation worth having.

The following tweet from @finalthrd is a case in point. Simple, yet thought-provoking. Have a look for yourself.

We’ve always had the virtues of the Premier League shoved down our throats like ducks in a foie gras factory.

Fast-flowing football. A complete disregard for sensible transfer fees and wages. Referees providing breakneck analysis from desolate parts of London. A naked Tony Pulis headbutting James Beattie.

But were we overlooking the simple pleasure of colour all along? Does each pixel, each blade of neon green grass put our Spanish, German and Italian counterparts to shame?

Leicester’s groundsman is the real MVP

PA:Press Association
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Leicester’s groundsman is the real MVP

Adolfo Bara, the Managing Director of Sales and Marketing for La Liga, certainly seems to think so.

Bara, speaking at a Soccerex convention in 2016, moaned: “The problem with Spain is that it’s really hot in summer.

“If you look, in September in some of the stadiums, the grass was yellow. We now talk to the clubs on how the groundskeepers must make sure it is properly green.”

Someone has been urinating on the pitch again

Reuters
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Someone has been urinating on the pitch again

Bara continued: “You see La Liga and sometimes the light is good, sometimes not; some grass is green, some grass is yellow. The problem is, it’s not consistent.

“For us, it’s very important that when someone watches a football game, they know it’s La Liga no matter which team is playing.

“It’s going to take another year, but we will get there.”

That was two years ago. Judging by the pitch Barcelona played on against Valladolid recently the message is taking time to sink in.

Perfect for growing potatoes on at this time of the year

Getty - Contributor
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Perfect for growing potatoes on at this time of the year

We don’t realise how lucky we are in Blighty. Our grass is the envy of the world.

Coral Russell, of the British Growers Association, explained: “Lots of natural rainfall and temperate conditions, combined with turf production and turf care, ensure beautiful lush green grass that looks great under the feet of our football teams.

“What’s more, the prestige surrounding football in the UK means that we attract some of the best groundsmen and technology to keep the pitches in premier condition.”

As to why Premier League grass is so green, Russel said: “Different varieties of grass can give varying shades of green, but predominantly the UK pitches are Rye Grasses.”

Definitely not a lovely bit of English Rye

Getty - Contributor
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Definitely not a lovely bit of English Rye

So are our brains wired to gorge on the kaleidoscope of Premier League football, regardless of quality?

Stephen Westland, Professor of Colour Science at University of Leeds, said: “There is published work to show that, when people are asked which colours they prefer, in general they tend to prefer more colourful colours than less colourful ones.

“In terms of images, quite a lot of work has been done on colourfulness and sharpness and the effect these aspects have on the perceived quality of the images. People tend to prefer more colourful and sharper images.”

However, it’s not as simple as turning up the brightness and instructing Premier League clubs to wear all the colours of the rainbow.

One for colour fans

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One for colour fans

Westland explained: “Another interesting concept is that of naturalness. Although in general consumers may prefer brighter and more colourful images, if the images are too bright and/or colourful then they start to look unnatural.

“Lots of studies have shown that consumers like natural-looking images. So this suggests that there may be a limit to how colourful we can make the images before people would reject them as being unnatural.”

It’s safe to say we won’t be seeing red pitches across the Premier League in the future.

A sight for sore eyes

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A sight for sore eyes

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