English soccer reached another low point on Thursday evening when the team lost yet another World Cup game at the hands of Uruguay, giving it little hope of reaching the next stages of the tournament.
But while the national side has languished in the doldrums for nearly half a century since its 1966 success, its national league has enjoyed huge investment and remains one of the country's most high-profile exports.
A major shake-up in 1992, with the league being shown for the first time on pay TV, coincided with higher wages, more foreign players and the competition being launched on the global stage. With the sport attracting sizeable audiences in Europe and Asia, major global investors arrived on English shores shortly afterwards.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich became the first of many major foreign owners, bringing his rubles to London's glitzy west end with Chelsea in 2003. Many more have followed including cash-rich businessmen from the U.S., India, Thailand and the Middle East. Even the country's second flight has managed to attract foreign ownership despite not having the same clout as its bigger brother.
Michael Jarman, chief market strategist at H20 Markets believes that the English league is well backed by broadcasting and licensing money, meaning that other European leagues are having trouble keeping up. Graham Shear, a partner specializing in sports law at Berwin Leighton Paisner, told CNBC via telephone that it's not necessarily the profit that's attracting these mega-rich backers.