Premier League clubs urged to shop local to save their nearest footballing highstreet
The English footballing pyramid is one of the most historic organisations in the world. Awash with billions of pounds of money and irresistibly magnetic to the prodigiously talented world over.
Many dream of becoming an elite footballer, playing a game they love and earning staggering sums of money in the process.
There is no doubt that luck plays a major role in youngsters making it as professional footballers. Only 180 of the 1.5 million boys and girls playing organised youth football at any one time, will make it as a Premier League professional. Stark is the commonly accepted 0.012% success rate, more break than make!
And while developing more and better home-grown players is supposedly at the heart of everything that the Premier League, and its 20 top-flight clubs, do, the requirement of at least eight homegrown players out of a squad of 25 could easily be perceived as box ticking.
“He’s one of our own”: is the chant that has come to define football through most of the last decade, but is its pertinence warranted?
Past all of the romanticism and rich history of four professional divisions comprising 92 clubs, the structure also has a genuine purpose and clear direction. And given the riches now present in the Premier League, player development often takes place in the Championship, League One or League Two.
Lower leagues in the EFL in particular have provided good building blocks for young talents; the likes of Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa, Brentford, Exeter City), Ben White (Brighton, Leeds, Peterborough, Newport County), and Jamie Vardy (Leicester, Fleetwood, Halifax, Stocksbridge Park Steels) developing their trade – helping clubs to improve but also enhancing their chances of first team football nearer the top of the pile.
So there is a clear path, but is it anywhere near as worn as it could, or should, be?
In all, OLBG’s Football Hotbeds has analysed the birth towns and cities of 1,124 home-grown stars and the results were startling, with 485 of a total 1,186 towns and cities across the UK represented, equating to a 40.89% geographical spread. To be clear that leaves 59.11% of the UK as unharnessed potential.
Highest Producing Town or City for UK Born Premier League Footballers
The highest producing town or city for Premier League players is Liverpool, the tenth largest English district by population, with 498,042 residents, that has accounted for 35 top-flight stars, or 3% of the total British representation.
|Newcastle upon Tyne||7||0.62%|
Birmingham, the second city of the UK and also home to two football clubs - Birmingham City and Aston Villa - is the second biggest cog on the UK’s conveyor belt of footballing talent, with a 2.76% total contribution and 31 players.
The City of Manchester (28), Sheffield (23), Nottingham (18) make up the top five, while Glasgow (17), Middlesbrough (13), Croydon (13), London (11), and Leeds (10) complete the top 10 and the only towns and cities in the UK to achieve double figures.
Which London Boroughs Have Produced The Most Premier League Players?
The South London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Wandsworth provided 51 of Greater London’s Premier League representatives.
With Greater London contributing 103 players in total, the ceremonial county having seen 10 of its 17 clubs compete in the top-flight across the league’s 30-year history, that amounts to 49% of the capital’s contribution.
Which Areas of The UK Have Produced The Most Premier League Footballers?
Next, 50 Premier League footballers were born out of Merseyside, with the county of Durham (49), West Midlands (45) and Manchester (40) the next to follow
|Tyne and Wear||20||1.78%|
Everton has drawn nine players from the city of Liverpool to Liverpool’s three, West Ham have had four Liverpool-born players represent the club, and it’s a 4-4 draw between the Manchester clubs, for players drawn from Manchester.
Out of the current crop of Premier League clubs, four have yet to have a player born in their respective town or city represent them across the past 30 seasons. Brentford, Tottenham, Watford and Wolves are yet to field ‘one of their own’, while the rest of the class of 2021 account for a combined 4.5% of all British players to have graced the Premier League.
Only time will tell as to whether current efforts have a significant, or at the very least desired, effect on the quantity and quality of home-grown talents that might emerge in the coming years.
And we’ll be watching. Our diary reminder is already set to crunch the numbers this time next year; it’s time that we celebrate the Premier League’s richest contributor of talent with increased fervour.
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