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Friday, July 16, 2010

Football's Hotbed

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Turls looks into the age old debate to determine just which region in the country can justifiably claim to be the hotbed of football in the Football League.

As I sit at my desk, I find myself reminiscing about the football arguments I had with my fellow Journalism students at the University of Central Lancashire - the birthplace of Soccer AM/MW.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that we were arguing about the low-grade journalism found in The Sun or Simon Kelner's belief that The Independent is a 'viewspaper' and not a newspaper.

We saved those type of discussions for when we were within ear shot of a lecturer. And even then, they often descended into a tirade of insults.

Of course, we were discussing football, and we were examining which region was the best place for the beautiful game. Admittedly, this argument had reared its head on several occasions and ended with the same phrases being uttered.

"You're just a Southern fairy. In fact, you're so far south, you're practically French!"

Or, "Go back to your cobbled streets and whippets - and while you're at it - learn how to speak properly."

The fact is, these arguments were never resolved. So I took it upon myself to discover the answer and settle the debate once and for all. Through the power of mathematics, research, and magic, I answered the question that had been nesting in my mind for minutes.

Before I tell you whether you live in football's Holy Land or it's disgusting equivalent - Doncaster spring to mind - though, I'm going to enlighten you as to how I solved this baffling conundrum. Calculators at the ready!

First of all, let's look at the teams included in the survey. We included all teams in the Football League, all teams in the Conference Premier, and the three teams relegated from last year's Premier League. That gave us a whopping 98 teams to play with.

These teams were then put in order of where they finished. That saw Burnley finish 'top' of the table because they were the highest placed club, and Grays Athletic finish 'bottom' due to their abysmal season in the Conference.

After placing all the teams into order, we attributed each team with their score. The scores were simple to work out. If you finished top, you scored one point, second equalled two points, third three points, all the way down to Grays - who finished bottom and picked up 98 points.

Hopefully the people at the back are keeping up. If not, then you're probably in the wrong class.

Now every team had a score, it was time to give them a region. No explanation needed, but the regions were: London, South East, South West, West Midlands, East Midlands, East, Yorkshire, North East, and North West.

The teams were split as thus:
East: Cambridge United, Colchester United, Histon, Ipswich Town, Luton Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Norwich City, Peterborough United, Southend United, Stevenage, Watford, Wycombe Wanderers.East Midlands: Chesterfield, Derby County, Grimsby Town, Kettering Town, Leicester City, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town, Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Rushden & Diamonds, Scunthorpe United.London: AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Hayes & Yeading, Leyton Orient, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers.

North East: Darlington, Gateshead, Hartlepool United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United.
North West: Accrington Stanley, Altrincham, Barrow, Blackpool, Burnley, Bury, Carlisle United, Crewe Alexandra, Macclesfield Town, Morecambe, Oldham Athletic, Preston North End, Rochdale, Stockport County, Tranmere Rovers.South East: Aldershot Town, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crawley Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Easbourne Borough, Ebbsfleet United, Gillingham, Grays Athletic, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton.

South West: Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Exeter City, Forest Green Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Salisbury City, Swindon Town, Torquay United, Yeovil Town.

Wales: Cardiff City, Swansea City, Wrexham.

West Midlands: Burton Albion, Coventry City, Hereford United, Kidderminster Harriers, Port Vale, Shrewsbury Town, Tamworth, Walsall, West Bromwich Albion.

Yorkshire: Barnsley, Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Hull City, Leeds United, Rotherham United, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, York City.

Now, this is where it starts to get complicated. With every team allocated a region, we then added how many teams were in each region and added up the combined score of each region.

We then divided this score by the amount of teams in the region - thus giving us an overall score. The lowest score would be crowned Britain's Best Region for - or Hotbed of - Football.

If you've read this far, then I'm sure you want to know the outcome, so here goes:

Yorkshire: 10 teams - 335 points - 33.5
Wales: 3 teams - 103 points - 34.3
North East: 5 teams - 235 points - 47
London: 9 teams - 429 points - 47.6
East: 12 teams - 598 points - 49.8
North West: 15 teams - 763 points - 50.9
East Midlands: 12 teams - 620 points - 51.6
South West: 10 teams - 519 points - 51.9
South East: 13 teams - 751 points - 57.6
West Midlands: - 9 teams - 498 points - 57.8

It certainly makes for interesting reading.

Yorkshire are the winners, with Wales running them close in second. However, Wales had the advantage of only having three teams compared with Yorkshire's ten.

Yorkshire had five teams in the top two divisions - which ultimately gave them the title. They may not have any teams left in the Premier League any longer, but they are certainly strongest regions in the Football League.

Despite the North West having the most number of teams in the survey with 15, they are let down by the fact that most of their teams are in Leagues One and Two.

The same can be said of the worst region in the Football League. The West Midlands had over two thirds of their representatives in the bottom two division - giving them a disappointing score.

So there you have it, proof that Yorkshire is the best place to live for the Football League. Even as I type, I can see hundreds of people in Warwick trading in their mansions for a terraced house in Huddersfield.

Scores of Kent residents are flocking to Swansea, and Devonians are fleeing the South West to see the sunny climes of Newcastle.

I'm staying where I am, simply because I unsurprisingly already live in the real hotbed of football - Yorkshire.

1 comment:

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