Saturday, October 03, 2009

North v South: Pick the winner

A couple of weeks ago, we published an article that aimed to show which part of London was the best for producing top quality Premier League players. The intention was to put before you a team of players for North, South, East and West London based on the birthplace of some of the capital's finest, before pontificating on which team would be the best.

In the end, our tireless research failed to come up with eleven decent Premier League players for three of the four parts of London, leaving us with the undeniable proof that East London was the best place to find the cream of footballing talent in the Big Smoke.

That, we thought, would be that, but thanks to the (by our standards) huge amount of interest in the article* and a question posed by SPAOTP visitor Phil, we found ourselves moving onto a new challenge – to find out which half of England and Wales has produced the better modern-day players: North or South?

Luckily for us, this time there were no shortage of players with which to create two teams of eleven – in fact we were able to go one better and put together two virtual squads of 23 featuring the best players from the Premier League born in England and Wales.

And exactly how did we decide what was North and South? Well unlike last time where we carved up London into four pieces based on the meandering borough boundaries of the capital, this time we've gone for a much simpler method. We've taken a ruler and a pen and drawn a straight line between Aberystwyth (or at least somewhere just below it) in the West and the stretch of coastline where The Wash comes in over in the East. We're sure some of you will question the validity of such a decision, but we don't care because we came up with the idea first, so yah boo sucks to you.

So then it was down to business. Who would make it into our North v South squads?

Beginning in the North, we've selected a trio of fine goalkeeping talents, namely Joe Hart (from Shrewsbury), Paul Robinson (Beverley) and Welsh international goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey (Bangor). In defence, there were the Neville brothers from Bury along with Jamie Carragher (Bootle) and Wes Brown (Longsight) to name but two.

The midfield boasted some cracking talent in the form of Steven Gerrard (Huyton), Paul Scholes (Salford), Michael Carrick (Wallsend) and many more besides. Finally in attack, who wouldn't want to choose between Michael Owen (Chester), Wayne Rooney (Croxteth), Peter Crouch (Macclesfield) and Kevin Davies (Sheffield)?

Quite impressive, but would the South be able to give them a run for their money? For their squad we were able to call upon three England international goalkeepers: Rob Green (from Chertsey), David James (Welwyn Garden City) and Ben Foster (Leamington Spa).

Their defence was largely London-centric and featured heavily in our previous article, but alongside the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King we also added Joleon Lescott (Birmingham) and Matthew Upson (Hartismere).

In midfield, Ryan Giggs (Canton) added a Welsh flavour to the English talents of Frank Lampard (Romford), Shaun Wright-Philips (Greenwich), Gareth Barry (Hastings) and Nigel Reo-Coker (Croydon).

Up front, the South's four forwards came from far and wide, to wit Gabriel Agbonlahor (Erdington), Emile Heskey (Leicester), Jermaine Defoe (Beckton) and Craig Bellamy (Cardiff).

So there it is - 23 of the best players that could represent the North or South of England and Wales. But we can't leave it there… that's just a couple of squads. Once you've got a squad, you have to pick a starting XI from them, surely?

Well yes, and that's what we've done. We've picked an example of who might start a match between North and South to give you an idea of how mouth-watering a prospect it would be. Here are the two line-ups (see right):

Once again, we should emphasise that this is just our suggestion of who might start for both sides, but here's where you get involved. Tell us who would win in a match between the two teams on the right, or failing that, tell us which eleven players you would pick from our squads of 23. The permutations are endless and we'd like you to tell us which ones are worthy of your consideration. Have fun...

* Our sincere thanks go to Unprofessional Foul, Pitch Invasion and TwoFootedTackle for bringing our 'Best Team in London' article to the attention of a wider audience.


Vishnu Chari said...

would love to see this match played for real. Maybe as a part of the Testamonials Giggs, Scholes, Neville and Carragher will surly get as they wind down their careers?

Chris O said...

Sounds like an excellent idea to me, Vishnu! I'll expect a phone call from Ryan Giggs' agent sometime soon, hopefully... :)

Vishnu Chari said...

doubt it, he's not gonna retire for a while yet, most probably Carrager and Neville at the end of the this season. Scholes and Giggs at the end of the next.

Chris O said...

Somehow I think they'll all go on forever...

Peter Shaw said...

I'd like to see a load of friendlies played between North Teams and South Teams even if the players in them aren't from the North or South, or even from this country. Therefore you have to admit the North (Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan and the Sheffield Clubs) have the very best teams.

Chris O said...

Might be a suitable alternative to the old 'Home International Championship' chestnut, eh P?


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