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Why are Northern clubs more successful than their Southern counterparts ?


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Since 1888, the start of the football league , not the Prem, Northern clubs have won the competition more times than the giants of the South , why is that ? 
 

Surprisingly, just five of the 24 top division winners are from the south of England and a clear dominance coming from the North, with particular recognition going to the North West thanks to the dominance of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United.

Are we just Southern softies ? 
Have we more interesting things to do on a Saturday ? 


Why do you suppose there exists this divide ? 

Edited by Major Isewater
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its a good question, but where do you draw the dividing line. Is Port Vale a northern club? Is West Brom a southern club? Is Coventry a southern club? 

Its a hell of a contrast though....only the London Clubs are able to challenge the North West dominance with the occasional jab from Villa (are they northern or southern?), Leeds and historically Newcastle or Sunderland. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

Since 1888, the start of the football league , not the Prem, Northern clubs have won the competition more times than the giants of the South , why is that ? 
 

Surprisingly, just five of the 24 top division winners are from the south of England and a clear dominance coming from the North, with particular recognition going to the North West thanks to the dominance of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United.

Are we just Southern softies ? 
Have we more interesting things to do on a Saturday ? 


Why do you suppose there exists this divide ? 

I’m sure this is the third or fourth time you’ve posted something like this. I think historically lots of wealth in the south is naturally drawn to London whereas there’s lots of big cities in the north that grew during the 1900s.

Arguably Bristol is the big anomaly here - we’re a big wealthy city in our own right and it’s strange that we haven’t historically been  successful. I think that’ll change over the next few years though.

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I think a lot of modern success and perception is based on historical success and this in itself is it was just more popular and more of an outlet for large working class masses. 

When people say ‘Bristol isn’t a football City’ I take it as a bit of a compliment. 

Its far more than that. A successful, diverse city in its own right that doesn’t bleat on or moan like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds tc.

Edited by 054123
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22 minutes ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I’m sure this is the third or fourth time you’ve posted something like this

You pay more attention to my threads than I do if this is the case . 
:laughcont:

However your reply is not quite on the money , I wasn’t asking the question as to why Northern clubs or London clubs were more successful but concerning the North / South divide. 
 

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8 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

You pay more attention to my threads than I do if this is the case . 
:laughcont:

However your reply is not quite on the money , I wasn’t asking the question as to why Northern clubs or London clubs were more successful but concerning the North / South divide. 
 

I just remember you posting things to imply the club is a ‘southern softy’ club many times. 

Actually your reply is not quite on the money, I’ve already factored the north south divide in - but discussed how lots of the wealth within the south is London centric whereas in the north it’s more spread out due to all the cities there that prospered from the industrial revolution.

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1 hour ago, swanker said:

Don’t know why that is but just watched the documentary on Sky about the Everton side that won the league back in the day. Well worth a watch! 

When you say back in the day....do you mean the 1980s?  That’s “recent” in my eyes 😂😂😂

1 hour ago, Sweeneys Penalties said:

its a good question, but where do you draw the dividing line. Is Port Vale a northern club? Is West Brom a southern club? Is Coventry a southern club? 

Its a hell of a contrast though....only the London Clubs are able to challenge the North West dominance with the occasional jab from Villa (are they northern or southern?), Leeds and historically Newcastle or Sunderland. 

 

 

⬇️⬇️⬇️

31 minutes ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I just remember you posting things to imply the club is a ‘southern softy’ club many times. 

Actually your reply is not quite on the money, I’ve already factored the north south divide in - but discussed how lots of the wealth within the south is London centric whereas in the north it’s more spread out due to all the cities there that prospered from the industrial revolution.

I can’t remember which book it was, Soccernomics or one of David Conn’s books, but there was a chapter on exactly this.  It wasn’t just this country either.  The industrial towns with local businesses backing their local clubs, e.g. Forest, Hamburg etc.

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49 minutes ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I just remember you posting things to imply the club is a ‘southern softy’ club many times. 

Actually your reply is not quite on the money, I’ve already factored the north south divide in - but discussed how lots of the wealth within the south is London centric whereas in the north it’s more spread out due to all the cities there that prospered from the industrial revolution.

I accept that I consider BCFC to have been Bristol Cosy Football Club with Uncle Steve, licol Lee and the gang

Even  in the past , life has been easy for players here without too much expectation of success and a , largely , accepting supporter base. 
 

I am more curious as to why people think the Northern clubs have been more successful. 
 

Thanks for the exchanges PF.

 

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Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathon Wilson is a book on the history of football tactics. He mentions the north/south divide quite a lot and I understand that the Northern clubs became semi-professional first. If I recall correctly, they were often linked to large factories who could afford to pay players. Additionally, Scottish football was considered to be a lot more advanced from a tactical perspective, I believe that a number of Scottish coaches and players went to Lancashire before spreading across the north. This resulted in the northern clubs often outwitting their southern counterparts. I haven't read the book for a number of years so someone else might be develop on this further! 

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The original Football League 12 teams were either from the North West and the Midlands.

Villa, WBA, Wolves, Notts C, Stoke, Derby, Everton, Preston, Bolton, Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington

So that area has the advantage that being first to the party brings, its just more of the thing to do up there.

Despite not being that successful in recent times teams like Everton, Villa, Wolves, WBA, Sheff Wed, Sheff Utd, Sunderland, Newcastle, Huddersfield, Burnley, Blackburn all have pretty fine histories compared to pretty much all Southern clubs except maybe Arsenal and Spurs (and its worth noting that Herbert Chapman and Bill Nic the men who got those clubs going were both from Yorkshire). I think Pompey won a couple of titles back in the day but tell me another Southern club that has done better than them?

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This thread reminded me of the day we played Plymouth a few years ago one of our players brought down one of theirs and the ref booked our player to a chorus from the Argyle supporters of you dirty norther B***ards made me laugh anyway.

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1 hour ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I think historically lots of wealth in the south is naturally drawn to London whereas there’s lots of big cities in the north that grew during the 1900s.

Arguably Bristol is the big anomaly here - we’re a big wealthy city in our own right and it’s strange that we haven’t historically been successful.

So on this point, here's the thing I don't understand about football in the early part of the 20th century (because I have no historical context, just the actual records).

100 years ago this year, Chelsea became the first London club to ever finish in the top three of English football, in a league system that already ran for over 30 years.

This massively validates the historical dominance of the North, but if Bristol is an anomaly, back then it was surely by being successful where London clubs weren't!?

Because in 1907 (13 years earlier) we finished second in the league. The first Southern club to challenge the North/Midlands and only one to do so before the 1920's.

Granted the FA Cup tells a different story, but I've always wondered why so little is made of the fact that in the League we were the first side to challenge the North?

 

Southern Clubs - Top 3 Finishes in England (league system commenced 1888)

  • 1907 - Bristol City (2nd)
  • 1920 - Chelsea (3rd)
  • 1922 - Spurs (2nd)
  • 1924 - Cardiff (2nd)
  • 1926 - Arsenal (2nd)
  • 1931 - Arsenal (1st) - Arsenal then dominated the 1930s

 

 

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2 hours ago, RedorDead BCFC said:

But the North are shite at Rugby. 
 

I think it’s an age old thing, the South especially South West and South Wales was rugby dominated. I went to school in Chepstow and football was not even on the PE list. It was rugby, cricket and athletics only. 

But they have their own rugby "code" which is rarely played in the south/west

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Part of me thinks it's due to the youth in the area. In the north you have so many teams and so many young players that have trained at a good level in Yorkshire, Manchester, Liverpool etc (Depends on where you cut off the north). This means the general player pool of great players is much wider and players that may not make it at Man Utd could go and play for a team like Everton or Huddersfield or Newcastle etc. 

I think that's one part of it and the other part is probably just the working class northern areas have always been more football oriented compared to the south. 

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3 hours ago, RedorDead BCFC said:

But the North are shite at Rugby. 
 

I think it’s an age old thing, the South especially South West and South Wales was rugby dominated. I went to school in Chepstow and football was not even on the PE list. It was rugby, cricket and athletics only. 

Interesting. Isn't that because Rugby Union was dominant in the South whereas Rugby League was dominant in the North?

 

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2 hours ago, Coppello said:

Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathon Wilson is a book on the history of football tactics. He mentions the north/south divide quite a lot and I understand that the Northern clubs became semi-professional first. If I recall correctly, they were often linked to large factories who could afford to pay players. Additionally, Scottish football was considered to be a lot more advanced from a tactical perspective, I believe that a number of Scottish coaches and players went to Lancashire before spreading across the north. This resulted in the northern clubs often outwitting their southern counterparts. I haven't read the book for a number of years so someone else might be develop on this further! 

Ah, yes, it might've been that book. 👍🏻

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2 hours ago, Coppello said:

Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathon Wilson is a book on the history of football tactics. He mentions the north/south divide quite a lot and I understand that the Northern clubs became semi-professional first. If I recall correctly, they were often linked to large factories who could afford to pay players. Additionally, Scottish football was considered to be a lot more advanced from a tactical perspective, I believe that a number of Scottish coaches and players went to Lancashire before spreading across the north. This resulted in the northern clubs often outwitting their southern counterparts. I haven't read the book for a number of years so someone else might be develop on this further! 

That’s reminded me - I have that book but it’s been ages since I read it. Must be time to search the bookcase.

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1 hour ago, Robbored said:

That’s reminded me - I have that book but it’s been ages since I read it. Must be time to search the bookcase.

Its probably in between "The best Crown green bowling jokes" and "How to wind people up on the internet"

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6 hours ago, Sweeneys Penalties said:

its a good question, but where do you draw the dividing line. Is Port Vale a northern club? Is West Brom a southern club? Is Coventry a southern club? 

The government provided a handy boundary when they built the M4 motorway.

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1 hour ago, ontariored said:

Interesting. Isn't that because Rugby Union was dominant in the South whereas Rugby League was dominant in the North?

 

 

3 hours ago, Vespa Red said:

But they have their own rugby "code" which is rarely played in the south/west

 

1 hour ago, ontariored said:

Interesting. Isn't that because Rugby Union was dominant in the South whereas Rugby League was dominant in the North?

 

But isn’t their rugby only played in the Yorkshire and Lancashire areas? 
 

 

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