The 2012 FA Community Awards
The Football Association and McDonald’s are celebrating the launch of the 2012 FA Community Awards by unveiling figures that highlight the impact that grassroots football has had in creating players for the England senior team over the last 50 years.
Surprisingly, Merseyside leads the way with Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney just two of 36 players having progressed from local parks to Wembley Stadium since 1966, producing more England internationals per head of population than anywhere else. In the last 46 years the region is responsible for one international for every 58,000 local citizens. The top five regions are detailed below:
|Region||Number of Players||Population||England Players per Pop.|
|Tyne and Wear||20||1,644,000||82,000|
For me, it’s a shock to see London in fifth place. Just look at the sheer volume of people who stay in Greater London! One international player per 92,000 citizens is still a staggeringly low figure however. Does this mean the future of the England team may have more Scouse accents? Who knows?
When it comes to producing attacking flair on the football pitch, Nottinghamshire are top of this particular contest, with more strikers than any other region per head of population going from grassroots to the international stage. Robin Hood still wouldn’t get a look in though, especially when wearing those tights.
|Region||Number of Players||Population||England Forwards per Pop.|
|Tyne and Wear||5||1,644,000||329,000|
Merseyside need to accept the silver medal on this occasion, while Tyne and Wear improve a position.
What about in defence then? After all, keeping the ball out of the net is just as important. County Durham takes the crown producing an England international defender for every 151,000 people in the area. Merseyside sit second and Greater London a distant third with an England stopper for every 259,000 people, despite having produced pedigree such as current England international caretaker manager Stuart Pearce and Rio Ferdinand.
|Region||Number of Players||Population||England Defenders per Pop.|
|Tyne and Wear||4||1,644,000||411,000|
The FA have also released some new data showing the strength of grassroots football in England at the moment:
- In England there are enough community football volunteers to fill Wembley Stadium FOUR times over, with 400,000 grassroots volunteers giving up over 250 years of time to help grassroots football flourish a week.
- 8,263 miles of white lines are painted on England’s amateur football pitches each week from Hackney Marshes to Newcastle Football Centre – enough to paint the entire UK coastline.
- Mums and dads across the country have a total of 186,000 football boots to clean each week.
Wow! Amazing numbers, I’m sure you’ll agree. Sir Geoff Hurst, the Manchester born England legend with 49 caps and 24 goals and 1966 World Cup winner commented on these findings and said:
“Every international player comes from the grassroots. All the stars of today began at a local club run by a local coach. These people are the foundation of the game. Their remarkable dedication and passion is what we celebrate in The FA Community Awards presented by McDonald’s. Each year I am humbled by the contribution these grassroots heroes make year in and year out to ensure millions of youngsters and adults can enjoy the national game.”
So what about Scotland? After all, being Scottish, I can’t be writing about England without mentioning the boys in blue!
Well it turns out kids growing up in Stirling have more chance of becoming a Scottish international footballer than in any other area of the country. Since 1970, Stirling has produced more Scottish internationals per head of population than anywhere else. In the last 42 years the region is responsible for one International for every 8,270 local citizens.
In contrast the far more populous Glasgow produces one capped player for every 8,300 and is ranked second in the country. The top five is completed by Dundee, Renfrewshire and North Lanarkshire.
|Region||Number of Players||Population||Scotland Players per Pop.|
The Edinburgh region is nowhere to be seen in that table, yet Edinburgh has produced the most numbers of caps per player, on average earning 20 caps each. Kenny Dalglish is the McDonalds Director of Football and was quoted as saying;
“Every international starts at the grassroots level. Grassroots football is flourishing across Scotland at the
moment but without the countless number of volunteers, clubs, officials and even parents it simply
wouldn’t function as it does. The Scottish Grassroots Awards allow McDonald’s and the Scottish FA to reward individuals for their dedication to giving access to quality of football in local communities in Scotland.”
The SFA also released figures about the strength of grassroots football up here too, same as their English counterparts.
- Volunteers now give up to 41,000 hours each week to help young footballers shine which equates to over four years of volunteer hours in just one season.
- A total of 1,043 miles of white lines are painted every week in Scotland which equates to painting lines around the Scottish coastline three times in just one year
- Mums and Dads across Scotland have to deal with a total of 66,940 boots to clean each week.
Absolutely fantastic dedication from all the people involved.
Don’t worry Wales fans, you’re in this too! Kids who play grassroots football in South Wales have more chance of becoming a Wales international striker than in any other area of the country.
Since 1970, South Wales – which can claim credit for two current Wales superstars in Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey – has produced more Wales internationals than anywhere else. In the last 42 years the region is responsible for 54 players who have pulled on the famous red shirt, winning a total of nearly 1,000 caps between them.
While South Wales is the home of Wales’ attacking players – producing the most midfielders (25) and the most strikers (14) than any other Welsh region – it is North Wales who have helped prevent the Dragons conceding more than anywhere else having produced nine goalkeepers who have played a total of 180 games for their country between the sticks, including current number one Wayne Hennessey and Wales legend Neville Southall.
Elsewhere, West Wales has produced the defenders with 16 players lining up for their country across the back four, winning a combined total of 392 caps between including the likes of current Wales manager Chris Coleman and legendary defender Brian Flynn.
In addition to the international research, The WFA also released new data underscoring the sheer scale of the grassroots game.
- In Wales community football volunteers give up a total of 43,200 hours per week to help the grassroots game – the equivalent of five years.
- Each week grounds men paint 355 miles of white lines on Welsh football pitches – which is equal to the distance of driving from Cardiff to Rhyl and back again.
- Mums and dads across the country have a total of 32,000 football boots to clean each week.
McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football Ian Rush had the following to say about the findings;
“Every international player comes from the grassroots. All the stars of today began at a local club run by a local coach. These people are the foundation of the game. Their remarkable dedication and passion is what we celebrate in the Welsh Community Football Awards. Each year I am humbled by the contribution these grassroots heroes make year in and year out to ensure millions of youngsters and adults can enjoy the national game.”
Nominations for The FA Community Awards presented by McDonald’s are now open. If you know a person and/or a club who deserves recognition, you can vote for them! To vote for a football coach, club or volunteer go to www.thefa.com/yourgame.
If you’re based in Wales, to vote for a football coach, club or volunteer please go to www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/pages/awards.
Finally, for Scottish nominations, please go to http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/. You can also follow the progress on Twitter: @2012Grassroots /#grassrootsheroes