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The future belongs to London. And Plymouth Argyle.

From Hansard:

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many qualified football coaches are active in (a) boys and (b) girls football in each UK region. [170105]

Mr. Sutcliffe: We do not hold this information. However, I can confirm that DCMS and Sport England are currently funding nearly 250 football Community Sports Coach (CSC) posts, broken down by region as follows:

  • East 35
  • East Midlands 4
  • London 80
  • North East 7
  • North West 23
  • South East 19
  • South West 33
  • West Midlands 28
  • Yorkshire 9
Perhaps I spend too much time analysing data during the times I am actually working, but those figures struck me as less than proportionate to the populations of the English regions, and so they proved. London is the most over represented - 15% of the population but a third of the coaches. The West Midlands, East of England and the South West also get more than their fair shares, while the South East (fancy...), East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North West and the North East get - to descending degrees - the shaft.

Hence my headline, whereas it is not looking good for Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading and Southampton, for instance.

The previously obscure Helen Southworth (about whom I can discover nothing of interest at all) represents Warrington South, and so could have a good old moan about the fate of the North West and feel aggrieved that a range of clubs in her neck of the woods are not benefiting from better trained teenagers.

The respondent, Gerry Sutcliffe is almost equally as dull, and could pout and whinge about his home club of Bradford. However, he has given me the amusement of this quote: "In the 1980s we didn't take people with us. We had trendy Wendys and Nigels who enjoyed spouting left-wing politics which they had never lived, and who didn't want people in the party who didn't understand procedure". Bar Ms Alexander, the only Socialist I can find in Westminster/Edinburgh/Cardiff is Nigel Griffiths.

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