Thursday, March 10, 2011

Neighbourhood watch

According to recent research, the North East really is the footballing hotbed it's regularly claimed to be. County Durham contributes more players to the Premier League pool than any other county, more than nine per 100,000 of its population. Tyne & Wear and Northumberland also make the top ten, in fifth and eighth respectively.

If there's a message to be taken from this, it's that there's plenty of talent on our doorstep if only we look closely enough. The region might be good at nurturing good young footballers, but our club needs to do a better job of identifying, recruiting and retaining the best of them rather than allowing many to be poached from under our noses.

The recently-crowned winner of Sport Newcastle's Sports Personality of the Year award, Kevin Nolan, isn't a local lad, though he does hail from another hotbed, Merseyside, which placed third in the list. Speaking at the Civic Centre ceremony, our skipper commented: "I feel very humble, speechless, really. When you find out you are up for this award you think, ‘What have I done to deserve that?’" Well, Kev, let's just say it's more for that hat-trick against the Great Unwashed rather than what you got up to afterwards...

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