To an extent it always was

This isn’t strong enough to be a fact but there’s a tendency all the same:

West Country powerhouse – why the South West has become English rugby’s dominant region

Soccer was, largely enough, the game of the industrial proletariat. The West Country didn’t have a lot of that. It’s for this reason that there have been, at times, no Premiership teams south west of a Bristol to, erm, Southampton? line. One of the poorest areas of the country from the 1830s onwards, as that industrial prole thing first began, was Dorset. That old North South divide on poverty etc worked the other way a century and more back.

As I say, this isn’t true enough to be absolute fact but there’s a trend there, definitely.

6 comments on “To an extent it always was

  1. Also soccer leagues in GB and Germany especially, grew around works’ teams that formed into the modern clubs. In Germany they were multi-sport clubs, not just footy. Rugby Union was a sport for the schools’ old boys or the forces and in the north is played in the country while the towns played RL.

  2. Must admit, in my immediate area, rugby football players and supporters seem to outnumber soccer aficionados by two to one, maybe more.

  3. Is there a military connection too? The Arsenal at Woolwich had a team, as did Aldershot, Portsmouth and Southampton. Perhaps that explains the existence of Plymouth Argyle?

  4. Diogenes, kind of – there were Army teams in the early days of the FA, but usually the types that you mention were workers at the dockyatds or factories. West Ham is a good example, workers from the Thames shipbuilding yards.

    Increasng professionalism meant that the army could not compete. In the still amateur rugby days United Services Portsmouth was quite a force.

  5. The South West has always been English rugby’s dominant region.

    Sorry, I’ll correct myself; the South West has always been English Rugby UNION’S dominant region.

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