I'm afraid I got a little annoyed by a comment on yesterday's post. One Steve from Manchester responded to my sceptical dismissal of Alex Ferguson's claim that Manchester United had produced more players for the English national side than any other club had ever done by taking me to task:
'"I really don't have the time to trawl through the history books on this one..."
LOL- you mean don't let the facts get in the way of a good headline?
If you think it's a 'Mancunian myth' then prove it, instead of just picking an arbitrary time period that suits your argument.'
I'd not in fact picked a random period to suit my argument, and had merely pointed out that if Ferguson was talking about the present day, rather than historical achievements, then he didn't have a leg to stand on, given that United hasn't produced one player for England's national team since Wes Brown made his debut in 1999. Far from producing England players, it seems that the modern Manchester United waits until other clubs produce them, and then it buys them with the money it's used to imbalance the League, thereby maintaining its record of bought success -- while dissing Chelsea and City for trying to do exactly the same thing.
However, in irritation at this comment, and motivated by genuine curiosity, I've worked my way through Wikipedia's perhaps slightly patchy list of English international footballers to try to fugure out which English teams have 'produced' the most players for the national side. Granted, how you define 'produced' is pretty much impossible to define, given how players usually move from club to club, even in their youth, but I think the one solid bit of data we can use is this: 'who were they playing for when their performances were such as to earn them a place in the English team?'
On this criterion, then, it seems the ten clubs which have produced most players for the English national team are, in descending order:
- 59: Aston Villa
- 46: Everton
- 45: Arsenal
- 44: Liverpool
- 44: Spurs
- 41: Blackburn
- 40: Manchester United
- 37: West Brom
- 36: Sheffield Wednesday
- 34: Sheffield United
Yep. Manchester United has indeed made an serious contribution to the national side, but even then, six other teams have provided more players, with Aston Villa having provided almost one-and-a-half times as many as Manchester United! By claiming to have produced more players for the English national side than any other club, Ferguson insulted Villa. I wonder if there are any Villa fans who realise what he said...
And as for United producing more players for England than any other club in the world? Well, that's just hyperbole. Of the 112 clubs that I counted as having produced players for the English team, only five weren't actually English: Hibernian, Falkirk, Celtic, Rangers, and Bayern Munich.
I don't how United people keep getting away with pumping out this rubbish. It's as though people are just happy to swallow any kind of diabolic nonsense as long as it's red.