Hollowing out: The shifting geography of the top-flight

How much has the distribution of teams in the top-flight changed in thirty years? I decided to take this season and compare it to 1983/83 marking each team as a red point on the map. The most striking feature is the hollowing-out effect which has taken place around the mid-part of the country. It could, of course, just be all about football, but to me there’s far more to the pattern.  The Early 1980s were a time when some major changes to the very fabric of the country were just beginning to gather pace.  Over the intervening thirty years the Midlands have been hit hard by the de-industrialisation process, particularly the car industry in the West Midlands along with the mining industry in Nottinghamshire and the steel industry in Sheffield. By contrast London’s globally-connected finance-driven economy has boomed.

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2 comments

  1. That’s a very good point – indeed they did peak in the late 80s, I wonder though whether this had any connection to the boom in finance which ended in ’89. If I could move the goal-posts slightly too ;o) I think that on the whole London clubs have been steadily improving their position within the top-flight, with far more top-five finishes and more league titles (https://rowzfootball.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/london-welcome-to-the-new-heartland-of-english-football/). Luton too is an interesting one as like the West Midlands it has experienced a decline in the core motor vehicle industry.

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