Friday, August 21, 2015

North West England Greatest All-time 23 member team

Wayne Rooney and Steve Gerrard Both from North West England
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Greater London
North East England
East Midlands
West Midlands
Yorkshire and Humber
Black English players
United Kingdom 1970
United Kingdom 1982
England 1974

The two most successful clubs, Manchester United and Liverpoolin England are located in North West England.  In addition, it is the home of Manchester CityEvertonBurnley, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End and Wigan FC.  They all have made impacts on English football.

North West produced the most English international players.  Perhaps, it has to do with having clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Everton, etc.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for players born in North West England.  All players are selected according to their place of birth.  I have also created an all-time team foEngland.

GK: Frank Swift (Lancashire)
Swift was widely to be considered the greatest English keeper before the emerge of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton.  He was an all-time great with Manchester City, where he played from 1933 to 1949. Because of the War, his international career was limited to 19 times. He also played in14 wartime internationals. He died in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, while working as a reporter.

GK: Scott Carson (Cumbria)
Carson has played with many clubs.  His stint with West Bromwich Albion was probably his best years.  He was a part of the 2006 World Cup team, but he did not play his first international game until 2007.  However, he was best remembered for his blooper vs Croatia at a qualifying match for European Championship in 2008.

GK: Joe Corrigan (Greater Manchester)
Corrigan began his career at Manchester City in 1967. He spent 16 seasons at Manchester City, winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and League Cup twice, while also earning nine England caps. He left in 1983 to play for Seattle Sounders, then returned to England for spells with Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and Stoke City. A neck injury forced him to retire in 1985

RB: Jimmy Armfield (Lancashire)
Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool's greatest player.  He captained England for 15 times.  He was voted "the best right-back in the world" after the 1962 World Cup Finals in Chile.  He also represented the England national team 43 times between 1959 and 1966, and captained them in 15 games. He was a member of England's 1966 World Cup team, but an injury prevented him from playing any of the games at the World Cup Finals.
Jimmy Armfield
RB: Bob Crompton (Lancashire)
Bob Crompton was a great player early into the 20th Century.  He was born in 1879. He began his career as a centre-half, but it was at full-back that he excelled. He played his entire career with Blackburn Rovers.  He played 41 times for England between 1902 and 1914, a record until Billy Wright broke it in 1952.

CB: Phil Thompson (Merseyside)
Thompson made his professional debut in 1971 for Liverpool and never looked back.  He was a part of the decorated team that won 3 European Cups and 7 league titles.  He formed a partnership with Alan Hansen that was considered among the best ever in Europe.  he was briefly the captain for Liverpool.  He also earned 42 caps and went to Spain 1982.

CB: Roy McFarland (Merseyside)
Roy McFarland was one of the top defenders in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  He played for Tranmere Rovers, Derby County and Bradford City.  He was a key player for the great Derby side under Brian Clough. With them, he won two league titles in Division One. He played 28 times for England between 1971 and 1976, but was a part of the team that did not qualify for the World Cup Finals in 1974 after the memorable game against Poland in Wembley.
Roy McFarland

CB: Jamie Carragher (Merseyside)
Carragher spent his entire career with LiverpoolHe is their second longest serving player in their history.  He won the Champions' League in 2005 and two FA Cups with them.  He had 38 caps for England. He was a part of England's team at Euro 2004 and the WC Finals in 2006 and 2010.  His international career was limited by playing at the same time as John Terry, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinard, etc.

CB/LB: Emlyn Hughes (Lancashire) 
Emlyn Hughes was at one point the captain of England and Liverpool.  He was considered to be one of Liverpool's most important defenders.  He played under Bill Shankly in the 1970's where he won two European Cups, four League titles and a single FA Cup. He was FWA Football of the Year in 1977.  He earned 62 English caps.  He went to the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.

LB:  Roger Byrne (Lancashire)
Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes from the 1955–56 season onwards.  With Manchester United, he won the league title in 1952, 1956 and 1957. He earned 33 caps with England while playing in every England's fixtures in that period, a record for England.  Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster. This remains a record.

CB/LB: Kevin Beattie (Cumbria)
Beattie was a key player for Bobby Robson's great Ipswich side of the 1970's and early 1980's.  He won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 1973-1974.   He later played for Colchester United, Middlesbrough, Harwich & Parkeston, Sandvikens IF, Kongsberg IF, Nybergsund IL-Trysil and Clacton Town. He played 9 times for England.

CM: Steve Gerrard (Merseyside)
He represented his country at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 UEFA European Football Championships, as well as the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups – captaining the team at the latter two tournaments.  He led Liverpool in winning the Champions' League in 2005. He is the third highest cap holder for the Three Lions.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2006 and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009.
Steve Gerrard
DM: Nobby Stiles (Greater Manchester)
Stiles was a member of the World Cup team in 1966 as well as Manchester United's European Cup winning team in 1968.  He was remembered for his battle against Eusebio at both the World Cup in 1966 and the European Cup Final in 1968.  He is also remembered for his false teeth at the 1966 WC Final. He earned 28 caps with England. 

AM/CM: Paul Scholas (Greater Manchester)
Scholas was a member of Manchester United's Class of 1992.  He spent 20 years with Manchester United's first team.  He won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals.  He earned 66 caps for England before he retired from the Three Lions in 2004. His cap total was limited because of playing the same generation with Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard.

CM: Alan Ball  (Lancashire)
Alan Ball was the youngest member of the World Cup winning team in 1966. He started his career with Blackpool.  He also played with Everton, Arsenal, Southampton and various clubs in North America and Hong Kong.  He played 72 times for England and was a key player at the World Cup finals in 1966 and 1970. He missed the ill-fated match vs Poland in 1973 due a suspension that eliminated England from the 1974 World Cup Finals in West Germany.
Alan Ball

RW/LW: Steve McManaman (Merseyside)
From 1990 to 1999, Steve McManaman played for Liverpool as a member of the "Spice Boys".  In 1999, he made a big move to Real Madrid, where he won the Champions' League in 2000, scoring one of the goals in the Final against Valencia.  He also played in the Final in 2002, winning his second Champions' League medal. He also won two La Liga titles.  He was considered of the best football export from England in recent years. He later played for Manchester City.
Steve McManaman
RM/RB: Ronnie Clayton (Preston)
Ronnie Clayton made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old in the 1950–51 season with Blackburn Rovers, and between then and 1969 made 581 appearances for his only Football League club. He then became player-manager of Morecambe.  At the international level, Clayton was capped 35 times for England, including five as captain. He was part of England's team at the 1958 FIFA World Cup.

RW/LW: Tom Finney (Lancashire)
Tom Finney was knighted in 1998.  He was widely considered one of the greatest wingers in history.  He was the FWA Footballer of the Year twice: 1954, 1957.  He played his entire career with Preston North End, but his debut with them was delayed until 1946 because of the War. He won 76 caps and score 30 goals in an England career that spanned 13 years. He appeared in three World Cup Finals(1950, 1954 and 1958)
Tom Finney
ST: Tommy Lawton (Greater Manchester)
Considered to be one of England's greatest attackers.  He started his career shortly before the outbreak of the War.  He scored 65 goals in 87 matches for Everton before the War.  He joined Chelsea after the War.  In 1947, he shocked the world by joining Third Divison Notts County.  He later played for Brentford and Arsenal. He scored 22 goals in 23 matches for England.

ST: Nat Lofthouse (Greater Manchester)
Loftthouse played his entire career with Bolton Wanderers. He played over 450 games for them.  He played 33 times for England, scoring 30 goals, and giving himself one of the greatest goals-per-game ratios of any player to represent England at the highest level.  He is considered among the greatest attackers in England's history.

FW: Wayne Rooney (Merseyside)
In 2002, Rooney made his professional debut as a 16 years old with Everton.  Less than a year later, he became England's youngest international.  He made his big tournament debut at Euro 2004.  he scored 4 goals and named as a member of the tournament's best XI.  At the time of writing, he is England's key player for every major tournament since Euro 2004.  With Manchester United, he formed a partnership with Cristano Ronaldo and won the Champions' League.

ST: Dixie Dean (Cheshire)
Dean was a star player in the pre-War era,  Dean played the majority of his career at Everton before injuries caught up with him and he moved on to new challenges at Notts County. He is best known for his exploits during the 1927–28 season, which saw him score a record 60 league goals. He scored 379 goals in 438 games, 28 goals in FA Cup matches. He also scored 18 goals in only 16 caps for the national team.  
ST: Sir Geoff Hurst (Greater Manchester)
Sir Geoff Hurst was best known for scoring a hat trick at the 1966 World Cup Final against West Germany.  He also played in following the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.  He remains the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. He played 49 times in total for England.  His club career was spent mainly with West Ham and Stoke City.  He also had a stint in NASL with Seattle Sounders in 1976.  He was knighted in 1998 and was elected the Hall of Fame.
Sir Geoff Hurst 

Honorable mention
Terry McDermott, Ted Taylor, Tommy Smith, Gary Neville, Gary Stevens, Tommy Wright, Nicky Butt, Michael Owen, Brian Labone, David Platt, Brian Kidd, Max Woosnam, David Jack, John Connelly, Bryan Douglas, Steve Coppell, Stan Cullis, Joe Mercer, Jack Reynalds.

Squad Explanation
-- The two most successful clubs, Manchester United and Liverpoolin England are located in North West England.  In addition, it is the home of Manchester CityEvertonBurnley, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End and Wigan FC.  They all have made impacts on English football.
-- The North West produced the most English international players. At the time of writing, it has 285 players as compared to second place West Midland has 160 players.
-- Not every player starred for one of the great clubs in the region. Kevin Beattie, Roy McFarland and Geoff Hurst never played for a local club.
-- In fact, I only had three players from my Manchester United Academy All-Time Team.  They are Nobby Stiles, Paul Scholas, Roger Byrne.  I do not think much of it.  I only looked at the big name players. So my sample size is small.  
-- Frank Swift was widely to be considered the greatest English keeper before the emerge of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton.  The two backup keepers were well-known for their stint with the English national team.  Scott Carson was unfortunately known for his blooper against Croatia in 2007.  Joe Corrigan was all-time with Manchester City. I do not know much the fourth keeper Ted Taylor.  He was capped 8 times between 1922 to 1926. Northwest produced a total 20 goalkeepers at the time of writing, the most in any region.
-- Gary Neville, Garry Stevens and Tommy Wright are overshadowed by two of the best right backs in England's history, namely Jimmy Armfield and Bob Crompton.  Gary Neville probably deserved a chance with Crompton's spot. Despite playing so many games for Sir Alex, Neville seldom got mention as one of England's fullbacks. I always thought that he was underrated.  
-- The four centerbacks are very easy to select.  They are among the best ever from England. Emlyn Hughes, Jamie Carragher and Phil Thompson were all-timers with Liverpool.  They had ties to a club team in the region.  Roy McFarland had a great club career, but his international career was affected by not playing in a World Cup Finals during his prime.
-- Phil Thompson and Emlyn Hughes were from Liverpool's great teams in the late 1970's.  Emlyn Hughes were from the early 1970's.  Terry McDermott made honorable mention.
-- Paul Scholas was the only player selected from Manchester United's treble crown season.  Nicky Butt and Gary Neville are on honorable mention.
--  Brian Labone was underrated, but North West has many talents in the back.  He only made honorable mention.
-- Roger Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes from the 1955–56 season onwards. 
-- Tom Finney is England's greatest winger after Sir Stanley Matthews.
-- Steve McManaman get selected because he played in the left wing position before, a position that England always has problems and the region also lacked a good one as well.  Then, I selected Ronnie Clayton (Preston) who edged out Steve Coppell.  Coppell was a greater winger with Manchester United.  His career was derailed by injuries. I gave him credit for starring in a side in the region, Manchester United.
-- Steve Gerrard and Paul Scholas are among the best ever from England.  They kept Terry McDermott out of the lineup.
-- I went with two former World Cup winners Alan Ball and Nobby Stiles over David Platt and Terry McDermott.
-- Michael Owen had the talents to be great, but his career was cut short by injuries.  I only put him on honorable mention because Tommy Lawton, Sir Geoff Hurst, Nat Lofthouse, Wayne Rooney and Dixie Deane were ahead of him.  They were all among the best ever from England. 
-- I have two knights on the team, Sir Tom Finney and Sir Geoff Hurst.
-- Wayne Rooney should be considered one of England's greatest.  His goal production backed him up.  He starred for two clubs from this region, namely Everton and Manchester United.
-- Max Woosnam often described as the 'Greatest British sportsman'.  He won an Olympic gold and silver in tennis at the 1920 Summer Olympics, winning the doubles at Wimbledon, compiling a 147 break in Snooker, making a century at Lord's Cricket Ground, captaining the British Davis Cup team, captaining Manchester City F.C. finishing ultimately runners-up for the Football League Championship in 1920–21, and captaining the England national football team.  He made honorable mention.

Starting lineup
-- All four centre-backs can start for this team.  I went with Thompson and Hughes at the back.  They played together art Liverpool in real life.
-- Scholes and Gerrard might not fit together in this formation.  Alan Ball could have started in place of Scholes, but Scholes played well at the end of his career over there andI should try this formation.

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