My fellow Midlanders decided I was a traitor and should be dumped in the dirtiest canal in Birmingham | Adrian Chiles

SSome radio show topics are very promising but don’t deliver. It is in these areas that I specialize. I had an idea last week that I was sure would fly live on Radio 5, but didn’t, for reasons I should have seen coming. I still consider it too good to waste, so I’m rehashing it here for your consideration. It followed the American owner of Chelsea Football Club who dared to have a brilliant idea of ​​the Premier League having an all-star game with the best players from northern clubs playing the best from southern clubs. No, garbage, we all said. However, I’ve always been interested in who produces the best players, the north or the south. If a team born in the north faced a team born in the south, who would win?

A decision on the location of the north-south border had to be made. It was quite tricky but, as it was the British Broadcasting Corporation, in the interests of inclusiveness, we felt that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be included. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. It turns out that dividing the UK by drawing a line between the Dee estuary in the west and the Wash in the east invites derision and division on a scale similar to that of Brexit. The Welsh didn’t want to play for the south, and neither did my fellow Midlanders, who demanded that I be treated like the traitor that I was and hung up by my ankles and plunged into Birmingham’s dirtiest canal .

Amid all the furor, about six callers bothered to suggest players. For the few who remained interested, we ended up with the next XI representing the north. Gordon Banks (born in Sheffield, before you write); Gary Neville, Alan Hansen, Jack Charlton, Andy Robertson; Denis Law, Graeme Souness, George Best; Kenny Dalglish, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney. The South XI was Neville Southall; George Cohen, Bobby Moore, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole; Gareth Bale, Glenn Hoddle, Stanley Matthews, Frank Lampard; John Charles, Ian Rush. I have a 2-2 draw. And I won’t be taking any more calls on the subject.

  • Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and columnist for The Guardian

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