Hicks of Northern England

Here are some interesting facts about certain cities and towns that have Premiership clubs:

The London borough of Newham, where West Ham play, is the most ethnically diverse area of Britain.

There are no black communities in Stoke-on-Trent, Bolton, Blackburn, Burnley, Hull, Sunderland, and Wigan.

99% of Wigan’s population is white. Hull and Sunderland are not far behind with populations that are approximately 98% white.

The north-west towns of Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton have large Pakistani communities. Over 20% of Blackburn’s population is Pakistani. Yet, 99% of it’s season ticket holders are white.

Blackburn’s population is only 105,000. Wigan has a population of 81,000

Burnley has the smallest population, only 73,500 and is only 12 miles away from Blackburn.

What these small towns have in common is clear. They have small populations that are about as ethnically diverse as Hitler’s Germany. They have high unemployment rates, high teenage pregnancies, and high drug use. The result is an increase in white trash getting high and procreating.

This sounds like the Hicks in South Carolina or Alabama. It’s not far off.

In the eyes of the Stoke, Blackburn and Hull fans, clubs like Arsenal represent everthing that they are not and never will be: ethnically diverse, cosmopolitan, urban, modern, properous and foreign. The last point is important. If you support a team like Hull, then you have to accept that your team is never going to win anything – unless it’s a promotion play-off.

In fact, supporters of teams like Stoke and Hull will endure more disappointment than success. Every season they face a battle to stay in the Premiership. Eventually, however, they will go down and disappear like Bradford City. It’s the reason why their supporters take a bigger interest in the English national team than any of the fans from the top four clubs. Supporting England gives them a superiority complex that Hull or Stoke never can. Success is far more likely to be achieved with England than any Wigan or Blackburn.

So when a club like Arsenal employ mainly foreign players and coaches, supporters from clubs like Stoke are resentful. After all, Arsenal are an English club, yet contribute nothing to the English national team.

But this xenophobia isn’t just related to certain English fans, it’s widespread among English coaches. Fabio Cappello and Sven Goran Eriksson are secretly despised by English coaches like Sam Allardyce. In the eyes of Allardyce, the England job should be for an Englishman not a foreigner. England is the home of football and beer. Italy is the home of pasta and opera.

So why is Arsenal the target for this English xenophobia and not say Chelsea, a fellow London club that has a foreign owner, coach and just as many foreign players?

The answer: Arsene Wenger.

Wenger epitomizes everything that coaches like Alladyce are not: sophistication, style, multi-linguist, international and educated. Wenger was the first foreign Premiership manager. He revolutionized English football with sports science, continental coaching methods, diets, communication, training facilities and foreign players. Because of Wenger, Arsenal will always be the founder of change in the way Premiership clubs, think, act and play. But not everyone likes change.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan says he will never appoint a foreign manager. He hates the foreign influence on the Premiership, stating that it has brought an increase in diving. However, the biggest xenophobes are the managers at clubs like Stoke. Tony Pullis thinks that his coaching methods are just as good as fellow foreign managers.

Pullis has never coached or studied abroad. His experience is with lower league teams like Bristol Rovers. He has never coached a team that has played in any European competition, only English teams that fight relegation. He knows that he will never coach a top four club. Those jobs rarely come around and when they do, they go to foreign coaches. That fact hurts him.

So when Arsenal play teams like Bolton, Blackburn, Stoke, or Hull there are certain factors you have to remember. They employ managers like Phil Brown, who like to play traditional English football – long ball, in-your-face, no time to settle, kick and rush. They pick big, burly, physical players like Ryan Shawcross to score goals from set-pieces or crosses. They play for a draw, stating that they are fighting relegation even though it’s September.

All of their managers are English, born and raised in these small, white, northern hick towns.

They hate Arsene Wenger. It’s why they try so hard to beat Arsenal more than any other club.

Wenger represents everything they know they can never be or will be. Wenger represents change. He is a pioneer. He is Arsenal. Without him Arsenal are nothing.

The Negatives need to remember that.

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