Clairefontaine, La Masia.... Irvine UPDATE: Or Not.

UPDATE: Sadly, the magic is now dead. Mr John Woods, the Sports Editor of the Irvine Herald, a local newspaper in North Ayrshire, emailed me this afternoon to inform me that there is a rational explanation for all of this. In his words:

Here goes. 

Until about three years ago Ayrshire Central Maternity Hospital was situated in the town of Irvine which meant that, with very, very few exceptions (eg home deliveries) just about everyone who was born in Ayrsire from the mid-1930s onwards was actually delivered in the hospital - therefore Irvine appeared on their birth cetrtificates and that's what you get when you look them up. 

The hospital was getting old and has since been replaced by a new facility at Crosshouse, on the outskirts of Kilmarnock, some four or five miles away. 
Boyd comes from the village of Annbank, Naismith from the village of Stewarton, Caddis from the town of Kilmarnock and Forrest from the town of Prestwick and the rest are scottered around Ayrshire. 

So I'm afraid we're not putting something special in the water over here in Irvine and in about 20 years time eiher Crosshouse or Kilmarnock will be regarded as the cradle of star footballers.. 

John Woods. 

So, unfortunately, the SFA will have to find a more complex solution to raising a new generation of talented youngsters than moving all football in the country to Irvine. Thanks to Mr Woods for his setting the record straight.


This isn't something that happened recently, and don't ask how I noticed this, but I've realised, via reading about Craig Conway's move to Cardiff, that he also shares something in common with fellow internationals Kris Boyd, Steven Naismith, James Forrest, and Kirk Broadfoot. Namely, they all hail from the small town of Irvine, in North Ayrshire. Which is more than a little bit unusual.

It's not just those either. Another player who will surely soon join them on the international stage, Jamie Ness, was also born there. Along with other reasonable pros Ryan Stevenson, Paul Caddis, and some decent youngsters like Kyle Faulds, Ally Love, and Jamie McKernon. Is there something in the water? Irvine is not exactly a bustling metropolis - according to Wikipedia, the town had 39,527 inhabitants at the last count in 2007. Nor is it the site of some Ayrshire La Masia or Clairefontaine.

So that's five, count 'em, full internationals, as well as another who almost certainly will be, and a few others of whom a couple will probably get a go at some point. A remarkable record. If people are talking about saving Scottish football, they could do worse than have a look at what they're putting in the water up there. Does anyone else have further suggestions for towns that have produced such a disproportionate number of international footballers?

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