Hyder Jawad finds more evidence of the manifest decline in West Midlands football...
For the first time in history, an England World Cup squad contains not a single player from a West Midlands club.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's provisional 23-man party reveals no-one from Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers or Coventry City. It is proof of a region that, in football terms, has slipped into decline.
On the previous 11 occasions when England qualified for the World Cup, at least one player from the region was selected in the squad. But this time, the only local links are David James and Peter Crouch, who are former Aston Villa players, while Michael Carrick made two loan appearances for Birmingham City in February and March 2000.
Worse, there was not even a player from the region close to making the squad. Emile Heskey has slipped out of favour since he moved to Birmingham City from Liverpool in 2004. Matthew Upson might have been on standby had he been fit but his season with Birmingham has been ravaged by injury.
One is nostalgic for the days when the region supplied many of England's leading players. In 1950, three players from Wolves - Jimmy Mullen, Billy Wright, and Bert Williams - were in the squad.
In 1954, Gil Merrick, Ken Green (both of Birmingham City), Wright, Mullen and their Molineux colleague Dennis Wilshaw were selected.
In 1958, Wolves' Eddie Clamp, Wright, Bill Slater and Peter Broadbent were chosen while West Bromwich Albion also supplied four players: Maurice Setters, Bobby Robson, Derek Kevan and Don Howe.
In 1962, Robson, Howe and Kevan were in while Ron Flowers was the only representative from Wolves.
In 1966, Flowers was the region's sole representative as England won the tournament.
In 1970, Jeff Astle, of Albion, was in the squad.
England next qualified in 1982, when Peter Withe, of Aston Villa, was present. It was the same in 1986, Steve Hodge, of Villa, being chosen. At Italia 90, Steve Bull (Wolves) and David Platt (Villa) played.
England next qualified in 1998, Villa's Gareth Southgate winning a place. In 2002, Villa's Darius Vassell was chosen.
This time, we look on from the outside.