Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40AN EXTRACT FROM: ED SMITH onsıde| ISSUE 38 39 experiment. Take two children with similar genes and similar talent: send one to a state school and the other to an independent school. What happened to my sister’s sporting experience was that she ran out of opportunities — not completely, but significantly. What happened to my sporting experience was that I received the best sporting education money can buy. I played cricket for England. She didn’t play for any team in any sport ever again. The role of luck in the making of sports stars has become a hot topic. The physicist John Wesson has shown that the probability of becoming a Premier League footballer is twice as high for boys born in the autumn as for those born in the summer. The English academic year runs from September to July, so in terms of physical development autumn babies are ahead. It is called ‘accumulative advantage’. These early advantages of luck harden into a lasting divergence. That two children’s sporting prospects — mine and my sister’s, for example — significantly diverge because of their schools is about non- random luck. It’s about a weighting of opportunity. It’s about privilege. It opens up a debate about justice and fairness. It gets to the heart of what we really mean when we examine whether life is a level playing field. Thirteen cricketers represented England on the tour to Pakistan in 1987/8. Twelve of them were educated at state schools; only one had been at a private school. Now roll the clock on twenty-three years. The England team that beat India at Lord’s in 2011 consisted of eight privately educated players, and three state-educated ones. In 1987, then, 92 per cent were state educated. That almost exactly mirrors British society as a whole: 93 per cent state educated and 7 per cent privately educated. By contrast, the England team of 2011 had 27 per cent state- educated players and 73 per cent privately educated ones. It is the same in rugby union. At the 1987 World Cup, sixteen of the twenty-six (or 62 per cent) had attended state schools. By 2007, only eight of the twenty were state educated (or 36 per cent). If you think cricket and rugby are unrepresentative, let’s look at British Olympians. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, six of the nine British gold medallists had their education funded by the state. But in 2008 only half the gold medallists went to state schools. And it’s not just gold medals: the proportion of British medallists who are privately educated has grown steadily to about 45 per cent. The trend is the same in cricket, in rugby, in Olympic sports. There are now more elite sportsmen who went to private secondary schools like mine, and fewer players who went to schools like my sister’s. We have become less a meritocracy, more a fortunocracy. Ed is too modest about his own achievements. But his analysis of the disadvantages suffered by most people today underlines the critical importance of the Foundation and our Funding Partners work. We will continue to rebuild facilities across the country so that kids and adults of all abilities to have the chance to enjoy the many benefits sport brings.As well as closing the social gap at the grassroots level, perhaps as a by- product, we will also see a reverse in the elite trend he identifies. To get the full story on this and many other fascinating topics, you can buy a copy of Luck from Bloomsbury’s website – www.bloomsbury.com/uk/luck- 9781408815472 Where is football in this study? The answer is that private schools rarely focus on football. As a result, the absence of private schoolboys in top-flight English football has been a constant. One of the biggest honours of my life was playing cricket for England in 2003. My selection was not inevitable, like Kevin Pietersen’s, because he was so much better and more naturally talented than everyone else. I was a marginal pick. I needed every leg-up I could get along the way. If better sporting education was freely available to all young people in England, as it was to me, I probably wouldn’t have played for England. Someone with more innate talent would have taken my place. They didn’t. Lucky for me. Not so lucky for England. 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1871 - 1875 1876 - 1880 1881 - 1885 1886 - 1890 1891 - 1895 1896 - 1900 1901 - 1905 1906 - 1910 1911 - 1915 1916 - 1920 1921 - 1925 1926 - 1930 1931 - 1935 1936 - 1940 1941 - 1945 1946 - 1950 1951 - 1955 1956 - 1960 1961 - 1965 1966 - 1970 1971 - 1975 1976 - 1980 1981 - 1985 1986 - 1990 1991 - 1995 1996 - 2000 2001 - 2005 2006 - 2009 Percentage of England Rugby Union Internationals Educated at State Schools, Selected 1871-2009 Note: No data for years 1915-19 or 1941-45. Data displayed as continuous line graph to show the general trend over time. Sources: Tony Collins, A Social History of English Rugby Union (Routledge, 2009), author’s calculations. 62% The percentage of state- educated England rugby players in 1987. By 2007 that had dropped to just 36%.