Is Hull the largest city in Europe never to have had a top flight club?
The first problem is defining a city.
“Wakefield is ranked as the 88th largest city in the European Union, but people in the other towns [that are included] usually identify with that town rather than Wakefield, and Wakefield is not particularly well known nationally.”
The conurbation of which Bournemouth is part is an even greater stretch. “The urban geography of Bournemouth is complex as the town merges with several other towns to form the South East Dorset conurbation which has a combined population of 383,713, the whole area being sufficiently populous to be one of the major retail and commercial centres in the south of England.”
I suppose perceptions (either internal, that is, the view of the inhabitants themselves, and externally, that is, the view of the broader nation or population experts) can change over time.
There are probably many people in Greater Manchester, or even Greater London who feel that they are not part of Manchester, or London.
Coming back to football, there is an interesting comparison to be made between the population size of a town, city, conurbation or urban area, and the relative success of the football club(s) based in the area.
The data I have collated here might contribute in the analysis or shaping of perspectives.
I suppose another question that could be asked would be which is the largest city (using a narrow definition of city) in Europe that has a “major” football club (that is, a club currently playing in a professional or semi-professional league or the top 3 or 4 tiers of a country’s football league) that has never played in the top tier of that country’s football league.
(Based on post on Tony Kempster’s Non-League Forum)