August is the cruellest/kindest month…

Continuing the football theme, David McWilliams argues that it is not a bit of wonder that some of the best talent in Irish soccer is made up disproportionately of August born kids, since:

The reason so many good footballers are born in August – or just after – is that they are better at football at a younger age . They get picked for the team. They are rarely the last kid selected, not just because they are innately better, but largely because they are muscularly bigger. They then think that they are good at football. They begin to love it. They practise more, get more encouragement and the virtuous cycle takes hold.

But, he adds, according to new research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies August babies suffer in other ways:

‘‘August-born girls (boys) are, on average, 26.4 (24.9) percentage points less likely to reach the expected level of achievement than September-born girls (boys) when they are five,14.4 (13.9) percentage points less likely to reach the expected level when they are seven, 8.3 (9.1) percentage points less likely to reach the expected level at 13, 5.5 (6.1) percentage points less likely to reach the expected level at 16 and 2.0 (1.7) percentage points less likely to reach the expected level at 17,”

His advice to those of us who may be planning an addition to the family:

Go now and your chances of a future Keano increase. Go later – just after Christmas – and Grey’s Anatomy awaits.

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  • jaffa

    Maybe we should teach kids in a half-yearly, Semester cycle, not whole years.

  • jaffa


    Is it worth pointing out that the oldest kids in an English school’s class are born in September whilst the oldest kids in an NI school are born in July?

    You may have screwed up your hypothesis by comparing data from two different jurisdictions.

  • Rory

    I’m not so sure I buy into this theory. My sister was born in August and she was complete rubbish – even in goal.

  • T.Ruth

    Sammy Mcilroy had a July birthday and played for the Northern Ireland Schoolboy under 15 team when he was still fourteen.He would have been ineligble the next year due to the age restrictions on Victory Shield participation at that time. He was a apupil at Ashfield Boys’ High school,home of so many soccer internationals,and left school,,as one could then at fourteen when he finished third year at secondary school. He went to Manchester United where he enjoyed super star status before the George Best era.Quite a lot of character and determination required of a fourteen year old to handle that. He was an exemplary sportsman with a great attitude,great winning mentality, courage, speed,technical ability and a natural tactical instinct. He continues to do Norn Iron proud as a football league manager.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s McWilliams’ not mine, who is comparing terms in England and the Republic. But I take your point. We in Northern Ireland, are indeed different.