English Football’s Biggest Clubs : REVEALED!

It’s probably the biggest argument among football fans today; who is bigger than who? Rival clubs across the country will claim to be a greater presence in the game than their mortal enemies but who really stands above the rest? Southampton or Portsmouth? Newcastle or Sunderland? Liverpool or Manchester United?

The rankings below are determined by points allocated based on historical success and support – the two main contributors to a club’s stature.

Point system

Bridesmaids… Yo-yo clubs, Leicester and Birmingham are rewarded for their near misses and consistency in league position.

  • Seasons – 4 points for top flight season, 3 points for 2nd tier season, 1 point for 3rd tier season, 0 points for 4th tier or lower, 4 additional points for Champion’s League season and 3 additional points for Europa League season.
  • Trophies – 10 points for top flight championship, 6 points for FA Cup win, 4 points for League Cup win, 12 points for Champion’s League win, 7 points for Europa League win, 4 points for 2nd tier title, 1 point for lower league title.
  • “Nearlies” – 4 points for FA Cup final appearance, 2 points for FA Cup semi-final appearance, 2 points for League Cup final appearance, 1 point for League Cup semi-final appearance, 7 points for Champion’s League second place.
  • Fanbase- Average home attendances had been taken for every club since their inception. A combined attendance has been found to which each club’s record has been converted to a percentage. However, several people have complained that past attendances are now irrelevant and the only accurate measure of fanbase is current home attendance. As such the same method has been used but with average home attendances from the 2014–15 season. To ensure that history and support were measured equally; each club was allocated their percentage of 23,574 points (the total number of success points of all clubs).

Non-league clubs are not included in the ranking.


*all data correct as of 20th June 2016


Rank Change from 2015 Club Pts
1 Manchester United 2506
2 Arsenal 2057
3 Liverpool 1950
4 +1 Manchester City 1669
5 +1 Newcastle United 1551
6 -2 Chelsea 1492
7 Everton 1466
8 Aston Villa 1436
9 +1 Sunderland 1370
10 -1 Tottenham Hotspur 1308
11 +1 Leicester City 1074
12 +1 Derby County 1066
13 -2 West Bromwich Albion 1043
14 West Ham United 1038
15 Wolverhampton Wand. 957
16 +1 Sheffield Wednesday 951
17 +1 Leeds United 912
18 -2 Nottingham Forest 910
19 Stoke City 906
20 Southampton 902
21 +4 Middlesbrough 865
22 -1 Blackburn Rovers 849
23 -1 Sheffield United 834
24 +2 Birmingham City 786
25 -2 Bolton Wanderers 778
26 +1 Norwich City 765
27 -3 Burnley 753
28 Preston North End 697
29 Crystal Palace 685
30 Ipswich Town 641
31 +3 Portsmouth 632
32 Fulham 627
33 +2 Brighton & Hove Alb. 612
34 +2 Huddersfield Town 573
35 +6 Watford 569
36 +1 Charlton Athletic 564
37 +2 Swansea City 560
38 -5 Cardiff City 554
39 -8 Hull City 540
40 -2 Queens Park Rangers 539
41 +1 Bristol City 524
42 +4 Bradford City 518
43 +2 Coventry City 493
44 -1 Reading 462
45 -5 Blackpool 445
46 -2 Barnsley 439
47 Luton Town 401
48 Notts County 391
49 Millwall 350
50 Bury 330
51 n/a Grimsby Town 326
52 -1 Rotherham United 324
53 +2 Plymouth Argyle 323
54 -2 Brentford 309
55 -1 Oldham Athletic 298
56 +1 AFC Bournemouth 297
57 -1 Swindon Town 273
58 +1 Leyton Orient 267
59 +2 Bristol Rovers 266
60 -2 Port Vale 262
61 -8 Wigan Athletic 258
62 -2 Chesterfield 254
63 +4 MK Dons 248
64 -1 Oxford United 226
65 -1 Walsall 217
66 -4 Doncaster Rovers 211
67 -2 Southend United 208
68 -2 Gillingham 190
69 -1 Carlisle United 181
70 Shrewsbury Town 168
71 AFC Wimbledon 163
72 -3 Crewe Alexandra 162
73 Northampton Town 159
74 -2 Peterborough United 138
75 -1 Cambridge United 129
76 Scunthorpe United 122
77 -2 Exeter City 120
78 -1 Colchester United 118
79 Hartlepool United 113
80 +2 Mansfield Town 108
81 -1 Rochdale 102
82 -1 Newport County 94
83 +1 Wycombe Wanderers 87
84 -1 Yeovil Town 83
85 +3 Burton Albion 78
86 Accrington Stanley 65
87 Stevenage 63
88 -3 Fleetwood Town 62
89 n/a Cheltenham Town 58
90 -1 Crawley Town 46
91 Barnet 43
92 -1 Morecambe 28


  • Liverpool just pip Manchester United to the title of ‘most successful club’ in English football, accumulating 1165 points, five more than United.
  • The least successful club in the Football League is Morecambe who didn’t tally a single success point.
  • Everton have spent more time in the top flight than any other club – 111 seasons.
  • Eight clubs have never fallen out of the top two tiers of English football; Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
  • The biggest club to have never won the top flight was Leicester City but is now West Ham United.
  • The biggest club to have dropped as low as the third tier is Aston Villa.
  • The biggest club to have never won the FA Cup is Leicester City.
  • The best supported club in England based on average attendance is Manchester United.
  • Rotherham United are the biggest club to have never graced the top flight.
  • Whereas, Exeter City are the biggest club to not have played in either of the top two divisions.
  • The biggest clubs in each of the top four divisions are Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Portsmouth.
  • The smallest are Bournemouth, Burton Albion, Fleetwood Town and Morecambe respectively.
  • The biggest English club to have never won the Champion’s League or European cup is Arsenal. The smallest club to do so is Nottingham Forest.
  • The biggest underachievers in the Football League currently are Portsmouth who are two divisions below their ‘natural level’.
  • The biggest overachievers are Burton Albion and Bournemouth who are competing two divisions above their ‘natural level’.


  1. That’s really interesting. I know Sheffield Wednesday are on a slump at the moment but i’d have been sure they’d feature higher. I wonder what the league table would look like if it took into account administrations, points deductions, etc? Like Fantasy Football with negative points.

    1. You’d then have to factor in those who escaped in the ‘pre-deduction’ days – and then how could you decide what deduction would be arbitrated. The Football league seems to have made it up as they go along with -10 (multiple!), -15, -17 (x2) and -30 points all issued within the space of 5 seasons. Leeds United for example, still achieved 5th place starting from -15 points back in 2009, at one point, even topping the table!!

  2. Might be interesting to see this weighted based on timing, so for example all points gained last year are worth full value, and any others would be 1% less per year since they were earned. This would obviously benefit teams like Wigan whereas Preston and Huddersfield would go the opposite way. Anyway, interesting piece

    1. Or even better – PRE Premiership….before money and Marketing took over football.

      That would be MUCH more interesting!

  3. QPR are bigger than Fulham… on only seven ocassions has a club other than Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs finished as the highest placed London team in the league, QPR have achieved the feat six times, QPR has a major trophy and Fulham used to get 3,000 in the 80’s

    1. But what about all the other years? That just means they were above them for 6 years, but if the other 100+ Fulham finished higher surely they’re the bigger club? I know that’s not the case but finishing the highest London club may just be a sign that the other teams had a bad year

    2. Admittedly QPR were a bigger club than Fulham but they’re not anymore. 12 years straight in the premiership, larger attendances for that length of time. Of course without Al Fayed’s money this would of never been possible, but it is what it is. QPR fans need to accept that times have changed and if Fulham keep running the club the way they have been in the last 10 years they’re only going to get bigger. Fulham’s academy is the best in the country, watch this space.

      1. Umm, who exactly have Fulham brought through of note in the last few years? They’ve had a couple of average players but noone special. Winning academy matches doesn’t make for a good academy – turning youngsters into good professional players does that

      2. I cannot believe you just said fulham have the best academy in the country.. I am genuinely wondering if you are joking..

  4. If you’re trying to say the smallest club to win a European cup is Forest then that is not correct…
    Ipswich won the UEFA cup in 81 and I’m sure there may be a couple of others…. but other than that a good read

  5. Also – why points for FA and League Cup SEMI-final appearances – but not Champions League Semi-final?!?!?!?! And of the FA and League Cup Runners-up?

    Also – which clubs have spent the LEAST seasons outside the top flight?

    Finally – this BELOW expert made for interesting reading. No real surprises – has anything changed at all in the last 100 years or so?!?!?!?! It appears not!!

    “Then there’s Arsenal. They were promoted from the old Second Division in 1919 and have never been away since. But, predictably, seeing as they hold the record for current top-flight longevity, the nature of their promotion that year is controversial, to say the least.
    In 1919, the First Division was extended from 20 to 22 clubs. During previous expansions, the relegated clubs from the previous season were re-elected, while the top Second Division sides were promoted as usual.
    So Derby and Preston, the two top Second Division sides in 1915 – there had been a break for the War – did indeed move on up. And Chelsea, who had finished 19th that season, were, as expected, re-elected.
    But the reason for Chelsea’s escape were somewhat arbitrary. In 1915, Manchester United had, to avoid relegation, fixed their last game (against Liverpool of all people). They won 2-0 and sent Chelsea into the relegation places instead, but Liverpool chairman John McKenna must have felt some guilt, because at the League’s AGM in 1919 he gave a speech insisting on the continued presence in the top flight of the Stamford Bridge club.
    For some reason however, he also suggested that lowly Arsenal, who had finished fifth in the Second, should be rewarded for their long service to the League. They should replace the team which came 20th in 1915, he argued.
    And so it came to pass. The unfairly relegated club? Tottenham Hotspur.”

  6. I think points for top 6 finishes should be put in place. How can narrowly missing out on a league title be worse than a domestic cup semi final? Something like 5 for 2nd place; 4 for 3rd; 3 for 4th; 2 for 5th and 1 for 6th.

  7. Bonus points for us for being the only team to have scored 1000 goals in every division. I would interested to know who is closest to equalling this feat and what the likelihood of it happening! Thanks

  8. great result for wolves, it would have only made it stronger if our uefa cup final appearance (1972) was rewarded with a few points? although, the fairest survey on the subject that i have seen to date!

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