Man Utd

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.

Rankings

*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

Statistics

  • 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’.
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The Price of Success

In every popular sport in the world, there are heroes and villains. Those the crowd love and those they hate. Typically, the athletes or teams the spectator takes a disliking to share one trait; success.

Prime examples of the unfavoured, are sports’ elite competitors; Manchester United, Leicester Tigers, the New York Yankees etc.. Many people would put this dislike down to an admiration for the underdog, the romance of the unworthy pretender emerging in glorious victory. But why?

Brand… The Yankees are well-known and disliked in the sport

I was actually inspired to write this article based on a Ladies’ 4th Round match at the recent Wimbledon Championships between Serena Williams and Sabine Lisicki. Taking place in Old Blighty, neither’s home nation, you would probably expect a neutral crowd or one that’s slightly swayed toward the plucky underdog in Lisicki or another edging on the side of a respected veteran in Williams. That wasn’t the case. The raucous Centre Court crowd were overtly biased toward Lisicki, cheering her on to every point and greeting Williams’ successes with groans of disappointment. Lisicki’s support rivalled that of the home talents, Andy Murray and Laura Robson and it even continued through the next rounds when her more arrogant nature came to prominence.

In Serena’s case, she is partially disliked for her intense competitive nature. Understandably, most perceive a dislike of losing as a negative trait but it really isn’t as bad or counteractive as it seems. In reality, a hatred for defeat is the very thing that breeds the successful sports stars that are loved the world over. Serena is often levelled with criticism about her image too, with many labelling her as a ‘man’, usually the same people who detest the shameful body image tabloids pressure women to obtain, while mocking a woman making a positive contribution through sport. Actually, you could argue that Williams is simply ostracised because of her race or gender. It would be untrue to say stars like Nadal, Djokovic and veteran, John McEnroe are dealt the same backlash. They remain popular despite exhibiting very similar behaviour.

Of course, there is less opportunity for vocal bias in neutral grounds in football but that doesn’t stop Manchester United being targeted for abuse from supposedly apathetic fans. In contrast, local rivals, Manchester City have become many fans’ ‘second team’. Back in May 2012, when City pulled off a remarkable title theft from United, fans of other clubs publicly celebrated the failure of the Red Devils despite their club having no links to them themselves. In the Etihad, QPR fans (the visitors on the day), even publicly celebrated a goal being scored against them, because it was at Manchester United’s expense. Seriously.



(around the 1:45 mark)

Legend… Serena’s success breeds more resentment than admiration.

Ultimately, it comes down to jealousy. No matter that Serena Williams’ success story in particular comes from hard graft and determination and Manchester United didn’t necessarily employ the bank-rolling tactics of their cross-city rivals to start their route to success, they are still loathed by sports fans alike. It’s the same jealousy that sparks the Scotland or British debate among Andy Murray’s fans. Some Scots are keen to claim Murray as just theirs so they can exclusively identify his success. However, Englishmen are less likely to do the same because as a nation, they’re more successful. As with football, the neutral supporters identified with Man City’s title triumph as a victory for every other club against Manchester United… for some reason.

I’ve never bought in to the establishment of disliking the successful stars of sport. I can see why people do, but I don’t share their feelings. Being prosperous is an adaptive characteristic that biologically, every human is attracted to. When I think of the aim of sport, I think of every team or competitior striving to be the best and I cannot see any rationalisation for hating that. After all, being victorious is the reason we love sport, if you’re not trying to win then what would be the point?

2012-13 Football Rivalry Survey Results

The survey was carried out between August 2012 and February 2013 and was answered by just under 2,100 football fans.

Rivalry… English football’s hate stakes revealed

Headline statistics

  • 17 clubs’ main rivals have changed since 2003.
  • Leeds United  have the most teams considering them as main rivals with four. Manchester United and Nottingham Forest are joint second with three each.
  • Gillingham  have the fewest rivals, appearing in no club’s top three rivalries.
  • 52.2% of fans believe that geographical proximity is the cause of their main rivalry. 34.7% blame it on history whereas 8.2% think it’s down to league position.
  • 73.9% of football fans claim they would miss their rivals if they ceased to exist.

Changing rivalries

Since 2003, 17 club’s main rivals have changed. They are as follows;

Team Old Rival New Rival
AFC Bournemouth Reading Southampton
Arsenal Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur
Bolton Wanderers Manchester United Wigan Athletic
Brentford Queens Park Rangers Fulham
Carlisle United Middlesbrough Preston North End
Chelsea Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur
Colchester United Wycombe Wanderers Southend United
Coventry City Aston Villa Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra Stoke City Port Vale
Doncaster Rovers Rotherham United Leeds United
Fulham Chelsea Queens Park Rangers
Huddersfield Town Bradford City Leeds United
Oldham Athletic Manchester City Rochdale
Reading Swindon Town Aldershot Town
Torquay United Exeter City Plymouth Argyle
Tranmere Rovers Bolton Wanderers Oldham Athletic

Clubs with the most rivals

With 3 points allocated for having one main rival and two for having a secondary rival etc., here is a ranking of clubs with the most rivals in the Football League.

Rank Club Points
1 Leeds 25
2 Chelsea 15
Manchester United 15
4 Bolton 14
Swindon 14
Wolves 14
7 Burnley 12
Millwall 12
Sheff Wed 12
10 Crystal Palace 11
Leicester 11
MK Dons 11
13 Aston Villa 10
Blackburn 10
Brighton 10
16 Bristol Rovers 9
Liverpool 9
Nott’m Forest 9
Oxford 9
Reading 9
West Brom 9
West Ham 9
23 Arsenal 8
Preston 8
Tottenham Hotspur 8
26 Birmingham 7
Bristol City 7
Cardiff 7
Colchester 7
Derby 7
Exeter 7
Port Vale 7
Sheff Utd 7
Southampton 7
35 Huddersfield 6
Hull 6
Morecambe 6
Newcastle 6
Peterborough 6
Plymouth 6
Portsmouth 6
QPR 6
Southend 6
Stoke 6
45 Accrington 5
AFC Wimbledon 5
Barnet 5
Barnsley 5
Chesterfield 5
Dag & Red 5
Fulham 5
Middlesbrough 5
Northampton 5
Oldham 5
Rochdale 5
Sunderland 5
Wigan 5
58 Blackpool 4
Bradford 4
Brentford 4
Charlton 4
Doncaster 4
Everton 4
Ipswich 4
Leyton Orient 4
Torquay 4
67 Aldershot 3
Bury 3
Carlisle 3
Manchester City 3
Norwich 3
Rotherham 3
Stevenage 3
Swansea 3
Walsall 3
Wycombe 3
77 Crewe 2
Hartlepool 2
Shrewsbury 2
80 Bournemouth 1
Coventry 1
Crawley 1
Notts County 1
Scunthorpe 1
Yeovil 1
86 Burton 0
Cheltenham 0
Fleetwood 0
Gillingham 0
Tranmere 0
Watford 0
York 0

Rivalries – Who are they?

Here is a complete list of the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs’ top three rivalries;

Team Main rivals Second rivals Third rivals
Accrington Stanley Morecambe Blackburn Rovers Burnley
AFC Bournemouth Southampton Reading Brighton & Hove Albion
AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes Dons Crystal Palace Crawley Town
Aldershot Town Reading Woking Swindon Town
Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Manchester United
Aston Villa Birmingham City West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Barnet Stevenage Dagenham & Redbridge Northampton Town / Carlisle United
Barnsley Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Leeds United / Huddersfield Town
Birmingham City Aston Villa Wolves West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers Burnley Bolton Wanderers Manchester United
Blackpool Preston North End Bolton Wanderers Burnley
Bolton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Burnley Blackburn Rovers
Bradford City Huddersfield Town Leeds United Rotherham United
Brentford Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion Crystal Palace Portsmouth Southampton
Bristol City Bristol Rovers Cardiff City Swindon Town
Bristol Rovers Bristol City Swindon Town Cardiff City
Burnley Blackburn Rovers Bolton Wanderers Blackpool / Preston North End
Burton Albion Chesterfield Derby County Notts County
Bury Bolton Wanderers Rochdale Oldham Athletic
Cardiff City Swansea City Bristol City Leeds United
Carlisle United Preston North End Hartlepool United Middlesbrough
Charlton Athletic Crystal Palace Millwall West Ham United
Chelsea Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Manchester United
Cheltenham Town Swindon Town Oxford United Shrewsbury Town / Kidderminster Harriers
Chesterfield Mansfield Town Rotherham United Sheffield Wednesday
Colchester United Southend United Wycombe Wanderers Ipswich Town
Coventry City Leicester City Aston Villa Birmingham City
Crawley Town AFC Wimbledon Brighton & Hove Albion Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra Port Vale Stoke City
Crystal Palace Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall Charlton Athletic
Dagenham & Redbridge Barnet Leyton Orient Brentford
Derby County Nottingham Forest Leeds United Leicester City
Doncaster Rovers Leeds United Barnsley Sheffield United / Sheffield Wednesday
Everton Liverpool Manchester United Manchester City
Exeter City Plymouth Argyle Torquay United Bristol Rovers / Yeovil Town
Fleetwood Town Morecambe Accrington Stanley Barrow
Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Brentford
Gillingham Millwall Charlton Athletic Swindon Town
Hartlepool United Darlington Carlisle United Sheffield Wednesday
Huddersfield Town Leeds United Bradford City Sheffield Wednesday
Hull City Leeds United Leicester City Scunthorpe United / Grimsby Town
Ipswich Town Norwich City West Ham United Colchester United
Leeds United Manchester United Chelsea Huddersfield Town / Millwall
Leicester City Nottingham Forest Derby County Coventry City
Leyton Orient Southend United Brentford Dagenham & Redbridge / West Ham United
Liverpool Manchester United Everton Chelsea
Manchester City Manchester United Liverpool Everton
Manchester United Liverpool Manchester City Chelsea
Middlesbrough Newcastle United Sunderland Leeds United
Millwall West Ham United Crystal Palace Charlton Athletic
Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough United AFC Wimbledon Northampton Town
Morecambe Accrington Stanley Burnley Bradford City
Newcastle United Sunderland Middlesbrough Manchester United
Northampton Town Peterborough United Milton Keynes Dons Leicester City / Oxford United
Norwich City Ipswich Town Wolves Leeds United
Nottingham Forest Derby County Leicester City Sheffield United
Notts County Nottingham Forest Mansfield Town Chesterfield
Oldham Athletic Rochdale Wigan Athletic Huddersfield Town
Oxford United Swindon Town Reading Wycombe Wanderers
Peterborough United Northampton Town Cambridge United Leicester City / Milton Keynes Dons
Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Torquay United Portsmouth
Port Vale Stoke City Crewe Alexandra Shrewsbury Town
Portsmouth Southampton Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall / Leicester City
Preston North End Blackpool Blackburn Rovers Burnley
Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Fulham Cardiff City / Stoke City
Reading Aldershot Town Swindon Town Oxford United
Rochdale Bury Burnley Oldham Athletic
Rotherham United Doncaster Rovers Sheffield Wednesday Chesterfield
Scunthorpe United Hull City Grimsby Town Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Leeds United Barnsley / West Ham United
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Barnsley Leeds United
Shrewsbury Town Walsall Wolves Port Vale
Southampton Portsmouth Brighton & Hove Albion Bournemouth
Southend United Colchester United Leyton Orient Dagenham & Redbridge
Stevenage Milton Keynes Dons Barnet Dagenham & Redbridge
Stoke City Port Vale West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Sunderland Newcastle United Middlesbrough Leeds United
Swansea City Cardiff City Reading Bristol City
Swindon Town Oxford United Reading Bristol City / Bristol Rovers
Torquay United Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Bristol Rovers
Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Chelsea West Ham United
Tranmere Rovers Oldham Athletic Bolton Wanderers Everton / Liverpool
Walsall Wolves Aston Villa West Bromwich Albion
Watford Luton Town Leeds United Crystal Palace / Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion Wolves Aston Villa Birmingham City
West Ham United Millwall Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal / Chelsea
Wigan Athletic Bolton Wanderers Blackburn Rovers Preston North End
Wolves West Bromwich Albion Birmingham City Aston Villa
Wycombe Wanderers Colchester United Milton Keynes Dons Oxford United
Yeovil Town Bristol Rovers Exeter City
York City Hull City Leeds United Bradford City

Neutral opinion

The 20 most offensive clubs to the neutral football fan;

  1. Manchester United

    Hated… Manchester United are the most disliked English football club

  2. Liverpool
  3. Leeds United
  4. Chelsea
  5. West Ham United
  6. Stoke City
  7. Millwall
  8. Milton Keynes Dons
  9. Cardiff City
  10. Queens Park Rangers
  11. Manchester City
  12. Arsenal
  13. Tottenham Hotspur
  14. Crawley Town
  15. Birmingham City
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Hull City
  18. Nottingham Forest
  19. Reading
  20. Portsmouth

The 20 least offensive clubs to the neutral football fan were;

  1. Brentford

    Buzzing… The Bees are the Football League’s least offensive club

  2. Aldershot Town
  3. Burton Albion
  4. Bury
  5. Yeovil Town
  6. Cheltenham Town
  7. Dagenham & Redbridge
  8. Exeter City
  9. Torquay United
  10. Fulham
  11. Bournemouth
  12. Colchester United
  13. Leyton Orient
  14. Rochdale
  15. York City
  16. Carlisle United
  17. Crewe Alexandra
  18. Hartlepool United
  19. Tranmere Rovers
  20. Accrington Stanley

All stats compared with 2003 Football Fans Census : Rivalry Uncovered. However, this survey is not affiliated with the Football Fans Survey.