The All-Time English Top Flight

April 27 2007

Things are hotting up in the Championship, as we head towards the conclusion of one of the tightest and most enthralling seasons in second flight history. No less than eleven clubs go into the final two weekends with a chance of promotion, either automatically or through the play-offs.

I for one am hoping that Sunderland and Derby County go up automatically, and that they are joined by either West Brom or Wolves. But this is no arbitrary assignation of allegiance.

Far from it, in fact, for I believe that there is a supreme state to which the English top-flight must strive to return, composed of the twenty clubs that have had the greatest impact over the competition’s 119-year history.

I have defined impact by seasons played, titles and other trophies won and average attendance figures. My All-Time English Top Flight is as follows:

1. Arsenal
2. Aston Villa
3. Blackburn Rovers
4. Bolton Wanderers
5. Chelsea
6. Derby County
7. Everton
8. Leeds United
9. Liverpool
10. Manchester City
11. Manchester United
12. Newcastle United
13. Nottingham Forest
14. Portsmouth
15. Sheffield Wednesday
16. Sunderland
17. Tottenham Hotspur
18. West Bromwich Albion
19. West Ham United
20. Wolverhampton Wanderers

All these teams, with the surprising exception of West Ham, have won the First Division or the Premiership at least once. The only former First Division Champions not to be included are Preston North End, Huddersfield Town and Burnley, as none of these teams have ever appeared in the Premiership.

Furthermore, Preston North End last won the league in 1890 and Huddersfield haven’t been champions since 1926 (although that triumph marked the final leg of an outstanding hat-trick of consecutive titles).

Bolton edge out Ipswich Town (1978 FA Cup winners and 1981 UEFA Cup champions) by virtue of their longevity, current Premiership status and four FA Cup wins. Nottingham Forest’s place is guaranteed by the remarkable back-to-back European Cups they won in 1979 and 1980.

All this should mean that I’m hoping Leeds avoid the drop into the third tier of English football. But as any self-respecting United fan – and any fan of decent, honest football – I’m obviously hoping they plummet like a stone.

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2 Responses to “The All-Time English Top Flight”

  1. Surge79uwf Says:

    Bolton hasn’t won the league either. Just to let you know.

  2. Bradley Says:

    Blackburn bought the title in 1995, Norwich are a bigger club than Blackburn because five of Blackburn’s fa cup wins were won even before Norwich were formed. Have a look at history overall and you will see that Norwich City are the bigger club, also a host of other clubs are as well. Bolton are small time as well. lol Blackburn & Bolton are both small time clubs small towns. Fact. Have a look at history and you will see for yourself. But overall I think not bad.


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