The lunacy of the FIFA rankings system (that currently sees England ranked higher than Brazil and Argentina) should be enough to demonstrate the point that there is more to listing teams than current results and a complicated matrix. However, being fond of a treat, rather than try to improve the FIFA system for international teams, lets take a look at English club sides.
What makes a ‘big club’ is a source of constant debate amongst football fans, with “We’ve won six FA Cups” often being countered by “We’ve won the league more than you” and “Our ground is bigger than yours.”
Whilst it is obvious that Manchester United are a bigger club than Rochdale (no offence Dale fans), are third tier Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday bigger than Premier League Wigan Athletic? Does Preston North End’s history make them a bigger club than Norwich City?
The notion of being a so called ‘big club’ is relatively new, linked the excessive hype that is given to the modern game. It is however also a come back for supporters of clubs that may have a glorious past who may be struggling in the modern game.
What is needed to settle this argument is a spreadsheet and some maths. Listing all 92 league clubs was the easy part, deciding what factors to consider and how to weight them was slightly more difficult. Is a league title win in the 1800s as relevant as making a Champions League final in the modern game? Does an average attendance from the all-seater era have any more relevance than the figure from the 1980s? After finding a source of information in the guise of the wonderful the European Football Statistics website, the following formula was devised.
An average attendance from seven seasons, starting with the most recent (2011), going back in five year steps (2006, 2001, 1996) and then ten year steps (1986, 1976 and 1966). Points are awarded per thousand, so an average attendance of 23,000 equates to 23 points. Figures are rounded up or down to the nearest thousand.
Number of league title wins (2 points per title)
Number of FA Cup wins (2 points per win)
Number of FA Cup runner ups (1 point per final)
Number of League Cup wins (1 point per win)
Number of European Cup/Champions League wins (5 points per win)
Number of European Cup/Champions League runner ups (2 points per final)
Number of UEFA Cup/Fairs Cup wins (3 points per win)
Number of UEFA Cup/Fairs Cup runner ups (1 point per final)
Number of Cup Winner’s Cup wins (3 points per win)
Number of Cup Winner’s Cup runner ups (1 point per final)
Number of seasons in European competition (1 point per season)
Divisions the club has been in the last twenty seasons
- 1.00 point per Premier League season
- 0.75 points per Championship or equivalent season
- 0.50 points per League One or equivalent season
- 0.25 points per League Two or equivalent season
Taking in to account recent history with regards to what division a club has played in goes some way to balance the argument that some clubs with an illustrious past will have an inflated score.
After feeding all of those figures in to the Footy Ramblings super computer, also know as Microsoft Excel, the final results are as follows.
|15||West Ham United||64.11|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||57.86|
|30||Preston North End||35.75|
|34||Queens Park Rangers||34.07|
|43||Brighton & Hove Albion||23.64|
|87||Dagenham & Redbridge||2.75|
If you have the required software you can view the whole table including calculations here. Big Clubv2
As expected, Manchester United and Liverpool are way out in front due to their league title wins and European Cup successes. Perhaps more surprising is Everton sitting in 4th place. Despite their current financial hardship, the Goodison outfit remains one of the most decorated clubs in English football history. The top 20 has five Football League clubs (Nottingham Forest, West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Derby County). Swansea City are the lowest placed Premier League club, sitting in 50th position.
So there you go, a scientific, if not a little rough around the edges way to argue how ‘big your club is. It’s just a bit of fun, and I hope your club scored well…
*Some data manipulation was required for the attendance figures of some clubs who are newly formed, reformed, merged or who played at lower levels and don’t have available attendance information.