Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea: Who is the biggest club in England?


Who are the biggest club in England?

Some will say Manchester United despite them not challenging for major honours since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Some will say Liverpool because of their history and their recent dominance. Some will say Manchester City because of the last few years.

But The Athletic decided to find out once and for all.

To do so, they’ve ranked the top 20 clubs in seven different categories: crowds, global fanbase, major trophies, trophies won in the last 20 years, average league finish, player quality, commercial revenue.

And it’s created a top 40 biggest English clubs.

Let’s take a look at how they worked it out before revealing the final table. 

*All research and images via The Athletic*


Okay, there are no crowds at the moment but The Athletic have looked at average attendance multiplied by the percentage of maximum capacity and all the highest ever attendance.

It leaves Manchester United and Tottenham in top spot, while Manchester City and Chelsea make up the top-four.


Global fanbase

To work this out, they’ve looked at the followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Again, Manchester United come out on top with more than 132 million followers. Chelsea are in second, Liverpool in third and Arsenal in fourth.


Major trophies

To work this out, they’ve awarded 10 points for the Champions League, eight points for England’s top-flight, five points for FA Cup of Europa League, five points for the old UEFA Cup, three points for Club World Cup or League Cup and one point for Championship, League One or League Two title.

Liverpool come out on top with 293 points, with Man Utd in second with 280 points. Arsenal with 185 points are in third with Chelsea on 135 points in fourth. Interestingly, Aston Villa are in fifth above Manchester City…


Recent major trophies

The Athletic have used the same scoring system but are now only looking at trophies in the last 20 years. Man Utd edge it with 104 points with Chelsea just behind with 94. Man City (58 points) and Liverpool (55 points) make up the top four.


Average league finishes

This must have taken a while to work out. They’ve looked at every single club’s average league finish since 1888 until now.

Liverpool come out in top with an average finish of 7.8. Arsenal are second with 8.4 while, surprisingly, Everton are in third with 9.1. Man Utd are fourth with an average league finish of 9.8.


Player quality

To work this out, they’ve looked at how many players each clubs have provided to England all-time and also how many of their players played in the 2018 World Cup. That leaves Tottenham as No.1 with Liverpool and Man Utd tied in second. Man City complete the top four.


Commercial revenue

How much money does each club earn from sponsorship, sale of merchandise and international pre-season tournaments? It’s no surprise to see Man Utd top the pile with £275.1m revenue according to their 2018/19 company accounts. Seeing Man City in second is perhaps a shock, ahead of Liverpool in third and Chelsea in fourth.


Overall ranking

So, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Having scored top on crowds, global fanbase, recent trophies and commercial revenue, Manchester United are the clear winners with just 12 points. Liverpool, in second, have double the number of points.

While most fans will agree that Man Utd and Liverpool are two biggest clubs in England, there will always be some disagreement over who comes next.

Well, there are just two points separating third and fifth with Chelsea in at No.3 and Arsenal in fourth. Man City are the fifth biggest club in England. Then come Spurs and Newcastle with Everton and Wolves tied in 8th. Aston Villa complete the top 10.

Now, that shouldn’t cause too many arguments…

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