Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal: Who are the greatest teams in English football history?

  • Kat Lucas
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Liverpool are officially the most successful club in English history. 

The Reds’ title win in 2019/20 may have been their first in the Premier League era, but it was of course their 19th overall and took them one clear of Manchester United (42 trophies) in terms of wider silverware. 

Football, as we constantly have to remind the younger generations, did not begin in 1992 and the history of many clubs shouldn’t be erased. 

But who is the greatest club in the history of British football? It remains a matter for debate. 

Liverpool and United can both stake their claims, but further down the table, it becomes a little more complex. 

That’s where Twitter user @FootballInT80s comes in. They’ve devised a thread to settle the disputes about the greatest clubs in the top flight, taking two things into account: 

First, longevity. Teams were given two points for every season they’ve spent in the highest tier. Secondly, titles. Each title win earns a club five points. 

In true vintage fashion, 23 teams have been measured and the results making for interesting reading. 

23. Nottingham Forest – 56 seasons, 1 title (117 points) 

22. Leeds – 51 seasons, 3 titles (117 points) 

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21. Middlesbrough – 61 seasons (122 points) 

20. Stoke – 62 seasons (124 points) 

19. West Ham – 63 seasons (126 points) 

18. Burnley – 58 seasons, 2 titles (126 points)

17. Sheffield United – 62 seasons, 1 title (129 points)

16. Derby County – 65 seasons, 2 titles (140 points)

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15. Bolton Wanderers – 73 seasons (146 points) 

14. Wolverhampton Wanderers – 66 seasons, 3 titles (147 points)

13. Sheffield Wednesday – 66 seasons, 4 titles (152 points) 

12. Blackburn Rovers – 72 seasons, 3 titles (159 points) 

11. West Bromwich Albion – 82 seasons, 1 title (169 points) 

10. Tottenham Hotspur – 86 seasons, 2 titles (182 points) 

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9. Newcastle United – 89 seasons, 4 titles (198 points) 

8. Chelsea – 86 seasons, 6 titles (202 points) 

7. Sunderland – 86 seasons, 6 titles (202 points) 

6. Manchester City – 92 seasons, 6 titles (214 points) 

5. Aston Villa – 107 seasons, 7 titles (249 points)

4. Arsenal – 104 seasons, 13 titles (273 points)

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3. Everton – 118 seasons, 9 titles (281 points)

2. Manchester United – 96 seasons, 20 titles (292 points)

1. Liverpool – 106 seasons, 19 titles (307 points) 

In truth, football fans will have their own opinions about the top tier’s greatest clubs.

Manchester City, for example, rank sixth, but four of their titles have come in the last eight years. 

And ultimately, Sunderland may have spent as long in the upper echelons and won as many titles as Chelsea, but one is now a top four contender and one has since dropped into the third tier. 

There are still some interesting takeaways, especially for more recent generations. No club has spent longer in the top flight than Everton – both Liverpool and United have been relegated more recently than the Toffees, too.

And via a show of hands, who knew that Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn, Wolves and Newcastle had all won the league more than Spurs? 

It’s an interesting way of at least trying to settle the debate, nonetheless. 

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