Aug 7, 2015
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Who are the “biggest” Premier League team?

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“Biggest”. What does that even mean? Chances are at some point you will have heard Dave down the pub boldly claim that his beloved Spurs are bigger than arch rivals Arsenal, or something of that ilk. Lisa, an ardent Liverpool fan, claims that Raheem Sterling has downsized by joining Manchester City. What are Dave and Lisa basing this on, apart from pure bias and pride? Perhaps the elusive term can actually be defined by breaking it down into different categories. I shall attempt this in the next few hundred words, and create a definitive Premier League table of the “biggest” clubs.

The two categories are fan base and history, each divided into two further sub categories – stadium size and twitter followers; domestic trophies and European trophies. Domestic trophies are the FA Cup, League cup and First Division/Premier League, with European trophies being the Champions League and predecessors and Europa League and predecessors (including the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup). These seem the most appropriate to being a “big” club (sorry West Ham fans, your influence in 1966 is acknowledged, but not counted) as fan base and silverware are clear indicators of success and size.

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In each sub category the 20 2015/16 Premier League teams will be ranked. Using a Formula One style points system on each sub category league table the points from all four points tables will be added and make an overall, conclusive “biggest” league table. The Formula One points systems works as follows – 1st position = 25 points, 2nd = 18, 3rd = 15, 4th = 12, 5th = 10, 6th = 8, 7th = 6, 8th = 4, 9th = 2, 10th = 1.

Fan Base                     

 Stadium size:

Stadium: Capacity: Club: Position: Points:
Old Trafford 75,731 Manchester United 1st 25
Emirates Stadium 60,432 Arsenal 2nd 18
Etihad Stadium 55,000 Manchester City 3rd 15
St. James’ Park 52,405 Newcastle United 4th 12
Stadium of Light 49,000 Sunderland 5th 10
Anfield 45,552 Liverpool 6th 8
Villa Park 42,788 Aston Villa 7th 6
Stamford Bridge 41,798 Chelsea 8th 4
Goodison Park 40,221 Everton 9th 2
White Hart Lane 36,284 Tottenham Hotspur 10th 1

Old Trafford is the biggest stadium in the Premier League, but does this make Manchester United the biggest club?

Twitter followers:

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Number of followers: Club: Position: Points:
6.13 million Arsenal 1st 25
5.91 million Chelsea 2nd 18
5.72 million Manchester United 3rd 15
4.63 million Liverpool 4th 12
2.59 million Manchester City 5th 10
1.16 million Tottenham Hotspur 6th 8
596,000 Newcastle United 7th 6
595,000 Everton 8th 4
476,000 Aston Villa 9th 2
469,000 West Ham United 10th 1

 

History

Domestic trophies:

Number of Domestic trophies: Club: Position: Points:
35 Manchester United 1st 25
33 Liverpool 2nd 18
27 Arsenal 3rd 15
19 Aston Villa 4th 12
17 Chelsea 5th 10
14 Everton 6th 8
14 Tottenham Hotspur 6th 8
12 Manchester City 7th 6
10 Newcastle United 8th 4
8 Sunderland 9th 2
7 West Bromwich Albion 10th 1

 

European trophies:

Number of European trophies: Club: Position: Points:
11 Liverpool 1st 25
5 Manchester United 2nd 18
5 Chelsea 2nd 18
3 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd 15
2 Aston Villa 4th 12
1 Arsenal 5th 10
1 Everton 5th 10
1 Manchester City 5th 10
1 West Ham United 5th 10

 

Liverpool have won more European trophies than any other English team. But how should that rank when debating the “biggest” club?

Overall:

Club: Position: Overall Points:
Manchester United 1st 80
Arsenal 2nd 68
Liverpool 3rd 63
Chelsea 4th 50
Manchester City 5th 41
Aston Villa 6th 32
Tottenham Hotspur 6th 32
Everton 7th 24
Newcastle United 8th 22
Sunderland 9th 12
West Ham United 10th 11
West Bromwich Albion 11th 1
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So Dave is wrong, Lisa is right and Manchester United are the biggest team in the Premier League. Is this ground breaking news? Not particularly, but the table does make the football fan appreciate the gentle giants of Aston Villa and Everton, often over looked when perhaps they shouldn’t be. The same applies to the North East sides of Sunderland and Newcastle United, “big” clubs within their own right. The top 12 “biggest” teams are also split fairly evenly geographically. Manchester and Liverpool of the North West have four clubs, the North East and Midlands two each, with the other four London based. Excluding London, the South contains no “big” teams, and there are many factors contributing to this including the prevalence of Rugby Union and population demographics.

This experiment only studied the 20 current Premier League sides, so before fans of Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and the like start whinging, I will do the same for the Championship on this site, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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Cardiff University graduate of History. Own keyboard/pen and willingly to write/type.

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