Who are the "biggest" Premier League team?

“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.

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 Trafford75,731Manchester United1st25
Emirates Stadium60,432Arsenal2nd18
Etihad Stadium55,000Manchester City3rd15
St. James’ Park52,405Newcastle United4th12
Stadium of Light49,000Sunderland5th10
Anfield45,552Liverpool6th8
Villa Park42,788Aston Villa7th6
Stamford Bridge41,798Chelsea8th4
Goodison Park40,221Everton9th2
White Hart Lane36,284Tottenham Hotspur10th1

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

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Twitter followers:

Number of followers:Club:Position:Points:
6.13 millionArsenal1st25
5.91 millionChelsea2nd18
5.72 millionManchester United3rd15
4.63 millionLiverpool4th12
2.59 millionManchester City5th10
1.16 millionTottenham Hotspur6th8
596,000Newcastle United7th6
595,000Everton8th4
476,000Aston Villa9th2
469,000West Ham United10th1

 

History

Domestic trophies:

Number of Domestic trophies:Club:Position:Points:
35Manchester United1st25
33Liverpool2nd18
27Arsenal3rd15
19Aston Villa4th12
17Chelsea5th10
14Everton6th8
14Tottenham Hotspur6th8
12Manchester City7th6
10Newcastle United8th4
8Sunderland9th2
7West Bromwich Albion10th1

 

European trophies:

Number of European trophies:Club:Position:Points:
11Liverpool1st25
5Manchester United2nd18
5Chelsea2nd18
3Tottenham Hotspur3rd15
2Aston Villa4th12
1Arsenal5th10
1Everton5th10
1Manchester City5th10
1West Ham United5th10

 

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 United1st80
Arsenal2nd68
Liverpool3rd63
Chelsea4th50
Manchester City5th41
Aston Villa6th32
Tottenham Hotspur6th32
Everton7th24
Newcastle United8th22
Sunderland9th12
West Ham United10th11
West Bromwich Albion11th1

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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