Sheffield Wed, Leeds, Forest: Who are the "biggest" team in the Championship?

Sheffield Wed, Leeds, Forest: Who are the "biggest" team in the Championship?

You may have read my recent post on this site regarding what being a “big” club means and how we can attempt to rank teams on size:

Reading the previous piece will make this article more comprehensible.

Spoiler alert!

So according to my calculations Manchester United are the “biggest” team in the Premier League.

Unsurprising? Yes.

A waste of time? Well no, actually. With just minor modifications we can apply an almost identical set of categories to rank the second tier sides. In the second tier the debate over being a “big” club is rather more hotly contested than in the top flight, as relative size is less clear cut and fans desperately require something to cling onto, to make their weekly pilgrimages more socially acceptable to non-football fans. Hopefully these categories will give a definite answer to the age-old discourse between Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Derby County fans (amongst others).

I shall use the same ‘fan base’ sub-categories of stadium size and Twitter followers. The ‘History’ category will be altered ever so slightly, however. As only a few Championship clubs have European pedigree, the ‘domestic trophies’ sub-category shall also include the Football League Trophy, whilst the ‘European trophies’ category remains untouched (only major European honours are noted). Simply, the Football League Trophy will count, but not for nearly as much as European honours – which seems fair enough.

Finally, under ‘History’ a third sub-category will be added – ‘seasons in the top flight’, which does exactly as it says on the tin. The number of accumulated years in the top division of English football is a good yardstick of a “big” club.

Again, the Formula One style points system will be utilised, as follows: 1st position = 25 points, 2nd = 18, 3rd = 15, 4th = 12, 5th = 10, 6th = 8, 7th = 6, 8th = 4, 9th = 2, 10th = 1.

So let’s get started, as I’m sure Bolton Wanderers and Wolves fans are keen to prove just how big they really are.

Fan Base

Stadium size:

Hillsborough39,732Sheffield Wednesday1st25
Elland Road37,914Leeds United2nd18
Riverside Stadium34,988Middlesbrough3rd15
Pride Park33,597Derby County4th12
Cardiff City Stadium33,280Cardiff City5th10
Molineux31,700Wolverhampton Wanderers6th8
EwoodPark31,154Blackburn Rovers7th6
FalmerStadium30,750Brighton and Hove Albion8th4
City Ground30,576NottinghamForest9th2
Stadium MK30,500MK Dons10th1


Twitter followers:

Number of followers:Club:Position:Points:
207,000Hull City3rd15
155,000Cardiff City5th10
143,000Leeds United6th8
130,000Nottingham Forest7th6
110,000Derby County10th1



Domestic trophies:

Number of domestic trophies:Club:Position:Points:
10Blackburn Rovers1st25
8Sheffield Wednesday2nd18
7Nottingham Forest3rd15
5Bolton Wanderers4th12
5Leeds United4th12
4Birmingham City5th10
4Huddersfield Town5th10
4Preston North End5th10
3Bristol City6th8
3Derby County6th8
2Ipswich Town7th6


European trophies:

Number of Europeantrophies:Club:Position:Points:
3Nottingham Forest1st25
2Leeds United2nd18
1Ipswich Town3rd15


Seasons in the top flight:

Seasons in the top flight:Club:Position:Points:
73Bolton Wanderers1st25
72Blackburn Rovers2nd18
66Sheffield Wednesday3rd15
65Derby County4th12
57Birmingham City7th6
56Nottingham Forest8th4
50Leeds United10th1



Final standings:

Sheffield Wednesday1st58
Leeds United2nd57
Nottingham Forest3rd52
Blackburn Rovers4th49
Wolverhampton Wanderers5th47
Bolton Wanderers6th37
Derby County9th21
Ipswich Town9th21
Birmingham City12th16
Huddersfield Town14th10
Preston North End14th10
Bristol City15th8
Brighton and Hove Albion16th4
Milton Keynes Dons17th1



Sheffield Wednesday: the biggest team in the Championship. Historic success earns the Hillsborough outfit the title, with worthy mentions to Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers.

Is this table definitive and categoric?

Well, yes and no. I hope I haven’t wasted your time in reading this (or if you skipped straight to the conclusion I don’t really care) but in all honesty, this debate will rage on and on. This measures used are simply what I deem to be reflective of a “big” club. Others will disagree, but that is the very essence of football, especially in the Championship: debate between fans.  This table is not definitive, but it a good indication, and let’s leave it at that.

Although I do struggle to believe that Cardiff City are twice the size of Bristol City. In fact I don’t believe it at all. Is bigger even better anyway?

Featured image: All rights reserved by John Bunny

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