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


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

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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:

Stadium: Capacity: Club: Position: Points:
Hillsborough 39,732 Sheffield Wednesday 1st 25
Elland Road 37,914 Leeds United 2nd 18
Riverside Stadium 34,988 Middlesbrough 3rd 15
Pride Park 33,597 Derby County 4th 12
Cardiff City Stadium 33,280 Cardiff City 5th 10
Molineux 31,700 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6th 8
EwoodPark 31,154 Blackburn Rovers 7th 6
FalmerStadium 30,750 Brighton and Hove Albion 8th 4
City Ground 30,576 NottinghamForest 9th 2
Stadium MK 30,500 MK Dons 10th 1


Twitter followers:

Number of followers: Club: Position: Points:
289,000 QPR 1st 25
260,000 Fulham 2nd 18
207,000 Hull City 3rd 15
158,000 Reading 4th 12
155,000 Cardiff City 5th 10
143,000 Leeds United 6th 8
130,000 Nottingham Forest 7th 6
124,000 Wolves 8th 4
123,000 Burnley 9th 2
110,000 Derby County 10th 1




Domestic trophies:

Number of domestic trophies: Club: Position: Points:
10 Blackburn Rovers 1st 25
10 Wolves 1st 25
8 Sheffield Wednesday 2nd 18
7 Nottingham Forest 3rd 15
5 Bolton Wanderers 4th 12
5 Leeds United 4th 12
4 Birmingham City 5th 10
4 Huddersfield Town 5th 10
4 Preston North End 5th 10
3 Bristol City 6th 8
3 Burnley 6th 8
3 Derby County 6th 8
2 Ipswich Town 7th 6


European trophies:

Number of Europeantrophies: Club: Position: Points:
3 Nottingham Forest 1st 25
2 Leeds United 2nd 18
1 Ipswich Town 3rd 15


Seasons in the top flight:

Seasons in the top flight: Club: Position: Points:
73 Bolton Wanderers 1st 25
72 Blackburn Rovers 2nd 18
66 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd 15
65 Derby County 4th 12
63 Wolves 5th 10
60 Middlesbrough 6th 8
57 Birmingham City 7th 6
56 Nottingham Forest 8th 4
53 Burnley 9th 2
50 Leeds United 10th 1



Final standings:

Club: Position: Points:
Sheffield Wednesday 1st 58
Leeds United 2nd 57
Nottingham Forest 3rd 52
Blackburn Rovers 4th 49
Wolverhampton Wanderers 5th 47
Bolton Wanderers 6th 37
QPR 7th 25
Middlesbrough 8th 23
Derby County 9th 21
Ipswich Town 9th 21
CardiffCity 10th 20
Fulham 11th 18
Birmingham City 12th 16
Burnley 13th 12
Reading 13th 12
Huddersfield Town 14th 10
Preston North End 14th 10
Bristol City 15th 8
Brighton and Hove Albion 16th 4
Milton Keynes Dons 17th 1



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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  1. Tony

    August 21, 2015 at 9:21 am

    poor research – you have missed the 2 European trophies that Leeds won in 1967/68 and 1970/71

    • Harry Elliott

      August 21, 2015 at 11:47 am


      • BLEEDS

        February 1, 2016 at 11:04 pm

        what about points for being finalist 18pts,league runners up 18pts?
        sure leeds would be top by a comfatable margin.mot/yra.

  2. Frank Strandli

    August 21, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Leeds won 2 European trophies. The Inter City Fairs Cup, which became the UEFA. That would put them 2nd in the European trophies table. 18 points. Add that to their final total and – hey presto – top of the league.

    Not that it matters…


      August 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Yes. And since when did Forest win 3? They won the European cup in 1979 and 1980. I don’t recall any others.

      • Lord_Livid

        August 21, 2015 at 10:41 am

        The category is European Trophies. Forest won the UEFA super Cup in 1979 making it three trophies.

    • Harry Elliott

      August 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

      amended, as well as domestic trophies with regards to NFFC

  3. Mart Lowe

    August 21, 2015 at 9:40 am

    No, it doesn’t matter Frank. Leeds by default are disqualified for being generally dislikeable, and obtuse.

  4. Neil Stevenson

    August 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Huh? Domestic trophies are wrong. Forest have won the league cup four times, the FA cup twice. They even won the Anglo-Scottish cup that’s not logged either.

    Judging by the other comments over missing trophy records, I think this whole approach is invalidated – the whole thing is made up bunk because it claims to be based on numbers, yet uses the wrong numbers. Bad science.

    • Harry Elliott

      August 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

      amended now

  5. Alex Dunlop

    August 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Eh? Leeds won the Fairs Cup – forerunner to the UEFA Cup – twice. And why measure stadium capacity rather than average attendance?

    • K Hilly

      January 29, 2016 at 10:31 am


  6. Chareose

    August 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    According to Amazon Leeds are the 4th biggest for merchandise in the country
    Leeds have the biggest away following
    Leeds were the last club to get into the Champions League
    According to Sky, Leeds games are watched by the most people.
    Leeds were the last side to win the title out of the teams in the Championship.

    etc etc

    *The article has chosen specific statistics in order to steer to a predefined conclusion,

    *Most Blackburns results were recording not long after man invented the wheel

    *Leeds won the title more recently than Wednesday and will win it again before they do…. same with all the sides mentioned.

    • Park Slope Punxy

      January 28, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      According to Amazon Leeds are the 4th biggest for merchandise in the country

      got a link to this? sounds like bullshirt, tbf.

  7. Gary Hawkins

    August 21, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Pretty sure the amount of seasons any team has qualified and competed in Europe is a massive indicator. What about European finals /semi finals ? In fact any finals qualified for !! Surely this is an achievement? After all winning silverware is not the be all and end all in measuring a clubs success. Also crowd average NOT ground size is more relevant. Also not interested in clubs “success” achieved before my Great-Grandfather was even born, its just not relevent. Just one other point would it not be better to measure from the year ALL clubs were actually in existance? ie Leeds 1919 against Forest 1865 Wendies 1867 ??

  8. Rob

    August 26, 2015 at 10:54 am

    @harry94elliott suspect logic here why do twitter followers matter, stadium size is subjective due to numerous other factors

  9. It's great up north

    January 29, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Lets go for Cities and Sheffield totally outranks Leeds which only has one football team. WAWAW

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