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The History Of English Football Before The Big Four

Sometimes it’s hard to believe because they monopolize the Premier League so much, but the Big Four in England have not always been the big four. Chelsea only joined the ranks in 2003. Prior to that, the league was topped by the Big Three or Big Two depending on Liverpool’s inconsistent form.

To understand how the biggest teams in English football compare, Bill Sports Maps has created an image showing the most successful clubs. Here are the top 10 most successful (click the image to see the top 26 and complete image):

top english football clubs The History Of English Football Before The Big Four

Over the entire history of English football, you can see how the top clubs compare. The Big Four, over a period of 120 years, are Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Aston Villa. Chelsea are in ninth place just ahead of Wolverhampton. Number five through eight are Everton, Spurs, Newcastle and Blackburn.

As well as Bill Sport Maps, another fantastic resource is an applet which features the tables of all of the professional football leagues in England from 1889 to present. It’s an amazing tool that’s easy to use and provides a fascinating glimpse at the highs and lows of all of the English teams.


About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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