Which 20 Clubs Would Be In Your Premier League?


If you could pick any 20 teams to be in the Premier League, which clubs would you pick and why?

To make it harder, you can only pick clubs from the Premier League, Football League and non-league football. And, to make it fun, you can select teams from the Scottish Premier League too, if you like.

Imagine a league where all 20 clubs would be mouthwatering teams to watch. Or for those who maybe aren’t the greatest football teams would feature incredible stadiums or boisterous supporters to make up for their shortcomings on the pitch.

Here are my selection of the teams I would evict from the Premier League:


  • Bolton Wanderers: While I’m hardly a member of the Gary Megson fan club (if one even exists), I don’t think I’ve ever once looked forward to watching Bolton play. Not that they’re that bad, but I could think of plenty clubs from the lower leagues who would be more exciting to watch than the Trotters.
  • Hull City: I respect the club’s meteoric rise from League Two and have a lot of time for their supporters, but the club haven’t won a league match in a year and are destined for relegation.
  • Wigan Athletic: The biggest letdown for this club is their small crowds and pitiful away support. On the pitch, they’re punching above their weight, but I can think of several other clubs whose supporters would cherish being in the top league in England a lot more than the Athletic supporters.
  • Birmingham City: Much like Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham are one of those clubs who aren’t very exciting to watch. Yes, much like Bolton, they have spells of decent play on the pitch but they’re much too defensive for my liking.

And here are the five teams I would replace them with:


  • Leeds United: The Yorkshire club has everything. A massive fanbase around the world. A football ground with a capacity much larger than many Premier League clubs. A proud history. All they’re missing is two successive promotions, which is easier said than done.
  • Southampton: The Saints have always been a classy team in my opinion and have had plenty of fine footballers who have come through their academy such as Theo Walcott, Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer. Their supporters are loyal and deserve more than the awful financial troubles the club has experienced in the past few years.
  • Newcastle United: The Toon are on the list only if Mike Ashley is not the owner. Ashley, along with Dennis (Un)Wise have ruined the club and turned it into a laughing stock. But if Ashley can finally sell the club, the Toon deserve to be in the top flight playing entertaining football that Newcastle United supporters crave.
  • Nottingham Forest: A club with such a proud history, founded in 1865, and two-time winners of the European Cup (the predecessor to the Champions League) deserves to be back among the best of the best in English football. It’s not just Brian Clough’s legacy (although that helps), but it’s also the idyllic location of the City Ground alongside the River Trent that makes this such an appealing club for me.

Post your picks of which clubs you would remove from the Premier League and who you would replace them with below. Feel free to pick fewer or more than the four that I selected. The choice is yours.

30 thoughts on “Which 20 Clubs Would Be In Your Premier League?”

  1. I’d get rid of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool and ship them out to a European Super League, in order to make the Premier League title race more interesting. I’m not much of an expert on the lower leagues. Your picks sound fine, but for geographical balance I guess I’d bring in Leeds Utd and Nottingham Forest, and then a couple of South West clubs like Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle. Or maybe Cardiff in place of Bristol City. Kind of bored with Newcastle and would like to see them earn their way back.

    Then with a 20-club European Super League assembled – let’s say England’s Big 4, and the top sides from Spain, Italy, Germany and France, and maybe a couple Dutch/Portuguese sides… I’d relegate the bottom 3 from that Euro League back to their respective domestic top flights, promoting the equivalent number of teams from those countries to the Euro League. So let’s say the bottom 3 were (just making this up) Arsenal, Lyon and Bordeaux – they’d be sent back to England and France, and the top English Premier League club and the top two Ligue 1 clubs would be promoted to the Euro League.

    Now that would be interesting. But it won’t happen.

    1. Sounds like a terrible idea to me. I can see so many holes in this.

      What if a team from England does really well and finishes 1st but the English representatives are never at the bottom? You would only get promotion from sub par countries because only sub par countries get relegated.

  2. I would drop Burnley, Stoke City, Bolton, Wigan, Sunderland, Birmingham City, and Hull City.

    I would add Rangers, Celtic, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, and Sheffield Wednesday.

    1. so you would drop a team with about the 5th best home and away crowds for teams like sheffield united, with no real history? clueless

  3. Surely the best change would be to get rid of Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea, along with their legions of “nouveau” fans and replace them with teams that have proper supporters as opposed to a stadium full of tourists? I agree with removing the likes of Bolton and Wigan with their identikit, half empty new grounds. They add nothing to the Premiership.

    As to replacements, I agree with Drew that the Premiership could do with a little more geographic variety as almost all the current teams play in a corridor from London to Lancashire via the West Midlands. For a travelling fan it does get a bit boring making similar journeys again and again. I’d go for Ipswich and/or Norwich in East Anglia – both well supported clubs with a history of playing good football and nice places to go. Nottm Forest and/or Derby to represent the East Midlands. Again, both have good support and have had success in the not too distant past. For Yorkshire, whilst Leeds can be a dodgy place to visit, they do have a passionate support and create a great atmosphere and then maybe one of the Sheffield clubs too. In the North-East, Sunderland is comfortably the most enjoyable away trip so not sure if we need any changes there. Newcastle is great for a night out but they treat away supporters dreadfully and their fans have the “Big 4” arrogance without having a decent team to back it up. As for others, Southampton is a good place to go and I think most people would be happy to see them back and last, but not least, is West Brom if only for having the best away pub in the country (the Vines).

    And definitely no Scottish teams, especially Rangers. There’s been enough trouble when they’ve played friendly matches in England over the years so fortnightly visits would be a disaster.

    1. Surely the best change would be to get rid of Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea, along with their legions of “nouveau”

      With all your talk of “nouveau” fans, those 4 teams are in positions 2, 1, 4 and 5 in the *all time* attendance records league (i.e. attendances since football began)

      (Tottenham are the team in 3rd if anyone is interested)

  4. Portsmouth – out. Southhampton in (pure bias – )

    Hull (less history than Leeds)/Wigan (Simply not an Assoc Football town) out – Leeds/Forest in (never understood why Forest with its history hasn’t been bought and overhauled by the foreigners)

    Ipswich in Bolton out. (Not the Keane one but the 70’s version)

    One of rhe Sheffield Clubs on standby just incase.

    1. I’m shocked you’re the first to propose this. Scumhampton has a better stadium and a larger fanbase. Fratton Park is a dump not worthy of the top flight. Our supporters, although smaller in number, make up for it in quality and noise. I would keep us in the top flight, but I’m probably biased as well.

  5. What a silly idea. At the very heart of sport is the notion of meritocracy. When you say ‘this Yorkshire club has it all’ you’re wrong. They don’t have the players good enough to play in the Premier League, nor do the other three, end of. You use history as a big part of your argument, yet judge Bolton merely on a stereotype created over the last 5 years. We were one of the founding members of the football league and have, as you like to say’ ‘a fine tradition’ of playing good football, just not in the last 5 years. Lame arguments all round really.

  6. As a bolton fan, i am not feeling much love.
    Bolton are a traditional top league side – have you seen our record, especially in the 20s and 50s.
    United and Liverpool have only come good in the last 40 years or so !!!
    Get rid of these johnny come latelys

  7. I have not been a fan of the EPL long enough to appreciate the history of the clubs, but the article brings to my mind an interesting question. Why is it that a club like Wigan can get into the top flight and stick while clearly bigger better supported clubs like Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham Forest struggle.

    I’m not a Wigan fan, but one has to be somewhat impressed with their staying power. They have had 3 managers in the last 5 years, no real money, and fairly pitiful fan support yet they plug away. I don’t think they’re going down this year.

    What gives? Why can’t Newcastle at a minimum do what Wigan’s doing?

  8. I’d put in Milwall. What’s football without a shower of bricks. Also, for one, I’d like to see a cup competition specific to all the London sides.

  9. Expand back to 22…


    Man Utd


    Dag & Red
    Forest Green Rovers
    FC United of Manchester

    For the kicks.

  10. These discussions make me glad English football is a true league system, and glad there is no ‘European Super League’. I’d hate it to be run like MLS where ‘markets’ are chosen for ‘franchises’ to be allocated to! I’d also hate for clubs to be allocated to cities based on geography and population! I’m glad that any club has the potential to be in the Premier League based purely on results, rather than if their stadium has a certain capacity, or if they have a ‘large enough’ fanbase.
    As dominant as the top-four are these days, I’m glad the league has them. If these teams were shipped out to a ‘European Super League’ then international interest in the Premier League would dwindle, players would leave, and the quality of the top flight would be comparible to the Championship.

  11. What a load of twaddle the football league has always operated on a promotion relegation basis , now just because the floundering clubs like Leeds and Forest and Newcastle cant hack it in the competition you want to give them a free pass , rubbish make them earn their places and then hold onto them if they can , its results on the field that keep you up not gimmes.
    Harry B

  12. Really great question Gaf,

    I know it’s just for fun and rivalry, but you really have sparked something here right?

    Do you think that all clubs have a right to make their history though? How can a club dine out on great nights if they don’t have enough time/funds or coverage to do so?

    My point is, Liverpool and Manchester United both had/have great managers because they got the break to do so. Doesn’t everyone in football deserve that? If they don’t prove themselves then they get relegated, it’s not as black and white as that but it is what the question boils down to.

    Equally, it’s about perspective and scale, some clubs achieve great things on a small scale and some clubs achieve big things on a big scale and some mix it up a bit. All have their merits. That’s part of the bragging rights of football, who took the route with the most drama/wonderment.

    1. The other argument is that it takes money, not talent to get promoted to the Premier League. Sure, you need talent on the pitch to translate into wins. But, by my estimations, here are clubs who bought their way into the Premier League who otherwise would never be in it:

      Blackburn Rovers
      Wigan Athletic

      Am I missing any others? Chelsea were already flying high in the Premier League and didn’t need promotion to get into the Prem.

      The Gaffer

      1. I agree with this and I’m a fan of Fulham. Fulham is probably a League One or Championship size club, based on fan base. Eventually Fulham will probably go down and very likely won’t come back up for a good while.

        I’m waiting for the day though that the big English clubs form a super league across Europe, however, and kills off clubs like Fulham and West Ham.

  13. What about the real clubs coming in

    FC United
    AFC Wimbledon

    and regional


    There should be only one team from one city so get rid Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham.

  14. I play this game in my head all the time as well.

    Out: Burnley (Turf Moor is great, Burnley is too small though), Wigan Athletic (not enough fans, rugby town), and two of any Hull City, Bolton, Wolverhampton, or Blackburn (lots and lots of history in the last three, but they’re in towns or small cities that can’t keep fans in the stands… there replaceable with any decent Championship side, imo). Portsmouth might be another team that could be kicked out, but their fans are just too good to one to seen them out of the Premier League. They would have to be replaced by Southampton at least to keep a team on the south coast in the league.

    In: Newcastle, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, and one of the Sheffields (I prefer Wednesday, but United are arguably the more deserving club).

    1. Sorry, I must’ve missed the official ruling that states that only clubs that are based in a city can compete in the Premier League??? How strange…
      Your argument that teams like Blackburn and Burnley can’t keep fans in the stands is immediately flawed, because when you compare the attendances to the populations of the towns, they have the highest in the league – something like a quarter of the towns descend upon Ewood and the Turf each matchday. Can the likes of Leeds and Sheffield claim this?
      In addition, the fact that Bolton and Blackburn have punched above their relative weights for years is fantastic and should be commended – not sneered at. Despite their current difficulties, Bolton have been to Wembley in cup finals and played in Europe, and Blackburn have won the Premiership, the League Cup, played in Europe numerous times in recent years and played in 5 domestic cup finals.
      Newcastle certainly don’t deserve to be in the Prem, not until their up-themselves fans learn that they aren’t, and never will be a top 4 club…

  15. I am a HUGE Leeds united fan. And yes it is my dream for my club to be back in the prem. In our case it was poor financial management by tossers like Risdale, but in the cases of Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Derby County who are also a massive club who dont get mentioned enough and us after we’d been messed up. All of these great clubs are not in the premiership right now because they simply werent good enough when they were in it.
    I love the way our game is run, it is called democracy. Every club as equal rights irrelivant to the size of the stadium, fan base and history. At the end of the day the players and the manager are the important ingrediants irrelivant to what the clubs name is.

  16. I’m miss.Theresa Udofia ,wish to write to congratulate my dear club Manchester united. the team manager ,the coach sir.Ferguson and all the member of Manchester united family for making me to be the highest fance in my state.i also write here to comment’s on apostle.Wayne Rooney performance’s since beginning of the league.i say’s he should keep up,that all the fance that are here in Nigeria are proud of him and all other players.i wish all the player’s the best of luck,thanks.Theresa udofia,from Nigeria.

  17. out – sunderland wigan burnley foolham blackbun birmingham
    in – the mighty boro sheff wednesday dirty leeds mk dons forest saints

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