Four Four Two magazine just released their list of the top 20 greatest club sides ever. To help take a walk down memory lane, or to revisit these wonderful teams, we’ve incorporated video footage of each club.
Here’s our guide to bring you up-to-date with some of the most successful teams in world history.
20. Nottingham Forest 1977-1980
The Nottingham Forest side of 1977-80 was something special. You know you’ve got a good team when Peter Shilton is between the sticks, and his team-mates were aware of his presence too. Shilton picked up the PFA Players’ Player of the Season Award in the 1977-78 campaign. One of Shilton’s team-mates was John Robertson, a player who had two spells with the club. Arguably, his most memorable moment was scoring in the European Cup Final in 1980, the second time in consecutive years. One of the most successful individuals at Forest during this period was Tony Woodcock, a player who won the Football League Championship, League Cup, FA Charity Shield, European Cup, European Super Cup and PFA Young Player of the Year, all in two seasons. Together these players shaped one of the most successful club teams ever.
19. Budapest Honved 1950-1955
Budapest Honvéd won the Hungarian league four times during the 1950s. These Honvéd players formed the backbone of the legendary Mighty Magyars, helping Hungary become Olympic Champions in 1952, Central European Champions in 1953, defeated England twice and reached the 1954 World Cup final. Forenc Puskas was one of those Mighty Magyars; he scored 352 goals in 341 matches for the club. Zoltán Czibor was another member of the Mighty Magyars, a forward who also played as a left-winger during the 1951-52 season, known for his finishing and excellent ball control.
18. Borussia Monchengladbach 1970-1979
The golden decade for Borussia came in the 1970s, with a new attacking philosophy that triggered enormous success for the club. The side won consecutive titles from 1975 to 1977 and were extremely close to winning the 1977 European Cup until Liverpool beat them in the final. Borussia also made four appearances in UEFA Cup finals, winning two, but losing the other. The triumphant team went on to win eight trophies in their successful spell making them a fantastic side to watch.
17. Preston North End 1888-89
The 1888-89 season was a memorable one for Preston North End and their history, labeled as the ‘invincibles’; they won the league and cup double without being defeated. John Goodall was at the heart of this success, scoring 22 goals in the process as they stacked up 40 points to win the title (12 teams in the league). This was Preston North End’s first season in the Football League as they had just been founded.
16. Boca Juniors 1998-2003
It could be said that Boca Juniors have had a number of ‘golden ages’, but the golden age that stands out has to be the Bianchi era. Carlos Bianchi arrived at the club in 1998 and aimed to break records of multiple local and international titles, and with Bianchi, Boca won nine titles. The star players from this era were Juan Riquelme, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Hugo Ibarra, Nicolas Burdisso and Martin Palermo, who is the club’s top scorer of all time.
15. FC Dynamo Kiev 1985-87
Dynamo Kiev had a fantastic short period in their history between 1985-87. The club picked up two Ukrainian Cups, two Ukrainian Super Cups, two Ukrainian Premier Leagues, and the UEFA Cup. These honurs did not appear from lucky performances, some memorable players graced the pitch at the club, including Oleg Blokhin – the club’s top goal scorer & most appearances of all time, Igor Belanov and Oleh Kuznetsov were just three of them.
14. Juventus 1980-86
The Trapattoni-era was highly successful in the 1980s for Juventus; the club started the decade off well, winning the league title three more times by 1984. This meant Juventus had won 20 Italian league titles and were allowed to add a second golden star to their shirt, thus becoming the only Italian club to achieve this. Around this time the club’s players were attracting considerable attention; Paolo Rossi was named European Footballer of the Year following his contribution to Italy’s victory in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where he was named player of the tournament.
Liam Brady, Claudio Gentile, Dino Zoff and Marco Tardelli were other members of the successful Juve side, but standout-Frenchman Michel Platini was awarded the European Footballer of the Year title for three years in a row; 1983, 1984 and 1985, which is a record. Juventus are the only club to have players from their club winning the award in four consecutive years. Indeed it was Platini who scored the winning goal in the 1985 European Cup final against Liverpool, however this was marred by a tragedy, which changed European football. That year, Juventus became the first club in the history of European football to have won all three major UEFA competitions and, after their triumph in the Intercontinental Cup, the club also became the first in association football history—and remain the world’s only one at present—to have won all possible confederation competitions and the club world title. But with the exception of winning the closely contested Italian Championship of 1985–86, the rest of the 1980s were not very successful for the club.
13. Independiente 1971-75
The 70s were Independiente’s golden era, having won 12 important titles including: Metropolitano, Nacional, Copa Libertadores, Intercontinental Cup, and Copa Intermericana all within eight years. The team became famous in themselves by being able to field Daniel Bertoni and Ricardo Bochini together. The pair both played in an offensive role and were hugely successful as they won several titles. Not only were Independiente successful in the 70s for their offensive style of play, but they were also sound defensively. Miguel Lopez was a player from the golden era who played centre-back for the side, playing 168 games in just four years at the club. Lopez became one of the biggest idols in the history of Independiente. Miguel Raimondo was another player involved, a midfielder who won numerous individual trophies alongside eight titles with Indepeniente. Together these players shaped the golden era for a club with so much successful history.
12. Manchester United 1995-2001
It was an end of an era when Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013, and with so many memories to cherish for United fans, surely one of those periods has to be the success at Old Trafford from 1995-2001. With Peter Schmeichel between the sticks, Roy Keane in the middle of the park and David Beckham on the wing, United had a side that any team was in awe of. The season of 1998-99 saw Ferguson’s side win the treble, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. United then went on to win three consecutive league titles before going a trophy-less season in 2001-02. Between these successful six years, Andy Cole scored an impressive 93 goals in 195 games for the Red Devils. The striker played alongside Dwight Yorke, who managed to net 48 goals in just 96 matches. The team also consisted of players like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona.
11. Celtic 1965-1974
The Celtic side from 1965, led by Jock Stein, broke a world record by winning nine straight Scottish league titles from 1966-74, the world record was not equaled until 1997. Furthermore, the club won every single competition they entered in 1967, winning the Scottish League, the Scottish Cup, the Scottish League Cup, the Glasgow Cup and the European Cup. Celtic remain the only Scottish side to have reached the final of the competition and players were named the ‘Lisbon Lions’. Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch formed part of the famous team and now rank among the greatest ever Celtic players. Celtic continued to reach finals such as the Intercontinental Cup and the European Cup final, but failed to win either.
10. Torino 1945-49
‘The Great Torino’ were widely considered the best ever team in Italian football history, as they won five straight Italian league championships led by their captain, Valentino Mazzola. The huge success ended in huge disappointment and sadness as all but one player (who was out for an injury) of the side were killed when their plan crashed into the hills of Superga in the outskirts of Turin. Some of the talented team were: Guiseppe Grezar, Guglielmo Gabetto, Mario Rigamonti, Virgilio Maroso and Ezio Loik. The club never recovered after a decade of mediocre seasons, and were eventually relegated to Serie B in 1958-59.
9. Bayern Munich 1967-76
Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, and Gerd Muller helped Bayern Munich win the UEFA Champions League three times in a row in 1974, 1975, and 1976 and many other trophies, including the German league title, the UEFA Super Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup. Bayern won their third German championship in a row in the 1973-74 season. Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness, Gerg Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – who contributed 162 goals in 310 games for the club, were all part of the successful Bayern side.
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