English clubs · Records & statistics · Sociology & community

Population Base For League Clubs

I’m doing an analysis of the population base of the 116 English and Welsh clubs that play in the 5 tiers of English league football that operate nationwide (from the Premier League to the Conference) here.

I want to compare the population base of clubs against the degree of success they have, so I have prepared a very rough and ready ranking. I have used a somewhat primitive ranking of all 116 clubs based on their historical achievements in the league and cups here.

The criteria for the points are as follows:

– The three domestic competitions (top 3 positions in the top tier of the league, and semifinals onwards of the FA Cup and League Cup) and the three European competitions (semifinals onwards of the European Cup/Champions League and the finals of the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup) which carry a sense of continuity and history.
– Number of seasons spent in each of the top 4 tiers of English football.

Finishing in the top three in the Premier League carries more points than finishing in the top three in the old First Division. Elsewhere on my site, I do not distinguish between the Premier League and the old First Division (for example, here, but for an all-time, all-competition ranking, I figured that there is far more at stake in the Premier League today than in the old First Division (if nothing else, the financial stakes!)

The FA Cup and European competitions are also separately “ranked” elsewhere on my site.

All the possible population bases for each club are covered under “population base”. In the ranking, I’ve tried to identify the area from which the bulk of the fans come from. It is necessarily subjective.

For example, many will say that the top three clubs, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, have fans from across Britain (and some may go further and say the bulk of United’s fans come from outside the Greater Manchester area, but that’s another matter).

The concentration of clubs in particular areas is somewhat captured under “clubs by regions”.

Apart from the fact that it is largely inexact, please let me know if you have any views of the ranking and the identification of the principal population area.

(Article first published on BBC 606 and posted on Tony Kempster’s Non-League Forum)


5 thoughts on “Population Base For League Clubs

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