English clubs · English league · Football history · Records & statistics

Consistently In The Top 6 In England Without A Title


Liverpool have finished in the top six in England 17 times in the 19 seasons since they last won the title in 1990.  During that time, they have finished in the top four on 13 occasions and the top three on 8 occasions. That is the most consistently any English club has finished in the top three, four or six without winning the title.

Under Bobby Robson, Ipswich Town finished in the top three 5 times in the 10 seasons between 1973 and 1982, finishing runners up in 1981 and 1982. During that time, they only failed to finish in the top six once – 1978 – the year they won the FA Cup.  Ipswich Town have only won the title once, in 1962, their first season in the top flight.

During the long interval between their titles of 1967 and 1993, Manchester United finished in the top six 8 times in the 11 seasons between 1976 and 1986, finishing in the top three 4 times and the top four seven times.

Very similarly, Tottenham finished in the top six 7 times in the 10 seasons between 1981 and 1990 without winning the title – including 3 times in the top three and 6 times in the top 4.

Earlier, in the 10 years after their last title in 1961 (the year they became the first club to do the double after the start of the 20th century), Tottenham finished in the top three 4 times, top four 5 times and top six 7 times.

In the 17 seasons between their titles in 1971 (when they did the double) and 1989 (when they pipped Liverpool to the title), Arsenal finished in the top six 9 times, but only twice in the top three and 4 times in the top four.

Since the resumption of of league football after World War II, only two other clubs have managed a period of 5 seasons or more in which they consistently finished in the top six without winning the title:

  • West Bromwich Albion, who finished in the top four 4 times in the 8 seasons between 1953 and 1960, including a second place finish in 1954.  Their last title was in 1920.
  • Sheffield Wednesday, who finished in the top six every season in the 5 seasons between 1960 and 1964, including a second place finish in 1961.  Their last title was in 1930.

Details in reverse chronological order:

Club Period No. of
seasons
Top 3 Top 4 Top 6
Liverpool 1991-2009 19 8 13 17
Tottenham 1981-1990 10 3 6 7
Man Utd 1976-1986 11 4 7 8
Ipswich 1973-1982 10 5 7 9
Arsenal 1972-1988 17 2 4 9
Tottenham 1962-1971 10 4 5 7
Sheffield Wed 1960-1964 5 1 1 5
WBA 1953-1960 8 1 4 4

Full details here.  More on the top three and six in England since 1888 here.

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