England’s Most Successful Football Clubs

fansFootball is a simple game, played with twenty-two players. You can easily have a quick game with your mates, even if there aren’t twenty-two of you you can play seven-a-side or something similar. So what separates the top-tier of the game from any other variation? The prizes you can win at the end of it all.

There are any number of careers that can make you incredibly rich, though perhaps not many of them do so with the regularity of and as indiscriminately as football. Other than the riches, though, footballers are attracted to the game because they want to win medals. Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid et al. might pay the most, but paying the most allows them to attract the best and attracting the best leads to winning more regularly than losing.

Which teams have done that the most in England? Is the argument about which team is the best merely subjective, or can it be quantified? At the start of the 2016-2017 season were Manchester United, who have won twenty league titles, a better team than Leicester, who won the most recent one? We can’t answer that as it’s more philosophical than intellectual in format. Here, though, we’ll explore what trophies are worthy of consideration when teams consider their historical success as well which teams have won what.

The Major Trophies

The League

The obvious trophy that all clubs desire is the one you get for winning the top-tier league in the country. Nowadays that is the Premier League, with Division One or the First Division trophy coming before that. With teams having to play thirty-eight league games and finish the season with the most points in order to win the prize, it’s no surprise that the endurance needed to win the Premier League makes it the most craved after trophy in the land.

The European Cup

Old Big Ears, as it’s colloquially known in some quarters, is the most prestigious cup competition in club football. In the past it was only open to the champions of each country in Europe that was invited to participate, meaning that you needed to beat the very best to lift the trophy. The changing over to the Champions League format meant lesser teams were able to enter, but with the best of the best making it the final stages more often than not it’s no less prestigious for its widened appeal.

The FA Cup

The European Cup is the most sought after prize in European football, but the FA Cup still has its appeal back home in Blighty. With any professional team entitled to enter the competition it is famed for its ‘giant killing opportunities, an event that sees a team from a lower league beat one of the top clubs.

The UEFA Cup / Europa League

Better known now as the Europa League, Europe’s second-string club competition still has appeal in its own right. The Champions League might be the daddy of the continent, but this is definitely it’s younger brother rather than an unappreciated child that the family have tried to deny knowledge of. Loved more by European teams than English ones for some reason, the Europa League has had a new lease of life in recent years.

The League (EFL) Cup

The domestic equivalent to the Europa League, the League Cup’s reputation has perhaps suffered in the past because of sponsorship making it seem like it has less worth than it really does. Variously known as the Milk Cup, the Coca-Cola Cup and the Worthington Cup, this competition is unquestionably less important than the FA Cup, with the fact that the final is held in February meaning the winners have been forgotten by the time the league finishes in May.

Which Teams Have Won The Most?

Some people might like to consider the Charity Shield to be important enough to be included in this list, but it’s nothing more than a friendly that is played before the season starts proper, with teams often not taking it seriously so neither will we. With the competitions listed above being the most important, then, which teams have won the most during their history?

ClubLeagueEuropean CupFA CupUEFA CupLeague CupTotal Trophies
Liverpool 18 5 7 3 8 41
Manchester United 20 3 12 1 5 41
Arsenal 13 0 13 1 2 29
Chelsea 6 1 7 3 5 21
Aston Villa 7 1 7 2 5 22
Tottenham 2 0 8 3 4 17
Everton 9 0 5 1 0 15
Manchester City 4 0 5 1 4 14
Newcastle 4 0 6 2 0 12
Nottingham Forest 1 2 2 0 4 9

So there you have it. Far from an exact science, of course, and supporters of clubs like Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa might argue that the European Cup is more prestigious and ‘worth more’ than the League Cup, but if you start going down that road other clubs will demand the Cup Winners’ Cup or Super League Cup or some other such nonsense be considered.

At the time of writing, despite not having won the domestic title since 1990, Liverpool Football Club remain the most successful club side in England.