The ARL Football Club Success Ranking System

The ranking system to define, once and for all, the most successful clubs in European Men’s Football leagues (last updated: 2022)

The giants of Europe, but which clubs are the most successful?

Any club which thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence, yet it is the trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet set.

Whilst round robin format league ‘Titles’ are arguably the most important trophies to win, a huge amount of glory can be earned in knockout format ‘cup’ competitions and some clubs have built up massive fan bases from cup wins alone.

Winning the top tier league title by playing every club in that league both home and away is regarded as the most empirical method of proving which club has the best squad in the whole country. Knockout cup competitions bring challenges of their own, however. The league is a marathon whereas the cup is a hectic sprint – in each game the winning team needs to have the confidence, ambition and inner steel to come away with a result after 90 minutes – that isn’t needed in every league game. This is why cups are so loved by fans; each trophy proves their team is, if not the best in the country, at least has a champion’s mindset.

Concept – This quantified ranking system is designed to compare how successful each European men’s football club has historically been within their domestic league system. It also allows for a cross comparison between all of UEFA’s biggest clubs.

Criteria – This success ranking system scores points to clubs based on which trophies and how many they have won. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered. Different trophies score different points based on a ‘glory’ criteria shown below:

  1. How many games need to be played in order to win the trophy? More games equals a greater chance that quality, not luck, will be relied on to win the competition. It is also more likely that the quality of the whole squad will be relied upon rather than just the best starting 11.
  2. What do teams need to do in order to qualify for the competition? Must they already be proven winners to have a shot at the trophy or just one of hundreds of clubs? What is the quality of football likely to be?
  3. How prestigious is it? This is an opaque factor but is affected by things like how old it is, how many cultural links to the fan base it has, how much publicity it gets affecting things such as media rights financial rewards. Although the national leagues and cups of nations such as England, Spain, Italy and Germany carry a huge amount of prestige, the more international it is, under UEFA or FIFA, the more prestigious it generally becomes.
Competition
Success Points
Top tier league title
(-2 points for leagues 6-10,
-4 points for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking)
9
UEFA European Cup Champions League
8
Planned FIFA Club World Cup (Launch date postponed)
7
UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
Association Cup
(-2 points for leagues 6-10,
-4 points for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking)
5
UEFA Europa Conference League
4
League Cup
(-2 points for leagues 6-10,
Not counted for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking)
4
Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup (1960 – 2021)
3
UEFA Super Cup
2
Domestic ‘Super Cup’
(Not counted for leagues 6-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking)
1

The grading rationale is explained below:

Association ‘Super Cup

Called the FA Community Shield (CS) in England but generally referred to as the ‘Super Cup’ (SC) in most countries, this is an exhibition competition which opens the new season. The friendliest and least important of ‘competitive’ competitions, the SC is a nice start to the season when players are still blowing the cobwebs out. This annual game usually has the two best teams in the country playing for it having shown a winning mentality the previous season. This scores 1 point.

Not at all awkward: Captains of arch nemeses Tottenham/Arsenal share a CS, 1991

Min number of games: 1-4

Qualification: Typically the top tier league title winner and association cup (AC) winner – two of the best teams in the country.

Prestige: Seen as a friendly by many fans, games are often played out between big rivals. Notable games are Man United’s 3-2 comeback against rising giants and arch enemy Man City in 2011 or Athletic Bilbao’s 2 legged underdog victory against titans Barcelona in 2015; managing 4 goals without reply at the Nou Camp, Athletic came away with their first trophy in decades. England’s Community Shield (CS) has been running since 1908 yet for other SCs many were founded in the 70s or 80s.

UEFA Super Cup

Another nice little curtain raiser that reminds everyone the two clubs facing off have bragging rights, if only for the moment. It’s an exotic game that will likely be against two high quality sides and with UEFA’s status behind it. It also boasts a David versus Goliath spectacle which neutrals love. Again easily missed and dismissed but winning this says to everyone you’re a club to watch in future. This trophy scores 2 points.

Athletico Madrid beat their arch rivals Real Madrid to win the UEFA SC, 2018

Min number of games: 1

Qualification: The current CL Champions versus the EL winners. One is typically the strongest team in Europe while the other is usually CL Group Stage quality and from one of the strongest five leagues in Europe.

Prestige: It has been going since 1972. Although it used to get played out in glamorous Monaco, games are played at pretty unfashionable places nowadays. It’s an exotic fixture but it doesn’t have much fan engagement. Classic games include Atletico Madrid’s win over big brother Real Madrid. Atletico had to come back from 2-1 down to win 4-2 in 2018, and in RM’s first game without Cristiano Ronaldo. That isn’t the first time Atletico managed to beat the European Champions in the SC – they whipped Chelsea 4-1 in 2011.

Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup

The Club World Cup (CWC) was an exhibition trophy which, for UEFA clubs, meant skipping country for a long week midseason, trying to quickly nab the trophy, then getting back home before the regular league notices.

‘Champions of the World’ Bayern Munich, 2013

Despite the Intercontinental Cup (IC) being only a showdown between the European and South American champions, the winners would be dubbed ‘World Champions’ because it was only on these two continents football was taken seriously. This title, FIFA refused to ratify however as it wasn’t under their authority – and four whole continents didn’t have a single team in it. After a lot of manoeuvring over the decades, FIFA got their hands on it. Like a caterpillar to butterfly, the CWC sprung out of the IC to hand FIFA the authority to proclaim which team (and more importantly from which continent) were officially ‘World Champions’.

It had the money and all the bells and whistles yet it was a bit of a flop because it merely confirmed what everyone knew – Europe’s money dominated the game. Since the glory days of the IC during the ’60s and ’70s money was concentrated firmly in Europe with its top domestic leagues and massive broadcast rights deals. But South America’s challenge to Europe’s dominance was toothless and no other confederation stepped up.

FIFA avoided hosting it in remotely decent countries so it got passed around like a hot coal between the likes of Japan, UAE and Morocco. Its winners held the lofty title of ‘World Champions’ but the quality just wasn’t in it to back up the epitaph. South American champions were around France’s Ligue-1-mid-table quality and the rest were even lower calibre. This competition scores 3 points.

Number of Games: 2

Qualification: 6 of the participants were continental Champions and the 7th was the host title holder.

Prestige: The IC was founded in 1960 with the FIFA CWC founded as recently as 2000. Although the FIFA CWC was officially to crown the ‘World Champions’, its earlier incarnation was more prestigious because S. American clubs were more competitive back then. The FIFA CWC didn’t get much media exposure until the final game partly because the domestic season didn’t pause for it. It took a back seat for serious contenders for the tier 1 Title or CL.

(An enlarged 24-team knockout competition was due to start after the 2021 edition, but due to the COVID-shutdown disruptions, the launch of this new version has been postponed.)

The League Cup (EFL League Cup)

Association Cups, even as prestigious as the FA Cup, come second to European knockout cups nowadays and the EFL Cup in turn sits in the FA Cup’s shadow. Sometimes derided as the ‘Micky Mouse Cup’ by those on the sidelines, it’s the most minor of the ‘major trophies’.

Its giant-killer, one-game knockout rounds of the EFL League Cup are short and sweet, and it is a fun trophy. The final is at Wembley though it anti-climaxes a bit in March when the rest of the season is switching into 5th gear. It has the glamour of Premier League participation and this boosts game revenue considerably. Little league clubs can have a crack at winning a big pay day by beating the nation’s bigger boys. It scores 4 points.

King and Keane: League Cup winners for Spurs, 2008

Min number of games: 7 for a PL team.

Qualification: Open to the top 4 tiers of English Football.

Prestige: Decent sized audiences within England yet it rarely sells out stadiums. It was founded in 1960. Memorable cup runs includes then 4th Tier Bradford City’s campaign in 2012-13. Incredibly, they made it to the final, knocking out PL giants Aston Villa and Arsenal on the way. At Wembley however they were convincingly beaten 5 – 0 by PL Welsh club Swansea City, winning that club’s first ever major trophy.

France and Portugal are other prolific nations with a League Cup.

UEFA Conference League

AS Roma crowned ‘King of the Underachievers’, 2022

There is not too much to say about the UEFA Conference League as it is very new, but we can say it is UEFA’s competition for Europe’s good-but-not-great teams that finished high…ish in their domestic league, plus some cup winners.

It is another step down from the Europa League. The UEFA Conference League is where the ‘chaff’ of the Europa League are now directed. AS Roma beat Feyenoord in the final to win the inaugural edition in 2022.

It scores 4 points

Minimum number of games: 13

Qualification: Open to domestic cup winners and high-finishing clubs in UEFA’s weaker leagues.

Prestige: Moderate for all clubs within UEFA’s top 10 ranked domestic leagues.

Association Cup (The FA Cup)

Association cups are the nation’s premier club knockout competitions and in the case of the English FA Cup, the oldest national competition in the world at 151 years old (2022). The FA Cup also includes no less than 737 teams. This is a competition that goes back to almost the dawn of football time; a time before Division 1 (Pre PL); a time when England v Scotland internationals were the epicentre of global football; a time when amateur public school teams battled it out with increasingly professional clubs across London, the Midlands and the North. It’s the most prestigious domestic knockout trophy in the world with the romance of giving amateur clubs the chance, in theory, to eventually play at Wembley in May.

UEFA’s continental glitz and glamour and greater financial rewards means the FA Cup is overshadowed by UEFA’s competitions. It’s normal in the FA Cup (and EFL Cup) for top PL clubs to use it to experiment and, just as frequently, it’s used to rest overworked core players. Watered down PL teams negatively affect broadcasting income and gate receipts. Fans are split between the appeal of an underdog story and wanting to see the 2 best teams slug it out in the final. A much bigger deal pre-1960s before UEFA competitions, this trophy scores 5 points.

Lineker and Co win the FA Cup for Tottenham, 1991

Min number of games: 6 for PL teams.

Qualification: Open to the top 10 tiers of English Football.

Prestige: Founded in 1871, it’s the oldest cup competition in the world. This gives it both huge fan engagement and an international profile unsurpassed by other Association Cups. Games against minnow clubs still make it hard to fill stadiums and makes it non-lucrative. It pales into the shadow of PL and UEFA football these days.

PL minnows Wigan had a season to remember in 2013, their attractive style of play couldn’t save the club from league relegation; but in the FA Cup they managed to knock out Everton 3 – 0 in the semi-finals then, amazingly, they defeated Man City’s galacticos in the FA final, winning their first ever major trophy.

Other prolific ACs include Spain’s Copa Del Rey, Germany’s DFB Cup and Italy’s Coppa Italia.

UEFA Cup / Europa League

Outside the stratosphere of private-jet class European clubs, which count their cup trophies around stacks of Titles, winning the junior of the two UEFA knockout competitions has given a lot of the more humble clubs many glory nights and won over lots of fans. The modern Europa League is a group stage/knockout round competition with a mix of title/cup winners from leagues further down down the UEFA Coefficient table and ‘underachievers’ in the UEFA Coefficient’s top 6 leagues that fail to qualify for the CL.

In its ‘UEFA Cup’ manifestation, it was a tough, fixating trophy chase but the enlarged Europa League potters along in the background more and only really heats up in the quarter finals. It’s the equivalent of just under half a regular league again in terms of no. of games – two more than the CL – and a lot for a knockout competition. Its quality loosely equals the EFL Championship in the group stages and approximately PL bottom 17 in the knockouts.

1984 UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur

Being UEFA, what really separates this and the CL from domestic football is its continent wide footprint, involving clubs from almost every single country in Europe, and even further afield, playing for the chance to take on Europe’s big clubs. Powerhouse clubs which bully their home leagues naturally want to go on and test themselves on a higher stage so this gives UEFA the prestige. Its global audience is bigger which reflects the higher prize money and media revenue. Just getting through the preliminary qualifying round of the EL earns 220,000 Euros – almost as much as the £227,000 for winning the EFL Cup! So, it has the prestige but on the other hand some of the opposition is completely unfamiliar plus its got lots of over-the-hill clubs too. This trophy gets 6 points.

Min number of games: 15

Qualification: Open to domestic cup winners and high finishing clubs in UEFA’s stronger leagues.

Prestige: Only running in its present EL format since 2008, It has international glamour on one hand yet lacks fan engagement on the other, not taken seriously by Europe’s top leagues until at least the knockout stages. Clubs frequently see it as a ball and chain to CL qualification in their domestic league campaigns yet, recently, the winners were given a place in the following season’s CL Group Stage. This helps.

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup

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Spurs win the 1963 UEFA Cup Winners Cup

Before the modern EL, juxtaposed between UEFA’s first and second tier knockout trophies between 1960 and 1999, was the ‘UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup’ (UEFA CWC), and as the name implies, was for Cup winners only – just one from each nation.

It had a no nonsense 32 team knockout format and was the Mercedes of football competitions until it declined in the 1990s. This scores a slightly higher 6.5 points for the winning pedigree of its teams.

Min number of games: 9

Qualification: Open to UEFA’s top 32 Cup winners.

Prestige: Founded in 1960 when UEFA competition was not as inclusive. If the then European Cup only had the best team from each nation, then one could surmise this tournament had each nation’s second best. The quality of football and calibre of club was better than its successor, the UEFA Cup, as a result.

UEFA European Cup / Champions League

The Champions’ League. For every player with an ego to match their wages; every world class volley, flick or bicycle kick – this is the arena for them. For every European club that has the money and facilities to put together a squad which comes out as top dogs over hundreds of other squads in its Nation – this is for them. Showcasing the best football in the world, the UEFA Champions’ League hosts only the champions and giants of European football and they battle it out to be called ‘the best in Europe’, and really, ‘the World’.

Numero seis: Liverpool beat Tottenham in Madrid CL Final, 2019

This is a group stage / knockout competition where every single champion in Europe, even Gibraltar’s, gets a shot at. Yet, teams from lower level nations must try very hard and be most fortunate to make it into the group stage. They make EL group stage if they’re lucky, such is the stiff competition for places. In reality, this is the playground for the increasingly exclusive clique of clubs in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France who have a chance of keeping pace with the breakneck wage rises that the slickest player agents demand. Its quality level is at least 90% PL level in the group stages, and then the knockout stages? The quality pushes PL standards to the extreme – top 6 quality and higher. It is head and shoulders above any other knockout competition but still comes second to the mainstay of domestic league football. It scores 8.

Min number of games: 13

Qualification: Open to the Title winners of every UEFA nation to enter in the Qualification Stage/Group Stage. The top four teams from Spain, England, Germany and Italy enter in the Group Stage (as of the 2022 UEFA Club Coefficient).

Prestige: Originally founded in 1955, this is UEFA’s oldest tournament. Europe’s leagues are the most popular in the world and its leagues play the best football. So the one tournament which pits the strongest teams from those leagues against each other makes the CL the creme de la creme of football competitions and the most prestigious in the world.

Football League Division 1 / Premier League

Alongside Germany, Italy and Spain’s top domestic leagues, the Premier League (PL) is the Top Tier league in its nation and it’s rated as the best league in the World. What marks England and the PL out for its worldwide audience compared to other big footballing nations? For one, its history; there are few sports leagues at all that go back to the 19th Century and many clubs such as Aston Villa had already won several Titles by the time La Liga was founded as late as 1929.

From out of the blue, Jamie Vardy helps Leicester City’s to their first ever PL Trophy, 2016

Second is the large number of clubs that have contributed to the glory of English football and are institutions in their own right. So just to get promoted to the PL is the likely culmination of decades of hard work on and off the pitch to build up the club to an annual turnover of tens of millions of pounds. A club must have spent decades climbing over the shoulders of hundreds of clubs at no less than 20 levels of English football. By tier 5, they are nearly all fully professional outfits and, just to give you an idea of how big even clubs in the second tier of English football are – the 20 clubs in the 18/19 season held 34 Titles and 3 European Cups between them. Income and outgoings skyrocket under the PL spotlight. Clubs become major brand names in their own right. So, it is in this ‘land of giants’ that a club gets pitted against 19 others to decide for certain which is the best team in the country.

The PL is a ludicrously lucrative competition because of its rich history in the ‘Home of Football’, the much vaunted passion of the fans and packed stadiums. The fact its fanbase has become highly consumerised lets its clubs afford the best players in the world. The TV rights deals are the highest valued in the world which means that even league cannon fodder can afford international players and in the top four teams some of the best football in the world is on display. The PL is rated 1st in UEFA’s Coefficient Ranking (2022), based on how league representatives perform in UEFA competition, and it is the most valuable, if not best, of the ‘big leagues’. For the clubs in it, it’s their bread and butter. Avoiding relegation is essential to keeping the financial gravy train rolling. Although the CL is more prestigious, the PL provides the lion’s share of club income with more games in it than the CL, FL Cup and FA Cup put together. For this reason the PL is 9 points.

Number of games: 38

Qualification: The top 3 teams from Tier 2 qualify.

Prestige: The PL is the most prestigious domestic league in the world; see above. The other top 4 leagues in UEFA’s Club Coefficient (La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 (2022)) are also worth 9 points because they are leagues with long histories of their own and with top teams which have contributed a lot to European footballing history.

Bonus Points

1 bonus point will be additionally added for every major-trophy ‘Treble’ achieved in a season.

How successful is your club?

With this system, we can see the total sum of what each club has won and where it places them in the ‘Most Successful’ ranking. Is it Man U with its Titles or Liverpool with her CL trophies? Real Madrid or Barcelona? Celtic or Rangers? Inter or AC Milan?

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The 5 Most Successful Clubs in Portugal, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Rankings

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. But it is its trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe.

It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

Portugal and its Primeira Liga

Portugal’s footballing history goes back to the late 19th Century when its biggest clubs were founded. By 1922 an appetite for bragging rights kicked off the first national competition – the forerunner of the Taca de Portugal (Portugal Cup). By 1934 the Portuguese league was founded.

Portuguese league football has been dominated by the country’s 3 biggest clubs from its 2 major metropolises – Lisbon and Porto. It’s an intense, three way rivalry in a land famed for its passionate fans. These clubs have had a big impact on the history of UEFA football too, not surprising given some of Europe’s finest players have hailed from Portugal. They’ve managed 58.5 international Success Points.

Ranked 6th in 2022, Portuguese clubs receive -1 Success Points in all 3 major domestic competitions, as shown below:

Competition Key
Points
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
LC: League Cup (Taca da Liga)
2
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
3
AC: Association Cup (Campeonato de Portugal / Taca de Portugal)
3
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: Top Tier League Title (Primeira Liga)
7

Scroll to the bottom for the full table of Portugal’s 8 most successful clubs


5. Boavista FC

Success Points: 22

First trophy won: Taca de Portugal (TdP), 1975

Latest trophy won: TdP, 1997

Most Successful Manager: José Maria Pedroto – 6 points (1974-1976)

Founded a year before SL Benfica, ‘the Panthers’ enjoyed a golden era in the 1970s under the management of future Porto legend José Pedroto. Boavista won their first ever major trophy, a Portuguese Cup, in 1975 by beating Benfica in the final. They then retained the trophy the next year whilst coming 2nd to ‘the Eagles’ in the Premier League. Boavista won another Cup in ’79 as well as the first ever Portuguese Super Cup.

The club won two more cups in the 1990s then in 2001 Boavista were crowned Portuguese champions. This is just the 2nd time a club outside ‘Os Três Grandes‘ (Big Three) have won a Premier League and Boavista won it by conceding just 22 goals.

4. CF Os Beleneses

Success Points: 25

First Trophy Won: TdP, 1927

Latest Trophy Won: TdP, 1989

Most Successful Decade: 1940s – 10 points

Before the Premier League’s advent, the Big Three’ had room for one more club. In the years between 1922-1938 when the Portuguese Cup was the equivalent of a national championship, Beleneses won three within fourteen years of its formation, and that put ‘The Bethlehem’ amongst the ranks of the nation’s biggest clubs. In the 1940s, as war raged across the rest of Europe, Beleneses won another Portuguese Cup before winning their first Premier League in 1946, beating Benfica to the crown by one point.

The club steadily declined in the 2nd half of the 20th Century yet achieved two more Portuguese Cup triumphs in 1960 and 1989. CF Os Beleneses turned amateur in 2018.

3. Sporting CP

Success Points: 210.5

First trophy won: TdP, 1923

Latest trophies won: Taca da Liga (TdL), 2022

Most successful manager: József Szabó – 24 Success Points (1937 – 1944)

In 1906 a man named Jose Alvalade and others ended their membership of the Campo Grande Football Club due to a disagreement over whether the club should focus on sports …or hosting picnics. Three months later, with the financial backing of his grandfather, the Viscount of Alvalade, he founded Sporting, declaring he wanted Sporting to be “…a great club, as great as the greatest in Europe.”

To this end he built Portugal’s most advanced football ground and the club won its first Portuguese Cup in 1923. ‘The Lions’ really came of age with a spectacular period from 1940-1954 when they went on a barnstorming run, winning nine Premier League titles and five Portuguese Cups and spearheaded by a quintet of forwards dubbed the ‘5 Violins‘. In 1964 Sporting grabbed its first European trophy, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

It continued to win Titles and cups throughout the ’60s to ’90s, then began to lose winning momentum. The Lions won 6 cups since the 2002 season they won a PL-Cup double to keep them in the mix before achieving a PL-League Cup double in 2021 however, in the ‘Covid Crazy Season’.

Thus Sporting has maintained its profile as one of Portugal’s ‘Big Three’. Sporting’s most successful decade was the 1940s, scoring 56 of its 261.5 points.

2. FC Porto

Success Points: 314

First trophy Won: TdP, 1922

Latest trophies won: Primeira Liga (PL) and TdP, 2022

Most successful manager: Artur Jorge – 37 Success Points (1984-1987 and 1988-1991)

After a false start in 1893, a gentleman named Antonio Almeida founded ‘The Dragons’ of Porto in 1906. The club won the inaugural Portuguese Cup, defeating Lisbon rivals Sporting in the final, and they also clinched the first ever PL Title in 1935. Porto slumped during the ’40s but kicked on with filling up the trophy cabinet until the 1960s when it suffered another trophy drought. They’ve won more and more titles and cups ever since, though they’re still yet to win a League Cup.

Under club legend Artur Jorge, Porto came from outside favourites to beat Bayern Munich in the 1987 final to grab it’s first ever European Cup. Porto had a fantastic 1990s and won a record 5 PLs in a row. Manager superstar Jose Mourinho joined the club in 2001. He won the club’s first ever Europa League two years later and then a Champions League the year after that. That season would also see Porto win a PL and Intercontinental Cup, a spectacular achievement for a Portuguese club! Porto won another Europa League in 2011.

Porto’s most successful decade is the 2000s with 90 Success Points. It’s not just a giant in Portugal but in Europe too.

1. SL Benfica

Success points: 377

First trophy Won: TdP, 1930

Latest trophies won: PL, 2019

Most successful manager: Jorge Jesus, 44 Success Points (2009 – 2015)

Benfica FC: Portuguese top dogs; so successful have they been they’ve hoarded 44% of all PL Titles plus more than a quarter of all Portuguese Cups. It’s where one of Europe’s greatest players, Eusebio, made his name too.

‘The Eagles’ started out in 1904 but struggled with poor management and finances to the extent that, in frustration, eight players quit to join crosstown rivals Sporting in 1907. Benfica won its first major trophy in 1935 and has been cramming more and more silverware into its trophy room since. The club lost a bit of steam in the ’90s and 2000s and added ‘only’ 4 PLs and 5 other major trophies in that period.

Benfica achieved 3 PLs in a row with managing great, Lippo Hertzka from 1935-38. Under another Hungarian, János Biri, Benfica won another 3 titles in a row, plus the first of 11 domestic doubles from 1942-45. In 1961, under Joaquim Bogalho‘s presidency and Eusebio’s arrival, Benfica reached its zenith and placed a stranglehold on Portuguese football. It clinched 2 European Cups from 61-62, beating Barcelona-Real Madrid. It also managed no less than four ‘Tris‘ (3 consecutive PLs) from 1961-77 and 5 Portuguese Cups. More recently the club managed a ‘Tetra‘ (4) from 2014-17. The club’s most successful decade to date is the 1960s with a big 88 points.

8 Most Successful Clubs in Portugal

PositionClubSubpoints TotalsTotal Points
1SL Benfica
LC: 7 x 2 = 14

AC: 29 x 3 = 87

CL: 2 x 8 = 16

T: 37 x 7 = 259

+1 (Treble)
377
2FC Porto
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2

FIFA CWC: 2 x 3 = 6

AC: 22 x 3 = 66

EL: 2 x 6 = 12

CL: 2 x 8 = 16

T: 30 x 7 = 210

+2 (Treble)
314
3Sporting CPLC: 4 x 2 = 8

AC: 21 x 3 = 63

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

T: 19 x 7 = 133
210.5
4CF Os Beleneses
6 x 3 = 18

1 x 7 = 7
25
5Boavista FC
5 x 3 =15

1 x 7 = 7
22
6SC Braga
2 x 2 = 4

3 x 3 = 9
13
7Vitoria SC
1 x 2 = 2

3 x 3 = 9
11
8AA Coimbra
2 x 3 = 6
6
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Napoleon’s Indestructible General – Marshal Nicolas Oudinot

This French General is famous for the many, many wounds he suffered in battle, but survived. You’ll be amazed the damage this bullet-magnet lived through!

Nicolas Charles Oudinot was born in Paris, 1767 and was born to survive against the odds as just one of nine siblings to reach adulthood. He joined the Kingdom of France’s army in 1784 as an ordinary soldier, then again in 1792 as a battalion commander in the revolutionary French First Republic. His gallant defence of the little fort of Bitsch in 1792 launched his career as one of France’s most irrepressible military leaders in a career spanning the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

1793 – Gunshot Wound

Oudinot suffered his first and most severe wound in the Battle of Hagenau. Colonel Oudinot’s division was ordered to assault an entrenched Austrian position that was apparently so strong the divisional commander, General Burcy, only followed orders to assault the position under threat of arrest. The subsequent attack failed and Burcy fell. The survivors fell back to some woodland, isolated and without orders. They were then assaulted themselves. Without a commander, Colonel Oudinot stepped up to the plate and led a spirited defence. In the process he took a musket ball to the head. Oudinot spent over a year convalescing and would suffer severe headaches for the rest of his days.

1794 – Broken Leg

During the War of Polish Succession, the French were attempting to capture the city of Trier from the Austrians. The Austrians made a brief stand outside the city gates before retreating within. Dashing in pursuit on horseback, it seems Brigadier Oudinot’s horse was shot as he was crossing a bridge. It fell and Oudinot’s leg was broken. Trier was soon captured and Oudinot was provided with the city’s governorship so that his leg could heal. It would take a long time, however, and his headaches restarted with vigour. Oudinot was kept out of action for 12 months.

1795 – 5 Sabre Wounds + 1 Gunshot Wound

During the Action at Mannheim a French Army was outmuscled by a larger Hapsburgian army in fighting outside Mannheim. Oudinot’s brigade took the brunt of the Austrian onslaught but Oudinot acted with his customary brand of leadership from the front, personally trying to rally his troops. The price for this was five sabre wounds and a minor gunshot wound. It is unreported where on his body he was hurt but the wounds were bad enough for him to be left for dead on the battlefield. The Austrians, however, discovered him and took him prisoner for a few months.

1796 – 1 Gunshot Wound + 4 Sabre Wounds

Oudinot was thoroughly mauled in an action during the Rhine Campaign. His division was holding ground against the Austrians and his divisional commander was killed in the fighting, so Oudinet once again took control. His division held off the enemy long enough for other French units to avoid being cut off. Oudinot’s tenacity was rewarded with a gunshot to his right thigh. His left arm was also lacerated three times plus a sabre blow was delivered to his neck. Oudinot survived again, though he was almost as familiar with the infirmary than his infantry.

1799 – Gunshot Wound

By now, it was the War of the Second Coalition and divisional commander Oudinot was fighting around Switzerland and was commended for the aggressive manner he led his troops. In June, though, Hapsburg forces gained the front foot and French forces were pushed back on all sides. Oudinot, retreating with the last ranks of grenadiers, was severely wounded by a musket ball in the chest. He was becoming loath to spend more than the minimum time convalescing, being ever more relied upon as he was. By August, the General was back in action.

1799 – Gunshot Wound

Oudinot’s fiery leadership had impressed his superiors enough for him to be promoted to Chief of Staff, yet he continued to lead his men personally into battle. In a successful assault against Austrian positions, the French suffered just 8 killed and 60 wounded, but one of those had to be General Oudinot who was shot again, this time in the shoulder blade as he led a cavalry charge. He returned to the frontline in September.

1805 – Gunshot Wound

Napoleon’s glorious era had now begun and Oudinot continued to impress with his command of a grenadier division. At Hollabrunn he suffered another gunshot wound to the left thigh. Naturally, he had been at the front with his men as the Grande Armee attempted to stop a Russian army from escaping intact. He retired to Vienna to recover but rushed back to rejoin his grenadiers in time for the great Battle of Austerlitz, even though Napoleon had given temporary command of the grenadiers to another officer to afford Oudinot some time away from the firing line.

Napoleon, left and Oudinot, right

1809 – Gunshot Wound

During the The Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon’s army found itself with its back against the Danube River and cut off from a large number of troops because a bridge crossing had been destroyed. The French were subject to a murderous onrush of Austrian musketmen. Oudinot’s elite grenadiers again took the brunt of the assault and could only hold off the enemy after incredibly hard fighting in which every officer of Oudinot’s was either killed or wounded. Oudinot himself was shot in the arm and had to leave the battlefield. His superior, Marshal Lannes, was killed meaning Oudinot was promoted to corps commander in his stead.

1809 – Gunshot Wound

General Oudinot played a pivotal role in defeating the Hapsburg forces in the Battle of Wagram. Oudinot’s corps was attacking the left flank of the Austrian army when he was grazed by a bullet, which ripped off part of his right ear. Oudinot’s surgeon hastily sewed it up so that he could rejoin the battle. Oudinot’s troops finally captured Wagram and, thus, delivered victory to his Emperor. To show his gratitude, Napoleon elevated him to the rank of Marshal. 

1812 – Grapeshot Wound

By August of this year, Oudinot’s career had plateaued, as had Napoleon’s fortunes; The Marshal was showing his limitations for independent command, and Bonaparte had invaded Russia… Oudinot was tasked with grappling Field-Marshal Wittgenstein’s Russian army but eventually fell back to defend Polotsk against an attack from him instead. Whilst Oudinot was inspecting his troops’ dispositions, he was badly wounded in the shoulder and had to be carried off the battlefield, leaving one of his subordinates to defeat the enemy.  The Marshal retired to Vilna to recuperate and his wife travelled all the way from France to be by his side.

1812 – Gunshot Wound

Because the Russian campaign had turned so disastrously for the French, beginning their infamous retreat in October, Marshal Oudinot hurried back to command his troops whose task was to build and guard a bridge for Emperor Napoleon to escape his pursuers across. In the Battle of Berezina, a Russian force attacked the river crossing and in its defence Oudinot ordered his cavalry to counterattack. As he waited for his troops to form ranks, he took a musket ball to his side. This wound was so bad he was feared dead. Napoleon’s personal surgeon couldn’t even find the ball of lead, despite probing 6 inches (15.2cm) into his body.

1814 – Gunshot Wound

Marshal Oudinot’s final wound of note occurred during the death-throes of Napoleon’s Empire as the Grande Armee struggled to hold off Coalition forces much grander. During the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube, Napoleon, despite his army punching above their weight, realised the futility of staggering on. He ordered a withdrawal. Oudinot assumed a task it seemed was his alone – being a bastion for his army. Pursuing Coalition artillery pounded his brigades of infantry and at some point Oudinot was struck by a musket round in the chest, throwing him spread-eagled into the ranks of the Legion of Honour.

“Le Bayard de l’armée français”

Marshal Nicholas Oudinot finally retired in 1830 with over 40 years of hard fighting under his belt. Sources state that this grizzled veteran suffered a total 34 injuries! With typical irony, he went on to live to the ripe old age of 80 years.

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The Most Successful Clubs in France, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. It is a club’s trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones though.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

France and Ligue 1

As next door neighbours to the ‘Home of Football’, the game in France goes back a long way. At amateur level National Championships were contended from as far back as 1894 and then professionally in Ligue 1 since 1933, but with the usual World War breaks.

France is a curious footballing country. Its top tier league, Ligue 1, may be a level below the world’s top 4 highest quality leagues that are the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A, yet it’s certainly where top level football can be found, which makes sense given its rich footballing history and affluent fanbase.

Yet it’s teams have enjoyed such little success abroad; they’ve only scored 14.5 international points and little prestige to go with it. Ligue 1’s subsequently low international profile is probably explained by the fact is a very egalitarian league. Ten clubs have at least 5 Titles to their name and an impressive 5 clubs have reached the 100 points mark. Yet remarkably, no club has 300+ Success points.

Nevertheless, a lot of memories have been made in this big footballing country and it has given a lot to European football, particularly in the form of many world class players.

Scroll down to view the full table of France’s Most Successful Clubs


Below are France’s 5 ‘Big 100+ Clubs’:

5. Olympique Lyonnais

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OL celebrate winning their 7th consecutive Ligue 1 Title in 2008

Points: 100

Earliest Trophy Won: Coupe de France (CdF), 1964

Latest Trophy Won: CdF and Trophee des Champions (TdC), 2012

Most Successful Manager: Paul Le Guen – 30 points (2002–2005)

An amateur club, Racing Club de Lyon, was founded in 1896 yet wouldn’t commit to professional football. So, after decades of infighting a splinter group eventually formed – Olympique Lyonnais in 1950. It got on the scoreboard with its first major trophy, a French Cup in 1964 and then won a 2nd in ‘67.

In 1987, Lyon was bought by Rhône businessman Jean-Michel Aulas who took control of the club aiming to turn Lyon into an established Ligue 1 side. He launched an ambitious plan, titled OL – Europe, designed to make Olympique Lyonnais a European household name. This plan came to be realised at the turn of the millennium; from 2001-08 Les Gones kept a vice-like grip over Ligue 1 with 7 straight Titles in a row. OL had certainly become a household name by the time it achieved a Title/Cup Double in 2008.

Today, OL is France’s 5th most successful club.

4. AS Monaco FC

As Monaco players celebrate their latest Title win in 2017

Points: 105

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1960

Latest Trophy Won: Coupe de la Ligue (CdlL), 2018

Most Successful Manager: Lucien Leduc – 37 points (1958-63 and 1976-79)

AS Monaco FC hold the distinction of being the only club to represent an entire country. It is the only club in Monaco hence why is plays in the French leagues. Monaco was founded in 1919 as an amalgamation of Monégasque sports clubs. It was invited to join the professional Ligue 2 in 1933 but got relegated back down to amateur status at the first try. It managed to break the door open again in 1948.

Manager Lucien Leduc arrived in 1958 and led Les Monégasques to their first major trophy, a French Cup at the decade’s turn. He went one step better the year after with Monaco’s first Title, then better again with a domestic ‘double’ in ‘63.

Monaco have enjoyed major trophy wins every decade since, including another Title under Leduc in ‘78 and Arsene Wenger in 1988. Monaco is France’s 4th most successful club.

3. AS Saint Etienne

 Rachid Mekhloufi, St E’s all-time leading goalscorer with the Coupe de France, won in 1968

Points: 129

Earliest Trophy Won: Ligue 1 and TdC, 1957

Latest Trophy Won: CdlL, 2013

Most Successful Manager: Robert Herbin – 51 points (1972-83 and 1987-90)

Another French club founded well before WW2 yet which won nothing until well after, Saint Etienne’s glory years centre around the 1960s and ‘70s. The ‘70s decade is its most successful decade to date winning 4 Titles, 4 French Cups and 56 out of a total 129 Success Points. It went into the 1980s to win its final Title regarded as one of France’s biggest clubs, as it still is now.

In 1982, a financial scandal involving a controversial slush fund led to the departure and eventual jailing of long-time president Roger Rocher. Saint-Étienne subsequently suffered a free-fall with the club suffering relegation in the 1983–84 season. Its only major trophy since has been a solitary League Cup in 2013.

Les Verts easily make it into the ‘Big 100+’ and 3rd in the Success Rankings.

2. Olympique de Marseille

Jubilant Marseille players with Marseille’s, and Ligue 1’s, sole Champions League triumph, 1993

Points: 163

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1924

Latest Trophy Won: CdlL, 2012

Most Successful Manager: Gerard Gili – 23 points (1988-90, 1994 and 1995-97)

Marseille are a club tracing its history of winning big things back to the 20th Century’s first half. In the 1920s, Les Phocéens (The Phocaeans) hit the big time by winning 3 French Cups on the trot before a first league Title. By 1972, the club added its 5th Title to an ever bulging trophy cabinet as well as its first League/Cup Double.

By 1986 Bernard Tapie was elected Club President. He promptly assembled Ligue 1’s finest ever squad, packed with stars like Hoddle, Cantona, Deschamps and Desailly. From 1989, Marseille went on a barnstorming run, achieving a 2nd domestic Double then three more Titles immediately after. It was capped with the piece de resistance – a UEFA Champions League in 1993 – Marseille’s and Ligue 1’s only one to date.

Marseille’s latest success has also been a run of 3 trophy wins on the trot, this time League Cups from 2010 to 2012. Today Marseille are now France’s 2nd most successful club, pushed aside by the Paris new kids on the block.

1. Paris Saint Germain FC

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PSG’s incredible quadruple of Ligue 1 Title, French Cup, League Cup, and Champions Trophy, 2018

Points: 215.5

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1982

Latest Trophy Won: Ligue 1, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Laurent Blanc, 54 points (2013-16)

Incredibly the capital of France didn’t have a top football club until Paris Saint Germain was formed in 1970. By 1974, Ligue 1 status was secured. Les Parisiens continued from strength to strength; they won 2 Cups and a Title in the 80s; another 4 Cups and a Title came in the 90s, including beating Rapid Vienna to win a much coveted UEFA trophy – the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996.

PSG struggled to prosper in the dawn of the new century, despite more cup wins. By 2011, the club achieved what all pragmatic clubs salivate at the prospect of; they hooked in a not-poor sheikh with the arrival of new majority shareholders Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). That squad has won 8 out of 10 Titles, 6 out of 9 French Cups and 6 League Cups.

PSG’s outstanding squad of Galacticos has ensured that it largely rules the roost over French football. It’s France’s number 1 most successful club!

Best of the Rest

Brittany’s no.1 club FC Nantes, have enjoyed sporadic success across the decades since the 60s. Known for its jeu à la nantaise (Nantes-style play) it sits just shy of the ‘Big 100’ on 99 points.

FC Girondins de Bordeaux thrived under the ownership of ambitious real estate mogul Claude Bez in the 80s; they ran riot for a while and smashed and grabbed 3 Titles and 2 Cups from ’84 to ’87. They enjoyed another renaissance in the noughties with 4 major trophies, including a ‘Title/League Cup Double’.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (FFF Trophee des Champions)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
LC: League Cup (LdFP Coupe de la Ligue)
4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League (TBC)
4
AC: Association Cup (FFF Coupe de France)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: Top Tier League Title (LdFP Ligue 1)
9
PositionClubPoints SubtotalsSuccess Points Total
1Paris Saint GermainSC: 10 x 1 = 10
LC: 9 x 4 = 36
AC: 14 x 5 = 70
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 10 x 9 = 90
+3 (Trebles)
215.5
2Olympique de MarseilleSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 3 x 4 = 12
AC: 10 x 5 =50
CL: 1 x 8 = 8
T: 10 x 9 = 90
163
3AS Saint EtienneSC: 5 x 1 = 5
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
T: 10 x 9 = 90
129
4AS Monaco FCSC: 4 x 1 = 4
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 8 x 9 = 72
105
5Olympique LyonnaiseSC: 8 x 1 = 8
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 7 x 9 = 63
100
6FC NantesSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 8 x 9 = 72
99
7FC Girondins de BordeauxSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 3 x 4 = 12
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 6 x 9 = 54
89
8Stade de ReimsSC: 5 x 1 = 5
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T : 6 x 9 = 54
73
9CO Roubaix TourcoingAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 7 x 9 = 63
68
10Lille OSCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
T: 4 x 9 = 36
67
11OGC NiceSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 4 x 9 = 36
52
12Standard Athletic ClubT: 5 x 9 = 4545
13RC Strasbourg AlsaceLC: 4 x 4 = 16
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 1 x 9 = 9
40
14Stade Rennais FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 2 x 9 = 18
34
15Le Havre ACAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 3 x 9 = 27
32
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Swiss Air Combat in World War 2

The revealing story of Switzerland’s military operations to defend its airspace from Axis and Allied aircraft during World War Two

Blotted with deathly-black balkenkreuz wing insignia denoting them as war machines of the German Luftwaffe, droves of bulky Bf-110 twin-engined Messerschmitt fighters droned menacingly in circles. A flock of more nimble craft whizzed in to engage them; Bf-109E Messerschmitts, except these Bf-109s were emblazoned with an insignia seldom depicted in the annals of modern warfare, another cross painted the white of peace over the red of warning; these were Swiss fighters defending their homeland. The blaze of tracer round crisscrossing the sky; a loud crack; an oily puffball of smoke, culminating with a stricken BF109’s crash-dive into the tree-topped mountains of the Jura Canton below. 

To Have Peace, One Must Prepare for War

The Swiss played no part in the Second World War, so why did its airforce get into air battles with the Nazis, and even later the Allies?

Since the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1815, Switzerland, that diminutive nation bristling with jagged mountain peaks to deter potential enemies, has stood as a salient of peace when war has raged all around. In 1939, hostilities in Europe recommenced as the German Reich set forth once more in a quest to assert hegemony over its neighbours.

The unbridled military success of the Nazi Third Reich in the early stages of WW2 is well-told; nation after nation crumbled under the might of their hammer blows. While the Swiss hunkered down, Hitler and his generals accepted the status-quo of their neutrality but the dynamic between the two states was a wary one. On one hand, there was an ideological incentive to absorb the Swiss into the burgeoning Nazi empire as it included German speaking people who Hitler described as “a misbegotten branch of our Volk.” Yet Switzerland’s position was optimally balanced; it was sufficiently tough to be conquerable only with some difficulty whilst having insufficient natural resources to make it tempting to try. Also, Switzerland was a valuable wartime trading partner of the Third Reich’s, buying up its plundered gold to fuel the Nazi war-engine.

Switzerland perceived its position akin to that of a hedgehog known to a voracious but well-fed wolf. Its strategic aim was straightforward enough; stay off the German military’s radar whilst maintaining cordial enough relations to keep the supply of natural resources flowing for which it was heavily reliant. For its military, this meant ensuring that it wouldn’t be easy prey if ever the wolf came sniffing around without getting in its face.

Along with all the major European powers, Switzerland established its airforce during WW1. As the storm clouds gathered again in the 1930s the Swiss saw it prudent to develop an effective air-defence force of modern combat planes plus anti air flak units. To that end, modern Morane-Saulnier D‐3800 fighters were procured (a French aircraft built under licence in Switzerland). The latest Messerschmitt Bf-109E was also acquired – an embarrassing sale by the fledgling Nazi Germany in view of later events. By early 1940, the Swiss Luftwaffe was almost 200 aircraft strong including 60-odd Bf-109s and over 30 of the less mechanically sound D-3800s. This against a total 3000 aircraft of the German Luftwaffe – David vs Goliath.

Swiss Army anti-air gunners successfully caught a number of trespassing planes in their crosshairs (pinterest.com)

The trouble between the two states began with the Battle of France from early May, 1940. With the German Luftwaffe swarming over France, it no doubt felt to them that Europe was its playpen with little concern for what the Helvetic Cantons to their south might think of their military largesse. German incursions began to occur frequently and 197 Luftwaffe sorties violated Swiss airspace subsequently.

Luftwaffe Vs Luftwaffe

Intercepting foreign aircraft was initially a real struggle due to their rudimentary command and control assets exposed early on when, for instance, a light bomber crossed into the western Jura sector and almost made it 400 miles (640 km) out at the other side at the eastern sector before being shot down, crashing into Austrian territory.

By June the 1st, Belgium had fallen and the British had scurried back across the ‘moat’ of the Channel to the security of ‘fortress Great Britain’. As the Germans manoeuvred to deliver the coup de grace to France, it brought them into a more scrutinising proximity to Switzerland. Hitler, and Goring – Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe – decided the time was right to test the mettle of the Swiss.

Their fighter squadrons, however, zealously defended their airspace. Between the 10th of May 1940 and 17th of June the Swiss shot down 11 German aircraft while suffering the loss of three of their own aircraft in several skirmishes. As the tally of German planes shot down over Switzerland grew, an aggravated Goring decided to bait the Swiss into a showdown. On June the 4th, dozens of fighters and bombers were sent to fly just on the French side of the border to flit in and out of Swiss airspace with the aim of drawing Swiss fighters into engaging them over France. This would give Goring a propaganda instrument against the Swiss as they could be smeared as aggressors. Three German squadrons crossed the border looking for trouble yet none was encountered. In the afternoon, however, almost 30 Bf-110s plus a single bomber took up position just north of a border town in the Neuchatel Canton to goad the Swiss into action. Eight Messerschmitts and Moranes accompanied by an observation plane attacked the Germans, destroying two of them for the loss of one in return.

Now, Goring had what he wanted. He angrily proclaimed a ‘violation of international law by Swiss fighter planes’ aggressively attacking German aircraft over France. The Swiss were teetering on the edge of war as the krauts turned the screws further. On June the 8th, there were no less than 133 violations into Swiss airspace, mainly over the Porrentruy and Schaffhausen territorial salients that jut into France and Germany respectively. Before noon an unarmed Swiss recce plane was caught unawares and its two aircrew were fatally wounded before the plane crash-landed. That afternoon, the Germans charged over the border with three squadrons of 28 to 32 Bf-110s looking for a fight. They employed the ‘vineyard’ tactic whereby each squadron took up a defensive carousel formation but each at altitude intervals of 2000m. The Swiss rose to the challenge. 10-15 Bf-109s led by no less than three squadron leaders were let loose on the trespassers. As they roared in, fierce and frantic fighting erupted. The Germans had prepared their trap well yet their adversaries, well outnumbered but fighting with their backs against the wall, were drilled to fly their more nimble 109s against the larger, lumbering 110s so as not to be overwhelmed by the swarm of Germans. They held their own. By the fight’s end the Swiss had lost a Bf-109 but downed three German fighters, including one caught by Swiss anti-aircraft flak.

The diplomatic situation was now on a knife edge. Swiss diplomats were struggling to mollify the increasingly incandescent Third Reich leadership. It must be remembered how heavily the Swiss depended on their northern neighbour for material imports. By July the 1st, the Swiss were sent a diplomatic note informing them it would be the last one they would receive in protest over their attacks on German aircraft ‘over French airspace’ and in future ‘other means’ would be used to protect themselves.

Indeed, since June the 8th, Hitler was beginning to eye the Swiss more predatorily. Now at the height of his pride and vanity, the humiliation wrought by the swashbuckling Swiss pilots was enough to make the dictator consider it might we worth dealing with the pesky southerners once and for all. He was especially riled that the BF109 fighter, Nazi Germany’s most important fighter throughout the war, was also being wielded by the Swiss to shoot down his own planes. Hitler ordered his generals to draw up an invasion plan titled Operation Tannenbaum but, of course, this would never be carried out.

As a result of political pressure from within as much as from without, the Swiss military command buckled. General Guisen, the Swiss Commander-in Chief, ordered his squadrons to stand down. Their border patrols were halted and they were ordered to hold fire in all but self-defence. To further appease the Germans, the Swiss returned all interned planes and pilots – a clear violation of the Geneva Convention that stipulated neutral nations must intern military personnel and hardware of either belligerent’s until the war’s end.

But these diplomatic efforts were prudent. By mid July, Britain’s battle for survival began and as fighting intensified over England, Swiss Germanic relations were put on ice. Hitler, now placated, withdrew his Messerschmitts from the border.

As the war raged on, Switzerland showed little bias to either the Axis or Allies whenever their air units violated its borders. British bomber incursions began in 1940, using Swiss airspace as a safe route to reach the Fatherland, and were high level night-time missions that the Swiss lacked the means to intercept. Allied bomber incursions then dwindled for a few years because the Swiss turned out their lights to make navigation through their airspace too difficult, but by 1943, their numbers surged once the RAF was augmented by the mighty USAF with its vast numbers of heavy bombers. Allied incursions occured either deliberately, due to errors of navigation or when stricken aircraft desperate to land chose to be interred by Swiss authorities over being captured as prisoners of war. 

An American P51 Mustang crash-landed in Switzerland, though likely not due to Swiss gunfire. (swissinfo.ch)

Allied Bombs

By this point, numbers of Swiss anti-air flak units had increased and more combat aircraft had been acquired. But more capable Allied aircraft operating in much larger formations than whatever the Third Reich employed made defending Swiss airspace even more daunting, yet the Swiss continued to guard their airspace, though much more passively given the Allies’ vast numbers and strength. The first Allied aircraft to be shot down were two RAF bombers flying low over Swiss territory in July 1943, caught by Swiss anti-aircraft fire. Later in October, an American bomber was shot down and only three of its crew survived. More than 100 B-17s and B-24s bombers in total were either shot down or, more commonly, forced to land – over a thousand allied aircrew interned for the duration of the war. Another source states six Allied aircraft were shot down by Swiss Air Force fighters and four by anti-aircraft cannons, killing 36 Allied airmen. One notable incident was when American P-51 Mustangs escorting a damaged B-17 bomber crossed into Swiss airspace and were confronted by Swiss Bf-109s. Whether the 109s actually attacked the Americans is not known but the P-51 pilots, perhaps unsure of their nationality, perhaps not, attacked the Swiss aircraft, shooting down one and damaging the other.

Much more gravely for the Swiss, the Allies bombed Switzerland repeatedly. The most serious incident to occur was when 50 B-24 Liberators misidentified Schaffhausen as their German target that was actually 146 miles (235 km) to the north. They dropped sixty tons of bombs on the town. Although an air raid alarm sounded, it had been set off so many times prior without any attack that complacency had set in and the locals failed to take cover. A total of 40 people were killed and about 270 injured. Other cities hit during the war included Geneva, Basel, Zurich and the historic town of Stein am Rhein. Officially speaking, these were all tragic accidents and that Swiss diplomats complained loudly over and received grovelling apologies from the Allied high command in response. Alternative narratives suggest that at least some of these bombings were quite deliberate in order to punish the Swiss for attacking Allied aircraft and to send a warning to halt their economic and industrial co-operation with the Axis powers. It was known, for example, that Switzerland were allowing trains to transport war matériel between Germany and Italy. 

Allies bombed Swiss towns on a total of 70 occasions, killing 84 civilians. In the end, the Americans paid the Swiss over $18 million in compensation for these ‘accidents’.

The aftermath of the Allied bombing of Schaffhausen where some 400 bombs were dropped (swissinfo.ch)

So, the war was not a peaceful period for the Swiss even if they were ‘at peace’. They demonstrated to the world that their placid stance to war was not one borne of meekness. Perhaps one day they will have to show their resolve to protect themselves again.

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Germany’s Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. It is its trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones, however.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain the most successful clubs in each nation. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

Germany and its Bundesliga

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Germany has a massive football culture and its success at national team level reflects this. The Bundesliga has a lower profile though. It has the highest match attendances in Europe but was only founded as late as 1962, with earlier national championships decided through a playoff system similar to N. America’s MLS. Germany’s most successful club has a huge global profile and German clubs have played a solid part in UEFA’s history – 7 clubs hold at least 1 major UEFA trophy in their cabinets. German clubs have scored a modest 140 Success Points in international competitions.

It’s one of the world’s strongest leagues, capable of attracting global superstars and with tv rights deals in total (shared between Bundesligas 1 and 2) worth well over a billion Euros for 2019.

(Note: Pre Bundesliga German Football Championships (GFCs) are counted as titles even though they were not ’round robin’ formats.)

Scroll down to the bottom to view the full table of Germany’s most successful clubs!


Read below to find out which 3 clubs have over 100 points and are Germany’s most successful:

3. FC Nurnberg

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Points: 101

Earliest Trophy Won: German Football Championship (GFC), 1920

Latest Trophy Won: DFB Pokal, 2007

Most Successful Manager: Izidor Kürschner – 18 points (1920–1921)

European football has a number of ‘dormant giants’; clubs which were once the top teams to beat but have won little in decades since. England’s Aston Villa is one, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium is another. In Germany, it is Nurnberg FC.

Founded in 1900, by 1909 it won its first regional championship and by 1920 won its first national championship. By this point, it had become known simply as ‘Der Club’ on account of its dominance of German football – from July 1918 to February 1922, the team went unbeaten in 104 official matches. The ‘20s were its most successful decade when it was crowned German Champions 5 times, gaining 45 points.

After that decade, their glory years would fade due to a more fast paced game that evolved. Their more slow and deliberate style, which allowed them to shut out their opponents, became outdated. The 1930s and ‘60s would also be successful for Nurnberg, however and this makes them the 3rd most successful club in Germany and just pushes them into the ‘Big 100+’.

2. Borussia Dortmund

Points: 120.5

Earliest Trophy won: GFC, 1956

Latest Trophy won: DFB Pokal, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Ottmar Hitzfeld, 28 points (1991 -1998)

Although ‘Die Borussen’ (The Borussians) have a big reputation in Germany and Europe, it only has a modest number of Success Points and this is partly explained by the fact that, despite being founded as early as 1909, Dortmund won nothing major until 1956. It managed to win the Title the year after to make it two in a row however and has managed to win Titles consecutively in the ’90s and early 2010s as well.

It was the first German club to win a UEFA trophy – a UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1966. Borussia also became one of Germany’s most prolific clubs after German reunification at the start of the 1990s, regarded as its glory years. In addition to its 2 Titles in that period, it won a Champion’s League (CL).

Despite financial difficulties it’s the only club that comes close to competing with Germany’s superstar club. It sits 2nd in the national Success Rankings.

1. FC Bayern Munich

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Points: 499.5

Earliest Trophy won: GFC, 1932

Latest Trophy won: Bundesliga, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Udo Lattek, 86 points (1970 – 75 and 1983 – 87)

Bayern Munich is a true member of European royalty, having reigned supreme over German football since the 1970s.

These blue bloods have amassed a stratospheric 500 points and achieved feats such as winning the European Cup 3 times in a row from 1974 – 76; winning the Bundesliga 3 times in a row from 1972 – 74, 1985 – 87 and 1999 – 2001; and as of 2022, it has been the Bundesliga Champions for a decade. Bayern have won over half of all Bundesliga Championships.

This monopoly over the Bundesliga probably doesn’t do the league any favours as a one horse race isn’t exciting and probably effects how lucrative its broadcast rights deals are and how attractive the league and BM are to the world’s top managers and players.

For the 2020 season, however, Bayern managed an unprecedented total sweep of every trophy for the season; scooping all 6 trophies and 28 success points! This club is a global superstar and will remain Germany’s most successful club for the foreseeable future.

The Best of the Rest

5th placed Hamburger SV sits just outside of the ‘Big 100+’ but enjoyed a particularly successful period from 1975 to 1983. During this time they grabbed 3 Titles and a European Cup amongst other trophies, mostly under the guidance of manager Ernst Happel.

6th placed SV Werder Bremen scored 34.5 out of their total 80.5 points by winning 2 Bundesligas and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup plus other trophies in a period from 1987 – 94.

Borussia Monchengladbach comes in at 7th by winning 6 Titles and 2 UEFA Cups and dominating German football in the 1970s. It did this with a young squad, an offensive-minded philosophy and powerful play.

Success Points Table

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (DFL Super Cup)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
LC: League Cup (DFL Ligapokal)4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League4
AC: Association Cup (DFB Pokal)5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League8
T: Top Tier League Title (German Football Championship / Bundesliga)9
PositionClubPoint SubtotalsSuccess Point Total
1FC Bayern MunichSC: 9 x 1 = 9
UEFA SC: 2 x 2 = 4
FIFA CWC: 4 x 3 = 12
LC: 6 x 4 = 24
AC: 20 x 5 = 100
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
CL: 6 x 8 = 48
T: 32 x 9 = 288
+3 (Trebles)
500.5
2Borussia DortmundSC: 6 x 1 = 6
FIFA CWC: 1 x 3 = 3
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
CL: 1 x 8 = 8
T: 8 x 9 = 72
120.5
3FC NurnbergAC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 9 x 9 = 81
101
4FC Schalke 04SC: 1 x 1 = 1
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
T: 7 x 9 = 63
99
5Hamburger SVSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 2 x 4 = 8
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
CL: 1 x 8 = 8
T: 6 x 9 = 54
94.5
6SV Werder BremenSC: 2 x 1 = 2
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 4 x 9 = 36
78.5
7Borussia MonchengladbachSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
T: 5 x 9 = 45
73
8VfB StuttgartSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 5 x 9 = 45
61
=9FC KaiserslauternSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 4 x 9 = 36
47
=9FC KolnAC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 3 x 9 = 27
47
11Eintracht FrankfurtAC: 5 x 5 = 25
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
T: 1 x 9 = 9
46

The 5 Most Extraordinary Acts of Predation Ever Caught on Camera

Seagull Devours Rabbit

Seagulls; those ubiquitous denizens of the seaside, notorious for their incessant squawking and scavenging.

They can be pesky critters as they prefer a fish-and-chips diet so beachgoers must remain vigilant lest a gull swoops in. Seagulls otherwise prey on a wide range of creatures on both land and from the sea, including rodents.

But a rabbit? That would surely be for Gulls with eyes bigger than their stomachs.

Not so.

In the clip below a Great Black-backed Gull is filmed devouring a live rabbit whole. It isn’t even a baby but is at least adolescent – a third of the bird’s size.

Cow Snacks on Snake

The endless, monotonous diet of grass got too much for one cow in Australia. With the deceptively cute name of Ginger, it seems she developed a bloodlust. Her confused owner caught her chomping on a small snake like a string of spaghetti, below.

This bizarre dietary perversion is explained as when a herbivore doesn’t get enough protein in their diet, they’ll seldom snack on a snake to compensate.

Tortoise Hunts Down Bird

This one is outrageous. On the Seychelles, a conservationist recorded something unknown for a tortoise to do. Although small dead animals make up a tortoise’s diet, the clip below shows one of these lumbering homesteads on legs stalk a chick for seven minutes before killing it. The bird was too young and dumb to fly or hop away.

What is so unique about this is how the turtle runs down its prey. And a bird of all things!

Monkey Beats Seagull to Death

At Chester Zoo in England, a monkey acted out a parody of a famous film scene. In King Kong the great ape scales a Manhattan skyscraper to snatch at encircling biplane fighters, spectacularly destroying one in the process.

Visitors to the zoo captured evocative footage of a monkey clutching a hapless gull it had apparently plucked out of the sky then brutally smash it senseless. It was reported the crazed primate then gorged on the still living bird’s innards, licking the blood from its fingers as it went.

Spider Catches Bird

Brace yourselves, arachnophobes. Below are pictures of a giant Golder Orb Weaver scuttling over an entangled Chestnut-breasted Mannikin before it plunges its fangs into the hapless bird.

It is the stuff of nightmares for some. The pictures were taken Down Under.

Pin on 01. Creepy: Spiders

And in this clip below, the world’s largest web-making spider caught not one but two Finches and consumed them both before planting eggsacks in their chest cavities (shudder).

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Italy’s Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. It is its trophy cabinet, however, which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

Italian Football and Serie A

Sold Price: Sport Poster Football Villalba Spain Rome Italy - November 6,  0120 3:00 PM GMT

With its National Championship founded in 1898, Italy has given a lot to the beautiful game over the many decades since. Italian football drips with history and culture, reflecting the country in general, and like the country, Italian football is known for the passion and style that it has in bucket loads.

Serie A was at its zenith by the 20th Century’s end, dominating Europe and being the most glamorous league on the planet.

Its clubs have also enjoyed incredible success in UEFA competitions, from the numerous triumphs which made AC Milan the legendary club it still is to lesser known winners such as Palma which has amassed 3 UEFA trophies. Italian football’s impressive 244.5 Success Points in international competitions reflects its European pedigree.

Serie A has passed on the torch to La Liga and the PL yet it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

Scroll down to the bottom to view the full table of Italy’s Most Successful Clubs

Competition Key
Points
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: Top Tier League Title (Serie A)
9

3 Most Successful Football Clubs in Italy:

3. Inter Milan FC

Campione del Mondo: Inter are FIFA Club World Cup Champions - Serpents of  Madonnina

Points: 269

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1910

Latest Trophy Won: Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Helenio Herrera – 40 points (1960-68 and 1973-74)

Despite coming in at 3rd place, Internazionale Milano is a true giant of the European game having won European and Italian crowns on numerous occasions.

The Nerazzurri won their very first championship in 1910 and the captain and coach of that first championship winning team, Virgilio Fossati, was sadly killed later while serving in the army during World War I. The club would grab its first ‘Coppa’ in 1939. Its greatest period came in 1960 with the arrival of coach Helenio Herrera from Barcelona FC. He implemented a modified version of the ‘door bolt’ system of play, created to provide greater flexibility for counterattacks. Under Herrera’s first period in charge Inter won 3 Titles and 2 European Cups.

Inter was awarded its 14th Title in 2005–06, after Juventus and AC Milan were stripped of points due to a match fixing scandal that year. It would peak again under manager legend Jose Mourinho who lead the club to an unprecedented ‘European Treble’ in the 2009-10 season.

Inter broke Juventus’ stranglehold on Serie A by winning the Title in 2021.

Winning major trophies every decade except the 1940s, Inter Milan has a well established global profile. It sits 3rd in the Italy rankings with over 250 Success points.

2. AC Milan FC

Ruud Gullit - Milan Maestro

Points: 294

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1901

Latest Trophy Won: Serie A, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Nereo Rocco – 65 points (1961-1963, 1967-73 and 1977)

The Rossoneri were founded at the end of the 19th Century by two Englishmen and the club won its first Title just 2 years after. Two further Titles were won before some of its members split away after a dispute to form fierce rivals Internazionale in 1908. After that, AC Milan won nothing for decades.

The 20th Century’s second half was when Milan really started to take off. It won 4 Titles in the ’50s with famous Swedish attacking trio ‘Gre-No-Li‘ in its ranks; 3 more in the ’60s and 6 Serie As during its, and Serie A’s, glittering period of the ’90s. Milan has also won the joint 2nd most ECs/CLs in Europe, winning 7 to date (2020).

Although also football giants, like Inter, both clubs have struggled to win much since the start of the 2010s. The epicentre of Italian football has shifted from Milan to Turin due to the stranglehold over Italian football that city’s no. 1 club now has.

1. Juventus FC

Juventus' open-top bus victory parade in Turin marred by injuries to six  fans

Points: 453.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1905

Latest Trophy Won: Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Giovanni Trapattoni – 95.5 points (1976 – 1986 and 1991–1994)

Juventus is a club, like Bayern Munich of Germany and France’s Paris Saint Germain, that has enjoyed a near monopoly over trophy winning in its domestic league since the 2010s began. This is somewhat impressive given it was relegated for a season in 2006-07. It is subsequently Serie A’s superstar club with an incredible 400+ success points.

It’s hard to single out Juve’s ‘glory years’ as they’ve been bringing home the bacon consistently since the 1930s. Only during the ’40s, ’60s and noughties were trophies a little harder to come by. The 2010s are easily Juve’s most successful decade with 8 Titles and 96 out of its 447.5 points won. They have also managed the rare feat of winning every UEFA trophy possible, including 2 EC/CLs.

Best of the Rest

Turin’s 2nd club, Torino FC, comes 4th in the rankings on 88 points and outside the ‘Big 100+’. From 1942-1949 (with a break due to WW2) ‘Grande Torino’ won 5 Titles in a row. This team of ‘invincibles’ also won the first ever League/Cup double in Serie A and once provided 10 players for the national team.

Genoa CFC, in 5th place and FC Pro Vercelli, in as 9th most successful are Italy’s ‘dormant volcanos’. Between them they won 16 Titles from 1898-1924 when Serie A was in its infancy.

Genoa won the first 6 out of 7 Serie As (then called the National Championships) using a strong English contingent. It’s probably worth noting the first few of these were small affairs with less than 5 teams competing.

Vercelli struggled in the doldrums of Italian football from the 1930s onwards before folding in 2010. It’s since been reincarnated. Will either club erupt again?

Let’s doff our caps to one of Italy’s more flamboyant clubs – Parma Calcio at 12th in the rankings. From out of nowhere Parma snatched 6 major trophies – 3 of then UEFA trophies – and all its 36.5 success points in just 10 years, from 1992-2002. This, under the guidance of Nevio Scala followed by a rare cup double under coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Competition Key
Points
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: League Title (Serie A)
9

Success Point Ranking Table

PositionClubSub-point TotalsSuccess Points Total
1Juventus FCSC: 9 x 1 = 9
UEFA SC: 2 x 2 = 4
FIFA CWC: 2 x 3 = 6
AC: 14 x 5 = 70
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
CL: 2 x 8 = 16
T: 36 x 9 = 324
453.5
2AC MilanSC: 7 x 1 = 7
UEFA SC: 5 x 2 = 10
FIFA CWC: 4 x 3 = 12
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
UEFA CWC: 2 x 6.5 = 13
CL: 7 x 8 = 56
T: 19 x 9 = 171
294
3Inter Milan FCSC: 6 x 1 = 6
FIFA CWC: 3 x 3 = 9
AC: 8 x 5 = 40
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
CL: 3 x 8 = 24
T: 19 x 9 = 171
+1 (Treble)
269
4Torino FCAC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 7 x 9 = 63
88
5Genoa CFCAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 9 x 9 = 81
86
6AS RomaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA ECL: 4
AC: 9 x 5 = 45
T: 3 x 9 = 27
77
7Bologna FCAC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 7 x 9 = 63
73
8SS LazioSC: 5 x 1 = 5
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 7 x 5 = 35
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 2 x 9 = 18
66.5
9FC Pro Vercelli 1892T: 7 x 963
10SSC NapoliSC: 2 x 1 = 2
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
T: 2 x 9 = 18
56
11AFC FiorentinaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 2 x 9 = 18
55.5
=13UC SampdoriaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 1 x 9 = 9
36.5
=13Parma Calcio 1913SC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
36.5
=15Casale FBC
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Hellas Verona FC
T: 1 x 9 = 99
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10 Prehistoric Giants of The Animal Kingdom

From dragonflies the size of large birds to sharks the size of large whales, here are the 10 most awesome giants from prehistory.

Archelon 

Just the head of this two-tonne monster was 1 metre long. (youtube.com)

With the Greek roots of its name meaning ‘chief of the turtles’, the Archelon glided across the temperate oceans of the Campanian Period possessing the dimensions of a large, round garden pool.

The Leatherback Sea Turtle of today can measure in at 2.1m (7 ft) long and 650kg (1433 lb) heavy. The Archelon absolutely dwarfed it. The largest specimen found, ‘Brigitta’, measures 4.6m (15 ft) from head to tail, 4m (13 ft) from flipper to flipper and weighed around 2.2 tonnes (4,900 lb), with the head alone 1 metre long. 

Achelons could’ve been found on soft, muddy sea floors moving slowly to use their beaks to crush an abundance of large molluscs and crustaceans, some measuring up to 1.2m (4 ft) in diameter. Alternatively, these sea monster’s huge flippers could have made them excellent long-distance swimmers with sharp beaks handy for shearing flesh from larger fish and reptiles, as well as soft-bodied creatures like the squid, jellyfish, or even other Archelon.

Archelon eventually died out mainly due to a cooling of the oceans. An increase of predation from emerging mammalian species on its hatchlings contributed to its eventual demise as well, perhaps 70 millions years ago.

Deinosuchus

This giant croc hunted large dinosaurs (hakaimagazine.com)

Today, crocodiles and alligators are the kings of the reptile world, but in the Campanian Period the Alligator’s largest ever ancestor could grow to more than half the length of a tennis court.

The largest ‘gators come out at 4.2 m (14 ft) long and weigh 473 kg (1,043 lb). Scientists guess the largest Deinos, by contrast, grew to a whopping 10-12m (35-39ft) long and 8.5 tonnes heavy based on a skull alone measuring 1.5m (4.8ft). So, it’s no surprise Deinos were the largest crocodilians of all time.

Deinosuchus, which translates from Greek as ‘terrible crocodile’, would’ve resembled the Alligator closely. With massive incisors towards the front of its maw and blunter teeth towards the back for crushing, Deinosuchus was the apex predator of its age, capable of an amazingly powerful bite force of anything from 18,000 newtons (N) up to 102,803 N (compared to a Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite of just 35,000 N). As such it probably preyed on large ornithopods like the Kritosaurus around brackish water bays where other large predators avoided. And they’d ambush prey similarly to alligators, even utilising the dreaded ‘barrel roll’ method of killing. It might have also hunted giant sea turtles and large fish in coastal waters. Make no mistake, Deinosuchus was king. 

It eventually died during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Titanoboa

The one-tonne snake (wired.com)

The giant of the snake world was the Titanoboa and it makes the modern Anaconda look like a grass snake by comparison.

Titanoboa lived in the first ever rainforests to exist in South America, specifically around coastal swampy areas on the proto Caribbean Sea. Its fossil remains were found in the northern coastal region of Colombia Existing during the Paleocene-Period.

Whereas our heaviest snake, the Green Anaconda, can be up to 5.21 m (17.1 ft) long and 70 kg (154 lb) heavy, the Titanoboa is estimated to have been around 12.8 m (42 ft) and weighed about 1.1 tonnes (2,500 lb). One full scale replica model measured a colossal 14.6m – over 1.5 London Buses long!

Although assumed to have been an apex predator, preying on crocodilians of the age, experts now believe its diet consisted more of aquatic creatures like 3m (10 ft) long lungfish, a dietary trait unique to Titanoboa among all boas. Because of its sheer weight, moving around on land would’ve been hard, and among the tree canopies out of the question, hence why it was mostly water bound.

Vorombe Titan

84 Prehistoric Madagascar ideas | prehistoric, prehistoric animals, extinct  animals
Vorombe Titan was the very largest of the massive Elephant Birds native to Madagascar.

The Vorombe Titan was the largest ever bird to exist and belonged to the ratite group of flightless birds with long, thin legs. It inhabited Madagascar just 1 millenia ago.

The largest bird to exist today, the Ostrich, grows up to 2.75 metres (about 9 feet) tall and weighs more than 150 kg (330 pounds). By comparison, the Vorombe may not have towered over the Ostrich at 3m, yet was much bulkier with a thicker neck, great hulking legs, and feet resembling more a T Rex’s than a big bird’s. And it was more than four times heavier at 650kg (1500 lbs). One specimen even reached 860 kg (1,900 lb) in weight. It was so enormous, its weight matched that of the smallest Sauropod dinosaurs. Its eggs were like large footballs.

Fortunately, with its giant talons and daggered beak, it was a herbivore and fed on fruit among the forests of Madagascar rather than early human settlers. As these people spread and multiplied across the large island, however, they preyed on these giant avians and destroyed their habitats from 600 AD until their eventual demise as late as 1200 AD. 

Griffinflies

One of nature’s largest ever bugs discovered (abc.net.au)

Greater levels of atmospheric oxygen in prehistory meant insects could also grow to ginormous dimensions. Meganeuropsis aka the Griffinfly is one of the largest insects ever discovered.

It resembled modern dragonflies/damselflies, with their two sets of wings and long thin bodies.

With the largest flying insects today, the Giant Dobsonfly boasting a 20cm (8 in) wingspan, the Griffinfly was more like the size of a large Sparrowhawk with one specimen measuring a 71cm (28 in) wingspan, and body length of 43 centimetres (17 in).

This huge bug flittered about in the Permian period 300-250 million years back at a time before dinosaurs truly ruled the world. It’s presumed to have been carnivorous like its modern descendent.

Arctotherium

Giant jaguars, colossal bears done in by deadly combo of humans and heat |  Science | AAAS
Arctotherium won the arms race to dominate the food chain by simply outgrowing its competition (science.org)

The largest ever bear lived between 2.5-1 million years ago after its ancestors migrated down to South America after the formation of the Panamanian isthmus. Arctotherium, meaning ‘Bear Beast’ would’ve been able to sniff at the cranium of a tall man whilst on all fours before presumably devouring him.

The largest bear and land carnivore alive today, the Polar Bear, can be as big as 350–700 kg (770–1,540 lb), averaging 450kg (990lbs) and can stand on their hind legs to be almost 3 metres (10 foot). The Arctotherium would’ve stood even bigger, at 3.4–4.3 metres (11–14 ft) and weighed in at 1.6-1.7 tonnes (3,501 to 3,856 lb). 

Arctotherium’s size is explained by an evolutionary drive to outgrow its competition in order to secure the largest carcasses against hunters like the Smilodon Sabercat.

Paraceratherium

Paraceratherium was as tall as a Giraffe and heavy as a fully loaded bus. (thoughtco.com)

Now to the largest land mammal ever. The Paraceratherium brings to mind more the Star Wars AT-AT walkers than the largest land mammal today, the African Elephant.

This giant hornless rhino lived during the Oligocene epoch 34–23 million years ago. Incomplete fossils make its size hard to exact but estimates put its shoulder height between 4.8 – 7.4 metres (15.7 – 24.3 feet). Its weight was probably 15 to 20 tonnes (33,000 to 44,000 lb). The long neck supported a skull alone that was 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) long. This compares to a Giraffe’s height of 6 metres (20ft) and a male African Elephant’s weight of 6,8 tonnes (15,000 lbs) 

They ranged across deserts and subtropical environments in small herds browsing on a variety of flora, safe in the knowledge there was barely a creature that could even gnaw on its legs – although evidence suggests the 10 metre long Astorgosuchus tried, and their young were obviously more vulnerable.

Gigantopithecus Blacki   

A truly giant ancestor of ours (newscientist.com)

The largest ever known primate existed 2 to 0.3 million years ago during the Pleistocene period, and whilst it stood erect you might feel more like you were staring up at King Kong less an Orangutan that is its closest relative.

Size estimates are pretty speculative based on teeth and jaw remains only, yet Gigantopithecus Blacki could grow up to 3.5 metres (11.5ft) standing and could be over half a tonne (1200lb) in weight. This compares to the largest primate alive today, male Eastern Lowland Gorillas which grow to 140–205.5 kg (309–453 lb) and 1.7 m (5.6 ft) upright.

This hulking giant was a herbivore that lived on a diet of fruit and leaves amongst the dense, humid tropical forests of modern-day southern China. The males’ larger size was due to a fierce competition for mates. The species’ size meant the large sabre toothed tigers of the time posed little threat to fully grown Blacki.

They died out 300,000 years ago because their forests retreated southward. This abandoned them to a dwindling diet and possible predation by Homo Erectus.

Pelagornis sandersi

Gliding vast distances across the oceans at speeds up to 37 mph (60 kmh), the Pelagornis Sandersi is the largest ever bird capable of flight and lived approximately 25 million years back in the Oligocene period. This bird is most closely related to today’s Great Wandering Albatross, however compared to the Albatross with its wingspan of up to 3.7 m (12ft), the Sandersi’s wingspan was so broad it exceeded the height of the tallest giraffes at 6.1 – 7.4 m (17 – 24 ft). It also weighed at least 48 pounds (21.8 kilograms), the same as a Roe Deer, so was too bulky to get airborne by any other method than launching itself off sea-cliff edges.

The Sandersi lived similarly to the Albatross in that it likely preyed on fish and squid close to the surface. Unlike the Albatross, however, it likely couldn’t touch down on water, thus spending more time airborne.

Megalodon

The notorious Megalodon, the ‘whale hunter’. (thenews.com)

The Otodus Megalodon is perhaps the most terrifying giant of all in this list; a swift sailing behemoth, with the proportions similar to a Sperm Whale yet with a gaping mouth filled with razor-edged teeth like that of its descendent, the Great White Shark. And the Ancient Greek translation of its name, ‘Big Tooth’ was apt; Meg’s teeth could protrude up to 18 cm (7 in).

Estimations of the largest Megalodon sharks are anything between 10 to an awesome 25 metres (32 to 82 ft) in length and 27.4 to 59.4 metric tons in weight. This compares to Great White sharks that grow up to just 6.1 m long. Even the largest fish alive today, the Whale Shark, comes in at 15 m (49 ft).

Estimates suggest they could exert a bite force of up to 108,500 to 182,200 newtons – that’s 18 tonnes per square inch! Together with their size and strength, Megalodon is likely the most supreme predator to ever exist, and in the 23 – 4 million years ago it prowled the seas none of the giant whale ancestors would’ve been too much to take down.

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Model Citizen Returned to Prison, 2014

THE TIME THE US JUSTICE SYSTEM TRIED TO RE-IMPRISON A MODEL CITIZEN THEY HAD RELEASED 90 YEARS EARLY.

It was just another day for Rene Lima-Marin in his job helping to transform city skylines by installing glass windows into skyscrapers until an unknown caller buzzed his mobile phone. The woman on the line said she was from the Denver Public Defender’s office. As she talked Lima-Marin could feel his breathing turn shallow, his muscles tighten and his mind start to race.

For the slim Latino man, with his hair shaved high on the back and sides and an immaculately groomed goatee, the day had come he feared for years would. Now all those dreams and plans lay shattered like a windowpane that slipped from his grasp.

The story started fourteen years before when 22-year-old Lima-Marin and an accomplice were sentenced for committing robbery, burglary, and kidnapping during a series of video store robberies. These were to be served consecutively so, the US legal system being what it was, effectively locked the two up and threw away the key.

The sentence was a whopping 98 years. It was basically game over for the two young men.

Yet maybe Lima-Marin had an angel guardian looking out for him or something. The court clerk mistakenly wrote ‘concurrently’ not ‘consecutively’ next to his sentence and Lima-Marin discovered he only had a nine-year stint to do (not so his accomplice, however). Realising someone had blundered, he kept shtum and did his time.

2008 came around and Lima-Marin heard the main gate of Colorado’s Crowley County Correctional Facility slam behind him and his life, rebooted, in front of him. Was he going to take his second chance to live a good life as a rehabilitated man or would he slip back into his old ways?

He married his old girlfriend and became a father to her one-year-old son. He found a job, and then a better union job working construction on skyscrapers in the centre of Denver. The family went to church. They took older relatives in at their new, bigger house in a nice area of Aurora. They then had a child together, another boy.

Lima-Marin feared that the justice system would discover its mistake and destroy what he was building. But the years passed by and the fear receded as his life entered the humdrum slipstream of work, church and football training for his sons. After six years, this was surely proof he was rehabilitated.

The phone call from the Public Defender’s Office informed him that the Justice Department had discovered their mistake and, gut-wrenching though it was, he was going to have to go back to serve out the rest of his life long sentence.

How on earth was Lima-Marin going to break the news to his family? How were they all going to bear the heartache?

Lima Marin embraces his son while in prison (denverpost.com)

From there his fortunes fluctuated like a heart monitor does for someone whose life hangs on a knife-edge; he went back to prison but, after a campaign for clemency lasting years, the state governor pardoned him.

Lima-Marin’s wife’s euphoric high upon hearing this seesawed to a scream of frustration when the news was followed up with the fact her husband had to fight his case against illegal immigration in an immigration centre.

The ending however was a happy one for Lima-Marin. He overcame the final hurdle by winning his case and walked away a free man, for good, from Aurora’s detention facility in 2018.

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