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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_6d53fa312d34480eaf5177aacd78b153~mv2_d_1200_1880_s_2.webp
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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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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Cagliare Calcio
Hellas Verona FC
T: 1 x 9 = 99
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England’s 10 Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

English Football and its Premier League

England, alongside it’s northern neighbour, is the cradle of football civilisation. A sport played since medieval times and now played in every corner of the globe, the rules of modern Association Football were written up in the Freemasons’ Tavern, London in 1863 and have changed little since. Club football served to channel the fierce regional identities and rivalries of places like Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, Greater London and Greater Birmingham. The English also became highly consumerised and these and other factors explain the rise in the popularity of the ‘beautiful game’ and why England’s Premier League is rated as the biggest and most competitive league in the world.

English clubs have earned 232.5 points in international competitions.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (FA Charity Shield / Community Shield)1 (0.5 points per ‘shared’ trophy)
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
LC: League Cup (EFL League Cup)4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League4
AC: Association Cup (FA Cup)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 (Division 1 / Premier League)9

Scroll to the bottom to see the table of England’s 26 Most Successful Clubs!


Here, are the 10 Most Successful Football Clubs in England:

10: Sunderland AFC 

Sunderland players hold aloft their 1937 FA Cup win

Success Points: 65

Earliest Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1892

Latest Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1973

Most Successful Manager: Tom Watson – 27 points (Aug 1889 –1896)

Most Successful Decade: 1890-1900 – 27 points

Sunderland AFC enjoyed its main period of glory the decade before its Tyneside rivals, grabbing 3 of its 6 Titles before the 19th Century’s end. During the late 19th Century, it was declared to have the “Team of All Talents” by William McGregor, the founder of the league, after its 3rd Title win in the 1894–95 season – ending the season five points ahead of Everton. Sunderland then went up against Heart of Midlothian, the champions of the Scottish League. Winning that 5–3, they were announced to be “Champions of the World”.

It has only managed to win the second of its 2 FA Cups since WW2’s end. With its vintage years of ruling English football, Sunderland takes the bottom spot of the ten most successful clubs in England.

9: Newcastle United FC 

…whilst Newcastle likewise celebrate an FA Cup triumph in 1951

Success Points: 67

First Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1905

Latest Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1955

Most Successful Manager: Frank Watt – 47 points (1892 – Dec 1929)

Most Successful Decade: 1900-1910 – 33 points

The next place is taken by Sunderland’s fierce Tyne and Wear rival Newcastle, which comes in at 9th – its 4 more FA Cups trumps Sunderland’s 2 extra league Titles.

With a team known for their artistic play, combining team-work and quick, short passing, the club dominated English football in the 20th Century’s first decade when Newcastle won 3 Titles and an FA Cup, and 33 of its 69 points. It bagged a further 3 FA Cups in the 1950s.

8: Tottenham Hotspur FC

A proud Spurs team pose with their Title/FA Cup ‘double’, 1961

Success Points: 96

First Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1901

Latest trophy Won: FL Cup, 2008

Most Successful Manager: Bill Nicholson – 47 points (1958–1974)

Most Successful Decade: 1960-1970 – 33.5 points

The ‘Lillywhites’ have achieved much for a club with just two Titles to its name. Spurs’ credentials are underlined by the fact they achieved a number of firsts in English football. Tottenham was the first, and likely, only non league club to win an FA Cup, in 1901; the first club in the 20th Century to win the ‘Double’ and in 1963 it was the first English club to win a UEFA trophy (The UEFA CWC). Spurs also won the first ever edition of the UEFA Cup in 1972.

Regular trophy success with attractive, pioneering tactics in the decades after WW2 meant Tottenham was regarded as the 5th biggest club in England by the time the Premier League was launched at the start of the 1990s. The club failed to exploit the commercial value of a league that went on to be the most wealthy in the world however, going on to win just one trophy – an FL Cup – in the 21st Century to date.

7: Everton FC

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Very pleased: Everton teammates pose with the UEFA CWC, 1985

Success Points: 121

First Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1891

Latest Trophies Won: FA Cup and Community Shield (CS), 1995

Most Successful Manager: Howard Kendall – 37 points (May 1981 – 87)

Most Successful Decade: 1980-1990 – 37 points

Although Everton’s global profile is overshadowed by that of its city rivals Liverpool, it has an impressive trophy cabinet in its own right and, except the ’50s and ’70s, has managed to win Titles and trophies every decade back from the 1890s up until the 21st Century.

The ’80s was Everton’s best period under manager Howard Kendall. They won 2 Titles, a handful of FA Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (CWC). But the Heysal Stadium Disaster and the ensuing 5 year English club ban from UEFA competitions gave English football a hard jolt, hitting both Everton and Liverpool particularly badly. The Merseyside two lost their ascendancy to Manchester and London clubs in the ’90s, and Everton has since failed to win a Title in the Premier League era.

6: Aston Villa FC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_af4982ffb03b4efb8f7f21c186b3eca6~mv2.webp
Joyous Aston Villa holding the UEFA European Cup in 1982

Success Points: 135

Earliest Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1894

Latest Trophy Won: FL Cup, 1996

Most Successful Manager: George Ramsay – 84 points (Aug 1884 – May 1926)

Most Successful Decade: 1890-1900 – 61 points

Despite struggling in the PL in recent years, the Villans are the original giants of the English game, having won 5 Titles and 3 FA Cups before the the 20th Century even kicked off.

From after WW1, the club found success much harder to come by, although this did include winning its latest Title in ‘81 with its first ever European Cup the following year. It also bagged a number of FL Cups and its latest FA Cup in the 2nd half of the 20th Century.

Aston Villa is the most successful club in the Greater Birmingham area.

5: Chelsea FC

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Chelsea’s CL and FA Cup ‘double’ in 2012

Success Points: 149

Earliest Trophies Won: FL Division 1 Title and FA CS, 1955

Latest Trophy Won: UEFA SC and FIFA WC, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Jose Mourinho – 45 points (2004 – 2007 and 2013 – 2015)

Most Successful Decade: 2000-2010 – 53 points

Chelsea comes in at 4th place. Chelsea had won 32 of its present 136 Success points before Roman Abramovich, Russian multi-billionaire extraordinaire, seized a majority share of Chelsea in 2003 and started pumping tens of millions of pounds into the squad. He appointed the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho, who they rode a wave of dominance under, winning two Titles plus other trophies, and 32 success points in three seasons.

This club, with its new money, has bought a place at the top table.

4: Manchester City FC

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2017 English Champions, Man City FC

Success Points: 151.5

First Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1904

Latest Trophies Won: PL, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Pep Guardiola – 59 points (Jul 2016 – Present (May 2022))

Most Successful Decade: 2010-2020 – 69 points

From the ‘Grand Old Ladies’ to upstarts, Manchester’s 2nd club comes in at 5th and has rocketed into the bigtime.

A club sports fans maybe deride even more than Chelsea for its trophy ‘buying’, Manchester’s mega wealthy Adu Dhabi backers took over in 2008, instantly spending a PL record sum on Brazilian striker Robinho. It actually won 69 of its 142.5 total points before its takeover yet, since then, its owners have amassed a squad packed with talent in every position, winning 5 PL Titles and 10 other major trophies under a revolving door of managers.

Its glory days show no sign of stopping so expect it to rise further up the table.

3: Arsenal FC

Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, 2003-2004

Success Points: 217

First Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1930

Latest Trophies Won: FA Cup, 2020

Most Successful Manager: Arsene Wenger – 69 points (Oct 1996 – May 2018)

Most Successful Decade: 1930-1940 – 55 points

Breaking the 200 Success Point mark is Arsenal. Under the leadership of Herbert Chapman, a manager who had already managed to win 3 consecutive Titles with Huddersfield Town FC in the ‘20s, Arsenal won its first ever trophy in 1930. With a new home and First Division football, attendances more than doubled, Arsenal’s budget grew rapidly and Arsenal quickly became known as the ‘Bank of England club’. Record breaking gate receipts meant it was able to lavish its extra income on stars like David Jack and Alex James. It then went on a winning spree throughout the ’30s and picked up from where it left off straight after WW2 and for a few years thereafter, winning Titles every decade except the 1960s and the 2010s.

A second icon of the club’s was Arsene Wenger in the PL era, winning 3 Titles and 7 FA Cups to make it the most successful club in the FA Cup. Although a powerhouse of the domestic game, Arsenal’s prestige is limited by having only a single international trophy – the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, won in 1994.

Arsenal is the most successful club in London.

2: Manchester United FC

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Man United famously achieved the European Treble in 1999

Success Points: 320.5

First Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1908

Latest Trophies Won: FL Cup and UEFA Europa League, 2017

Most Successful Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) – 204 points (Nov 1986 – Jun 2013)

Most Successful Decade: 1990-2000 – 93 points

One of the biggest clubs in England, with its ubiquitous fanbase, it won its lion’s share of trophies in the PL era under the epic stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United won 2 Titles before WW1 under manager Earnest Mangnall, but didn’t win its 3rd until 1952 under Matt Busby, with the ’60s and ’70s also a fallow period of no Title wins while Liverpool was dominating English football. Yet, the only decades in its history it hasn’t won a single trophy were the 1920s and ’30s. Man U really ruled football from 1986 – 2013 when the club won 13 of its 20 Titles under SAF.

Despite the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 claiming the lives of 23 staff including 8 players, it rose from the ashes, managing its next major trophy win just 5 years later by winning the FA Cup. It would win its, and English football’s, first European Cup in 1967 and won 2 more under SAF.

1: Liverpool FC

We've been waiting a long time' - Liverpool celebrate Premier League glory  in style
Top of the world: PL champs in 2020, having won the CL and World Cup in the 12 months prior.

Success Points: 338.5

First Trophy Won: FL Div. 1 Title, 1901

Most Recent Trophy Won: FA and FL Cup, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Bob Paisley – 116.5 points (Aug 1974 – July 1983)

Most Successful Decade: 1980-1990 – 100.5 points

Liverpool won its first trophy whilst Queen Victoria was still on the throne. Its many Titles were won in the ’20s, ’40s and ’60s decades and particularly during the ’70s and ’80s as well when, in the 14 years between 1976 and 1990, it amassed a total of 10 Titles, 4 European Cups and 7 other major trophies.

Iconic managers during the glittering period of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s were Bill Shankley, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.

The Heysel Stadium disaster blighted the glow around the club and its community for a short while as Fagan retired shortly afterwards and the disaster led to a five year ban from European competition. However another club icon, Kenny Dalglish, picked up where his predecessors left off continuing the trail of success at home.

Like Everton, ‘The Reds‘ wilted in the PL era but managed to win other trophies including 2 more Champions’ Leagues (CL). This means Liverpool holds the record for CLs won in England. Liverpool then ended its 30 year wait for its first PL Title by topping the table in 2020. Its impressive trophy haul puts Liverpool on top as England’s most successful club!

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (FA Charity Shield / Community Shield)
1 (0.5 points per ‘shared’ trophy)
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
LC: League Cup (EFL League Cup)
4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
AC: Association Cup (FA Cup)
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 (Division 1 / Premier League)
9

26 Most Successful Football Clubs in England

PositionFootball ClubPoints SubtotalsPoints Total
1Liverpool FCSC: 10 + 2.5 (5 shared) x 1 = 12.5

UEFA SC: 4 x 2 = 8

FIFA CWC: 1 x 3 = 3

LC: 9 x 4 = 36

AC: 8 x 5 = 40

EL: 3 x 6 = 18

CL: 6 x 8 = 48

T: 19 x 9 = 171

2 (Treble) 
338.5
2Manchester United FCSC: 17 + 2 (4 shared) x 1 =19

UEFA SC: 1 x 2 =2

FIFA CWC: 2 x 3 =6

LC: 4 x 4 = 16

AC: 12 x 5 = 60

EL: 1 x 6 = 6

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

CL: 3 x 8 = 24

T: 20 x 9 = 180

+1 (Treble)
320.5
3Arsenal FC15 + 0.5 (1 shared) x 1 = 15.5
2 x 4 = 8
14 x 5 = 70
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
13 x 9 = 117
217
4Manchester City FC6 x 1 = 6
9 x 4 = 36
6 x 5 = 30
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
8 x 9 = 72
+1 (Treble)
151.5
5Chelsea FC4 x 1 = 4
2 x 2 = 4
1 x 3 = 3
5 x 4 = 20
8 x 5 = 40
2 x 6 = 12
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
2 x 8 = 16
6 x 9 = 54
149
6Aston Villa FC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 2 = 2
5 x 4 = 20
7 x 5 = 35
1 x 8 = 8
7 x 9 = 63
135
7Everton FC8 + 0.5 (1 shared) x 1 = 8.5
5 x 5 = 25
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
9 x 9 = 81
121
8Tottenham Hotspur FC4 + 1.5 (3 shared) x 1 = 5.5
4 x 4 = 16
8 x 5 = 40
2 x 6 = 12
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
2 x 9 = 18
96
9Newcastle United FC1 x 1 = 1
6 x 5 = 30
4 x 9 = 36
67
10Sunderland AFC1 x 1 = 1
2 x 5 = 10
6 x 9 = 54
65
11Blackburn Rovers FC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 4 = 4
6 x 5 = 30
3 x 9 = 27
62
12Wolverhampton Wanderers FC1 + 1.5 x 1 = 2.5
2 x 4 = 8
4 x 5 = 20
3 x 9 = 27
57.5
13Sheffield Wednesday FC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 4 = 4
3 x 5 = 15
4 x 9 = 36
56
14Nottingham Forest FC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 2 = 2
4 x 4 = 16
2 x 5 = 10
2 x 8 =  16
1 x 9 = 9
54
15Birmingham City FC2 x 4 = 8
4 x 9 = 36
44
16West Bromwich Albion FC1 + 0.5 x 1 = 1.5
1 x 4 = 4
5 x 5 = 25
1 x 9 = 9
39.5
17Leeds United FC2 x 1 = 2
1 x 4 = 4
1 x 5 = 5
3 x 9 = 27
38
18Huddersfield Town AFC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 5 = 5
3 x 9 = 27
33
=19Preston North End FC1 x 1 = 1
2  x 5 = 10
2 x 9 = 18
29
=19Sheffield United FC4 x 5 = 20
1 x 9 = 9
29
21Portsmouth FC0.5 x 1 = 0.5
2 x 5  = 10
2 x 9 = 18
28.5
22Leicester City FC2 x 1 = 2
3 x 4 = 12
1 X 5 = 5
1 x 9 = 9
28
23Wanderers FC5 x 5 = 2525
24Burnley FC1 + 0.5 x 1 = 1.5
1 x 5 = 5
2 x 9 = 18
24.5
25Derby County FC1 x 1 = 1
1 x 5 = 5
2 x 9 = 18
24
26West Ham United FC0.5 x 1 = 0.5
3 x 5 = 15
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
22
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European Football in 2040

A light-hearted look at what European club football might look like in the not-too-distant future.

It’s no exaggeration to declare that European football is the apex of the world’s beautiful game.

It has the globe’s best players and coaching staff and draws in a mindbogglingly huge global audience to both UEFA’s flagship Champions League and its best domestic leagues.

Yet, as the world gets smaller, there were growing calls for a new ‘Super League’ for the continent’s biggest clubs to fight it out.

This call crystallised into the founding of the European Super League in April 2021. This would’ve included 12 of Europe’s elite clubs playing each other every week, with 9 of those clubs protected from relegation.

Yet, in what was perhaps the most popular and unifying response since the dawn of time, literally everyone, from the humble fan to the UEFA president, was incandescent with hostility towards a move that would have removed some of Europe’s best players and most illustrious clubs from the egalitarian UEFA footballing landscape into an exclusive clique of their own.

There was so much hostility to the formation of the ESL it was quickly suspended, perhaps indefinitely.

But, amongst all the rabid arguments in opposition, perhaps the main one was not so much the idea of a European football league per se, in my opinion, but the lack of participation opportunities for the rest of the vast football club community the ESL offered.

So is a European ‘Super League’ viable with full access to all football clubs on merit? I believe so.

Why?

There’s a lot of clubs in Europe with big budgets, fanbases and trophy rooms but are trapped in leagues that cant challenge them, and that is no good for keeping fans captivated or attracting new ones.

More and more choose to follow UEFA’s top 3/4 leagues and the playing/coaching talent is following them.

This means a lot of UEFA’s leagues are withering on the vine and the one or two clubs in UEFA’s less glamorous leagues still capable of competing in the Champion’s League are withering too, and they’re not happy about that.

The English PL, in particular, is now viewed as more of a European Super League they are not a part of but who a lot of their talent is leached by, and they want a piece of the pie.

Full English! A sign of Premier League dominance in 2018/19 when only English teams were in the UEFA CL and EL finals. Of those four clubs, none were even the best team in the PL that season. (dnaindia.com)

It seems just as inevitable that UEFA’s domestic leagues will amalgamate into a continental one as it was inevitable that England’s regional leagues would merge into the national Football League way back in the 19th Century. It’s just a matter of time!

So, let’s have a little fun and imagine how club football will be by the year 2040…

UEFA Super League (SL)

It is the inaugural season of UEFA’s Super League which Europe’s biggest clubs have been anticipating with bated breath for some time now. Here, famous giants like Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus will now be pitted in the ultimate footballing arena.

Old city and national rivalries will fade and new cross-continental ones will be forged, and some clubs look forward to the coming years more than others.

In the year 2040 the Super League (SL) comprises three divisions – SL1, SL2 and SL3 – each with 20 clubs, and the first 60 clubs to join the league have been selected based on their position in UEFA’s Team Ranking for 2039–40

For the first season England has six clubs qualify, all in SL1, Germany has seven clubs qualify; just two in SL1, and Spain also has seven; four of those in UEFA’s top new SL 1.

Throughout all three divisions, clubs from nations as wide-ranging as Bulgaria, Scotland, Ukraine and Belgium, among others are in the mix, and promotion and relegation work on a ‘three up – three down’ system. The SL1 Title winners will be joined by the runners up to qualify for the enlarged FIFA Club World Cup.

Domestic Football

The remaining clubs play their league and cup competitions as they always have in their domestic leagues, now of course without their strongest clubs.

Champions Cup

The league champion of each nation will enter a knockout competition for the following season and the four semi-finalists of that qualify for promotion to SL3, replacing the bottom four from SL3.

Europa Cup

The old Champions League has been revamped. It is now called the Europa Cup and all the 60 Super League teams will compete in it (plus the four relegated). The two finalists will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup alongside the SL1 top two.

Now, it is akin to England’s League Cup or Germany’s DFL Ligapokal, etc.

FIFA Club World Cup

The FIFA CWC is now an enlarged 16 team competition starting from the second season. The four UEFA clubs will join 12 more from FIFA’s five other continental ruling bodies to compete in an annual group stage/knockout competition.

It will now replace the old Champions League as the greatest cup competition in the world, as it was meant to have been when it began all those years back at the dawn of the century.

Summary

(abc.com)

So, there you have it. A possible football landscape with a super pan European League system, a European cup competition, replacing the old Champions League, and where Europe’s greatest titan clubs will aim to compete for true global domination. This, in a world where clubs from China’s own Super League, and N. America’s burgeoning MLS will provide an ever tougher challenge to European hegemony.

It could be an exciting future. The grassroots passion of traditional, local fanbases will fade but it could also see global fanbases spread to make the game in the future more of a global religion than sport.

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