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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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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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

Scotland’s 5 Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Whilst 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 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.

Competition KeyPoints
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
LC: League Cup (Scottish League Cup)
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
AC: Association Cup (Scottish FA Cup)
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
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 / Scottish Premiership)
7

Scotland, its Premiership and ‘Old Firm’

As one of football’s ‘Home Nations’, Scotland’s football spans three centuries. The Scottish Cup is the 2nd oldest in the world and its clubs have been fighting it out for National Championships since 1890.

A number of countries have stand-out giants of the game which dominate their leagues. Scotland is famous for two of these giants and their ferocious, all consuming rivalry is known as the ‘Old Firm’. It has been ever-present and completely overshadows the Premiership. Both clubs subsequently have ginormous Success Point hauls leaving scraps for the rest. Just these two clubs make it into the ‘Big 100+’ yet have almost 1100 Success points between them! – As good a testament to Glasgow’s age old dominance over Scottish league football as any.

The Premiership prospered after WW2 but it just couldn’t keep up with the sort of money neighbouring England’s Premier League could attract. 21st Century Scottish football is comparatively poor as a result. Clubs between leagues 6-10 of the UEFA Coefficient score -2 points per domestic trophy. The SP is 9th in the Coefficient as of 2022.

Scottish clubs have had some success in Europe, winning 3 major trophies between them including the first UEFA trophy in the whole of Britain. They have 23 Success Points from UEFA competitions.

Scroll to the bottom to view the table of Scotland’s most successful clubs


5. Hibernian FC

Points: 43

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1887

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2016

Most Successful Manager: Hugh Shaw – 21 (1948-1961)

Most Successful Decade: 1950s, 14 Points

‘The Hibees’ won their first ever major trophy, a Scottish Cup, in the same year as Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. In 1903 they won another cup followed by their first Title the year after.

Hibs’ glory period followed World War Two when the club were crowned Scottish champions three times in just four years. With an attacking forward line known as the ‘Famous Five’, Hibs were arguably one of the best teams in Britain. They have also won three Scottish League Cups, including the latest in 2007.

4. Heart of Mithlothian FC

Points: 60

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Division 1, 1891

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2012

Most Successful Manager: Tommy Walker – 25 Points (1951-1966)

Most Successful Decade: 1950s, 23 Points

‘The Jambos’ were one of the best teams in Scotland, and indeed the world, towards the end of the 19th Century by being crowned Scottish champions on two occasions (and were even ‘World Champions’ in 1902 by beating Tottenham Hotspur at Tynecastle) They also won the Scottish Cup four times before 1906.

Hearts enjoyed another glorious period with Tommy Walker as manager in the 1950s and ’60s. With club legends John Cumming and Dave Mackay, Hearts would clinch another two Scottish Titles and five domestic cups. A memorable 5-1 thrashing over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian FC to win the Scottish Cup in 2012 is Hearts’ latest trophy won. They are the most successful club in Edinburgh.

3. Aberdeen FC

Points: 69.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1947

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish League Cup, 2014

Most Successful Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson – 43.5 points (1878-1986)

Most Successful Decade: 1980s, 41.5 Points

As Scotland’s 3rd most successful club, outside the Old Firm’s heady heights, ‘The Dons’ of Aberdeen have done well for themselves, clinching major trophies in every decade since the 1940’s apart from the 2000s. 

Aberdeen FC won its first Title in 1955. It then revelled in a glory period under a manager who would go on to become one of the greatest managers in modern history. Under Alex Ferguson’s guidance, the club won three Titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup. He also lead them to a UEFA CWC, beating mighty Real Madrid in the final, plus Scotland’s first UEFA Super Cup – all this in the space of seven years.

2. Celtic FC

Points: 521

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1892

Latest Trophies Won: Scottish Premiership and League Cup, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Willie Maley – 154 Success points (1897-1940)

Most Successful Decade: 2010s, 91 points.

This Glaswegian club was founded by a Catholic priest as a means of raising money to alleviate poverty in the slums. 5 years later they would beat Rangers in their first ever game 5-2, then described as a ‘friendly encounter’.

Few clubs reach the stratospheric 500+ Success Point mark. To do this, Celtic have been filling their boots with silverware almost non-stop. This includes winning over a quarter of all Scottish Cups. They’ve won Titles every decade except the 1940s. The ‘50s was a lean decade, as other clubs such as Hibernian FC enjoyed success, so too were the ‘90s which betrayed the fact Celtic’s stewards had failed to keep abreast of rising commercial revenue streams which had begun to infuse football across Europe.

The Bhoys managed 6 Titles in a row from 1905-1910; 9 from 1966-74 plus 9 consecutively from 2012-2020. These are not the sorts of winning streaks seen at all often with other giant clubs!

Under club manager legend, Jock Stein, The Celts would claim their first quadruple in 1967 managing to grab Scotland’s first and only European Cup as well. It was a feat that’s never been matched south of the border; an ‘annus mirabilis‘ for Celtic. Celtic took full advantage of Rangers’ exile from the top flight to achieve an ‘invincible’ season – and sixth treble – under Brenden Rogers in 2017.

1. Rangers FC

Points: 554.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Division 1, 1891

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Bill Struth – 160 Success points (1920-1954)

Most Successful Decade: 1990s, 93 points

Rangers FC were founded all the way back in 1872. Those first 19 years before its first major trophy was a rare period when Scottish football was free of the Old Firm’s vice like grip; when only the Scottish Cup was to play for at national level, before the first National Championship in 1890. Rangers would win the 2nd edition in 1891.

Like its Glaswegian rival Celtic, Rangers’ trophy cabinet is absolutely festooned with shiny metal, including a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (CWC) won in 1972. Rangers have won at least 50% of Titles in 4 out of the 13 decades Scottish Championships have run, and almost half of Scottish Titles total and in every decade since the 1890s.

After ‘The Gers’ latest League/LC double in 2011 something unfathomable happened; Rangers went into administration due to financial mismanagement and re-emerged in the Scottish 4th tier. They returned stronger 5 seasons later, however, to win their 55th Title in 2021.

Rangers FC is Scotland’s most successful club and the 2nd most successful in all of Europe!

Competition Key
Points
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
LC: League Cup (Scottish League Cup)
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
AC: Association Cup (Scottish FA Cup)
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
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 / Scottish Premiership)
7

Scotland’s 13 Most Successful Clubs

PositionClubSub-point TotalsSuccess Point Total
1Rangers FCLC: 27 x 2 = 54

AC: 34 x 3 = 102

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

T: 55 x 7 = 385

+7 (Trebles)
554.5
2Celtic FCLC: 20 x 2 = 40

AC: 34 x 3 = 102

CL: 1 x 8 = 8

T: 52 x 7 = 364

+7 (Trebles)
521
3Aberdeen FCUEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2

LC: 6 x 2 = 12

AC: 7 x 3 = 21

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

T: 4 x 7 = 28
69.5
4Heart of Midlothian FCLC: 4 x 2 = 8

AC: 8 x 3 = 24

T: 4 x 7 = 28
60
5Hibernian FCLC: 3 x 2 = 6

AC: 3 x 3 = 9

T: 4 x 7 = 28
43
6Queen’s Park FC
AC: 10 x 3 = 30
30
7Kilmarnock FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2

AC: 3 x 3 = 9

T: 1 x 7 = 7
18
=8Dundee United FCLC: 2 x 2 = 4

AC: 2 x 3 = 6

T: 1 x 7 = 7
17
=8Dumbarton FCAC: 1 x 3 = 3

T: 2 x 7 = 14
17
10Dundee FCLC: 3 x 2 = 6

AC: 1 x 3 = 3

T: 1 x 7 = 7
16
11Third Lanark A.C.AC: 2 x 3 = 6

T: 1 x 7 = 7
13
12Vale of Leven FC
AC: 3 x 3 = 9
9
13St Johnstone FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2

AC: 2 x 3 = 6
8
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