Since its creation in 1888, the English top-flight has witnessed 23 different winners of the coveted title of the best club in the country.
The Football League trophy has been paraded from as far north as the city of Newcastle, right the way down to the South Coast of England—and many places in between.
But who has been the more dominant in English football: the North or the South?
Where is the Dividing Line?
It is a heavily discussed question with an answer that varies from person to person.
Although many clubs fall within the obvious boundaries, there are a few teams from the Midlands that can be classed either way.
The North/South debate is an ongoing discussion that usually refers to cultural and economic diversities between the two areas of England.
Some regions in the centre of the country—often referred to as the Midlands—contain areas that are very much in the southern part of England, but due to their industrial roots and ties to the North, are considered more Northern than Southern in regards to the cultural divide.
It is not necessarily considered a geographical divide, but more in terms of political issues that range from Health, Wealth, Growth and Industry.
Naturally, the divide has spilt over into popular culture and has its comparisons within many areas such as music, comedy and more importantly, the subject at hand—football.
The Title Winning Teams of the Football League since 1888
- Liverpool – 18: The current league leaders also top the countries leader-board for the most top-flight titles—currently standing at 18. Their dominance of the league was at its strongest during the 70s and the 80s with 11 of the 18 titles coming between 1972 and 1989.
- Manchester United – 17: The current best team in England and Europe after winning the Premier League and Champions League last season, United have been by far the most dominant club over the last 16 years with 10 title wins since 1992.
- Arsenal – 13: The North London based club have been very inconsistent with their titles, with just three of their 13 coming in the last 16 years. In the past few seasons, they have been seen as one of the best-attacking teams in the world and currently sit third on the list of most successful clubs in England. They were the first team from the south to be signed in to the Football League in 1893.
- Everton – 9: Surprisingly to some people, Liverpool’s second club on the list are sitting quite highly on the board with a total of nine victories. Their last league win came in 1986-87 when they won the title during a very dominant period for the city—which saw a Liverpool club win the league seven years in succession between 1982 and 1988.
- Aston Villa – 7: Flying high in the league, Aston Villa is quickly regaining recognition as a worthy contender for the title race in the future. The club last won the League title in 1981, after an amazing 71-year gap between wins. The club was a dominant force in the infancy of the Football League with five of their titles coming before the start of the 20th century.
- Sunderland – 6: Having recently regained their top-flight status, Sunderland have had an inconsistent season with the recent departure of their manager. The North Eastern club’s last title win was a pre-war victory in 1936 and have the honour of being the third team to win the Football league.
- Newcastle United – 4: The Magpies are currently behind their fiercest rivals from Sunderland with one less title to their name. Modern-day supporters may never have witnessed their club lifting the Football League trophy with their last top-flight victory coming in 1927.
- Sheffield Wednesday – 4: The Steel City team were one of the founding members—playing as The Wednesday—of the now-defunct Football Alliance league which was absorbed into the Football League after just one season. They currently play their football in England’s second-tier and last won the top-flight title in 1930—retaining the trophy from the season before.
- Huddersfield Town – 3: Herbert Chapman—a forgotten pioneer of football and famous for many modern-day practices—led Huddersfield Town to two of their three back-to-back titles in 1924/25/26. A feat which has only been achieved by three other clubs in the history of the league.
- Leeds United – 3: The club was the last team to win the Football League title before the name was changed to the Premier League in 1992. After severe financial mismanagement, Leeds dropped down the leagues and—for the first time—they played outside of the top two divisions and are currently playing football in the third tier of English football.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers – 3: The Wanderers where founding members of the Football league and the club was formed as far back as 1877. They had a very dominant era during the 50s and were considered the best team in the world before the introduction of the European Cup. Their last title came in 1959 and were also part of the very first UEFA cup final in 1972.
- Blackburn Rovers – 3: Another founder of the league alongside 11 others, Rovers are one of only three teams who founded the Football League and the Premier League. They are also one of four teams to have won the Premier League title since 1992. Their 1995 victory is their only title since 1914.
- Chelsea – 3: The West London club won two of their three titles in 2005 and 2006. Their only other victory came in 1955 which was the club’s first-ever trophy. Chelsea is currently in their most dominant era with a League and FA Cup in 2007 to add to their two league titles.
- Burnley – 2: The Clarets have played at their current ground for 125 years and are one of the 12 founding members of the Football League. Currently playing in the second tier of football, they have managed to knock out Premier League teams Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal before losing to Spurs in the first leg of the semi-final of this season’s League Cup. Their last title came in 1960 and they also beat Liverpool for their one and only FA Cup in 1914.
- Manchester City – 2: The blue side of Manchester has been vastly overshadowed in terms of league success with City’s last title coming in 1968—31 years after their first. Currently undergoing a serious financial overhaul—with new investment apparently making them the richest club on the planet—the future looks bright for Manchester City.
- Portsmouth – 2: The south coast outfit has managed to win two league titles back-to-back in 1949 and 1950. Their most recent trophy was the 2008 FA Cup final victory—their first major trophy since their league title in 1950.
- Derby County – 2: The Rams are one of only 11 clubs who have played in every single season of the Football League since its creation in 1888. They are one of the founding members of the league and have managed top tier victories on two occasions—their last being in 1975, coming three years after their first league title.
- Preston North End – 2: Currently playing in the second tier, they hold the honour of being the very first English league champions in 1889. They managed to retain the trophy the following season and that remains the last time they have managed to be crowned champions of England.
- Tottenham Hotspur – 2: Spurs hold the title of being the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup double by winning both competitions in 1961. With eight FA Cup victories to their credit, they also won the first-ever UEFA Cup competition by beating Wolves in 1971 final.
- Nottingham Forest – 1: The club managed a very impressive run between the seasons of 1978 and 1980 which saw them amass one League title, two European Cups, a European Super Cup, and two League cups. Currently playing football in the second tier, they are the only club to have won the European Cup more times than the domestic trophy.
- Ipswich Town – 1: The Tractor Boys were founded in 1878 but did not turn professional until 1936 and are the only fully professional club currently playing in Suffolk. Their one and only Football League title came in 1962 but they have also won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup once.
- Sheffield United – 1: The less successful of the two Sheffield clubs, United won their only league title in 1898. That was followed the next season by their first of four FA Cup victories. Currently playing in the second tier, their last trophy was the final of their four FA Cup wins in 1925.
- West Bromwich Albion – 1: Another of the original founding clubs of the league, West Brom have been English Champions just once, their victory coming in 1920. They hold the honour of being the very first team to win the FA Cup and have gone on to win it a total of five times since 1888. Having been promoted from the second tier last season as champions, they are currently playing in the Premier League.
Surprisingly, just five of the 23 teams are from the south of England and a clear dominance coming from the North, with particular recognition going to the North West thanks to the dominance of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United.