In the world of a little big club

How many times do you hear the argument, ‘we’re a bigger club than you are?’ Well, after a row in the local boozer last night, I thought I would stir it up even more by putting the Premiership in order of big to little. There is no logic in the order, crowd size, trophies, history – nothing weighs more than anything else, this is just a general opinion supported by my argument as to why I place the club where I do. Feel free to slate my table, but support your argument with a reason as to what makes a big club, a big club…

(1)   Manchester United

I don’t think anybody can really argue, other than a scouser, that United are the biggest club in the league. They have won everything, everybody in the world knows their name and even your sister’s dog can name most the starting line-up.

(2)   Liverpool

Popular amongst the elder statesmen of the U.K because of Paisley, Shanks, Dalglish and friends. You often find a stray Liverpool fan in London or Newcastle and without doubt, they are a world famous club with fans that most clubs would kill for.

(3)   Arsenal

The Gunners are a massive club. Players want to play for them and kids want to support them. Their brand is unique, their team is unique, and their manager is very unique. They’ve got the stadia, the history, and everything set out in front of them to climb this table, but it would take something amazing to topple the two above them.

(4)   Chelsea

Ahh Chelski… they’ve probably jumped up the list in terms of their big club status because of Roman. They have a rich history in terms good football teams, and not so much bank balance, but the latter has certainly helped their cause.

(5)   Tottenham

Aside from their current success, I think Tottenham are just about everybody’s second favourite team. Other than a Gunners fan of course, most people outside of London I find have a soft spot for Spurs, including myself.

(6)   Newcastle

It’s common where I live that ‘Newcastle,’ and ‘big club,’ get mentioned in the same sentence. I have my own reasons for liking and disliking the club, but I wouldn’t argue with their tag. Alan Shearer has done wonders for their status, as did Keegan and Sir Bobby – and the women of course. Love them or hate them, their fans are great; they love and hate their own team more you possibly ever could!

(7)   Manchester City

You’re shocked to see Man City so low down? Delete the current boom they’re having and you will probably put them in the same bucket as Spurs and Newcastle. Without doubt their brand is going to grow. You’ll soon see Man City shirts on the black market in Thailand next to those of their red counterparts, but in my eyes the ‘big club’ quota sees them sit about seventh.

(8)   West Ham

Although the last five years have not been that kind to The Hammers, I think they’re still regarded across the country as a fairly big club. Especially in my generation, the like of Cole, Lampard and Defoe has seen the calibre of player associated with West Ham earn their kudos.

(9)   Aston Villa

Sorry Birmingham fans, but everything attached to Villa puts them above you in the ‘big club’ charter. The Premiership wouldn’t be the same without them, it would be missing something. Although they’ve languished as a mid-table team in general for around fifteen years, I think there’s still an attraction associated with Villa.

(10)  Everton

Moyes’ Everton has been a delight to watch over the last decade (more or less). He has been up and down more times than a kangaroo with the team but maintained a mid-to-top finish most seasons. They’re a big club, but just.

(11)  Blackburn

1995 was amazing when they won the Premiership. They have had good success too since in the League Cup but I think that the club is a mid-table team. Lancashire will always struggle to make big strides in football because of rugby so I think to rate Blackburn in tenth is very fair. The club has done very well since the Premiership started to be in it for so many accumulative years.

(12)  Sunderland

For years Sunderland have failed to attract the stars that could have pushed them on to the next step. Peter Reid notoriously did well with a team that wasn’t made up of any superstars, although I admit Super Kev wasn’t bad. It’s for this reason I just don’t think that they have that ‘big club’ name attached to what is all in pace to be one.  

(13)  Bolton

Bolton are very similar to Blackburn really. They are a very good team at the moment, with a good history and fans. Big Sam certainly changed the face of Bolton as a club with signings like Djorkaeff and Jay-Jay. However, the fact that everybody was so shocked to see these players sign for Bolton tells its own story really.

(14)  Birmingham 

I think the next four are all pretty much on a par. You could juggle them easily enough and not really disturb where I would put them too much. Everyone loves an underdog and other than if you’re a Gunner, I think you are happy that they won the cup in February. Too much up-and-down movement since the Premiership began to really call themselves a big club.

(15)  Stoke

Contrary to what Stoke fans think, nobody hates Stoke. I mean they do a great job. They deserve their place in the Premiership and last year when the Delap thing was discovered, there weren’t many teams I’d rather watch, simply because of the drama!

(16)  Wolves

Wolves are made up of players who have done well at clubs, but they don’t have a superstar. They never have really, they’ve always been (in my lifetime) a team that’s flirted with success. I guess that’s why I’d place them in the bottom end.

(17)  West Brom

Wolves and West Brom are about par in terms of their status. They’ve been up and down between the Championship and Premier League so often I don’t know where their natural existence is. I know that my club, Scunthorpe, naturally belong in the League 2 quota by trade, but I just cannot place West Brom.

(18) Fulham

If I were a Fulham fan I’d be so happy. I mean what they did last year was mesmeric really; reaching the Europa League final. It was special. But in terms of their club, ground, number of fans, global popularity and history, well they have come from nowhere really to get to where they are. I love Fulham, they’re great and their traditions are beautiful, but they’re definitely a little big club if that makes sense.

(19) Wigan

Rags to riches – Non-league to Premier League. You can’t argue with their rise to fame, but if you could pick any team to play for in the top division, I imagine The Latics to be one of the last to secure a signature.

(20) Blackpool

I don’t mean to be harsh; everybody loves what they’re doing this term and last. Everybody wants Blackpool to do well, but if the Premiership was seeded, we all know where they’d be. On par with the likes of Plymouth, Doncaster, Preston I’d say in terms of their greatness. Other than the great Stanley Matthews and what they’ve done over the last two seasons, I don’t think I’d really know anything about them really.

 

Simon Bourne

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