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The Football Club Success Ranking System

The ranking system to define, once and for all, the most successful clubs in European Men’s Football leagues

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

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 business class, or even private jet ones.

Round robin format league ‘Titles’ are arguably the most important trophies to win, yet 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.

On the other hand, knockout cup competitions bring challenges of their own. 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 coveted by fans; each trophy proves their team is, if not the best in the country, has the mettle to come away winners.

Concept – This quantified ranking system is best for comparing how successful each European men’s football club has been within their domestic league systems. It also allows for a cross comparison among all of UEFA’s biggest clubs. The system is great at comparing clubs between UEFA’s top five leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Budesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, 2021). It ultimately allows every team to be ranked within its own country, and some broader pan-European cross comparison.

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 hold the silverware aloft. It also makes it 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 this trophy or just one of hundreds of clubs? What is the quality of football likely to be?
  3. How prestigious is it? This is a somewhat 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.
CompetitionSuccess Points
Top Tier League Title
-1 point for leagues 6-10,
-2 points for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking)
9
UEFA European Cup / Champions League8
FIFA Club World Cup (AUGMENTED)7
UEFA Cup Winners Cup6.5
UEFA Cup / Europa League6
Association Cup
-1 point for leagues 6-10,
-2 points for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking
5
UEFA Europa Conference League4
League Cup
-1 point for leagues 6-10,
-2 points for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking
4
Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup (1960 – 2020)3
UEFA Super Cup2
Domestic ‘Super Cup’
Not counted for leagues 11-56 of the UEFA Coefficient Ranking
1

The grading rationale is explained here:

Association ‘Super Cup (SC)

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.

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

Min number of games: 1-2

Qualification: Typically the top tier League Champions and Association Cup (AC) winners – 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 one of the strongest five teams 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

‘Champions of the World’ Bayern Munich, 2013

The Club World Cup is an exhibition trophy which, for UEFA clubs, means skipping country for a long week midseason, trying to quickly nab the trophy, then get back home before the regular league notices.

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 – that too. 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’s got the money and all the bells and whistles yet it’s a bit of a flop because it merely confirms what everyone knows – Europe’s money dominates the game. Since the glory days of the IC during the 60s and 70s money has concentrated firmly in Europe with its top domestic leagues and massive broadcast rights deals. Now South America’s challenge to Europe’s dominance is toothless and no other confederation has stepped up. Its best days could be gone.

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

Min number of Games: 2

Qualification: 6 of the participants are continental Champions and the 7th is the host Title holder.

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

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 junior of the ‘major trophies’.

Its giant-killer, one game knockout rounds 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 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

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 won nothing but finished high…ish in their domestic league.

It is another step down from the Europa League. The UEFA Con. League is where the ‘chaff’ of the Europa League are now directed.

What can I say, it’s the third tier of European football. 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: Minimal for all clubs outside of 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 149 years old (2020). 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, the FA Cup 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 ACs. 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 (EL)

Outside the stratosphere of private-jet class European clubs, which count their cup trophies around stacks of Titles, winning the junior of the 2 UEFA knockout competitions has given a lot of the more humble clubs many glory nights and won them 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 – 2 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.

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.

1984 UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur

Min number of games: 15

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

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

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup

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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 AC 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 this tournament invariably 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 (EC) / Champions League (CL)

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’.

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.

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

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 2019 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 (PL)

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.

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 it hold 34 Titles and 3 European Cups between them. (EFL Championship 18/19) 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 whole 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 at 2nd, below La Liga in UEFA’s Coefficient Ranking (2019) based on how league representatives perform in UEFA competition, but it is the most prestigious and regarded as the most competitive 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 is more lucrative and 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 pointed at 9.

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

Min 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 5 leagues in UEFA’s Club Coefficient (La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Premiera Liga (2019)) 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 calendar 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? Also, does your club make it into the ‘Big 100+’? Clubs scoring 100 or more Success Points join an honour role of Euope’s most elite clubs.

Featured

English Football’s Most Successful Clubs of All Time (August 2020)

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 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.

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.

Its most successful club is some way short of the Most Successful Club in Europe, yet no fewer than 7 English clubs are ‘Big 100+’ clubs.

English clubs have earned 232.5 points in international competitions.

Scroll to the bottom to see the full table of England’s 25 Most Successful Clubs!

Here, is the ARL countdown of the Top 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)

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 their 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)

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, as well as 32 of its 69 points. It bagged a further 3 FA Cups in the 1950s.

8. Tottenham Hotspur

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)

My club Spurs makes it into the Top 10 but sadly outside of the ‘Big 100+’ by a mere 4 points, tormenting my soul more than you can imagine.

Being not at all biased or milking it… the mighty ‘Lillywhites’ have an excellent success score for a club that has just two Titles to its name, won in the 1950s and ’60s. Spurs’ credentials as an institution of the English game are underlined by the fact it 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) and 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.

Tottenham holds 8th in the national ranking and is comfortably ahead of those below it.

7 Clubs in the ‘Big 100+’

Now let’s take a look at the 7 members of the ‘Big 100+’ – clubs which have scored 100+ Success Points.

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)

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.

Everton is the 7th most successful club in the ranking at 121 points.

6. Aston Villa FC

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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)

Trailing behind 4rd placed Man City, Aston Villa comfortably makes it into the ‘Big 100+’ on 135 Success Points. Despite struggling in the PL in recent years, it was actually the original giant of the English game, having already won 5 of its 7 Titles and 3 out of 7 FA Cups by the time the 20th Century 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. It’s the most successful club in the Greater Birmingham area and 5th in England.

5. Manchester City FC

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2017 English Champions MCFC

Success Points: 142.5

First Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1904

Latest Trophies Won: PL and FL Cup, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Pep Guardiola – 54 points (Jul 2016 – Present (May 2021))

Manchester’s 2nd club comes in at 6th and has rocketed into the ‘Big 100+’.

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.

This has pushed what was once a middle-of-the-road club into exclusive company by making up the fifth of the 7 ‘Big 100+′ Clubs in England. Its glory days show no sign of stopping so expect it to rise further up the table.

4. Chelsea FC

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

Success Points: 146

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

Latest Trophy Won: UEFA CL and UEFA SC, 2021

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

From the ‘Grand Old Ladies’ to upstarts, 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 in the top table and is in the ‘Big 100+’ as 4th Most Successful.

3. Arsenal FC

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The Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ of 2003-2004

Success Points: 215.5

First Trophy Won: FA Cup, 1930

Latest Trophies Won: FA Cup, 2020

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

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 and comfortably holds 3rd place in England.

2. Manchester United FC

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Man U famously achieved the European Treble in 1999

Success Points: 320.5

First Trophy Won: FL Division 1 Title, 1908

Most Recent Trophy Wins: FL Cup and UEFA Europa League, 2017

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

One of the biggest clubs in England, with its ubiquitous fanbase, is also just one of two clubs to reach the 300+ points mark. It won its lion’s share of trophies in the PL era under the epic stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.

It won two 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. It’s also only the 2nd English club to win a Club World Cup to date (2020). Taken together with its overall grand trophy haul, this puts it as the 2nd most successful club in England

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: 329.5

First Trophy Won: FL Div. 1 Title, 1901

Most Recent Trophy Won: PL Title, 2020

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

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 brings Liverpool back on top as England’s most successful club in England!

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 League 4
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

Top 25 Most Success Football Clubs in England (Feb 2020)

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: 8 x 4 = 32
AC: 7 x 5 = 35
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
CL: 6 x 8 = 48
T: 19 x 9 = 171
+ 2 (Treble) 
329.5
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
216.5
4Chelsea FC4 x 1 = 4
2 x 2 = 4
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
146
5Manchester City FC6 x 1 = 6
9 x 4 = 36
6 x 5 = 30
1 x 6.5 = 6.5
7 x 9 = 63
+1 (Treble)
142.5
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 FC
4 + 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 FC
1 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
=20Preston North End FC1 x 1 = 1
2  x 5 = 10
2 x 9 = 18
29
=20Sheffield 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

The Most Successful Clubs in Portugal Ever (May, 2021)

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, 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 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.

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.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supertaca Candido de Oliveira)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
LC: League Cup (Taca da Liga)3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League (TBC)4
AC: Association Cup (Campeonato de Portugal / Taca de Portugal)4
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 (Primeira Liga)8

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

Below are Portugal’s three clubs in the ‘Big 100+’; clubs that have scored 100 or more Success Points.

3. Sporting CP

Success Points: 261.5

First trophy won: Taca de Portugal (TdP), 1923

Latest trophies won: Primeira Liga and Taca da Liga (TdL), 2021

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 (TdP) in 1923. The Leões (Lions) really came of age with a spectacular period from 1940 – 1954 when they went on a barnstorming run, winning nine Primeira Liga (PL) titles and five TdPs 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 haven’t won a PL since 2002, achieving the League/Cup Double that season. It has won 6 more cups since, however, and maintained its profile as one of Portugal’s ‘Os Três Grandes‘ (Big Three). In 2021 Sporting won another Title.

Sporting’s most successful decade was the 1940s, scoring 56 of its 248.5 points.

2. FC Porto

Success Points: 376

First trophy Won: TdP, 1922

Latest trophies won: PL and TdP and SCdO, 2020

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 ‘Dragões’ (Dragons) of Porto in 1906. The club won the inaugural Portuguese Cup (TdC), 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

Benfica SL raise the trophy and celebrate winning their 37th PL Title

Success Points: 458

First trophy Won: TdP, 1930

Latest trophies won: PL and SCdO, 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.

‘As Águias’ (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 (TdC). 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.

Best of the Rest

Before the Primeira Liga’s (PL) advent, ‘Os Três Grandes’ had room for one more club. CF Os Beleneses won 4 Taca de Portugals (TdP) before winning its first and, to date, only PL in 1946. It has since won two more major trophies and Beleneses still sits as Portugal’s 4th most successful club, albeit with just 32 Success Points.

PositionClubSubpoints TotalsTotal Points
1SL BenficaSC: 8 x 1 = 8
LC: 7 x 3 = 21
AC: 29 x 4 = 116
CL: 2 x 8 = 16
T: 37 x 8 = 296
+1 (Treble)
458
2FC PortoSC: 22 x 1 = 22
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
FIFA CWC: 2 x 3 = 6
AC: 21 x 4 = 84
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
CL: 2 x 8 = 16
T: 29 x 8 = 232
+2 (Treble)
376
3Sporting CPSC: 8 x 1 = 8
LC: 3 x 3 = 9
AC: 21 x 4 = 84
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 19 x 8 = 152
261.5
4CF Os Beleneses6 x 4 = 24
1 x 8 = 8
32
5Boavista FC3 x 1 = 3
5 x 4 =20
1 x 8 = 8
31
6SC Braga2 x 3 = 6
3 x 4 = 12
18
7Vitoria FC1 x 3 = 3
3 x 4 = 12
15
8Coimbra Academy Association2 x 4 = 88

The Most Successful Clubs in France (May, 2021)

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 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.

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 make it into the ‘Big 100+’ group yet, remarkably, no club has 300+ Success points mostly, it seems, because few of France’s giants won much in the 20th Century’s first half. Maybe the result is that too few clubs have won trophies regularly enough to gain the fan-base engagement and ambition to make a success of UEFA competitions.

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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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 Coupe de France 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 (The Kids) 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

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 Coupe de France 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

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 center 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 Coupe de la Ligue in 2013.

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

2. Olympique de Marseille

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 Coupe de France’s 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 Coupe de la Ligues 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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Points: 206.5

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1982

Latest Trophy Won: CdF and TdC, 2021

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 7 out of 9 Titles, 6 out of 9 Coupes de France and 6 Coupes de la Ligue.

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

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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 94 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 Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
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 League6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League8
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: 9 x 9 = 81
+3 (Trebles)
206.5
2Olympique de MarsilleSC: 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: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 8 x 9 = 72
94
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
9Lille OSCAC: 6 x 5 = 30
T: 4 x 9 = 36
66
10CO Roubaix TourcoingT: 6 x 9 = 5454
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

Italy’s Most Successful Football Clubs Ever (May, 2021)

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 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 its Serie A

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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 240.5 Success Points in international competitions reflects its European pedigree.

Serie A has passed on the torch to La Liga and the PL as we head into the 21st Century’s 3rd decade yet Serie A is still a force to be reckoned with.

Scroll down to the bottom to view the full table of Italy’s Most Successful Clubs
Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League 4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)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 (Serie A)9

Here, the ARL countdown of the Top 3 Most Successful Football Clubs in Italy:

3. Inter Milan FC

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Points: 263

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1910

Latest Trophy Won: Serie A, 2021

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’ (Black and Blues) 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

Points: 285

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1901

Latest Trophy Won: Supercoppa Italiana, 2016

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

The ‘Rossoneri’ (The Red and Blacks) 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

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 (as of 2020). They have also managed the rare feat of winning every UEFA trophy possible, including 2 EC/CLs.

Like Bayern, Juventus’s strength in Serie A might mean that the club is so successful it weakens the league it plays in by making it less of a spectacle, in turn, weakening Juventus; and this might explain why Juve haven’t won a CL in decades.

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 KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League 4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)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 (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: 18 x 9 = 162
285
3Inter Milan FCSC: 5 x 1 = 5
FIFA CWC: 3 x 3 = 9
AC: 7 x 5 = 35
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
CL: 3 x 8 = 24
T: 19 x 9 = 171
+1 (Treble)
263
4Torino FCAC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 7 x 9 = 63
88
5Genoa CFCAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 9 x 9 = 81
86
=6Bologna FCAC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 7 x 9 = 63
73
=6AS RomaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 9 x 5 = 45
T: 3 x 9 = 27
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
USD Novese
Cagliare Calcio
Hellas Verona FC
T: 1 x 9 = 99

Germany’s Most Successful Football Clubs Ever (May, 2021)

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.

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.

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’s the league with 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. Its most successful club has a huge global profile and German clubs have played a solid part in UEFA’s history – 7 clubs have managed to win at least 1 major UEFA trophy and German clubs have scored a modest 134 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 are Germany’s ‘Big 100+ Clubs’ and 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

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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 now, it only has a modest number of Success Points and this is partly explained by the fact that, in spite of 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; that decade 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 (see below). It sits 2nd in the national Success Rankings.

1. FC Bayern Munich

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Points: 490.5

Earliest Trophy won: GFC, 1932

Latest Trophies won: Bundesliga, 2021

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 managed to amass over 400 points and achieved feats such as winning the then 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 2020, it has been the Bundesliga Champion for 8 years. Bayern have won over half of all Bundesliga Championships.

This monopoly over the Bundesliga probably doesn’t do the league’s finances 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 League 4
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: 8 x 1 = 8
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: 31 x 9 = 279
+3 (Trebles)
490.5
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: 1 x 6 = 6
T: 1 x 9 = 9
40

Scottish Football’s Most Successful Clubs Ever (May, 2021)

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 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.

Scotland, its Premiership and ‘Old Firm’

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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 over 1000 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. All clubs in leagues below 11th in the UEFA Coefficient score minus 2 points per domestic trophy. The SP is 13th in the Coefficient (2020).

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 full table of Scotland’s Most Successful Clubs

Below are Scotland’s 2 Most Successful Clubs ever:

2. Celtic FC

Points: 512

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1892

Latest Trophies Won: Scottish Premiership, Cup and League Cup, 2020

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

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.

Its most successful decade was the 2010s with 88 points. It 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 Bhoys’ 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.

Celtic are one of the most successful clubs in Europe, yet still, only Scottish football’s 2nd most successful club.

1. Rangers FC

Points: 551.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Division 1, 1891

Latest Trophies Won: Scottish Premiership, 2021

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

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 42% of Scottish Titles total and in every decade since the 1890s.

The 1990s was Rangers’ most successful decade, winning 9 Premierships in a row and 97 Success Points under managers Souness and Smith. 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.

Even in spite of this, It is Scotland’s most successful club and the 2nd most successful in all of Europe!

Best of the Rest

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 except 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.

5th placed Hibernian FC enjoyed their time in the sun from 1948-52 with what was regarded as the finest forward line ever in Scottish football – Hibs’ ‘Famous Five’. They won 3 Titles in that time.

Let’s not forget one of Scottish football’s founding fathers, Queen’s Park FC which comes in at 6th. The club actually pioneered passing in football and had a lot of success before the Old Firm’s rise, winning 10 Scottish Cups and 30 Success Points. It has always rejected professional football status, however, believing it spoils the spirit of competitiveness. Subsequently ‘The Spiders’ last trophy was won in 1893.

Competition KeyPoints
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
LC: League Cup (Scottish League Cup)2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
AC: Association Cup (Scottish FA Cup)3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League 4
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 / Scottish Premiership)7

Success Point Ranking Table

PositionClubSub-point TotalsSuccess Point Total
1Rangers FCLC: 27 x 2 = 54
AC: 33 x 3 = 99
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 55 x 7 = 385
+7 (Trebles)
551.5
2Celtic FCLC: 19 x 2 = 38
AC: 34 x 3 = 102
CL: 1 x 8 = 8
T: 51 x 7 = 357
+7 (Trebles)
512
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 FCAC: 10 x 3 = 3030
7Kilmarnock FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 3 x 3 = 9
T: 1 x 7 = 7
18
=8Dumbarton FCAC: 1 x 3 = 3
T: 2 x 7 = 14
17
=8Dundee United FCLC: 2 x 2 = 4
AC: 2 x 3 = 6
T: 1 x 7 = 7
17
10Dundee FCLC: 3 x 2 = 6
AC: 1 x 3 = 3
T: 1 x 7 = 7
16
11St Johnstone FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 2 x 3 = 6
8

Spanish Football’s Most Successful Clubs of All Time (May, 2021)

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.

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.

Spanish Football and its ‘La Liga’

As the only validative measure of league quality, UEFA’s League Coefficient currently ranks Spanish football as the best league football in Europe (2020), having dominated UEFA’s cup contests for much of the 21st Century’s ‘teens’. It’s worth bearing that in mind when understanding why La Liga’s two powerhouses and rivals, Real Madrid and Barcelona, have such global reputations.

Alongside a supporting cast of Spanish football clubs, they have scored a whopping 328.5 Success Points in total from all international competitions.

Its top tier league, ‘La Liga’ was founded in 1929. 5 Clubs are in the ‘Big 100+’ honour roll of clubs with at least 100 Success points to their name and Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most successful clubs in Europe.

Spain is a nation which tries to jostle with the English Premier League’s lucrative place in the limelight by offering plenty of glamour ties against Europe’s elite for its biggest clubs, earning them plenty of dosh in the process.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (RFEF Spanish Super Cup)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
LC: League Cup (Copa de la Liga)4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League 4
AC: Association Cup (RFEF Copa Del Rey)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 (La Liga)9

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

Here is the ARL countdown of the Spain’s ‘Big 100+’ Members – Clubs with 100+ Success Points

5. Valencia FC

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Points: 109.5

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1941

Latest Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 2019

Most Successful Manager: Rafa Benitez – 24 points (2001-2004)

Founded in 1919 and only competing for the Copa del Rey for the first time in 1923, Valencia sat in the background of the Spanish football scene until blowing up shortly after the Civil War, winning its first ever trophy in 1941. It followed this up with 3 La Ligas throughout the rest of the 1940s and this set the tone for ambition with mixed results.

The club has managed to win major trophies in every decade since, except the 80s, including its 3rd La Liga under ex Real Madrid legend Alfredo de Stefano in 1970 and it added another 2 Titles plus 1 UEFA Cup to its trophy cabinet in three years under its most successful manager Rafa Benitez. It won its 8th Copa del Rey as recently as 2019 by beating the league champions Barcelona in the final.

Valencia is the first club to make it into the ‘Big 100+’, coming in at 5th.

4. Atletico Madrid

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Points: 184.5

First Trophy Won: La Liga, 1940

Latest Trophy Won: La Liga, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Diego Simeone – 40 points (2011 – present (2021))

A club founded by three Basque students in 1903, Atletico Madrid (AM) was only intended to be a subsidiary branch of Basque club Athletic Bilbao who the three saw win the Copa del Rey in that year. It became independent in 1921 however and, like Valencia, it would come into its own after the Civil War; it won La Ligas consecutively at the start of the 1940s and again at the start of the ‘50s. The club also won the King’s Cup twice in a row at the start of the ‘60s and again at the start of the ‘90s.

La Liga in the Postmodern era has been characterised by an increasingly stifling dominance by the ‘Real – Barca’ rivalry, hogging financial resources and the talent pool in the process. It’s been refreshing to see a third club find success of their own, largely under the reign of their most successful manager Simeone, grabbing 5 UEFA trophies, another Copa del Rey, then crowning it with another La Liga Title in 2014.

AM were crowned Spanish champions yet again in 2021.

Although AM has established itself as La Liga’s 3rd best club in the 21st Century, its later start in football puts it in as Spain’s 4th Most Successful Club.

3. Athletic Bilbao FC

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Points: 190

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1903

Latest Trophy Won: RFEF Super Cup, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Fred Pentland – 43 points (1922-1925 and 1929-1933)

A club with the unique distinction of employing the cantera policy, which limits it to recruiting exclusively from the Greater Basque Region, is a founding member of ‘La Liga’. ‘Los Leones’ (The Lions) featured prominently in early Copa del Rey editions prior to La Liga’s inception in 1928, winning 3 in a row, from 1914 – 16, for example.

Athletic has its roots in the late 19th Century with a heavy British influence. Most of its managers were also British up until the early ‘30s, including its most successful manager Fred Pentland. Implementing a pioneering short passing style of play, he led Athletic to 2 League/Cup ‘doubles’ in 1930 and 1931 and under him the club didn’t share the King’s Cup with anyone from 1930 until 1933.

It continued to vie with Barca and Real Madrid (RM) for Spanish dominance until the latter half of the 20th Century which inevitably saw its small recruitment pool handicap them against the rest of Spanish clubs’ ever expanding recruiting networks. Major trophies have come ever harder to come by although, under the stewardship of Javier Clemente, a dour yet effective playing style would see Athletic haul in another 2 La Ligas in the first half of the 1980s.

Athletic Bilbao’s huge Copa del Rey haul helps put it in 3rd place in Spain’s Most Successful Club ranking.

Barcelona FC

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Points: 470

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1910

Latest Trophy Won: Copa del Rey, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Pepe Guardiola – 66 points (2008-2012)

Standing alone as the only club able to loosen Real Madrid’s stranglehold over La Liga, Catalan top dog Barcelona is its fierce rival and a global giant in its own right. It falls short of the 500 Success points mark but has a record 150 points from the Copa del Rey alone, winning more than 1 in 4 of every trophy won. It clinched the first ever La Liga in 1930 before its founder, Hans Gamper, tragically took his own life a year later.

The 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s were sparse decades for Titles, though it filled its trophy cabinet with Copa del Reys and 4 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups in the 80s. Its superpower status really took off in the 90s and on into the 21st Century. It managed to win itself 3 Champions’ Leagues (CL) including 3 Titles and 2 CLs, amongst other silverware, under Pepe’s Guardiola’s leadership. He added 66 points to the club in 4 short years from 2008 – 12.

With over 450 points, this puts Barcelona in as just the 2nd Most Successful Club in Spain.

1. Real Madrid FC

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Points: 561

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa Del Rey, 1905

Latest Trophy Won: La Liga, 2020

Most Successful Manager: Miguel Munoz – 110 points (1959-1974)

Real Madrid (RM) is arguably the biggest club in the world by virtually every yardstick and it has the success to match, passing the stratospheric 500 point mark. The club has a record 13 Champions’ League trophies, no less than 7 Intercontinental Cups/FIFA Club World Cups, and dozens of Titles.

The club was founded in 1902 and RM won its first Copa del Rey soon after in 1905. Under the ambitious stewardship of Santiago Bernabéu Yeste from 1945 RM embarked on a policy of buying up the cream of European talent and creating teams of ‘Galacticos’. From then on it’s laid down a firm dominance over La Liga, grabbing roughly one in every three Titles ever won.

The first of those Galacticos, Alfredo di Stefano, launched RM into the big time as it jumped into the new big thing – International matchups formally governed by UEFA. When the European Cup was launched in 1955, RM won the first 5 on the trot.

As they say, the rest is history. ‘Royal Madrid’ truly are the kings of football. It is not only the Most Successful Club in Spain, but in the whole of Europe!

The Best of the Rest

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Although it holds just 1 La Liga Title, Sevilla FC’s profile has risen considerably in the 21st Century by winning a record 6 UEFA Europa Leagues, 3 of them won consecutively from 2014-16. That is a wonderful achievement for a club outside of the ‘El Clasico’ cartel! They come in at 6th.

8th placed Real Sociodad managed to break the status quo for a brief window from 1980 – 82, snatching 2 Titles plus a Super Cup under the guidance of ex Socio player Alberto Ormaetxea.

Success Point Table

PositionFootball ClubSuccess Points SubtotalsSuccess Points Total
1Real Madrid FCSC: 11 x 1 = 11
UEFA SC: 4 x 2 = 8
FIFA CWC: 7 x 3 = 21
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 19 x 5 = 95
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
CL: 13 x 8 = 104
T: 34 x 9 = 306
561
2Barcelona FCSC: 13 x 1 = 13
UEFA SC: 5 x 2 = 10
FIFA CWC: 3 x 3 = 9
LC: 2 x 4 = 8
AC: 31 x 5 = 155
UEFA CWC: 4 x 6.5 = 26
CL: 5 x 8 = 40
T: 23 x 9 = 207
+2 Trebles
470
3Athletic Bilbao FCSC: 3 x 1 = 3
AC: 23 x 5 = 115
T: 8 x 9 = 72
190
4Atletico Madrid FCSC: 2 x 1 = 2
UEFA SC: 3 x 2 = 6
FIFA CWC: 1 x 3 = 3
AC: 10 x 5 = 50
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 11 x 9 = 99
184.5
5Valencia FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 8 x 5 = 40
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 6 x 9 = 54
109.5
6Sevilla FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
EL: 6 x 6 = 36
T: 1 x 9 = 9
73
7Real Zaragoza FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
37.5
8Real Sociedad FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 2 x 9 = 18
29
9Deportivo de la Coruna FCSC: 3 x 1 = 3
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 1 x 9 = 9
22
=10RCD Espanyol FC
Real Unión Club de Irún
AC: 4 x 5 = 2020
12Real Betis FC AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 1 x 9 = 9
19
=13RCD Mallorca FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 1 x 5 = 5
6
=13Villareal CFEL: 1 x 6 = 66
15Real Valladolid FCLC: 1 x 4 = 44
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