List of English football champions

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Preston North End in 1888–89, the first English football champions

The English football champions are the winners of the highest league in English football, which is currently the Premier League. Teams in bold are those who won the double of League Championship and FA Cup, or the European Double of League Championship and European Cup in that season.

Following the legalisation of professional football by the Football Association in 1885,[1] the English Football League was established in 1888, after a series of meetings initiated by Aston Villa director William McGregor.[2] At the end of the 1888–89 season, Preston North End were the first club to be crowned champions after completing their fixtures unbeaten.[3]

The first fully professional football competition in the world, the League's early years were dominated by teams from the North and Midlands, where professionalism was embraced more readily than in the South.[4] Its status as the country's pre-eminent league was strengthened in 1892, when the rival Football Alliance was absorbed into the Football League.[5] Former Alliance clubs comprised the bulk of a new Second Division, from which promotion to the top level could be gained. It was not until 1931 that a Southern club were crowned champions, when Herbert Chapman's Arsenal secured the title. Arsenal scored 127 goals in the process, a record for a title-winning side (though runners-up Aston Villa ironically scored one goal more, a record for the top division).[6]

Rules stipulating a maximum wage for players were abolished in 1961. This resulted in a shift of power towards bigger clubs.[7] Financial considerations became an even bigger influence from 1992, when the teams then in the First Division defected to form the FA Premier League. This supplanted the Football League First Division as the highest level of football in England,[8] and due to a series of progressively larger television contracts put wealth into the hands of top flight clubs in a hitherto unprecedented manner.[9] Nine clubs have finished runners-up, but never have won; ordered chronologically these are: Bristol City, Oldham Athletic, Cardiff City, Leicester City, Charlton Athletic, Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers, Watford and most recently Southampton.

Preston North End and Huddersfield Town are the only former top-flight First Division champions that have never played in the Premier League. All the clubs which have ever been crowned champions are still in existence today and all take part in the top four tiers of the English football league system - the football pyramid. Sheffield Wednesday are the only club who have ever changed their name after winning a league title having been known as The Wednesday for the first two of their four titles.

Manchester United have 20 titles, the record for most titles won.[10] United's rivals Liverpool are second with 18. Liverpool dominated during the 1970s and 1980s, while United dominated in the 1990s and 2000s under Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal are third; their 13 titles all came after 1930. Everton (nine) have enjoyed success throughout their history, and both Aston Villa (seven) and Sunderland (six) secured the majority of their titles before World War I. Huddersfield Town in 1924–26, Arsenal in 1933–35, Liverpool in 1982–84 and Manchester United in 1999–2001 and 2007–2009 are the only sides to have won the League title in three consecutive seasons.[11]

Preston North End were the leading team from the outset. They were overtaken in 1894–95 when Sunderland secured their third trophy. Aston Villa's fourth win in 1898–99 gave them the record lead which they did not give up until Arsenal won their seventh title in 1952–53. Liverpool's 9th title in 1975–76 put them top until Manchester United's 19th trophy gave them the lead in 2010–11.

Football League (1888–1892)[edit]

(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1888–89Preston North End[1]Aston VillaWolverhampton WanderersJohn Goodall (Preston North End)21
1889–90Preston North End (2)EvertonBlackburn RoversJimmy Ross (Preston North End)24
1890–91EvertonPreston North EndNotts CountyJack Southworth (Blackburn Rovers)26
1891–92SunderlandPreston North EndBolton WanderersJohn Campbell (Sunderland)32

Football League First Division (1892–1992)[edit]

(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1892–93Sunderland (2)Preston North EndEvertonJohn Campbell (Sunderland)31
1893–94Aston VillaSunderlandDerby CountyJack Southworth (Everton)27
1894–95Sunderland (3)EvertonAston VillaJohn Campbell (Sunderland)22
1895–96Aston Villa (2)Derby CountyEvertonJohnny Campbell (Aston Villa)
Steve Bloomer (Derby County)
1896–97Aston Villa (3)Sheffield UnitedDerby CountySteve Bloomer (Derby County)22
1897–98Sheffield UnitedSunderlandWolverhampton WanderersFred Wheldon (Aston Villa)21
1898–99Aston Villa (4)LiverpoolBurnleySteve Bloomer (Derby County)23
1899–1900Aston Villa (5)Sheffield UnitedSunderlandBilly Garraty (Aston Villa)27
1900–01LiverpoolSunderlandNotts CountySteve Bloomer (Derby County)23
1901–02Sunderland (4)EvertonNewcastle UnitedJimmy Settle (Everton)18
1902–03The Wednesday[8]Aston VillaSunderlandSam Raybould (Liverpool)31
1903–04The Wednesday[8] (2)Manchester CityEvertonSteve Bloomer (Derby County)20
1904–05Newcastle UnitedEvertonManchester CityArthur Brown (Sheffield United)22
1905–06Liverpool (2)Preston North EndThe WednesdayAlbert Shepherd (Bolton Wanderers)26
1906–07Newcastle United (2)Bristol CityEvertonAlex Young (Everton)30
1907–08Manchester UnitedAston VillaManchester CityEnoch West (Nottingham Forest)27
1908–09Newcastle United (3)EvertonSunderlandBert Freeman (Everton)38
1909–10Aston Villa (6)LiverpoolBlackburn RoversJack Parkinson (Liverpool)30
1910–11Manchester United (2)Aston VillaSunderlandAlbert Shepherd (Newcastle United)25
1911–12Blackburn RoversEvertonNewcastle UnitedHarry Hampton (Aston Villa)
George Holley (Sunderland)
David McLean (The Wednesday)
1912–13Sunderland (5)Aston VillaThe WednesdayDavid McLean (The Wednesday)30
1913–14Blackburn Rovers (2)Aston VillaMiddlesbroughGeorge Elliot (Middlesbrough)32
1914–15Everton (2)Oldham AthleticBlackburn RoversBobby Parker (Everton)35
1915/16–1918/19League suspended due to the First World War
1919–20West Bromwich AlbionBurnleyChelseaFred Morris (West Bromwich Albion)37
1920–21BurnleyManchester CityBolton WanderersJoe Smith (Bolton Wanderers)38
1921–22Liverpool (3)Tottenham HotspurBurnleyAndy Wilson (Middlesbrough)31
1922–23Liverpool (4)SunderlandHuddersfield TownCharlie Buchan (Sunderland)30
1923–24Huddersfield TownCardiff CitySunderlandWilf Chadwick (Everton)28
1924–25Huddersfield Town (2)West Bromwich AlbionBolton WanderersFrank Roberts (Manchester City)31
1925–26Huddersfield Town (3)ArsenalSunderlandTed Harper (Blackburn Rovers)43
1926–27Newcastle United (4)Huddersfield TownSunderlandJimmy Trotter (The Wednesday)37
1927–28Everton (3)Huddersfield TownLeicester CityDixie Dean (Everton)60
1928–29The Wednesday[8] (3)Leicester CityAston VillaDave Halliday (Sunderland)43
1929–30Sheffield Wednesday (4)Derby CountyManchester CityVic Watson (West Ham United)41
1930–31ArsenalAston VillaSheffield WednesdayTom Waring (Aston Villa)49
1931–32Everton (4)ArsenalSheffield WednesdayDixie Dean (Everton)44
1932–33Arsenal (2)Aston VillaSheffield WednesdayJack Bowers (Derby County)35
1933–34Arsenal (3)Huddersfield TownTottenham HotspurJack Bowers (Derby County)34
1934–35Arsenal (4)SunderlandSheffield WednesdayTed Drake (Arsenal)42
1935–36Sunderland (6)Derby CountyHuddersfield TownW. G. Richardson (West Bromwich Albion)39
1936–37Manchester CityCharlton AthleticArsenalFreddie Steele (Stoke City)33
1937–38Arsenal (5)Wolverhampton WanderersPreston North EndTommy Lawton (Everton)28
1938–39Everton (5)Wolverhampton WanderersCharlton AthleticTommy Lawton (Everton)35
1939–40League suspended in September 1939 due to outbreak of the Second World War
(Blackpool were top of the table at that time)
1946–47Liverpool (5)Manchester UnitedWolverhampton WanderersDennis Westcott (Wolverhampton Wanderers)37
1947–48Arsenal (6)Manchester UnitedBurnleyRonnie Rooke (Arsenal)33
1948–49PortsmouthManchester UnitedDerby CountyWillie Moir (Bolton Wanderers)25
1949–50Portsmouth (2)Wolverhampton WanderersSunderlandDickie Davis (Sunderland)25
1950–51Tottenham HotspurManchester UnitedBlackpoolStan Mortensen (Blackpool)30
1951–52Manchester United (3)Tottenham HotspurArsenalGeorge Robledo (Newcastle United)33
1952–53Arsenal (7)Preston North EndWolverhampton WanderersCharlie Wayman (Preston North End)24
1953–54Wolverhampton WanderersWest Bromwich AlbionHuddersfield TownJimmy Glazzard (Huddersfield Town)29
1954–55ChelseaWolverhampton WanderersPortsmouthRonnie Allen (West Bromwich Albion)27
1955–56Manchester United (4)BlackpoolWolverhampton WanderersNat Lofthouse (Bolton Wanderers)33
1956–57Manchester United (5)Tottenham HotspurPreston North EndJohn Charles (Leeds United)38
1957–58Wolverhampton Wanderers (2)Preston North EndTottenham HotspurBobby Smith (Tottenham Hotspur)36
1958–59Wolverhampton Wanderers (3)Manchester UnitedArsenalJimmy Greaves (Chelsea)33
1959–60Burnley (2)Wolverhampton WanderersTottenham HotspurDennis Viollet (Manchester United)32
1960–61Tottenham Hotspur (2)Sheffield WednesdayWolverhampton WanderersJimmy Greaves (Chelsea)41
1961–62Ipswich TownBurnleyTottenham HotspurRay Crawford (Ipswich Town)
Derek Kevan (West Bromwich Albion)
1962–63Everton (6)Tottenham HotspurBurnleyJimmy Greaves (Tottenham Hotspur)37
1963–64Liverpool (6)Manchester UnitedEvertonJimmy Greaves (Tottenham Hotspur)35
1964–65Manchester United (6)Leeds UnitedChelseaAndy McEvoy (Blackburn Rovers)
Jimmy Greaves (Tottenham Hotspur)
1965–66Liverpool (7)Leeds UnitedBurnleyWillie Irvine (Burnley)29
1966–67Manchester United (7)Nottingham ForestTottenham HotspurRon Davies (Southampton)37
1967–68Manchester City (2)Manchester UnitedLiverpoolGeorge Best (Manchester United)
Ron Davies (Southampton)
1968–69Leeds UnitedLiverpoolEvertonJimmy Greaves (Tottenham Hotspur)27
1969–70Everton (7)Leeds UnitedChelseaJeff Astle (West Bromwich Albion)25
1970–71Arsenal (8)Leeds UnitedTottenham HotspurTony Brown (West Bromwich Albion)28
1971–72Derby CountyLeeds UnitedLiverpoolFrancis Lee (Manchester City)33
1972–73Liverpool[2] (8)ArsenalLeeds UnitedPop Robson (West Ham United)28
1973–74Leeds United (2)LiverpoolDerby CountyMick Channon (Southampton)21
1974–75Derby County (2)LiverpoolIpswich TownMalcolm Macdonald (Newcastle United)21
1975–76Liverpool[2] (9)Queens Park RangersManchester UnitedTed MacDougall (Norwich City)23
1976–77Liverpool[4] (10)Manchester CityIpswich TownMalcolm Macdonald (Arsenal)
Andy Gray (Aston Villa)
1977–78Nottingham Forest[4]LiverpoolEvertonBob Latchford (Everton)30
1978–79Liverpool (11)Nottingham ForestWest Bromwich AlbionFrank Worthington (Bolton Wanderers)24
1979–80Liverpool (12)Manchester UnitedIpswich TownPhil Boyer (Southampton)23
1980–81Aston Villa (7)Ipswich TownArsenalPeter Withe (Aston Villa)
Steve Archibald (Tottenham Hotspur)
1981–82 [5]Liverpool[5](13)Ipswich TownManchester UnitedKevin Keegan (Southampton)26
1982–83Liverpool[4] (14)WatfordManchester UnitedLuther Blissett (Watford)27
1983–84Liverpool[3][4] (15)SouthamptonNottingham ForestIan Rush (Liverpool)32
1984–85Everton[6] (8)LiverpoolTottenham HotspurKerry Dixon (Chelsea)
Gary Lineker (Leicester City)
1985–86Liverpool (16)EvertonWest Ham UnitedGary Lineker (Everton)30
1986–87Everton (9)LiverpoolTottenham HotspurClive Allen (Tottenham Hotspur)33
1987–88Liverpool (17)Manchester UnitedNottingham ForestJohn Aldridge (Liverpool)26
1988–89Arsenal (9)LiverpoolNottingham ForestAlan Smith (Arsenal)23
1989–90Liverpool (18)Aston VillaTottenham HotspurGary Lineker (Tottenham Hotspur)24
1990–91Arsenal (10)LiverpoolCrystal PalaceAlan Smith (Arsenal)22
1991–92Leeds United (3)Manchester UnitedSheffield WednesdayIan Wright (Crystal Palace/Arsenal)29

Premier League (1992–present)[edit]

(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeTop goalscorerGoals
1992–93Manchester United (8)Aston VillaNorwich CityTeddy Sheringham (Nottingham Forest/Tottenham Hotspur)22
1993–94Manchester United (9)Blackburn RoversNewcastle UnitedAndrew Cole (Newcastle United)34
1994–95Blackburn Rovers (3)Manchester UnitedNottingham ForestAlan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)34
1995–96Manchester United (10)Newcastle UnitedLiverpoolAlan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)31
1996–97Manchester United (11)Newcastle UnitedArsenalAlan Shearer (Newcastle United)25
1997–98Arsenal (11)Manchester UnitedLiverpoolChris Sutton (Blackburn Rovers)
Dion Dublin (Coventry City)
Michael Owen (Liverpool)
1998–99Manchester United[7] (12)ArsenalChelseaJimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United)
Michael Owen (Liverpool)
Dwight Yorke (Manchester United)
1999–2000Manchester United (13)ArsenalLeeds UnitedKevin Phillips (Sunderland)30
2000–01Manchester United (14)ArsenalLiverpoolJimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea)23
2001–02Arsenal (12)LiverpoolManchester UnitedThierry Henry (Arsenal)24
2002–03Manchester United (15)ArsenalNewcastle UnitedRuud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)25
2003–04Arsenal[1] (13)ChelseaManchester UnitedThierry Henry (Arsenal)30
2004–05Chelsea[4] (2)ArsenalManchester UnitedThierry Henry (Arsenal)25
2005–06Chelsea (3)Manchester UnitedLiverpoolThierry Henry (Arsenal)27
2006–07Manchester United (16)ChelseaLiverpoolDidier Drogba (Chelsea)20
2007–08Manchester United (17)ChelseaArsenalCristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)31
2008–09Manchester United[4] (18)LiverpoolChelseaNicolas Anelka (Chelsea)19
2009–10Chelsea (4)Manchester UnitedArsenalDidier Drogba (Chelsea)29
2010–11Manchester United (19)ChelseaManchester CityDimitar Berbatov (Manchester United)
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
2011–12Manchester City (3)Manchester UnitedArsenalRobin van Persie (Arsenal)30
2012–13Manchester United (20)Manchester CityChelseaRobin van Persie (Manchester United)26

Bold indicates Double winners – i.e. League and FA Cup winners OR League and European Cup winners

Italic indicates Treble winners – i.e. League, FA Cup and European Cup winners

Total titles won[edit]

Teams in bold compete in the Premier League as of 2013–14 season.

ClubWinnersRunners-upWinning seasons
Manchester United
1907–08, 1910–11, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13
1900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90
1930–31, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1947–48, 1952–53, 1970–71, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04
1890–91, 1914–15, 1927–28, 1931–32, 1938–39, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1984–85, 1986–87
Aston Villa
1893–94, 1895–96, 1896–97, 1898–99, 1899–1900, 1909–10, 1980–81
1891–92, 1892–93, 1894–95, 1901–02, 1912–13, 1935–36
1954–55, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
Newcastle United
1904–05, 1906–07, 1908–09, 1926–27
Sheffield Wednesday
1902–03, 1903–04, 1928–29, 1929–30
Leeds United
1968–69, 1973–74, 1991–92
Wolverhampton Wanderers
1953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59
Manchester City
1936–37, 1967–68, 2011–12
Huddersfield Town
1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26
Blackburn Rovers
1911–12, 1913–14, 1994–95
Preston North End
1888–89, 1889–90
Tottenham Hotspur
1950–51, 1960–61
Derby County
1971–72, 1974–75
1920–21, 1959–60
1948–49, 1949–50
Ipswich Town
Nottingham Forest
Sheffield United
West Bromwich Albion

Total titles won by region[edit]

RegionNumber of titlesClubs
North West
Manchester United (20), Liverpool (18), Everton (9), Manchester City (3),Blackburn Rovers (3), Burnley (2), Preston North End (2)
Arsenal (13), Chelsea (4), Tottenham Hotspur (2)
Sheffield Wednesday (4), Leeds United (3), Huddersfield Town (3), Sheffield United
West Midlands
Aston Villa (7), Wolverhampton Wanderers (3), West Bromwich Albion
North East
Sunderland (6), Newcastle United (4)
East Midlands
Derby County (2), Nottingham Forest
South East
Portsmouth (2)
East of England
Ipswich Town
South West

Total titles won by city (Only cities with more than one champion included)[edit]

CityNumber of titlesClubs
Liverpool (18), Everton (9)
Manchester United (20), Manchester City (3)
Arsenal (13), Chelsea (4), Tottenham Hotspur (2)
Sheffield Wednesday (4), Sheffield United (1)

North-South Divide[edit]

The North has historically dominated the top tier of English football.

AreaNumber of titlesClubs
The North
Manchester United (20), Liverpool (18), Everton (9), Manchester City (3),Blackburn Rovers (3), Burnley (2), Preston North End (2), Sheffield Wednesday (4), Leeds United (3), Huddersfield Town (3), Sheffield United (1), Sunderland (6), Newcastle United (4)
The South
Portsmouth (2), Arsenal (13), Chelsea (4), Tottenham Hotspur (2), Ipswich Town (1)
The Midlands
Derby County (2), Nottingham Forest (1), Aston Villa (7), Wolverhampton Wanderers (3), West Bromwich Albion (1)

Multiple trophy wins[edit]

See The Double and The Treble

See also[edit]


  1. a b Completed the season unbeaten.
  2. a b Also won the UEFA Cup.
  3. a b Also won the European Cup.
  4. a b c d e f Also won the League Cup.
  5. a From the 1981–82 season onwards three points were awarded for a win. Prior to this a win gave two points.
  6. a Also won the Cup Winners Cup.
  7. a In addition to the double of League and FA Cup, Manchester United also won the European Cup in 1999. This achievement is referred to as the Treble.
  8. a b c Sheffield Wednesday were known as The Wednesday until 1929.


  1. ^ "The History of the Football League". Football League website. Retrieved 15 February 2006. 
  2. ^ Inglis, Simon (1988). League Football and the Men Who Made It. Willow Books. pp. 6–8. ISBN 0-00-218242-4. 
  3. ^ Titford, Roger (November 2005). "Football League, 1888–89". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  4. ^ Goldblatt, David (2007). The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football. London: Penguin. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-14-101582-8. 
  5. ^ Inglis, League Football and the Men Who Made It, p25
  6. ^ "Free-scoring Gunners clinch first title". Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Dart, Tom (25 May 2009). "Burnley: little town, big traditions". The Times (London). Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "A History of The Premier League". Premier League. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  9. ^ Harris, Nick (7 February 2009). "£1.78bn: Record Premier League TV deal defies economic slump". Independent (London). Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  10. ^ Nurse, Howard (14 May 2011). "Blackburn 1 – 1 Man Utd". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Sideline". London: The Times. 16 May 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2009.