We’ve all had those debates with fans of other clubs.
“Small club!? We’ve won X league titles!”
“We’re bigger than you – look at our stadium compared to your shed!”
“How are you a big club? You’ve not won anything in X years!”
The debates are endless and neither party is going to convince their counterpart that the club in question is bigger or smaller than they say it is.
But one of the really popular facts to throw at other fans in these debates is the how well-supported a club is.
So, let’s imagine a world where the English Football League system was reorganised… based on average attendance.
If we were to use last season’s numbers, there would be a lot of promotions and relegations. With some clubs climbing/falling two leagues or more.
- Sunderland +31 – the Wearsiders would shun the League One play-offs and return to the Premier League with a mid-table finish
- Bradford City +32 – they’d be spared a crushing relegation from League One and find themselves as a mid-table Championship side
- Wrexham +29 – after 11 years in non-league football, the North Welsh side would fly straight up to League One
- Leyton Orient +27 – The Orient would be able to skip League Two and return to League One
- Chesterfield +33 – No more non-league struggle for Chesterfield, they’d be in the League Two play-offs
- Stockport County +35 – Having played in England’s third tier as recently as 201, County would move up from the top of the Conference North back into League Two
- Stevenage, Forest Green, Macclesfield, Crawley and Morecambe would drop out of the Football League
- Bournemouth -34 – The fairy tale rise for Eddie Howe’s side would be over and they’d be battling it out in the League One play-offs
- Burton (-34) and Fleetwood (-33) would crash out from their comfortable League One position down to the lower echelons of League Two
Exactly Where They Should Be?
Of all of England’s 92 Football League clubs, just three teams finished in exactly same league position as their attendance ranking. Tottenham would finish fourth in the Premier League in both worlds, while Norwich would top the Championship, while Middlesbrough would suffer eternal play-off near misses with a seventh place Championship finish.
How Would the Premier League Look?
Well, after a difficult few years for the pair, Manchester United and Arsenal would return to challenging it out for the Premier League title, while West Ham would achieve a shock third-place finish and play in the Champions League for the first time.
Despite probably being the two best sides in the world football right now, Man City and Liverpool would have to deal with awkward Thursday night fixtures in the Europa League.
Mike Ashley should also look away now, as Newcastle would sore up to seventh place. Aston Villa, Leeds and Sunderland would also enjoy cushy mid-table Premier League returns. Plus, there’d be a relegation reprieve for Neil Warnock’s Cardiff, would finish 14th.
What do you think? How do you judge how big a club is? And is fan base one of – if not the – biggest consideration? Comment below.