|English League (1st tier)|
|Football League (1888–1892)|
Football League First Division (1892–1992)
Premier League (1992–present)
|Number of teams|
|20 (since 1995–96 season)|
|Manchester City (2020–21)|
|Most successful club|
|Manchester United (20 championships)|
Following the codification of professional football by the Football Association in 1885, the Football League was established in 1888, after meetings initiated by Aston Villa director William McGregor. At the end of the 1888–89 season, Preston North End were the first club to be crowned champions after completing their fixtures unbeaten.
The league's early years were dominated by teams from the North and Midlands, where professionalism had been embraced more readily than in the South of England. Its status as the country's pre-eminent league was strengthened in 1892, when the rival Football Alliance was absorbed into the Football League. 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.
Rules stipulating a maximum wage for players were abolished in 1961. This resulted in a shift of power towards bigger clubs. 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, and due to a series of progressively larger television contracts, put unprecedented wealth into the hands of top flight clubs. The first five champions in the Premier League era – Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United – had all won the title at least once prior to 1992. Leicester City were champions for the first time in 2016, becoming the first team to win the Premier League without having previously won the First Division.
All the clubs which have ever been champions are still in existence today and all take part in the top four tiers of the English football league system. 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 three of their four titles.
Manchester United have won twenty titles, the most of any club. United's rivals Liverpool are second with nineteen. Liverpool dominated during the 1970s and 1980s (winning eleven league titles between 1973 and 1990), while Manchester United dominated in the 1990s and 2000s under manager Sir Alex Ferguson (eleven league titles between 1993 and 2009). Arsenal are third with thirteen titles, having dominated during the 1930s (five league titles between 1931 and 1938). Everton are fourth with nine titles. Aston Villa (seven) and Sunderland (six) secured the majority of their titles before World War I. Manchester City (seven titles) and Chelsea (six titles) secured the majority of their titles in the 21st century. Manchester City have won five league titles between 2012 and 2021, whilst Chelsea won five titles between 2005 and 2017.
Huddersfield Town (1923–24 to 1925–26), Arsenal (1932–33 to 1934–35), Liverpool (1981–82 to 1983–84) and Manchester United (1998–99 to 2000–01 and 2006–07 to 2008–09) are the only sides to have won the league title in three consecutive seasons.
List of championsEdit
Football League (1888–1892)Edit
|Season||Champions (number of titles)||Runners-up||Third place||Winning manager|
|1888–89||Preston North End[a][b]||Aston Villa||Wolverhampton Wanderers||William Sudell (secretary manager)|
|1889–90||Preston North End (2)||Everton||Blackburn Rovers||William Sudell (secretary manager)|
|1890–91||Everton||Preston North End||Notts County||Dick Molyneux (secretary manager)|
|1891–92||Sunderland||Preston North End||Bolton Wanderers||Tom Watson|
Football League First Division (1892–1992)Edit
Premier League (1992–present)Edit
Total titles wonEdit
There are 24 clubs who have won the English title, including 7 who have won the Premier League (1992–present). The most recent to join the list were Leicester City (2015–2016 champions) and before that, Nottingham Forest (1977–1978) and Derby County (1971–1972).
Seven teams have at some point held first or joint first place in the number of titles won: Preston North End (1889–1895), Sunderland (1893–1899 and 1936–1953), Aston Villa (1897–1953), Arsenal (1948–1976), Liverpool (1966–1971 and 1973–2011), Manchester United (1967–1971 and 2009–) and Everton (1970–1971).
Eight teams have finished as runners up without ever finishing top: Bristol City (1906–1907), Oldham Athletic (1914–1915), Cardiff City (1923–1924), Charlton Athletic (1936–1937), Blackpool (1955–1956), Queens Park Rangers (1975–1976), Watford (1982–1983) and Southampton (1983–1984). Of these, Cardiff City came closest to winning the league, matching champions Huddersfield Town in points but losing out on goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded), the precursor to goal difference.
Teams in bold compete in the Premier League as of the 2021–22 season.
|North West||62||Manchester United (20), Liverpool (19), Everton (9), Manchester City (7), Blackburn Rovers (3), Burnley (2), Preston North End (2)|
|London||21||Arsenal (13), Chelsea (6), Tottenham Hotspur (2)|
|Yorkshire||11||Sheffield Wednesday (4), Huddersfield Town (3), Leeds United (3), Sheffield United (1)|
|West Midlands||11||Aston Villa (7), Wolverhampton Wanderers (3), West Bromwich Albion (1)|
|North East||10||Sunderland (6), Newcastle United (4)|
|East Midlands||4||Derby County (2), Leicester City (1), Nottingham Forest (1)|
|South East||2||Portsmouth (2)|
|East||1||Ipswich Town (1)|
|City / Town||Championships||Clubs|
|Liverpool||28||Liverpool (19), Everton (9)|
|Manchester||27||Manchester United (20), Manchester City (7)|
|London||21||Arsenal (13), Chelsea (6), Tottenham Hotspur (2)|
|Birmingham||7||Aston Villa (7)|
|Sheffield||5||Sheffield Wednesday (4), Sheffield United (1)|
|Newcastle||4||Newcastle United (4)|
|Blackburn||3||Blackburn Rovers (3)|
|Huddersfield||3||Huddersfield Town (3)|
|Leeds||3||Leeds United (3)|
|Wolverhampton||3||Wolverhampton Wanderers (3)|
|Derby||2||Derby County (2)|
|Preston||2||Preston North End (2)|
|Ipswich||1||Ipswich Town (1)|
|Leicester||1||Leicester City (1)|
|Nottingham||1||Nottingham Forest (1)|
|West Bromwich||1||West Bromwich Albion (1)|
English football champions mapEdit
- English football first tier top scorers
- List of association football competitions
- List of First Division and Premier League winning managers
- List of Premier League winning players
- List of football clubs in England by competitive honours won
- List of FA Cup finals
- List of FA Community Shield matches
- List of English women's football champions
- Completed the season unbeaten.
- Also won the FA Cup
- Sheffield Wednesday were known as The Wednesday until 1929.
- Also won the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.
- Also won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.
- Also won the League Cup/EFL Cup.
- From the 1981–82 season onwards three points were awarded for a win. Prior to this a win gave two points.
- Also won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
- Manchester United won a continental treble of the League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in 1999.
- Manchester City won a domestic treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup in 2019.
- "Past winners – The Football League". Football League website. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "England – List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "English League Leading Goalscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "The History of the Football League". Football League website. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2006.
- Inglis, Simon (1988). League Football and the Men Who Made It. Willow Books. pp. 6–8. ISBN 978-0-00-218242-3.
- Titford, Roger (November 2005). "Football League, 1888–89". When Saturday Comes. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- Goldblatt, David (2007). The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football. London: Penguin. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-14-101582-8.
- Inglis, League Football and the Men Who Made It, p25
- "Free-scoring Gunners clinch first title". Arsenal.com. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Dart, Tom (25 May 2009). "Burnley: little town, big traditions". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- "A History of The Premier League". Premier League. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Harris, Nick (7 February 2009). "£1.78bn: Record Premier League TV deal defies economic slump". Independent. London. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Nurse, Howard (14 May 2011). "Blackburn 1–1 Man Utd". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- "Sideline". The Times. London. 16 May 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2009.