Fascinating Facts: Clubs in the top flight of the game

Royce Franklin
Royce Franklin

Royce Franklin takes a nostalgic look back at how football has changed in the 67 years since he watched his first live match.

SINCE ITS inception in the 1888/89 season there have been 65 clubs in the top flight of the English game.

In that time Liverpool have won the most points and Everton have played the most games. Only Arsenal have an unbroken status since the Second World War. Latics are 43rd in the all time list, Manchester United fourth; Manchester City eighth, Bolton 13th and Bury 38th.

Seven sides have featured for only one season: Barnsley, Carlisle, Glossop North End, Leyton Orient, Northampton, Swindon and, of course, Bournemouth in the division for the first time this season. Darwen and Millwall had two seasons to their name.

Five of the current 20 have featured in the then lowest league which includes the old third division south – Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Swansea and Watford.

Despite their low status since 2011 when they were relegated to the now National League, Lincoln have been in the Football League for more years than any other club without ever being in the top flight – 104 seasons.

Sunderland were the last team to have never played in other than the top flight. At the beginning of the 1958/59 season they played their first ever game in the then division two losing 3-1 at Lincoln.

At the end of the 1996/97 season, Greater Manchester acquitted itself very well when it came to football. Not only did Manchester United win the Premiership title but Bolton won the now Championship, Bury the now League One (with Stockport second) and Wigan League Two.


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