London is calling this Sunday when West Ham host Manchester United and Liverpool travel to Chelsea seeking more capital gains. But which city can boast being the real capital of English football?
As the home of the Premier League champions, Manchester has an obvious right to be considered England’s premier football city.
Manchester, courtesy of the combined power of City and United, has also been the dominant force of the Premier League era, in which the champions’ pennant has been flown in just three cities – Manchester, London and Leicester – and one town, Blackburn.
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But, as we all know, football didn’t just begin with the advent of the Premier League.
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And a tally of where all the top-flight championship titles have been won provides a different complexion with the Merseyside clubs reigning supreme by a single championship ahead of their Manchester rivals.
But if we were to determine the identity of English football’s capital on account of trophies won, then where would the combined haul of top-flight championships, FA Cups, League Cups and European titles point towards?
Again, a very different picture emerges. London is crowned as England’s football capital with 85 titles since 1872, some distance ahead of Manchester (68) and Merseyside (61) – benefiting from a wider pool of clubs within the region.
*Two titles have been won by Welsh teams
Liverpool are, of course, the reigning kings of Europe.
London, by contrast, has ruled Europe’s elite competition just once – when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012. That’s as many times as the West Midlands – represented by Aston Villa – and one fewer than Nottingham, thanks to Brian Clough’s achievements with Forest.