Liverpool have been ranked as the best English soccer club ever according to an all-time league table published by The Times newspaper on Saturday.
By allocating points for a club's achievements in European competition, league competitions, the FA and League Cups and weighting the points according to seperate playing eras, Liverpool emerge top of the table with 6,380 points, followed by Manchester United (5,360), Arsenal (4,065), Tottenham Hotspur (3,390) and Everton (3,165) -- the traditional Big Five of English soccer.
Aston Villa, who have led the premier league for most of this season, are in sixth place (2,755), followed by Leeds United (2,305), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2,180), Nottingham Forest (1,840) and Newcastle United (1,750).
Preston North End, giants of the early days of English soccer and winners of the Cup and League double in the league's first season of 1888-89 are ranked as high as 19th, with their old Lancashire rivals Burnley, who, like Preston are now in the second division, ranked 18th.
Manchester City's rapid decline over the last few years from a premier league to a second division club is best illustrated by their all-time ranking of 14th -- higher than many current premier league clubs including Derby County (16th), Blackburn (17th) and West Ham (20th).
The exploits of some long-forgotten giants of the past are also reflected in the standings.
The Wanderers, the first FA Cup winners in 1872 who won all five FA Cup finals they played in in the 1870s before disappearing long before the turn of the last century, are ranked 35th -- higher than current premier league clubs Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough, while Old Etonians, Oxford University and Royal Engineers, all cup winners over a century ago, are all in the top 50.
The top 20 clubs in the Times table and their points tallies are:
1 Liverpool (6,380), 2 Manchester United (5,360), 3 Arsenal (4,065), 4 Tottenham Hotspur (3,390), 5 Everton (3,165), 6 Aston Villa (2,755), 7 Leeds United (2,305), 8 Wolverhampton Wanderers (2,180), 9 Nottingham Forest (1,840), 10 Newcastle United (1,750), 11 Sheffield Wednesday (1,730), 12 Chelsea (1,670), 13 Sunderland (1,660), 14 Manchester City (1,635), 15 West Bromwhich Albion (1,405), 16 Derby County (1,245), 17 Blackburn Rovers (1,180), 18 Burnley (1,140), 19 Preston North End (1,110), 20 West Ham United (1,025).