English Counties: Who is your most successful football club?

Conor Mizen

Local rivalries are a special aspect of English football and bragging rights are typically based on historic achievements and current standings within the table or football pyramid. Fans could argue for hours on end why their club is the best in a particular area – conforming to some perspectives but not necessarily to others.

46 counties make up the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom – assuming the City of London as a part of Greater London and the Isle of Wight as a part of Hampshire – but which football club is the most successful in your area?

The English county boundaries. Source: Wikipedia

 

Bedfordshire: Luton Town FC
Founded in 1885 and nicknamed the Hatters, Luton Town currently play in League Two of the English Football League (EFL). The club’s achievements include League Cup winners (1987/88), Second Division winners (1981/82) and FA Cup finalists (1958/59).

Berkshire: Reading FC
The Royals currently find themselves in the second tier of English football after playoff final defeat to Huddersfield Town in 2017. Honours, however, include two Championship titles (Second Tier – 2005/06 & 2011/12) and an 8th place finish coming at the end of the 2006/07 Premier League season – a club record.

The Madejski Stadium – home to Berkshire’s most successful club, Reading FC. Source: Twitter

 

Bristol: Bristol City FC
Mainly a tale between City and Rovers with the red half of Bristol coming out on top. Recognisable honours are, in all honesty, sparse, though achievements include a Second Division title (1905/06), Football League runners-up (the original top flight – 1906/07) and FA Cup finalists in 1909.

Buckinghamshire: Milton Keynes Dons FC
Founded just thirteen years ago in 2004, MK Dons are largely considered to have replaced former Premier League side Wimbledon after the London club relocated to Milton Keynes – it’s quite a complicated set of events and too long to condense into a short paragraph; I highly recommend reading into it as it is an interesting case.

After immediately jumping into the EFL for the 2004/05 season, the club’s honours include League Two champions (2007/08) and the Football League Trophy (2007/08).

Cambridgeshire: Cambridge United FC
Cambridge United hold the bragging rights as the most successful club in their county with honours including Football League One champions (Third Tier – 1990/91) and Football League Two champions (Fourth Tier – 1976/77).

Cheshire: Crewe Alexandra FC
Nicknamed the Railwaymen, Crewe Alexandra now play in League Two and finished 17th last season. The club’s achievements include winners of the Football League Trophy (2012/13), Second Division Playoff winners (nowadays known as League One – 1996/97) and League Two Playoff winners (2011/12).

Cornwall: Truro City FC
Cornwall is as obscure as it gets in relation to footballing success. Truro City became the first Cornish club to win a national tournament in 2007 after victory in the FA Vase Final. Other achievements include Southern League Premier Division winners (2010/11), Western League Premier Division winners (2007/08) and winners of the Cornwall Senior Cup a record 16 times.

Truro City currently feature in English football’s sixth tier but have yet to progress further. Source: All Gone Latics

 

Cumbria: Carlisle United FC
Founded in 1904, Carlisle United’s honours include Football League Third Tier winners (current-day League One – 1964/65), Football League Fourth Tier winners (current-day League Two – 1994/95 & 2005/06) and the Football League Trophy (1996/97 & 2010/11).

Derbyshire: Derby County FC
Former club of the great Brian Clough, the Rams have enjoyed some major success over the course of their 133-year existence. Honours include two Division One Titles (top flight of English football – 1971/72 & 1974/75), an FA Cup (1945/46) and a Charity Shield (nowadays referred to as the Community Shield – 1975/76).

Devon: Plymouth Argyle FC
May 2017 saw Argyle promoted to League One following a second place finish in the fourth tier of English football. Previous achievements include Football League Second Division champions (Third Tier – 2003/04), two-time Football League Third Division champions (Fourth Tier – 1958/59 & 2001/02) and FA Cup semi-finalists during the 1983/84 season.

Dorset: AFC Bournemouth
Following an incredible rise through the tiers of English football, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth now find themselves in the top flight. Honours include Championship winners (2014/15), League One champions (1986/87) and a Football League Trophy (1983/84).

Bournemouth celebrate securing promotion to the Premier League in 2015. Source: Twitter

 

Durham: Hartlepool United FC
The North-Eastern club dropped out of the EFL for the first time in their 109-year history last season after a cruel climax in League Two. Hartlepool’s achievements include League One Playoff finalists (2004/05) and the FA Amateur Cup (1904/05).

East Riding of Yorkshire: Hull City AFC
The Tigers have yo-yoed in and out of the Premier League in recent years, currently preparing for life in the second tier once again. Honours and achievements include Championship runners-up (2012/13), Championship Playoff winners (2007/08 & 2015/16), FA Cup finalists (2013/14) and League Cup semi-finalists (2016/17).

East Sussex: Brighton & Hove Albion FC
The Seagulls have finally reached the heights of the Premier League after achieving promotion from the Championship last season. Honours include Football League Division Two/League One champions (Third Tier – 2001/02 & 2010/11), Football League Division Three champions (Fourth Tier – 2000/01) and FA Cup finalists in 1983.

Brighton & Hove Albion took Manchester United to a replay in the 1983 FA Cup Final, however lost 4-0 in the second meeting. Source: Twitter

 

Essex: Southend United FC
Founded in 1906, Southend United currently play their football in League One after a 7th place finish last season. Club achievements include League One champions (2005/06), Fourth Division champions (1980/81) and Football League Trophy runners-up three times since 2003/04.

Gloucestershire: Cheltenham Town FC
The Robins represent Gloucestershire as the only team within the EFL. Honours include Division Three/League Two Playoff winners (2001/02 & 2005/06), FA Trophy winners (1997/98) and Gloucestershire County Cup winners a whopping 32 times.

Greater London: Arsenal FC
Probably the most competitive county in English football when it comes to the high achievers. It could be argued that Chelsea are the most successful club in Greater London thanks to their 2012 Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich, though it’s Arsenal who have the highest major trophy count. Honours include 13 Top Flight titles (including an Invincible campaign – 2003/04), a record 13 FA Cups, two League Cups (1986/87 & 1992/93) and a European/UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1993/94).

Greater Manchester: Manchester United FC
Not only the most successful club in Greater Manchester but the most successful club in England. Honours include a record 20 Top Flight titles (13 Premier League titles), 12 FA Cups, five League Cups, three European Cup/Champions League titles (1967/68, 1998/1999 & 2007/08), one European Cup Winners’ Cup (1990/91), one Europa League title (2016/17) and a FIFA Club World Cup (2008) – not to mention an illustrious treble (1998/99) that has yet to be replicated by any English side.

Manchester United get to grips with the Champions League trophy (1999) after a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich – the final part of a glorious treble. Source: Twitter

 

Hampshire: Portsmouth FC
Pompey are back on the rise towards the higher tiers after falling out of the top flight in 2010. Honours include two First Division titles (former top flight – 1948/49 & 1949/50), Football League First Division/Championship winners (Second Tier – 2002/03) and two FA Cups (1938/39 & 2007/08).

Herefordshire: Hereford United FC
After dissolving in 2014 the club is now simply known as Hereford FC. United’s achievements included Third Division champions (1975/76) and Conference National Playoff winners (Fifth Tier – 2005/06), with the club currently back on track for EFL involvement.

Hertfordshire: Stevenage FC
Founded as Stevenage Borough FC 41 years ago, the Hertfordshire side currently play in League Two. Honours include League Two Playoff winners (2010/11), Conference National champions (1995/96 & 2009/10) and FA Trophy winners (2006/07 & 2008/09).

Kent: Gillingham FC
The Gills were founded in 1893, known back then as New Brompton. Achievements include Football League Second Division Playoff winners (Third Tier – 1999/00) and Football League Fourth Division/League Two champions (Fourth Tier – 1963/64 & 2012/13).

Lancashire: Blackburn Rovers FC
Rovers have fallen from the heights of the top flight and now find themselves in the third tier of English football. The Lancashire club’s honours list includes three top flight titles (1911/12, 1913/14 & 1994/95), six FA Cups, one League Cup (2001/02) and a Charity Shield (Community Shield – 1912/13). 

Rovers’ striking force fired them to Premier League glory in 1995, with Alan Shearer (left) bagging 34 league goals and Chris Sutton (right) netting 15. Source: Twitter

 

Leicestershire: Leicester City FC
The Foxes will forever be remembered for their heroics during the 2015/16 season. The midland club’s achievements include a famous Premier League title (2015/16), seven Second Division/Championship titles (Second Tier), one League One title (2008/09) and three League Cups (1963/84, 1996/97 & 1999/00).

Lincolnshire: Grimsby Town FC
First referred to as Grimsby Town in 1879, the club’s honours list includes two Division Two titles (Second Tier – 1900/01 & 1933/34), one Division Three title (Third Tier – 1979/80), one Football League Trophy (1997/98) and a club record 5th place finish in the top flight (1934/35).

Merseyside: Liverpool FC
Once a footballing powerhouse that dominated the English and European game, Liverpool have struggled to maintain their success from the ’70s and ’80s in recent times. The club’s extensive honours list includes 18 Top Flight titles, seven FA Cups, eight League Cups, three UEFA Cup/Europa League titles (1972/73, 1975/76 & 2000/01) and five European Cup/Champions League titles.

Jerzy Dudek was the hero of the shootout as Liverpool overturned a three goal deficit against a solid AC Milan side (2005). Source: Twitter

 

Norfolk: Norwich City FC
The Canaries were founded 115 years ago and have since enjoyed English top flight football. Achievements include Second Tier champions (1971/72, 1985/86 & 2003/04), Championship Playoff winners (2014/15), Third Tier champions (1933/34 & 2009/10) and two League Cups (1961/62 & 1984/85).

North Yorkshire: Middlesbrough FC
Boro now find themselves in the Championship after Premier League relegation last season. Honours include four Second Tier titles, Division Two Playoff winners (1987/88), FA Cup finalists (1996/97), UEFA Cup runners-up (2005/06) and League Cup winners (2003/04).

Northamptonshire: Northampton Town FC
The Cobblers’ honours include a Third Division title (1962/63), two Fourth Division/League Two titles (1986/87 & 2015/16) and Fourth Tier Playoff winners (1996/97).

Northumberland: Blyth Spartans AFC
Founded just before the turn of the 20th century, Blyth Spartans are the most successful club in a county that has never experienced top flight football. Achievements include Northern Premier League Premier Division champions (Seventh Tier of English football – 2005/06 & 2016/17), Northern Premier League Division One champions (Eighth Tier of English football – 1994/95) and 22 Northumberland Senior Cup titles.

Nottinghamshire: Nottingham Forest FC
Famous for their two consecutive European Cup triumphs under Brian Clough, Forest’s honours list includes a First Division title (Top Flight – 1977/78), two FA Cups (1897/98 & 1958/59), four League Cups, one UEFA Super Cup (1979/80) and – again – two European Cups (1978/79 & 1979/80).

The great Brian Clough with four of his 1979 European conquerers (McGovern, Robertson, Gemmill & Burns – all Scottish, hence the kilts). Source: Twitter

 

Oxfordshire: Oxford United FC
Oxford United currently play their football in the third tier of English football. Achievements include Second Division champions (1984/85), Third Division champions (1967/68 & 1983/84) and a League Cup in 1986.

Rutland: Oakham United FC
Rutland wouldn’t necessarily be your first thought when trying to picture the most successful footballing county in England. Oakham United’s honours, however, include the Peterborough & District Football League Premier League title (2014/15) and the ChromaSport & Trophies President Premier Shield (2014/15), making them the most successful club in the area.

Shropshire: Shrewsbury Town FC
Founded 131 years ago in 1886, Shrewsbury Town currently find themselves in League One after an 18th place finish last season. Honours include Third Division champions (1978/79), Football League Division Three champions (Fourth Tier – 1993/94) and Football Conference Playoff winners (Fifth Tier – 2003/04).

Somerset: Yeovil Town FC
The Glovers are Somerset’s most successful football club with honours including League One Playoff winners (2012/13), League Two champions (2004/05), FA Trophy winners (2001/02) and 23 Somerset Professional Cups.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Wednesday FC
Wednesday overcome their Steel City rivals as the county’s most successful club with honours including four First Division titles, five Second Division titles, three FA Cups (1895/86, 1906/07 & 1934/35) and one League Cup (1990/91).

The Owls made it to the Championship Playoffs last season, missing out on the final after defeat to Huddersfield Town. Source: Twitter

 

Staffordshire: Stoke City FC
The Potters have established themselves as a consistent member of the Premier League after their promotion to the top flight in 2008. The club’s achievements include two Second Division titles (1932/33 & 1962/63), two Third Tier titles (1926/27 & 1992/93), one League Cup (1971/72) and an FA Cup Final appearance in 2011.

Suffolk: Ipswich Town FC
Championship side Ipswich Town’s honours include a First Division title (1961/62), an FA Cup (1977/78), Football League First Division Playoff winners (Second Tier – 1999/00) and a UEFA Cup 1980/81, making them the most successful side in Suffolk.

Surrey: Woking FC
Woking currently play outside of the EFL, however achievements include three FA Trophies (1993/94, 1994/95 & 1996/97), Football Conference runners-up (1994/95 & 1995/96) and 13 Surrey Senior Cup titles.

Tyne & Wear: Newcastle United FC
The Magpies from the North-East are back in the Premier League after Championship glory last season. Club honours include four Top Flight titles, four Second Tier titles, six FA Cups and one UEFA Intertoto Cup (2005/06).

Prime Minister Winston Churchill before kick-off in 1952, shaking hands with eventual FA Cup Final winners Newcastle United. Source: Twitter

 

Warwickshire: Nuneaton Town FC
Nuneaton Town top the list in Warwickshire with previous achievements including a Southern League Premier Division title (1998/99), three Southern League Midland Division titles (1981/82, 1992/93 & 1995/96) and nine Birmingham Senior Cups.

West Midlands: Aston Villa FC
Villa still find themselves outside of the top flight after relegation in 2016. A club with a rather impressive history, honours include seven Top Flight titles, two Second Tier titles (1937/38 & 1959/60), seven FA Cups, five League Cups and one famous European Cup (1981/82).

West Sussex: Crawley Town FC
The Red Devils of West Sussex currently play in League Two, narrowly avoiding relegation out of the EFL last season. Achievements include Conference National champions (2010/11), League Two promotion (2011/12) and two Southern League cups (2002/03 & 2003/04).

West Yorkshire: Leeds United FC
Leeds United suffered a drastic fall from the heights of English football following relegation from the Premier League in 2004. The club’s honours include three First Division titles (1968/69, 1973/74 & 1991/92), one FA Cup (1971/72), one League Cup (1967/68) and an appearance in the 1974/75 European Cup Final.

The new Champions of England. Leeds United pose with the First Division trophy in 1970 (names can be found in top left). Source: Twitter

 

Wiltshire: Swindon Town FC
Founded in 1879, Swindon Town stand above their Wiltshire rivals with honours to their name including League Cup winners (1968/69), Second Tier Playoff winners (1989/90 & 1992/93) and Third Tier champions (1995/96).

Worcestershire: Kidderminster Harriers FC
Main rivals Worcester City come close to challenging Kidderminster Harriers, though the Reds have arguably achieved more at higher levels. Achievements include Conference champions on two occasions (1993/94 & 1999/00), FA Trophy winners (1986/87) and 25 Worcestershire Senior Cups.

Evidently, some counties have been more successful over the years than others. How does your supported club fare? Do they make the list? Let us know in the comments below!