While most English football fans know the ‘Big Six’ teams, FOX Sports Asia did a little digging to unearth which are the six oldest football clubs currently playing in the EPL.
129 years ago, at the Royal Hotel in Manchester, the first national football league in the world was formed – the English Football League!
Consisting of twelve founding teams, it wasn’t long before the 22-game league crowned its very first champions – Preston North End.
However, you may be surprised to know that Preston is not the world’s oldest football club. That honour belongs to another club all together.
The OLDEST football club(s)… In the World!
Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC is the world’s oldest independent football club.
Based out of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, they currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One South (eighth tier of English football). The club won the 1904 FA Amateur Cup and counts current Burnley defender Matt Lowton as one of its notable former players.
Besides establishing the Boxing Day footballing tradition, Sheffield FC also influenced the way that modern football is played with the English FA adopting some parts of their Sheffield (football) rules early on.
Apart from being inducted into the English football hall of fame, Sheffield FC is the only club, other than Real Madrid, to receive the FIFA Order of Merit for their contribution to the beautiful game!
Established in 1862, Notts County is the oldest professional football club in the world!
Operating out of Nottingham, the club is currently playing in England’s League Two (fourth tier of football). The Magpies have played the most number of league games, a whopping 4756 league matches, and have been at Meadow Lane since 1910.
Most famously, they won the 1894 FA Cup and secured a Division Three title by a record seventeen points under then-manager Sam Allardyce!
You might not know this, but Italian club Juventus owes a big debt to the Magpies. The Serie A giant’s famous black-and-white striped kits were made possible by Englishman and Notts supporter John Savage who was tasked to supply the Italian team after their previous black and pink kits had faded in 1903.
The EPL ‘Big Six’… According to age
Playing out of the bet365 Stadium, Stoke City is the world’s second oldest professional club having been founded in 1863. They are one of founding members of the 1888 Football League.
Initially known as the Stoke Ramblers, the club was renamed to Stoke City in 1925. They won their first, and only, trophy in the form of the 1972 League Cup.
Stoke also made it to the 2011 FA Cup finals under much-loved ex-manager Tony Pulis, but lost out to Manchester City.
The Potters currently boast former England international striker Peter Crouch – who holds the EPL record for most headed goals!
Another OG member of the 1888 Football League, Everton was founded in 1878 and have spent a record 114 seasons in the top tier of English football!
Moving to Goodison Park in 1892 after a rent dispute, the Toffees have always been a fierce rivals with Liverpool. They have won a total of nine league titles (fourth most), five FA Cups and one UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
Notable players include a certain Wayne Rooney (no introduction needed here) and former striker turned current first team coach Duncan Ferguson who scored 72 goals in 273 appearances over two spells at the club.
Did you know that Manchester United was initially founded as Newton Heath LYR FC in 1878 before being renamed in 1902? The original Manchester football club moved to Old Trafford in 1910 and is currently the highest earning and most valuable football club in the world!
Besides being the first English team to win the European Cup (now Champions League), the Red Devils’ trophy cabinet holds a record twenty league titles, twelve FA Cups, five League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shield on top of three Champions League, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. The club has a fierce rivalry with Manchester City, Liverpool and Leeds United.
To be honest, United have to be thankful to its Scottish manager Sir Alex Ferguson for a good portion of their silverware. As well as his class of football fledglings Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville and Cristiano Ronaldo.
West Bromwich Albion
Based in the West Midlands, West Bromwich Albion was formed in 1878 and was also one of the original twelve teams in the 1888 Football League. They have been playing at home at the Hawthorns since 1900.
Traditionally the arch-rival of both Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Baggies have only been league champions once in the 1919-20 season. However, the club have won the FA Cup five times – most recently in 1968.
Notable personnel include ex-manager Roberto Di Matteo who guided the Midlands club to the Championship runners-up spot and promotion and current goalkeeper Ben Foster who has been voted the club’s Player of the Year twice!
As United’s noisy neighbours, Manchester City was founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s (West Gorton) before finally renamed in 1894. Before moving to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, the Sky Blues previously played at Maine Road since 1923.
On top of being the fifth highest earning and most valuable club in the world, City also boast a silverware haul of four league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and FA Community Shields and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup!
All that makes it hard to believe that the Citizens only regained their EPL status in the early 2000s’ after being relegated to the third tier of English football in 1998!
Past players includes homegrown winger Shaun Wright-Phillips who was a four-time Player of the Year winner over two spells and Sun Jihai who was a part of their 2002 First Division championship winning side.
Despite joining the Football League in 1920, Watford was actually founded in 1881. The club moved to its current home, Vicarage Road in 1922 and is rivals with Luton Town.
The Hornets are currently owned by the Pozzo family – who also owns Serie A’s Udinese. British singer and performer Sir Elton John was a notable ex-club owner and an ex-joint Honorary Life President with ex-manager Graham Taylor.
Taylor, the formidable former England manager, had two stints managing the club – taking them from the Fourth to the First Division! He also guided the Hornets to the 1984 FA Cup final and more importantly, Europe!