Top flight’s all-time top 10: From Preston North End’s ‘Invincibles’ to Man Utd’s domination

Liverpool still trail Manchester United in the all-time table of days spent top of the English top-flight – and you can discover the top 10 here.

By Peter Storey
Monday, 30th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 1:14 pm

From Preston’s “Invincibles” dominating the early days to United and Liverpool’s recent battle for overall supremacy, PA Sport has tracked every club’s days at the summit since the first Football League season in 1888-89.

With Liverpool top for 206 days since August 17 and with this season’s title all but assured when play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has prevented them eating further into United’s lead – which stands at 577 days.

North End were top for every single day of the inaugural season and raced out to a huge lead, which was then overhauled by Aston Villa before the turn of the century.

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North End’s ‘Invincibles’ were the team to catch in the early days of the top flight of English football

Everton, Sheffield United and Sunderland were also prominent in the early days, with Liverpool clocking up 31 days in the 1890s and United first appearing in 1907 – the latter raced into the top six as the decade ended. The Toffees were first to overhaul Villa at the top and remained the team to catch, bursting clear in the late 1960s and leading until their neighbours from across Stanley Park took over in 1977.

Liverpool’s lead peaked at 1,138 days as they dominated much of the 1980s but United’s stranglehold on the 1990s was such that by 2001, they had claimed top spot.

Their lead swelled almost to four figures before Liverpool’s resurgence under Jurgen Klopp saws the momentum swing once more, with the latter ending on 3,870 days to United’s 4,447.

Third-placed Arsenal are more than 1,000 further back on 2,789 and Everton, Chelsea and Villa follow, with Manchester City seventh on 1,164 and Sunderland, Leeds and Wolves rounding out the all-time top 10.

1 Man Utd; 2 Liverpool; 3 Arsenal; 4 Everton; 5 Chelsea; 6 Aston Villa; 7 Man City; 8 Sunderland; 9 Leeds; 10 Wolves

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