It’s safe to say that very few cities have a football scene quite like the English capital, the best football city in the world. Whilst it may seem like a sprawling metropolis to some, many of the sport’s greatest stories have been told around London’s famous landmarks which are hallowed grounds for football fans across the world. It’s no surprise then to learn that London has no less than 12 professional clubs scattered throughout the city. Many have enjoyed success at some stage of their lifespan and have legendary tales that fans have told for decades to their families. With all this in mind though, who are the biggest football club in London and which clubs make up the top seven?
Seven biggest football clubs in London
Based in White City, QPR have regularly jumped between the top two tiers of English football, enjoying one of the stronger reputations for teams based on the south bank of the Thames. With their most successful spells coming in the 1970s and mid 1990s, QPR has finished second in the top flight once during the 1975/76 season whilst also having won the League Cup back in 1967. A takeover from Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes has given the club renewed vigour in the last decade or so having featured in the Premier League on multiple occasions over the past 15 years.
The oldest club in the capital, Fulham have been going strong for almost 150 years since they were founded in 1879. Whilst never being particularly successful in the top flight itself, The Cottagers have won the second tier trophy twice and have been a regular fixture in the Premier League for most of the 2000’s. A memorable run to the Europa League final in 2010 encapsulated their status as one of the biggest football clubs in London, whilst the terraces of Craven Cottage are still one of the most characteristic stadiums anywhere in England.
5. Crystal Palace
Named after the famed exhibition building of the late 1860’s, Crystal Palace have enjoyed most of their fame in recent memory. The Eagles are perhaps best known for their form in the early 1990’s where the likes of Ian Wright helped the side finish 3rd in the First Division in 1990/1991 as well as reaching the FA Cup Final back in 1990. They have enjoyed similar success in recent times having secured themselves a regular spot in the Premier League as well as a FA Cup final appearance back in 2016.
4. West Ham
Known as one of the most boisterous teams out of the East End, West Ham have a history stepped in cup successes. The Hammers are best known for their form in the late 1960’s and 1970s where the likes of Trevor Brooking and Bobby Moore were leading the team on a streak that saw them win 3 FA Cups (1964,1975 and 1980) as well as the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1965. Alongside that success, their rivalry with Millwall is one of the most heated in European football and has become a common basis for most hooligan stereotypes. Nowadays, West Ham have upgraded from Upton Park to the London Olympic Stadium as they continue to host Premier League football on a weekly basis.
3. Tottenham Hotspur
One of North London’s top sides, there isn’t much Spurs haven’t achieved since they were founded back in 1882. Whilst they have failed to win the top league trophy since 1961, Spurs have enjoyed plenty of success in domestic cups winning 8 FA Cups and 3 League cups with their 2008 success being their most recent success. Spurs have been the breeding ground for some of England’s brightest talents over the years with the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne all starring at White Hart Lane. Now one of the top sides in the country and led by England captain Harry Kane, it looks like success won’t ever be far out of Spurs reach.
The poster boys of West London have a long and storied history through English football but it’s no doubt their success under the eyes of Roman Abramovich that steals the headlines. Since the Russian oligarch took over in 2003, Chelsea have been transformed into one of the best sides in Europe hosting many iconic names whilst reeling in trophies left, right and centre. Having only won one league trophy before the takeover, Chelsea have since won 5 Premier League titles during the past 20 years with the likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry becoming iconic figures for the club.
Alongside that domestic success, The Blues have shone in Europe wining 2 Europa League titles as well as a famous Champions League final win against hosts Bayern Munich in 2012. With the Russian still at the helm and bringing in many of the world’s biggest names, Chelsea are sure to be in the trophy hunt for years to come.
It’s strange to think that Arsenal were originally formed south of the river but it’s their base in north London that they are most known for. Despite the relocation, that hasn’t stopped The Gunners becoming one of the most successful sides in English football history and clearly the most successful of the London football clubs. Dominant spells in the 1930’s under Herbert Chapman laid the foundation for more success which is best remembered during the turn of the century where they won 3 Premier League titles including the famous “Invincibles” campaign of 2003/04 when they went undefeated all season long.
Arsenal are also masters of the domestic cups being the most successful side in the FA Cup with no less than 14 trophies with the most recent in 2020. With all the trophies continuing to arrive at N5, Arsenal will look to continue this form and remain one of the best sides in the country. Despite they’re lack of recent success, they remain undoubtedly the biggest football club in London.
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