Who is the biggest club outside the Premier League 'Big Six'?

Published on 4 July 2023 at 13:00

That's right, today we will be taking a look at those clubs who try to stake their claim as the biggest club outside the Premier League's 'Big Six' to decide who amongst them has the strongest argument. 


We will be considering many factors from silverware to social media following to make our decision. Let's take a look shall we?



Everton celebrate Premier League survival - Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images


One of the oldest football clubs in the world having been originally formed in 1878, Everton are one of six clubs to have never been relegated from the Premier League since it's inception in 1992, participating in 31 seasons in England's premier footballing competition.


However, in recent times they have been teetering on the edge of ending that remarkable record and thus have arguably fallen out of this debate with younger fans. Therefore, it is important to look back at the illustrious history of this footballing institution in order to reaffirm their credentials as one of England's biggest clubs.


Everton are nine-time English champions (having last achieved the feat in the 1986/87 season) and five-time FA Cup Winners. The Toffees also won the 1984/85 UEFA Cup Winners Cup to add European silverware to their impressive trophy cabinet.


There have certainly been some good nights at 'Goodison Park', and though more recently these have been fleeting, the 39,572 seater stadium still averaged an attendance of 99.1% (according to PlanetFootball) in 2023. 


Now with plans to move to a 52,000 capacity ground, Everton must certainly still be classed as one of England's footballing superpowers, especially when considering their impressive history and large social media presence (with three million Twitter followers in total).


Leeds United

Leeds United celebrate a goal vs Brighton - Molly Darlington/Reuters


The only club on this list currently residing outside of the Premier League, Leeds United tasted the bitter poison of relegation in 2023 after three seasons back in the top-flight. 


It was actually their first time back in the Premier League since relegation in 2004. This means their total of 15 Premier League seasons sits at the bottom of this list. Despite this, it is the history of Leeds United in both the 1970s and early 2000s that put the Yorkshire outfit firmly in this list.


Leeds' 37,890 seater stadium 'Elland Road' (which was on average filled to 96.4% of that capacity in 2023) has experienced some magical evenings. Such as in the 2000/01 season when the whites reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.


Whilst that ultimately ended in heartbreak, Leeds' United have tasted European success previously winning the 1967/68 an 1070/71 editions of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup (often considered the predecessor the UEFA Cup).


To summarise, three-time English champions, whilst suffering disappointment numerous times since the turn of the century, definitely deserve their place on this list as one of England's biggest clubs (despite boasting just one million Twitter followers, the lowest on this list).



Newcastle United celebrate returning to the UEFA Champions League after 20 years - Stu Forster/Getty Images


The Northernmost club on this list, Tyneside's Newcastle United have the second largest stadium with 'St James' Park' holding an astounding 52,338 spectators (99.6% of which turned up on average every week in 2023).


The Magpies, much like their Yorkshire counterparts we previously discussed, won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1968/69 season and reached the semi-finals of a major European Competition in the early 2000s.


In fact, even more recently, in the 2012/13 season, Newcastle reached the Europa League (the successor to the UEFA Cup) quarter-finals before being dumped out by Benfica.


The six-time FA Cup winners and four-time English Champions have completed 28 Premier League seasons in total and boast an impressive two and a half million Twitter followers to date.


With their recent Saudi-backed takeover making them the richest club in world football and catapulting them into a new marker, European glory could soon return to the North East. They certainly deserve to be in this conversation.


Aston Villa

Emiliano Buendia celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winner vs Leeds United - James Gill/Danehouse/Getty Images


The only team on this list to have one Europe's premier competition (winning the 1981/82 European Cup), Aston Villa's place here is well-earned.


Having won seven FA Cups and been crowned champions of England an equal number of times, the Birmingham outfit are most definitely one of the largest and most successful footballing institutions outside of the tradition 'big six'.


They have competed in 28 Premier League seasons in total, on a par with Newcastle and only bettered by a handful of clubs across the country, standing them in good stead in this ranking.


Furthermore, their 42,640 capacity ground 'Villa Park' is the eighth biggest Premier League stadium in the country and was filled to 97.7% of that capacity every week in 2023.

With all this, and their large social media following (residing at just over two million followers on Twitter), the Villans are certainly worthy of this list.


West Ham United

West Ham celebrate winning the UEFA Europa Conference League - Thomas Eisenhuth/UEFA/ Getty Images


The final club in this discussion and the only one which calls the South of England it's home is West Ham United, who's 66,000 capacity 'London Stadium' was filled to an incredible 99.9% of this figure on average last season.


Whilst the 'Hammers' may have the least silverware on this list they are the most recent trophy winners of all the clubs involved in this discussion after wrapping up the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League in dramatic fashion in June.


Despite just winning the FA Cup three times, West Ham's stature is still, as they like to remind everyone, massive. With three of the most crucial figures England's 1966 World Cup winning squad (including captain Bobby Moore) wearing claret and blue in their club environments. 


The 'Irons' have featured in 27 Premier League seasons up to this date, and thus have been one of the mainstays in the divisions history.


With the second highest Twitter follower count on this list standing at just over two and a half million, West Ham are without doubt one of the biggest football clubs in England.


The Verdict


Whilst all these clubs are certainly gigantic footballing institutions, in my opinion it is Everton who are the largest of all. 


Not only are they the most domestically successful of the lot with nine top-flight titles across their history, they also boast the largest social media presence today showing an enduring spot in the forefront of the minds of all those who follow football.


With a move to one of the largest grounds in the country in the pipeline, happier times may be on the horizon for Everton. 


If not, well they at least have this to cling on to.


Let us know what you think? Did we get it wrong? Leave a comment below or get in contact on social media.




Ben Watts

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