Club size in order

shoddycollins

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Bradford the biggest all be it not as big as some think due to the ticket pricing (which is decent).

Plymouth second I would say.

Then you have that tier of clubs like Vale, Swindon, Tranmere and Oldham all fairly similar possibly Tranmere just ahead.

Never really seen Carlisle as bigger than us or as big, often seemed to be league two strugglers regularly as I was growing up probably just below that tier with Northampton and Orient.

Then the next tier with the likes of Crewe, Mansfield, Exeter, Walsall and Colchester.

Then your bigger non league traditional sides like Cheltenham, Macc and Newport.

Then your smaller clubs like Crawley, FGR down to the smallest in Morecambe (often struggle for 1000 home fans) and the smallest Salford.

All subjective though and totally irrelevant to performance on the field in the current time. The smallest is probably the favourite to win it next year!
There we are again. In a class of our own.
 

Jabba the gut

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Grimsby (12-52-27-18) also crop up around here, but with Ch and L1 reversed, beneath that shit exterior lurks a giant who could give the likes of Crystal Palace a run for their money, if only they didn't spent 18 seasons in the 4th tier and *cough* 6, in the 5th. They really don't know where they belong...

Plymouth (0-40-41-11) are second to Walsall when it comes to spending lots of time in the second flight without ever getting into the top. Definitely have a case for being historically Ch/L1 given the almost identical time spent in each.
L1/L2
In the last fifty years Plymouth have only spent 13 seasons in the 2nd tier. In the last thirty years they've spent the same time there as Stockport.

Much of Plymouth's 2nd tier history took place when there were only three divisions and the majority of it took place in years closer to the Second World War than the present day. Consequently determining their historic level by their absolute number of second and third tier seasons is very misleading unless you take this into account - the same is true for all clubs.

In the last fifty years Grimsby have spent more seasons in the 2nd tier than Plymouth, So if you're arguing Argyle are 2nd tier/L1, then Grimsby have an even better case. Personally I'd put Plymouth as a solid L1 side that could hope for brief stints in the 2nd tier and Grimsby as a bit below that

So what about the kind of tinpot outfits who have never even made it as high up as the second tier? Well we know the sort. Crawley, Stevenage, Morecambe, Exeter (0-0-47-40), FGR, Fleetwood. Barely even Football League clubs if you ask me.
You might be surprised to learn that I don't actually disagree, historically speaking. In the same way Argyle fans exaggerate their historic status by ignoring the fact that there were only three divisions for a significant part of the historical record they often cite, our fans ignore the absence of automatic promotion and relegation between the EFL and non-League for much of our dismal history.

Since Tisdale arrived and the Trust took over our record has dramatically improved and things off the pitch have been transformed from the basket case that entered administration twice in ten years and were only saved from an even earlier descent into non-League by Macclesfield failing to satisfy EFL ground regulations. However prior to that change there's little doubt in my mind that if a direct route to non-league had always existed we'd have spent significant periods as a top Conference side rather than being able to point to so many years as a League club.

TLDR: Devon is full of bottlers...
Good-natured digs apart, there is actually a structural issue with Devon clubs. Too many Greens, Reds and to a certain extent Yellows are blinded by regional pride and wishful thinking from facing up to it though. I refer of course, to our utterly sh*t location for a pro Football club.

Unfortunately Devon & Cornwall are more historically Rugby Union than football areas - when my family moved to Exeter decades ago, I was horrified to learn that football was actually banned in games lessons at my new secondary school in favour of the revered sport of rugby.

Incidentally, that's why it's no surprise to me that the Chiefs are where they are. Once professionalism and a league structure replaced amateurism and an informal structure of essentially friendles, transforming Rugby Union from a participatory sport into a spectator sport (in the seventies attendances at even big clubs like Leicester Tigers averaged as little as 200) it was only a matter of time before they achieved some form of success.

To add insult to injury our clubs are the absolute back of beyond as far as the football industry is concerned. The likes of Warnock, Sheridan, Rosenior, Tisdale and Claridge (Weymouth is not that far from Devon as the crow flies) have all made a point of saying how difficult it was to get good players to move to the South-West.

It's something all South-West fans should appreciate when setting realistic goals, but few do. Tell Argyle fans that in the modern era they're not a natural Championship club and can forget about the top flight barring a highly unlikely series of events, or tell our fans that they shouldn't expect extended stays in L1 and should accept they may well never see us play in the 2nd tier and you're likely to be greeted with apoplectic fury.

As a general rule I find Torquay fans tend to be a bit more realistic for some reason, but they're by no means immune from having a group who believe they should be challenging at the top of L2.
 
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Indian Dan

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Why can’t fans just be happy watching their team play and, hopefully, win on a Saturday afternoon.

Everyone gets their good times and more extended shit times. We’ve had our good times - probably more than our fair share - over the last 30 years. We’re pretty shit now but it’s only temporary. Those clubs that are at an historic low at the moment will rise again.

Ebb and flow. It’s always been thus.
 
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Why can’t fans just be happy watching their team play and, hopefully, win on a Saturday afternoon.

Everyone gets their good times and more extended shit times. We’ve had our good times - probably more than our fair share - over the last 30 years. We’re pretty shit now but it’s only temporary. Those clubs that are at an historic low at the moment will rise again.

Ebb and flow. It’s always been thus.
Agreed but never forget not every club in this division has had genuine good times . A few seasons in the 3rd tier doesn’t qualify in my eyes as a good time in football .
 

Indian Dan

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Take yourselves. When you get back up you’ll probably do an Oxford or a Luton or Lincoln or Bristol Rovers.

Yeah, it’s shit right now but you know 100% you’ll be back and it’ll be sweet when you do.
 

WilsdenBantam

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And that's even without factoring in the pull of the egg-chasers.
True they attacted big numbers in the late 90s and early 2000's but in fairness so did we at that time, sometimes in a big city one successful sporting team seems to be almost contagious. I actually disagree with a lot of our fans when they say we couldn't have 2 professional football teams in our city, I think it helps create rivalry and more interest from a young age.

Bradford south is more or less all rugby league that does play some part, put as i said in my other post, we aren't the only team that has had circumstances hold them back from progressing as a club.
 

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I don't think the human mind could handle so much data to come out with a good decision but a spreadsheet might be able to come out with a limited but at least multi-factored opinion. Couldn't we agree on some parameters for defining a big club, punch some data into Excel and see what it has to say?

Average attendance
Maximum attendance
Minimum attendance
Historical success (e.g. pts per trophies)
Average league finishes over a certain time span
Capacity of stadium
Wealth of current owners
Stature of town/city

Might be a boring mind? Frealaf (you did a similar spreadsheet prediction thing once)? Luke Imp (you like stats)?
Having just read through P6, I nominate shoddycollins.
 

Luke Imp

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I did some quick (computer wizardry involved) research last year into populations by driving time from clubs, and have this to share.
View attachment 10999
Obviously there are many many caveats. I'll list a few
  • Drivetime zones can spill over into neighbouring towns and may overlap with other clubs. Particularly in high density conurbations, I'm sure the 2 million people living within 15 minutes of Brisbane Road aren't all Orient fans, while fifteen minutes from Valley Parade could get you into Leeds in ideal conditions*.
  • Driving time isn't always the best measure of proximity. In London you're more likely to use public transport for example, and it can be irrelevant to many people how long it would take to drive somewhere.
  • Driving times are measured by OpenStreetMap, and don't have the same level of clever algorithms as things like Google Maps. *It probably overestimates how fast you can actually drive in congested urban areas.
  • Distances are measured from where the ground is. Look at Colchester for example, a paltry 4,000 people live within 5 minutes' drive of their stadium in the middle of nowhere.
  • These take no account of cultural barriers such as the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire which probably do have an impact on which clubs someone might consider to be local.
  • In many less densely populated areas the opposite is true and 15 minutes is too small a number to truly capture the club's support. I know many Carlisle fans, and a good proportion of ST holders, who drive over an hour to reach Brunton Park from West Cumbria, West Northumberland and South-west Scotland.
I have a map of them also, if you want to see how well the zones used correlate to what you might actually think as the club's catchment area.

South
View attachment 11002

North
View attachment 11003
I'm going to miss being included in posts like this.
 

Crewelad87

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1. Bradford
2. Plymouth
3. Swindon
4. Oldham
5. Port Vale
6. Carlisle
7. Grimsby
8. Northampton
9. Walsall
10. Crewe
11. Leyton Orient
12. Scunthorpe
13. Mansfield
14. Colchester
15. Canbridge
16. Exeter
17. Newport
18. Cheltenham
19. Stevenage
20. Macclesfield
21. Crawley
22. FGR
23. Morecambe
24. Salford
 

Crewelad87

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Hahahaha! Amazing.
I'm 31, I've only ever really known Orient as a lower league and non league club, Crewe and Walsall have spent the majority of this time leagues above Orient. Similar size fan bases. Agreed I've put Northampton to high up.
 

shoddycollins

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Having just read through P6, I nominate shoddycollins.
If other people can get most of the information. The stuff I just shared I either got from someone else who had already compiled it, or was compiled automatically by software. I like finding ways to show information on football, not so much trawling through websites if someone hasn't already made a nice succinct list.
 

RLC

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1. Bradford
2. Plymouth
3. Swindon
4. Oldham
5. Port Vale
6. Carlisle
7. Grimsby
8. Northampton
9. Walsall
10. Crewe
11. Leyton Orient
12. Scunthorpe
13. Mansfield
14. Colchester
15. Canbridge
16. Exeter
17. Newport
18. Cheltenham
19. Stevenage
20. Macclesfield
21. Crawley
22. FGR
23. Morecambe
24. Salford
Good to see we are already in League One.
 

GTFCfish

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Bill Shankly described our promotion to the first division as 'the greatest feat in the history of the game', sadly he never lived to see Salford get promoted into the football league.

Stick that in your Joe Mercer and smoke it.

Three games into the season we were W3 D0 L0 and were top. We also did the double over Spurs and Everton and beat eventual champions Derby.
Shankly was our manager after leaving you and he ended up resigning due to the boards lack of ambition.

Good to see that after 55 years nothing has fucking changed.

I’m quite pleased he left though because I heard that after leaving us he did pretty much nothing in his managerial career. :dry:
 

shoddycollins

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I don’t think so when for example some clubs totals add up to over 60 seasons.
Too right, I got confused between that data and this data which is post '59
https://mathematicallysafe.wordpres...ague-analysis-of-historical-league-positions/

I have no idea whether the compiler of the data I used took that into account, my guess is probably no, but then the data doesn't claim to measure how well a club has finished, just which level of the pyramid they were on.
 

shoddycollins

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Shankly was our manager after leaving you and he ended up resigning due to the boards lack of ambition.

Good to see that after 55 years nothing has fucking changed.

I’m quite pleased he left though because I heard that after leaving us he did pretty much nothing in his managerial career. :dry:
The Russel Slade of his time, clearly.
 
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As a general rule I find Torquay fans tend to be a bit more realistic for some reason, but they're by no means immune from having a group who believe they should be challenging at the top of L2.
We know our place ;)

Pretty sure if/when we ever get back in the league we will be the smallest (excluding those historically non-league sides).

Our attendances used to be on a par with the likes of Rochdale, Crewe and Harlepool but they all seem to get bigger crowds than we could realistically hope for these days even if we were in the league.
 

shoddycollins

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To add insult to injury our clubs are the absolute back of beyond as far as the football industry is concerned. The likes of Warnock, Sheridan, Rosenior, Tisdale and Claridge (Weymouth is not that far from Devon as the crow flies) have all made a point of saying how difficult it was to get good players to move to the South-West.
Tell me about it! Curle really made a point of it when he took over, we knew it was bad but not that bad. Players like Jabo leaving the club because personal reasons demand they spend their weeknights at home with family is understandable, happens more often to us than to some clubs but we can't really begrudge it. However according to Curle, his predecessor Kavanagh had allowed a situation to develop out of desperation where half the squad would only come to Carlisle for training and home games, and allowances had to be made for them to get home after training at a reasonable time, for them to sometimes train alone to save them having to come up to Carlisle, and for them to make their own way to away games. That was really what started the breakdown in relationship between him and Billy Paynter.
 

shoddycollins

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We know our place ;)

Pretty sure if/when we ever get back in the league we will be the smallest (excluding those historically non-league sides).

Our attendances used to be on a par with the likes of Rochdale, Crewe and Harlepool but they all seem to get bigger crowds than we could realistically hope for these days even if we were in the league.
I see you as similar to Macclesfield and Cheltenham, one of those clubs that really do toe the line between League and non-League and seem neither notably small when you are in the league or notably big when you are in the Conference (definitely a big fish in Conference South mind). A bit above the likes of Barnet, Stevenage and Yeovil who never seemed to fully wear the clothes of an established league side despite spending a reasonable length of time here recently. but a bit below the likes of Exeter, Wycombe and Cambridge who feel more like 'natural' league clubs.

I'm undecided on Newport, mainly because they're essentially a phoenix-club who have been moving in pretty much one direction. The original Newport was well established as a league club, albeit a lower league one through-and-through and while modern Newport don't seem to have quite reached their former bigness, there's a feeling they're on their way to reclaiming all of the stature they once had.
 
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I see you as similar to Macclesfield and Cheltenham, one of those clubs that really do toe the line between League and non-League and seem neither notably small when you are in the league or notably big when you are in the Conference (definitely a big fish in Conference South mind). A bit above the likes of Barnet, Stevenage and Yeovil who never seemed to fully wear the clothes of an established league side despite spending a reasonable length of time here recently. but a bit below the likes of Exeter, Wycombe and Cambridge who feel more like 'natural' league clubs.

I'm undecided on Newport, mainly because they're essentially a phoenix-club who have been moving in pretty much one direction. The original Newport was well established as a league club, albeit a lower league one through-and-through and while modern Newport don't seem to have quite reached their former bigness, there's a feeling they're on their way to reclaiming all of the stature they once had.
Although this table puts us in 77th only 3 places below you ;)

http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engprof-alltime.html

The issue with this table is that it's based on points won and obviously points are harder to come by in a higher division but it's a decent starting point I think.

Pretty sure our 13 more years in the league and better points per season ratio makes us bigger then Newport though.
 

shoddycollins

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I'm going to miss being included in posts like this.
Ask and ye shall receive (not bothering to colour all the L2 clubs though, that was more time consuming than creating the data in the first place)

1558433033092.png


South (not including Newport as I had to set them as L2 to have them show on my previous map and don't want to mess about changing it)
1558434357376.png


North (Tranmere as with Newport)
1558434443997.png
 

shoddycollins

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Although this table puts us in 77th only 3 places below you ;)

http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engprof-alltime.html

The issue with this table is that it's based on points won and obviously points are harder to come by in a higher division but it's a decent starting point I think.

Pretty sure our 13 more years in the league and better points per season ratio makes us bigger then Newport though.
Without separating by division, that table is if you'll excuse the pun, pointless.

Maybe you're right, that's why I'm undecided on Newport. They had a 60 year unbroken spell as a league club before the bottom fell out, and then the reformed club took 30 years to return. They've never really been a yo-yo club at all, since they've only been promoted to the league once in their history and relegated from it once (and much longer ago were also elected to the league a season after failing to get re-elected) and who knows where they'd be now or how many fans they'd still have had they not gone bankrupt and remained at their old ground.

Also, Newport once got to the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter finals.
 
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Jabba the gut

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Without separating by division, that table is if you'll excuse the pun, pointless.

Maybe you're right, that's why I'm undecided on Newport. They had a 60 year unbroken spell as a league club before the bottom fell out, and then the reformed club took 30 years to return. They've never really been a yo-yo club at all, since they've only been promoted to the league once in their history and relegated from it once (and much longer ago were also elected to the league a season after failing to get re-elected) and who knows where they'd be now or how many fans they'd still have had they not gone bankrupt and remained at their old ground.

Also, Newport once got to the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter finals.
Not having a dig at our rivals, but I would say Newport would definitely have been bigger than Torquay and probably still are. Their attendances have been on a par, but Newport have more third tier seasons since the fourth tier was created, even though they folded and were out of the League for thirty years. I would argue that Newport are also potentially better placed to be bigger in future, given they're more accessible to the rest of the country.

Presumably the shocking transport links to Devon & Cornwall beyond Exeter, where the motorway and direct intercity trains end, will be addressed one day - it's ludicrous that so much is being spent on HS2 when Plymouth is the most isolated city in the UK and suffers economically as a result. However until then the football clubs beyond Exeter will be even more handicapped by their location than we are.
 

Jabba the gut

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Tell me about it! Curle really made a point of it when he took over, we knew it was bad but not that bad. Players like Jabo leaving the club because personal reasons demand they spend their weeknights at home with family is understandable, happens more often to us than to some clubs but we can't really begrudge it. However according to Curle, his predecessor Kavanagh had allowed a situation to develop out of desperation where half the squad would only come to Carlisle for training and home games, and allowances had to be made for them to get home after training at a reasonable time, for them to sometimes train alone to save them having to come up to Carlisle, and for them to make their own way to away games. That was really what started the breakdown in relationship between him and Billy Paynter.
While your location is not good I don't think it's quite as bad as ours. Don't you benefit from your proximity to Scotland and perhaps the greater attractiveness of the English leagues to lower-level Scottish Players? I assumed you also have a slight benefit from genuinely big North-east clubs being within reasonable striking distance (for loanees and cast-offs/youth players etc) and no major cultural competition from rugby.

The nearest historically biggish club to Devon & Cornwall is Southampton and the nearest EPL club is Bournemouth, but transport links between Devon & those places are appalling. I would argue our location is the worst in the country that has been home to an EFL club.
 

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