So there it is, Manchester City have claimed their fifth league title and their third in recent memory, but are they the Greatest we’ve ever seen in English Football? The answer simply is ‘No’!
City’s victory and performances have rightfully placed them Top of the Pile for this season, but they have a long way to go before they achieve the kind of greatness these teams have achieved. This list celebrates the Great Teams we’ve seen in this country. I have compiled a list ranked by not only success achieved during a season, but also what they did for English football during and since. The likes of Man City will not be included, neither will the Preston team of the Victorian age. Also Man United and Liverpool could’ve had about 4 teams each included on the list, but I have decided to limit it down to 2 each.
And guys please remember, it’s just an opinion.
10. Leeds United(1969-1974)
Not only one of the Greatest Teams this Country has ever seen, but also one of the greatest under-achievers as well. Under the management of Don Revie, Leeds won 2 League Titles, a League Cup and an FA Cup during this 5 year period, but to be fair it should have been a lot more. They missed out on the League Title many times as well as losing the FA Cup Final in 1972 to Second Division Sunderland. They won the League in 1974 in what was to be Revie’s final year and despite efforts from Brian Clough(memorably) and Jimmy Armfield to build on that success, Leeds have been in free fall ever since.
Best XI: Harvey, Reaney, Charlton, Hunter, Madeley, Lorimer, Bremner, Giles, Gray Clarke, Jones.
The Greatest Threat to Liverpool’s dominance in the mid 80s were local rivals Everton. The Toffee’s enjoyed their greatest period of success in an era when their great rivals were at their peak. But Howard Kendell had built a side that like Leeds had not only grit, but style and the ability to win any game. Had it not been for the European Ban, More Success could have been achieved.
Best XI: Southall, Stevens, Ratcliffe, Watson, Van Den Hauwe, Steven, Reid, Bracewell, Sheedy, Gray[Linekar], Sharp
A lot of older football fans describe this side as the Greatest Footballing Team on these shores. In 1961 Tottenham achieved the unthinkable and won both the League and FA Cup under the watchful eye of Bill Nicholson. The team’s attacking philosophy has been the mantra for the club ever since and has never been replicated since.
Best XI: Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson
Described as the most entertaining team in British Football History by many, Liverpool’s late 80s team were as swashbuckling as anybody in Europe at the time. Under the guidance of Player-Manager Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool won 2 League titles and an FA Cup during not only the most entertaining period in the clubs history but because of the Hillsborough Tragedy, the most difficult. Would this team have won the European Cup had it not been for the Ban? Who knows!
Best XI: Grobbelaar, Nicol, Hansen, Gillespie, Staunton, Houghton, Whelan, McMahon, Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge[Rush]
Chelsea weren’t the first team to buy the league, but they were the first team to do it with sheer dominance. In 2004 Jose Mourinho created a team with combined attacking intent with defensive stability to create one of the most complete teams in recent memory combining Power with Pace and Strength. The only downside for the West London club is a lack of luck in Europe.
Best XI: Cech, Ferreira, Terry, Carvalho, Gallas, Makelele, Essien, Lampard, Cole, Robben, Drogba
5. Manchester United(2006-2009)
By 2006 Sir Alex was at a crossroads. United had not won the league in 3 years and Chelsea looked the team that would dominate England and Europe for years to come. However by 2009 losing a Champions League final despite winning a League was considered a disappointment. During this 3 year period Sir Alex created his most exciting team, largely thanks to the performances of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney as well as the experience of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. United dominated the Premier League in an era when the Premier League was arguably at its most competitive.
Best XI: Van Der Sar, Neville[Brown], Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Tevez, Rooney
4. Nottingham Forest(1978-1980)
Everyone talks in modern-day terms about Leicester, but Forest not only achieved the impossible dream by winning the league, but achieved the miracle when the little known club from the Midlands won 2 European Cups in an era of Liverpool dominance. It was a sign of Clough’s genius as a manager and its an achievement that remains arguably the greatest achievement in Football.
Best XI: Shilton, Anderson, Lloyd, Burns, Clarke, Francis, McGovern Bowyer, O’Neill, Robertson, Birtles.
Up there with the most entertaining teams in Premier League history, Wengers Arsenal won the league with a combination of grit and swagger. With the likes of Henry and Bergkamp providing the goals and Vieira and Campbell providing the stability, Arsenal were the team to beat during the early-mid 00s, especially during their Invincible Season. However their lack of european success cost them dearly and its fair to say their achievements are somewhat overshadowed by a lack of consistency in the Champions League.
Best XI: Seaman[Lehmann], Lauren, Campbell, Toure[Keown], Cole, Ljungberg, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry.
2. Manchester United(1998-2001)
Not many teams can brag about winning a Treble, Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United can. Winning trophies with a combination of style and determination, this team had everything. The midfield is arguably the greatest in Football League History and had zero weakness. The only downsight to this era was United’s failure to win a second Champions League. It was the only thing that keep them off top spot on this list, The Treble remains the single greatest season in English Football.
Best XI: Schmeichel, Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Yorke, Cole.
Top of the pile just like they were for the majority of this era. Liverpool’s team of the late 70s takes the title of the greatest in Football League History. Why? Because unlike United they won back to back European Cups, and unlike Forest they won League Titles as well. Under Bob Paisley they swept aside everyone in England and Europe, and had it not been for Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest it would have been more, its hypothetical but its worth mentioning.
Best XI: Clemence, Neal, Hansen, Thompson, Hughes, McDermott, Case, Souness, Kennedy, Keegan[Dalglish], Toshack[Johnson]