Let’s get to know the history of English football a bit better by finding out who are the oldest Premier League teams that are present in the 2020-21 season.
As many football fans know, the sport that we call football today was first developed in England where many football teams’ foundation date back to the late 19th century. With the formation of the Football League in 1888, which was the first ever football league in the world, football took a huge step towards the professional and popular sport it is today. So we though what better than exploring a bit of that history by finding out who are exactly the oldest Premier League teams.
Unlike many other football leagues, the English top flight boasts of a variety of teams that have won it multiple times during different eras which only adds to the competition’s intensity and credibility. Looking over the oldest teams in Premier League and English football history in general leads to seeing teams like Sunderland, who were dominant in the first 50 years of the Football League, fall to be replaced by teams like Chelsea who were a relative small club in their first 100 years as a club. So let’s take a glimpse of that history below:
Even though there were several clubs that were older than the ones on this list, like Stoke City and Nottingham Forest, we have decided to only name oldest Premier League teams in 2020. So the list may differ next year as teams are relegated and new teams are promoted to take their place. But for now here is our list:
As one of the oldest football club in Premier League, Southampton was founded in 1885 but back then it was called St. Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association. It’s because of this connection to the Church of St. Mary that they are nicknamed the Saints. Despite not being a successful club as far as the trophies go, Southampton is really successful in developing players which has seen Southampton academy players like Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Oxlade-Chamberlain reach the top levels of footballing world.
Southampton previously played in the Dell stadium but since 2001, they play at the St Mary's Stadium. The club has only one major trophy of note and that is their solitary FA Cup win in the 1975-76 season. Despite being one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992 and a long streak of staying in the top tier from 1977, Southampton got relegated in 2005. The nightmare got even worse as they went down to third tier of English football a couple of years later, but they eventually got back in 2011 and have been performing well ever since.
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As far as the players of import in the club’s history goes, Terry Paine is their record appearance maker with an incredible amount of 815 appearances for the Saints and Mick Channon is their record goal scorer with 228. As one of the oldest team in EPL, Southampton have been performing well since the appointment of Ralph Hasenhüttl in 2018 and have one of the most potent attacks in the league with the likes of Che Adams and Danny Ings. Their aim this season will certainly be to first ensure their survival and then try to qualify for Europe.
Found 138 years ago in 1882 as the Hotspur FC, the club is now known as the Tottenham Hotspur. The club is based on North side of the city of London and are neighbors with their local rivals Arsenal, although Tottenham’s honors are significantly fewer than that of their rival neighbors. Tottenham Hotspur recently moved to their new stadium which is named after the club, a stadium that was built on the same site of their famous former home ground, White Hart Lane.
The club was prominent during the 60s where they achieved a Double of winning the league and the FA Cup in 1960-61 season and became the first club to do so in the 20th century. But they have not been able to win any league titles since then. The Lilywhites other major trophies besides their 2 league titles include 8 FA Cup trophies and 4 League Cup trophies as well as 2 UEFA Cup and a European Cup Winners’ Cup. They also reached the Champions League final in 2018-19 which they eventually lost.
Steve Perryman is the Spurs player with the most appearances for the club with 854 appearances and the legendary Jimmy Greaves is their all-time top goal scorer with 266 goals for the club. Spurs’ current manager is Jose Mourinho who hopes to steer Spurs, as one of the oldest Premier League teams to their supposed rightful place which is winning trophies, a fact that the club is almost allergic to. Only time will tell if he will succeed or not.
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One of the founding members of Football League is the East Lancashire based club Burnley, which was itself founded in 1882. Burnley was one of the first clubs that pushed to professionalize football by paying players and organizing a professional league in 1888. They are one of a few clubs who have won all four professional divisions of English football and they have been playing at their home ground Turf Moore since 1883, only a year after the club’s foundation.
As one of the oldest teams in Premier League, the club has experienced 2 periods of major success in its 138-year history, in the 1920s and 1960s, with the latter being the most successful period of the club where they won the league and also reached the Champions League (European Cup) quarter-finals a year later in 1961. All in all, the club has won 2 league titles and an FA Cup.
The club’s record appearance maker is Jerry Dawson who represented the club 569 times. The club’s record goal scorer however is George Beel who represented Burnley in the 1920s and scored 188 goals in 327 matches. As one of the oldest Premier League teams in 2020, Burnley has been finishing in the mid-table consistently since their promotion to the Premier League in 2016.
This is mainly because of their beloved manager Sean Dyche that has built a team that is notoriously hard to score against which has even led to them qualifying for a European competition after more than 50 years. this season however they are struggling and are 20th in the league after only 8 games and they will be hoping to gt back to their solid ways and avoid the relegation.
Apart from being one of the most successful English teams in the last decade, Manchester City is also one of the oldest clubs in Premier League, having been founded in 1880. But things were not always as smooth sailing for them as it is today since the club has gone through different eras of extreme success and also failure. The Cityzens have played in a number of stadiums, with their current stadium being the Etihad stadium, after they moved from their long serving home ground Maine Road in 2003.
Even prior to Abu Dhabi United Group takeover of the club in 2008 which ushered in an era of incredible success for the club, Manchester City was considered as one of the more respectable and decorated teams in England. The club’s first era of success was in the 1960 when they won the League, European Cup Winners Cup, FA Cup and League Cup with the likes of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison at the helm.
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The club was one of the founding members of the Premier League but suffered an abysmal run of form both on the pitch and off it which saw them being relegated to the third tier of English football for the third time in club’s history. They did however recover from it and came back to EPL in 2002 and have since risen exponentially in stature and success. With huge investments from the Abu Dhabi United Group, they have brought in immense foreign and domestic talent which has led to 4 Premier League titles.
Manchester City has had many great players in its history with some of the recent being Vincent Kompany and David Silva but their record appearance maker is Alan Oakes with 682 appearances and their top goal scorer is of course the legendary Sergio Aguero with 254 goals, a number that he may very well add to in his last season at the club.
Manchester City who are one of the oldest Premier League teams have won the English top flight league 6 times, four of which are Premier League titles, as well as 6 FA Cup and 7 League Cup titles which makes them one of the most decorated teams in England. They are also the only team to complete a domestic Treble in 2018-19 season where they won the PL as well as both domestic cups. A feat they very well wish to repeat in this current season.
The oldest football club in Premier League that is based in London is Fulham which was founded in 1879 and was originally named Fulham St Andrew's Church Sunday School since it was founded by the worshippers of Church of England. Fulham’s home ground which sits by the River Thames is called Craven Cottage and the club has played there since 1897. Despite being founded before the creation of Football League, Fulham was not an original 12 member of the league but they went on to join the league in 1907 season.
Even though Fulham is one of the oldest Premier League clubs, compared to other teams on the list they have spent a much shorter period at the highest level of English football since the club has only played in 27 top flight seasons. They are also one of the least decorated clubs on our list as their only major trophy is an UEFA Intertoto cup in 2002 although they did reach 2 important finals, one being an FA Cup final in 1975 and the second the 2010 Europa League final, both of which they lost.
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Johnny Haynes is the player with most appearance for Fulham with 658 and the club’s record goal scorer is Gordon Davies with 178 goals, although Haynes himself is a close second with 158 goals. the club’s resurgence in the 2000s also saw some of the football’s greatest like Edwin van der Sar and Dmitar Berbatov play for them. All that being said, Fulham as one of the oldest Premier League teams has a tough job of staying up this season despite the heavy investments that the club’s new owner has done in recent years but with players like Mitrovic and Areola, they’ll be wishing to beat the odds and remain in the Premier League.
One of several Midland clubs on the list oldest teams in Premier League, West Bromwich Albion was founded in 1878. the Baggies have been playing at their home ground of Hawthorns since the turn of the 20th century in 1900. The club was one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888, the same year that West Bromwich Albion won the FA Cup for the first time. they were also one of the founding members of Premier League in 1992.
Although West Bromwich Albion has spent 81 out of 132 Football League seasons in the top tier of English football they have only managed to win the league once, doing so in 1919-20 season. But they are a far more proficient side when it comes to cup competitions as the club has reached 10 FA Cup finals, winning 5 of them with the most recent one being in the 2011-12 season. They have also won the League Cup once which was on the competitions first year as well as a couple of Charity Shields.
Tony Brown also known as the Bomber is a player who has the most number of appearances for the club as well as being the Baggies record goal scorer, having scored 279 in 720 matches for the club. As one of the oldest Premier League teams in 2020, West Bromwich Albion’s performances in the Premier League have always been fluctuating, with the club being relegated a number of times but they wish that their recent promotion to the EPL lasts for several season. Although that seems extremely hard to do as they are currently 18th in the league with only 3 points, but who knows, there 30 games remaining and West Brom might just stay up!
The most decorated English team of all time needs no introduction as Manchester United are also one of the oldest Premier League teams and are known all over the world for their immense success, especially under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson which was mostly in the Premier League era. The Red Devils were founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, but in 1902 changed their name to Manchester United and made the move to their current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.
The club’s rich history is full of successful periods as they have won the league a record 20 times, 13 of which were in the Premier League era, as well as winning 12 FA Cups, five League Cups, three UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. It honestly would take an entire article to count all of Manchester United’s achievements.
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The club has had many great players throughout its history including great players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and Sir Bobby Charlton but the club’s record appearance maker is Ryan Giggs who has appeared in a mind bogglingly amount of 963 matches for Manchester United and making himself the most decorated Premier League player with 13 winners’ medal. Wayne Rooney is also the club’s record goal scorer with 253 goals only four more than the legendary Bobby Charlton.
Because of the nature of their success, Manchester United has had many intense rivalries with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, with the latter two being United’s local rivals. But after the retirement of their greatest ever manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, the club have been stagnant in recent years with them failing to reach their high aspirations. Even with all of that said, United is one of the oldest club in EPL as well as being the most decorated team in England and is still a team to be feared of.
The only Liverpool club on our list of oldest teams in Premier League is the Everton Football club. The club was founded 142 years ago in 1878 as St Domingo FC which, like several other clubs on our list, was named after a church of the same name but they were later renamed as Everton FC. With 9 league trophies, Everton have the 4th most league titles in England only behind Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal and they were considered to be one of the best teams in Europe during the 1980s.
The Toffees who have played at their home ground of Goodison Park since 1892 were one of the giants in English football before the World War II but after the war they experienced a loss of form until they rose to the top of English football for periods in the 1960s and 1980s. the club has won 9 league titles with the last one being in 1986-87 season as well as 5 FA Cup trophies, 2 League Cup trophies and a European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Everton’s record appearance maker is Neville Southall with 750 appearances and their top goal scorer of all time is the exceptional Dixie Dean who scored an amazing 383 goals for the club. As one of the oldest Premier League teams, Everton seemed like a perfect choice for the Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri as he mounted a successful takeover for the club in 2016 and since then Everton has been heavily investing in buying players in order to break into the top teams of the Premier League and with the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as their manager and players like James Rodriguez they might just do that this season.
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Despite being one of the oldest clubs in Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers have not spent much time in the competition since its inception in 1992. Although they have been going through a revival since their purchase by the Chinese group Fosun in 2016 by finishing 7th in the league consecutively. The club however was founded in 1877 as the St. Luke's F.C. but later changed its name to Wolverhampton Wanderers or as its commonly referred to ‘Wolves’.
Wolverhampton has played at Molineux Stadium since 1889 and has won several major trophies since. The clubs most successful era was in the 50s where under the management of Stan Cullis they won the league 3 times which would be the only times Wolves won the league. They also finished the decade with their fourth and last FA Cup title. However, the club did also enjoy a bit of success in the 70s as they reached a UEFA Cup final and won two League Cups.
The club’s record appearance maker is Derek Parkin with 609 appearances and their record goal scorer is Steve Bull with an incredible record of 306 goals for the club. The club’s local rivals are another one of the oldest Premier League teams, West Bromwich Albion, and their clashes are known as the Black Country Derby.
With a plethora of international players, mostly from Portugal, Wolverhampton has had a kind of resurgence these past couple of years and they only wish to build upon that success by maybe winning a cup trophy and qualifying for Europe, but for now we’ll just have to wait and see.
Aston Villa is currently the oldest football club in Premier League having been founded in Aston district of the city of Birmangham in 1874. The club soon became one of the best clubs in the Midlands of England and by 1887 had won their first ever FA Cup trophy and a year later they became one of the founding members of the Football League. Since 1897 Aston Villa has played in their home ground, Villa Park. Although the ground has been renovated a number of times, it is one of the oldest in the country.
Being one of the most successful English clubs, Aston Villa has won 7 league titles as well as 7 FA Cup trophies. Although despite being one of the founders of the Premier League in 1992 they have failed to win any league titles ever since but they are one of only 5 English clubs who have won the European Cup or Champions League as we know it today. As one of the oldest Premier League clubs, apart from their early success in the 2 decades that followed the club’s foundation, Aston Villa’s most successful period was during the 1980s.
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In the mid-70s, after what was a process of rejuvenation for the club, they got back to the First Division with manager Ron Saunders and went on to win the league title in 1980-81 season, the last time the club would do so, and in the following season despite Saunders quitting his job half way through the campaign, Aston Villa went on to win the European Cup in a 1-0 against Bayern Munich. They also managed a comfortable 3-1 win against Barcelona in the European Super Cup match, and therfore lifted the trophy.
Aston Villa has had many great players playing for them over the years with their record appearance maker being the Scotsman Charlie Aitken with 657 and their record goal scorer being Billy Walker with 244 goals in 531 appearances. As the oldest Premier League team, Aston Villa’s best Premier League finish was in the competition’s first season in 1992-93 where they finished second behind Manchester United. Their 24 year run of staying in the Premier League ended in 2016 but they managed to get back to the competition 3 years later and they hope to get back to their glory days with players like Jack Grealish and so far this season, they have not disappointed!