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Arsenal start the run that leads to the most consecutive seasons in the top division

On 30 August 1919 Arsenal lost at home to Newcastle United at the start of a league season.

But not just any old league season, for this was the first of a unique run in the first division.  It constitutes the most consecutive seasons in top flight football in England.   That is 87 seasons and 94 years.  (The disparity between these because is due to the fact that no League football was played during the second world war from 1939 and 1946.   I originally miswrote this as 96 years and was duly corrected (see below).

58 other clubs have more than one participation in top flight football and it would be tedious to produce the complete list but here’s list of those with 20 or more.

Those currently still in the first division and thus continuing their sequence this year are shown below in bold.

In the season column the numbers record the completed seasons, so for Arsenal “1920” indicates the completed season 1919/20 and the second date commemorates 2012/13.  Of course assuming that the relevant clubs complete this season you can safely add on one to each of the numbers of the clubs currently in the top division.

Club No of
Consecutive
Seasons
Seasons
Arsenal 87 1920 – 2013
Everton 59 1955 – 2013
Sunderland 57 1891 – 1958
Liverpool 51 1963 – 2013
Aston Villa 44 1889 – 1936
Blackburn Rovers 44 1889 – 1936
Manchester United 38 1976 – 2013
Liverpool 38 1906 – 1954
Everton 38 1889 – 1930
Sheffield United 37 1894 – 1934
Tottenham Hotspur 35 1979 – 2013
Coventry City 34 1968 – 2001
Newcastle United 32 1899 – 1934
Manchester United 29 1939 – 1974
Tottenham Hotspur 27 1951 – 1977
Southampton 27 1979 – 2005
Wolverhampton Wanderers 26 1933 – 1965
Aston Villa 25 1989 – 2013
Chelsea 25 1931 – 1962
Portsmouth 25 1928 – 1959
Huddersfield Town 25 1921 – 1952
Chelsea 24 1990 – 2013
West Bromwich Albion 24 1950 – 1973
Burnley 24 1948 – 1971
Blackpool 23 1938 – 1967
Bolton Wanderers 22 1936 – 1964
West Ham United 20 1959 – 1978
Derby County 20 1927 – 1953

 Source

The fewest appearances (ie one season) record is jointly held by

  • Glossop North End (1899–1900),
  • Leyton Orient (1962–63),
  • Northampton Town (1965–66)
  • Carlisle United (1974–75),
  • Swindon Town (1993–94)
  • Barnsley (1997–98).

Before we conclude however there is always the issue raised of Arsenal’s election to the top league which then led to this run.   This affair which included the resolution of the match fixing between Manchester United and Liverpool and Chelsea’s false demotion to the second division has been the subject of quite a few wild stories.   We have gathered all the data in this article, and include within it an offer of a £100 donation to charity.  If you do have anything else to say on that election it is probably worth reading the article referred to above first.

 

Elsewhere….

 

 

 

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