FA Premier League

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File:FA Premier League.png
FA Premier League logo

The FA Premier League (which, for sponsorship/legal reasons, is often referred to as the Barclays Premiership in the UK and the Barclays English Premier League internationally) is a league competiton for English Football clubs located at the top of the English football league system (above The Football League), making it England's main football competition.


The FA Premier League comprises the top 20 football clubs in the league system of English football. It was created in 1992, when the top division football clubs broke away from the Football League after securing a greatly improved TV rights deal with the then fledgling satellite television company BSkyB. The new name was simply a commercial restructuring and a rebranding exercise as there was no innovation in competitive terms; an identical first tier league had existed the previous season. The Premiership boasts some of the best players in the world, including many from outside England.

The Premier League is the most lucrative football league in the world, with total club revenues of over £1.3 billion in 2003–04 according to Deloitte, more than 50 percent above its nearest competitor, Italy's Serie A [1]. It is currently second in the UEFA rankings of European leagues based on their performances in European competitions over a five year period, behind Spain's La Liga, and was the best performing league in 2004–05[2].

The competition

File:Fa premier league norway.jpg
A Norwegian take on FA Premier League team names

There are 20 clubs in the Premier League. During the course of a season each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents for a total of 38 games for each club and a total of 380 games in Premier League play. At the end of each season the three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Football League Championship and the top two teams from the Championship, together with the winner of a play-off involving the 3rd to 6th placed clubs, are promoted in their place.

The top four teams in the Premiership qualify for the UEFA Champions League, with the top two teams directly entering the group phase. The third and fourth placed teams enter the competition at the third qualifying round and must win a two-legged knockout tie in order to enter the group phase. The fifth placed team automatically qualifies for the UEFA Cup, and the sixth and seventh placed teams can also qualify, depending on what happens in the two domestic cup competitions. If the FA Cup champions and runners-up both finish in the top 5 of the Premier League, the FA Cup's UEFA Cup spot goes to the sixth placed team in the League. If the League Cup is won by a team that has already qualified for Europe, the League Cup's UEFA Cup spot also goes to the next highest placed team in the League (unlike with the FA Cup spot, it is never transferred to the losing finalist).


Since 1993, the FA Premier League has been sponsored. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. So far, all the sponsors have referred to the competition as the 'Premiership'. The list below details who the sponsors have been and what they called the competition:

  • 1993–2001: Carling (FA Carling Premiership)
  • 2001–08: Barclays (Barclays Premiership; from 2001-2004, it was known as the Barclaycard Premiership)

Worldwide reach

Promoted as "The Greatest Show On Earth", the FA Premier League is the world's most popular and most watched sporting league, followed worldwide by over a billion people[3]. Over 260 foreign players compete in the league, and 101 stars from England's domestic leagues competed in the Template:Wc in Korea and Japan. It is widely watched overseas, with matches being shown in over 150 countries. Premier League teams such as Manchester United and star players such as Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard or Ruud van Nistelrooy have become worldwide sporting icons. The Premier League is particularly popular in Scandinavia, with ferry operators offering "football ferries" to Norwegian football fans wishing to see their favourite teams in action.

Number of foreigners

In 2000–01, the number of foreign players (players hailing from outside of the United Kingdom) participating in the Premiership was 36%. In the 2004–05 season the figure had increased to 45%. Arsenal's 85% figure (rising from 64% in 2000–01) is the highest of any club over the period. Chelsea, who were purchased in 2003 by Roman Abramovich, have been overtaken in terms of the number of foreign born players by Liverpool (72%).


The FA Premier League was formed on 20th February 1992 and played its first season in 1992–93. This meant a break-up of the 104-year-old Football League that had operated until then with four divisions. A number of events during the mid and late Eighties had sent clear signals that fundamental changes were needed to the structure of professional football. The English game was at possibly its lowest ebb ever. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters were faced with poor facilities, hooliganism was rife and English football was banned from European competition. The old First Division became a selling league as many top players were lured by the financial attractions of the continent.

A radical restructuring was required if English football was to prosper. A proposal for the establishment of the league was tabled that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17th July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League. The newly formed top division would have commercial independence from the Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League license to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements.

In 1992 the First Division Clubs resigned from the football league en masse and on 27th May 1992 the FA Premier League was formed as a limited company, which worked out of an office at the then Football Association's headquarters, Lancaster Gate.

Premier League clubs, 2005–06

Finishing position
last season
First season in
top division
First season of
current spell in
top division
Arsenal*† 2nd 1904–05 1919–20
Aston Villa*† 10th 1888–89 1988–89
Birmingham City 12th 1894–95 2002–03
Blackburn Rovers 15th 1888–89 2001–02
Bolton Wanderers 6th 1888–89 2001–02
Charlton Athletic 11th 1936–37 2000–01
Chelsea*† 1st 1907–08 1989–90
Everton*† 4th 1888–89 1954–55
Fulham 13th 1949-50 2001–02
Liverpool*† 5th 1894–95 1962–63
Manchester City 8th 1899–1900 2002–03
Manchester United*† 3rd 1892–93 1975–76
Middlesbrough 7th 1902–03 1998–99
Newcastle United 14th 1898–99 1993–94
Portsmouth 16th 1927–28 2003–04
Sunderland 1st in The Championship, promoted 1890–91 2005–06
Tottenham Hotspur*† 9th 1909–10 1978–79
West Bromwich Albion 17th 1888–89 2004–05
West Ham United 6th in The Championship, promoted via the play-offs 1923–24 2005–06
Wigan Athletic 2nd in The Championship, promoted 2005–06 2005–06

* Played in every Premier League season.
† Founding member of Premier League

Former Premier League Members

Years in most
recent spell in top
First season in
most recent spell in
top division of
English football
Final season of
most recent spell in
top division of
English football
Barnsley 1 1997–98 1997–98
Bradford City 2 1999–2000 2000–01
Coventry City 34 1967–68 2000–01
Crystal Palace 1 2004–05 2004–05
Derby County 6 1996–97 2001–02
Ipswich Town 2 2000–01 2001–02
Leeds United 14 1990–91 2003–04
Leicester City 1 2003–04 2003–04
Norwich City 1 2004–05 2004–05
Nottingham Forest 1 1998–99 1998–99
Oldham Athletic 3 1991–92 1993–94
Queens Park Rangers 13 1983–84 1995–96
Sheffield United 4 1990–91 1993–94
Sheffield Wednesday 9 1991–92 1999–2000
Southampton 27 1978–79 2004–05
Swindon Town 1 1993–94 1993–94
Watford 1 1999–00 1999–2000
Wimbledon(a)† 14 1986–87 1999–2000
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 2003–04 2003–04

† Founding member of Premier League. (a) Now Milton Keynes Dons F.C.


Past Premier League winners

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 from:2004 till:2005 text:"13th Chelsea 1" color:Chelsea


Past winners of the Premier League
Season Winner Total wins* Remarks Runner-up
1992–93 Manchester United 1 (8) First Premier League winners Aston Villa
1993–94 Manchester United 2 (9) Also won the FA Cup Blackburn Rovers
1994–95 Blackburn Rovers 1 (3) First league championship since 1914 Manchester United
1995–96 Manchester United 3 (10) Also won the FA Cup Newcastle United
1996–97 Manchester United 4 (11)   Newcastle United
1997–98 Arsenal 1 (11) Also won the FA Cup Manchester United
1998–99 Manchester United 5 (12) Also won the FA Cup,
UEFA Champions League
1999–2000 Manchester United 6 (13)   Arsenal
2000–01 Manchester United 7 (14)   Arsenal
2001–02 Arsenal 2 (12) Also won the FA Cup Liverpool
2002–03 Manchester United 8 (15)   Arsenal
2003–04 Arsenal 3 (13) Undefeated in League Chelsea
2004–05 Chelsea 1 (2) Also won the League Cup Arsenal

* Premier League championships (total English football championships)
Up to 1992, the winners of the First Division of The Football League were the English football champions.
Liverpool hold the overall record with 18 championships.

The other two top honors that an English club can win are the FA Cup and the European Cup. Winning the FA Cup and the League Championship is known as a double. Manchester United is the only team to win all three, known as the treble.

Top flight champions in English football

The following clubs have won the top division in English football, that is the Football League from 1888–89 to 1991–92 and the Premier League since the 1992–93 season.

Top scorers

By season

Season Top scorer, club Goals
1992–93* Teddy Sheringham, Tottenham Hotspur 22
1993–94* Andy Cole, Newcastle United 34
1994–95* Alan Shearer, Blackburn Rovers 34
1995–96 Alan Shearer, Blackburn Rovers 31
1996–97 Alan Shearer, Newcastle United 25
1997–98 Chris Sutton, Blackburn Rovers
Dion Dublin, Coventry City
Michael Owen, Liverpool
1998–99 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Leeds United
Michael Owen, Liverpool
Dwight Yorke, Manchester United
1999–2000 Kevin Phillips, Sunderland 30
2000–01 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Chelsea 23
2001–02 Thierry Henry, Arsenal 24
2002–03 Ruud van Nistelrooy, Manchester United 25
2003–04 Thierry Henry, Arsenal 30
2004–05 Thierry Henry, Arsenal 25
* For the first 3 seasons of the Premier League (1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95)
there were 22 clubs and therefore 42 games played by each club. For all
seasons since there have been 20 clubs and therefore 38 games played.


As of November 5 2005

Rank Player Goals
1 Alan Shearer * 252
2 Andy Cole * 182
3 Robbie Fowler * 154
4 Les Ferdinand 150
5 Teddy Sheringham * 143
6 Thierry Henry * 142
7 Michael Owen * 122
8 Dwight Yorke 121
9 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink * 117
10 Ian Wright 113
* Playing in the Premier League in 2005-06.

The "Curse of Christmas"

Over the history of the Premier League, the so called "Curse of Christmas" became apparent—from the first season onwards, the team who was bottom of the league on Christmas Day was always relegated. This curse was only broken in season 2004–05, when West Bromwich Albion finished 17th on the final day.

Season Team Final Position
1992–93 Nottingham Forest 22nd
1993–94 Swindon Town 22nd
1994–95 Ipswich Town 22nd
1995–96 Middlesbrough 20th
1996–97 Nottingham Forest 20th
1997–98 Barnsley 19th
1998–99 Nottingham Forest 20th
1999–2000 Sheffield Wednesday 19th
2000–01 Bradford City 20th
2001–02 Leicester City 20th
2002–03 West Ham United 18th
2003–04 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20th
2004–05 West Bromwich Albion 17th (safe)

See also


External links

Template:FA Premier League Template:English football league system

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