Premier League breaks new, unique record


The 2024/25 Premier League will have a distinctly southern feel in England. With Burnley and Sheffield United relegated and Leeds failing to win Sunday's promotion playoffs, only a handful of teams in next season's competition will hail from northern cities in England. In total, five teams will compete from the north. The two clubs from Merseyside are the northern clubs in the Premier League, along with the two clubs from Manchester and Newcastle United.

That's the smallest number of teams from the north in Premier League history. What's more, you'd have to go back to the 1989/90 Premier League season to find a season with five teams from the top half of the country. If you're looking for an indication of how different times have been in English football, Liverpool are the winners of the top flight this season. Aston Villa finished second, while Tottenham knocked Arsenal out of third place. Manchester United finished 13th, which remains their worst top-flight finish since relegation in the 1973/74 season.

Northern England has traditionally been a football hotbed. Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton are among the five most successful clubs in the top flight. Only Arsenal, who are third with 13 league wins, can break the northern dominance in England. Yet northern clubs have failed to assert their dominance in England. Manchester City and Liverpool are undoubtedly two dominant forces, yes. But that is more in terms of overall control. Whether it is simply the number of teams in the top division or their position in the table, clubs from the top half of the country have been in control for decades.

The change from Northern to Southern Europe

The Premier League has featured no fewer than 11 teams from northern cities. In the 2008/09 season, for example, there were 11 teams in the top flight. These included the five current teams: Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull City, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic. There is a consensus in English football that many of these teams are among the most historic in the country.

But Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and other teams that have won multiple top-flight titles in their history have bowed out of the top flight. The north has won a total of 75 top-flight titles in the history of English football. In their place, Ipswich Town, Leicester City, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth and Brentford have two top-flight titles between them. They represent the modern era of football, including smart spending and frequent sales of players to rival clubs as part of development.

In comparison, clubs in the north have not adapted. Manchester United have specialised in reckless spending, which has ultimately been detrimental to the club's success. Newcastle, on the other hand, have risen to prominence thanks to their heavy spending and qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 20 years. Everton, on the other hand, have struggled financially, Leeds United have briefly fallen into the third division and Sunderland have spent four years in League One.

The future of northern clubs in the Premier League

There are a number of factors contributing to this shift in power from north to south. The nature of the region, the rapid and unpredictable success of southern teams and luck all play a role. What remains clear, however, is that northern teams in the Premier League and English football will need to change their general direction to keep pace with those in the south.

It seems a ridiculous argument to suggest the idea of ​​an all-star game. There was a rumour that the best players from the north would play against the best from the south. It would make more sense for the London clubs to play against everyone else. The capital has seven teams in the Premier League.

It wouldn't take much for the north to re-establish itself in the top flight. Leeds, for example, lost the playoff final. Also, two northern clubs were relegated last season. Middlesbrough and Sunderland were in the semi-finals of the promotion playoffs in 2022/23. Hull City and Preston North End were in the top half of the Championship table in 2023/24. The disparity exists, but it wouldn't take much to close it.