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The Definitive List Of Premier League Winners By Calendar Year, 1990 - 2015

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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With only two Premier League matches remaining to be played this year, it is time to turn our eyes to the calendar year League table for 2015, the year of our lord.

For the sixth time since the early 1990s, Arsenal have managed to claim the calendar year trophy. While City face title challengers - not to mention current fourth placers in the calendar year league table - Leicester City tonight, there is no prospect that they will overall the leaders.

Liverpool can hop above Chelsea and clamber in to seventh spot should they beat Sunderland tomorrow. Though they  finished in the same spot, Manchester United gained more points in 2014 than they did this year.

Most amusingly, Watford managed to finish ahead of Aston Villa despite only getting promoted in the summer and thus playing half the amount of games.

Last year, in a fit of boredom we compiled a list of every calendar year league table in English football going back to 1990 (we went back to 1990 rather than 1992 not out of hostility to Sky Sport but rather as a sop to Liverpool supporters). We have decided to reproduce that in the here and now, as we no doubt will next year. As one reader put it 'So pointless, but I can't top scrolling'. We trust you will feel the same way. 

Let's face it, running a League off between the months of August and May was always a strange way to go about things. It makes reeling off seasons a needlessly cumbersome exercise. '96 trips off the tongue much more quickly than 1995-96. Writers and promoters are obliged to insert an unsightly dash/hyphen between the years.


No, holding the League season between the months of January and December is much cleaner.

So, we decided to see how different the roll of honour would have looked had football followed the January-December template adhered to by so much of the rest of the world.

This is the trophy they all want...


The trophy is named in honour of the late managerial career of David O'Leary, who achieved such forgotten heroics in the 2001 calender year season.

*Before 2001, it was named after the brother company of Zenith Data Systems, namely Zentron Data Systems (fitting given that this title is almost as significant as the old Zenith Data Systems Cup).



Note: While going to the trouble of compiling these League tables suggests we had a lot of time on our hands, this time is sadly not limitless. Therefore, when two teams amassed the same points total over the course of a calender year, we decided on a simple principle.

Novelty value supersedes goal difference.


Therefore, an unheralded, traditionally unsuccessful club will always receive the benefit of the doubt over one of the fallen big boys in the event that they both finish on the same points. Except, of course, in the case of the top two teams finishing level on points, whereupon we did calculate goal difference (it happened in one season and novelty value did not supersede goal difference on that occasion.)


Man City held off Chelsea at the finish thanks to a late rally when it looked like Chelsea were going to steal it from them. Chelsea's loss at St. James's Park proved fatal.

Liverpool led at the half way mark but collapsed dramatically after the summer break. They returned from the two month interval a different team after the mid-season loss of Luis Suarez. Newcastle endured a horrible year but a spectacular late season run took them out of the relegation zone in the closing stages (data courtesy of the BBC).



Arsenal benefited from a highly favourable programme this year,

Alex Ferguson's shock decision to bring the curtain down on his remarkable career midway through the season, sent Manchester United into a tizzy from which they never recovered. They came from the summer break a transformed entity - and not for the better.


Liverpool, after their horror show the previous year, enjoyed a much better year this time around, and they steadily improved as the season wore on. Brendan Rodgers, after inheriting a shambles mid-season from Kenny Dalglish, had well and truly settled into the job by the start of the year. They can look ahead to the 2014 season with a great deal of confidence.

Surprise Packages: Arsenal

Surprisingly Bad: Stoke City




Liverpool endure their worst season in half a century as they crash to 15th place, amassing a disastrously low 46 points. Manchester Unted are still the kings, starting well, dipping a bit mid-season, before finishing strongly and emerging as handy winners.


Manchester City flattered to deceive. A dramatic late Sergio Aguero goal meant that they led the League heading into the summer break, but couldn't sustain it for the second half of the season.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa had a particularly abysmal season, finishing one place above bottom spot

Surprise Packages: Everton

Surprisingly Bad: Liverpool


Arsenal struggled throughout 2011, another year when Manchester United cruised to the title, beating City by nine points. Chelsea were in touch early on but collapsed in the second half of the season under the management of Andre Villas Boas.

Surprise Packages: Liverpool

Surprisingly Bad: Everton




Manchester United finished strongly to hold off Chelsea and claim the 2010 title. Liverpool endured a poor season under Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson. Elsewhere, City and Arsenal weren't a million miles away but had to tussle it out for 4th place.

West Ham, under Avram Grant, propped up the table at the end.

Surprise Packages: Blackburn Rovers

Surprisingly Bad: Liverpool




Manchester United swept to the title by a cool eleven points, the first of a four-in-a-row haul.

At the other end, Hull City amassed a truly miserable total of 26 points, after a risible start to the season.

Surprise Packages: No one

Surprisingly Bad: Hull City




Four draws in five matches in early December meant that Liverpool failed to capitalise on Chelsea's late season stumble. Under Avram Grant, Chelsea led the League for most of the season, but Roman Abramovich's decision to ignore this and appoint Luis Felipe Scolari almost led Chelsea into throwing the title away.

William Gallas's early season meltdown against Birmingham didn't help matters as Arsenal's form declined dramatically after a strong 2007.

A 2-0 home win over West Brom sealed it for Chelsea. Manchester United slumped to 3rd place after Liverpool's brilliant second half of the season.

Newcastle United and Manchester City and Spurs endured terrible seasons, occupying the bottom three positions. Newcastle witnessed managerial chaos throughout the season, sacking Sam Allardyce only eight days into the season, replacing him with Kevin Keegan who suffered a woeful start before a mid-season rally just before the summer break. However, shortly after the summer break, he fell out with the board. After a brief and unsuccessful spell under the temporary managership of Chris Hughton. He was replaced by throwback figure Joe Kinnear who helped the club see out the season. They finished in last place.

Surprise Packages: Aston Villa/Liverpool

Surprisingly Bad: Spurs




A St.Stephen's Day draw with Portsmouth in Fratton Park cost Arsenal the Premier League title at the death, allowing Manchester United to pip them by two points. Jose Mourinho's departure towards the end of the season was odd considering his team were involved in a tense battle for the title and only served to further highlight Roman Abramovich's erratic ownership.

Surprise Packages: Blackburn Rovers

Surprisingly Bad: Newcastle United




After a barren couple of years, United show strong form all year to sweep the title by a cool nine point margin, heralding the start of another glorious spell that would see them win six titles in seven years. Liverpool enjoyed a bit of a renaissance ending the season in 3rd place.

At the other end, Aston Villa, under the unhappy leadership of David O'Leary, endure one of their (then intermittent, now more regular) poor seasons, slumping to 13th spot.

Surprise Packages: Bolton Wanderers

Surprisingly Bad: Manchester City




Chelsea clear the 100 points mark in the most dominant showing in the calender year season in 12 years (and the previous one was when there were 22 teams in the League). They lose only one game all year, to Manchester United, thanks to a Darren Fletcher header in November. This loss was preceded by 27 wins and 5 draws from the previous 32 games.

Manchester United finished second, a whopping 20 points behind.

Surprise Packages: Bolton Wanderers

Surprisingly Bad: Everton




A two horse race for the title and one not involving Manchester United as Arsenal pip Chelsea by three points. Arsenal roared into an early lead and were almost reeled in by a resurgent Chelsea as the season reached its climax.

United had a tough year, finishing a distant third, seventeen points behind runners-up Chelsea. The growing pains of the jaw-droppingly talented but frustratingly callow Cristiano Ronaldo and the suspension of Rio Ferdinand for the first half of the season didn't help but there was a rousing, if controversial, victory over Arsenal late in the year, the Gunners' first loss all season.

Surprise Packages: Middlesbrough

Surprisingly Bad: Southampton




An excellent season for United, whose brilliant form throughout the first half of the season was well maintained towards the finale. Not even the untimely suspension of Rio Ferdinand for a drug test cock-up could disrupt their march to the title.

At the other end, Spurs suffer a dreadful year, humiliatingly propping up the table on 36 points, one point behind Leeds who have gone into freefall.

Surprise Packages: Fulham

Surprisingly Bad: Spurs




Arsenal romped to the League title after an underwhelming 2001. Their form was strong all year and had to 12 points to spare from Manchester United at the end. United held off Liverpool in the battle for second spot. Under Gerard Houllier, Liverpool continue their strong form.

Surprise Packages: Southampton

Surprisingly Bad: Aston Villa





They lived the dream.

It was like the early 70s all over again, as Leeds United emerged from the pack and did what they failed to do in 1992 - win the calender year League title.

They started well and held their nerve in the run-in after Manchester United endured an appalling late season collapse, slumping to 4th place.

Elsewhere, Ipswich Town made a glorious start to the season, before slumping badly after the summer break. Leicester City finished a distant last, amassing a miserable 29 points.

Surprise Packages: Leeds United

Surprisingly Bad: Manchester United




Manchester United cruised to one of their handiest titles of all, winning by a massive 22 point margin from Arsenal, chuffing along in second place. Leicester City were the season's surprise packages scaling the giddy heights of 5th spot and finishing with 61 points, just behind Liverpool and Chelsea.

Surprise Packages: Leicester City

Surprisingly Bad: Leeds United



Manchester United survived a lot of mid-season hoopla to take the 1999 title by five points from a strong and entertaining Arsenal side. Leeds were a force throughout the season, and were nipping at Arsenal's heels in the chase for the runner-up spot.

After their heroics the year before, Aston Villa had a torrid year, finishing with just 42 points and ending up in 14th spot.

Surprise Packages: West Ham

Surprisingly Bad: Aston Villa




Arsenal claimed their first calender League title in six years, beating out Aston Villa, under the management of John Gregory, who overcame a slow start and finished the season in title winning form, by nine points. Manchester United, amassing one of their lowest points totals in a while, couldn't overcome their injury induced early season slump and came in third.

Surprise Packages: Aston Villa

Surprisingly Bad: Newcastle United



Soccer - Littlewoods FA Cup Third Round - Chelsea v Manchester United

A colourless season defined by a lack of decent challengers to United's throne. The Old Trafford outfit were strong from start to finish, and did what they had to do, unhindered by anyone breathing down their neck. Blackburn Rovers were the surprising victors in the crowded battle for 2nd place.

The season was also marked the ascension of Chelsea who came in 3rd and the decline of Liverpool, who looked tasty last year, but ended the year in miserable shape. The decision (unwisely taken mid-season) to appoint a joint manager in the scholarly, unjustifiably arrogant shape of Gerard Houllier, because they couldn't bring themselves to sack local lad Roy Evans outright.

Surprise Packages: Blackburn Rovers

Surprisingly Bad: Liverpool



Liverpool came agonisingly close to ending their six-year famine but were pipped by Manchester United on goal difference. They led by four points with three games left, only to draw away to Newcastle and throw away a further two points against Leicester on St. Stephen's Day. United, whose form at the start of the year was sensational but faltered badly in late autumn, snaffled a 1-0 win against Leeds which was enough to give them another championship.

Surprise Packages: Liverpool

Surprisingly Bad: Leeds United




Manchester United claim the title after Blackburn dutifully collapsed in the second half of the season. Newcastle took up the challenge and almost caught United (who decided to offload a host of senior players halfway through the season) by the season's end but the Old Trafford club were strong enough to hold them off.

United's city neighbours hit another low, finishing bottom of the table, with the usual boardroom chaos rumbling away in the background. Arsenal's form was also poor and they could only scrape a mid-table spot.

Surprise Packages: Leeds United/Nottingham Forest

Surprisingly Bad: Arsenal



A wonderful year for Jack Walker and his team as Blackburn swept to the calendar year title beating out Manchester United by nine points. Wimbledon, aided by (three time - not) Manager of the Year, Joe Kinnear, finished a brilliant fifth. Chelsea recovered after their dreadful performance the previous year, while Spurs and Villa both endured poor years.

Surprise Packages: Wimbledon

Surprisingly Bad: Manchester United (usually regarded as a peak year for United, they achieved their first double but actually struggled in March/April '94)



The most one-sided calendar year title race of them all, Manchester United cleared the magical 100 point barrier while no one else managed to even break 80. A whopping 26 point victory from runners up Blackburn, was achieved thanks to the sublime form of the peaking Eric Cantona, the commanding Paul Ince, and youngster Ryan Giggs.

QPR were the other big story of the season, showing superb form, finishing fifth ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal.

It was a disastrous year for another illustrious club in London. Chelsea finished bottom of the Calender Year League table, despite beating Manchester United at Stamford Bridge late in the season.

Surprise Packages: Queen's Park Rangers

Surprisingly Bad:  Chelsea



Arsenal's year long consistency help them beat out Manchester United to the 1992 calendar year title. It was a season of two halves for Leeds United, who were in sensational form before the summer break but collapsed miserably in the second half of the year, deciding to offload Eric Cantona as the season drew to a close.

The once proud Nottingham Forest finished the season in a terrible state and were rooted to the bottom of the table at the end.

Surprise Packages: Sheffield Wednesday/ Man City

Surprisingly Bad: Liverpool



Although they were obviously not in the Premier League era, we've also included 1991 and 1990 because they were quite interesting years.


A magnificent finish to the season gave the success starved Manchester United the 1991 calendar year title, beating out favourites Arsenal and surprise packages Leeds United by four points. The season marked the start of a dramatic decline of Liverpool, with Kenny Dalglish quitting early season being replaced by Graeme Souness.

Surprise Packages: Manchester United

Surprisingly Bad: Spurs



Liverpool collected the calendar year title and it was never in any doubt. Arsenal finished strongly but still finished up seven points behind the aristocrats on Merseyside. The story of the season was Crystal Palace, whose fans were surely struck by vertigo. Steve Coppell's team came 3rd, a truly incredible performance.

Surprise Packages: Crystal Palace

Surprisingly Bad: Nottingham Forest



The Roll Of Honour

(and whether they won the League in May)

2014: Manchester City (Yes)

2013:  Arsenal        (No)

2012:  Manchester United (No)

2011:  Manchester United   (Yes)

2010:  Manchester United     (No)

2009: Manchester United     (Yes) 

2008: Chelsea                 (No)

2007: Manchester United   (Yes)

2006:  Manchester United      (No)

2005:  Chelsea                 (Yes)

2004:  Arsenal                 (Yes) 

2003:  Manchester United       (Yes) 

2002:  Arsenal                (Yes) 

2001:  Leeds United            (No)

2000:  Manchester United      (Yes)

1999:  Manchester United       (Yes)

1998:  Arsenal                (Yes)

1997:  Manchester United       (Yes)

1996:  Manchester United       (Yes)

1995:  Manchester United     (No)

1994:  Blackburn Rovers        (No)

1993:  Manchester United       (Yes)

1992:  Arsenal                 (No)

1991:  Manchester United       (No)    

1990:  Liverpool               (No)


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