Are Chelsea Bigger Than The Likes of Liverpool?

I’ve been thinking about this ever since Sturridge was quoted about saying Liverpool were bigger than Chelsea . In the Premier Leag...

I’ve been thinking about this ever since Sturridge was quoted about saying Liverpool were bigger than Chelsea.

In the Premier League, there is no bigger club than Liverpool.

This is my belated response to these comments now that I finally have to time to sit down and put it into words!

Now of course all Chelsea fans will think and claim that we are currently bigger than Liverpool, and rightly so! To uphold success and truly be up among the biggest clubs in the world, you actually have to believe you are. Other fans can scoff at us, but not only do I want this mentality at Chelsea, I expect it of the club and our fans.

It would be nice, though, if the rest of the footballing world could maybe come to terms with the possibility that we are bigger than the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal these days. This is a little insight into why I believe Chelsea deserve this.

A little observation about Liverpool first though. It feels as if players are given cue cards for them to read during their first interview at Liverpool. Card 1: talk about our history. Card 2: talk about how amazing it will be to play with Steven Gerrard. Card 3: talk about how Liverpool are the biggest club in the league.

Mmmm, well they are well within their right to talk about these kinds of things, especially the first two. However you never really get this talk of club size and history when you see players joining Manchester United or Arsenal, for example. My point is that I kind of get the feeling that Liverpool are desperately clinging onto their status as one of the biggest clubs in England, and are, to use the classic line, living of their history.

Have we reached the point where we can claim that we are bigger than Liverpool? I think we absolutely have, but not many others seem to agree. Then again, most other fans don’t look too favourably upon us.

What criteria do you use to figure out which club is bigger though? History, modern success and fanbase, I think are the three areas to consider.

Liverpool’s divine right to claim superiority over even Manchester United seems to lie within their history 99% of the time. “Come back and talk to us when you’ve won 18 leagues and 5 European trophies” is the common line you will get. They also love to tell us how we have no history too.

Well, first of all, we reject the claim we have no history. Crystal Palace haven’t won much but you would never say they have no history. The history of a club creates its identity, its memories and its own personality. This is the case no matter how much has been won, and to tell another club that they have no history because they haven’t won as much as you is a disrespectful insult. We have experienced our highs and lows, from relegation, to promotion, to championships, to financial crisis, to Abaramovich, to the Champions of Europe. I may not have been alive to experience all of it, but I still appreciate it.

History does this, but it does not determine what a club is in the present. Even if others do want to try and belittle us, we can quite happily say with a genuine smile on our face: “We’re making history, not living off it.” What happened 20 years in the past and further does not dictate your significance in the present. Nor do one or two un-sustained solitary moments of success.

Our success over the last ten years is second only to Manchester United. That is no mean feat, and is something that is conveniently ignored by those who think Liverpool is bigger. For success to be so consistently maintained, even if it is the only thing about Chelsea that is consistent, you must be a sizeable club, and it cannot be ignored, as most seem to do. With 11 major trophies in almost as many years, compared to Liverpool and Arsenal who have 9 between them in the same period, we can rightfully claim to be a one of the teams of the decade.  

You sometimes hear people say that the size of their stadium plays a large role in their club stature. Well we don’t exactly have a small stadium or one without character, and we are in the process of moving to a larger one that is the same size of the Emirates and that of many other clubs who are renovating or building their own. The argument that Stamford Bridge restircts us, if it was relevant at all in the first place, will not be any use to people for much longer.

As for our fanbase, a study done for us by TNS shows that Chelsea have a core ('core' meaning those who unprompted say they are Chelsea fans) worldwide fanbase of 90 million. Studies do differ with results of course depending on how the survey is conducted, another one claims we have 135 million for example, but, due mainly to a huge Asian fanbase, we consistently come above the both Liverpool and Arsenal in fanbase statistics. It’s better if you research this yourself and decide what is reliable and what isn’t, but this is the conclusion I have come to. To be perfectly honest I was surprised too.

I don’t claim that Chelsea are the biggest club in England, Manchester United have a claim for that which is undeniable. I do hold that we are the second biggest though, and, from my perspective, this too is undeniable. It may not always be the case, Manchester City are beginning to build similar foundations for the same argument, but it is for the moment.

If anyone wants to say we are smaller than Liverpool, and even Arsenal, the only feasible thing that can back them up is past success. I would say to them: “Congratulations, you have an impressive history and I respect it. There certainly was a time when you were bigger than us, but not anymore.”

Find your Chelsea tickets at Viagogo!

Carefree & KTBFFH!


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