10 of the easiest title wins in English football history
In the First Division’s inaugural season, Preston North End were utterly peerless. They finished 1888/89 undefeated from 22 matches, having scored more and conceded fewer than any other side (Wolves were closest to their tally of 15 goals shipped, on 37) as they marched to a league and cup double.
West Brom were the only other side to top the table that season. On goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded). On the opening day of the season. But still, that was the closest anyone came to putting up a challenge against Major William Sudell’s all-conquering (and original) Invincibles.
Aston Villa (1896/97)
Aston Villa became the second side to win a league and FA Cup pair after losing only four league games. It should be pointed out that their eventual winning margin of 11 points (in the days of two for a win) said almost as much about the paucity of the opposition as it did George Ramsay’s innovative take on the game (essentially he introduced occasionally passing the ball – without him football could conceivably be 22 Andros Townsends running in straight lines for 90 minutes).
Second-placed Sheffield United won just 13 of their 30 matches.
Having dominated the latter years of the 19th century, Sunderland found themselves without a league title since 1913. Johnny Cochrane had been doing his best to arrest the club’s lack of success, steadily building the side after joining as manager in 1928 and leading them to second place in 1934/35. That year they'd always been chasing Arsenal, but the following season the Black Cats built an imposing lead by Christmas that they never looked like surrendering.
It was to prove Sunderland’s last top-flight title to date, but at least they did it in style, winning by eight points over Derby (15 if converted into three points for a win).
Now this is how you dominate an entire season. Bill Nicholson’s wonderful Spurs side of Blanchflower, Smith et al ended the title race before it had even begun by winning 15 of their first 16 games, rapidly opening up a gap that the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanderers never looked likely to bridge. Spurs scored 115 goals and won an exceptional 16 of 21 games away from White Hart Lane.
They also lifted the FA Cup, thus winning the Double for the first time since Aston Villa in 1897.