League titles mean a lot to clubs, take Liverpool for example who have won 18 first division titles. Then again, Manchester United would argue they are a bigger club than Liverpool given the fact the Reds have never won a Premier League title and Manchester United boast a rich recent history.
The relevance of this is that the argument between Leeds and Nottingham Forest ultimately rests on each clubs history, with both clubs finishing only seven points apart in the mid-table of the Championship last season. Leeds United and Nottingham Forest fans will see their own clubs merits and will shy away from the pitfalls of their history but ultimately, what defines a ‘bigger club’ ultimately rests on an individual’s personal decision after weighing up the aspects that amalgamate to define a football club.
In terms of fans, Leeds United have a long-standing history of a vociferous home and away support. The West-Yorkshire side have been renowned for years for bringing a large number of supporters down to Elland Road, but they also do so across the country to each of their away games. Nottingham Forest are known for being an extremely well-supported club as well, selling over 17,000 season tickets for next year and typically taking gates between 20-30,000 people. Leeds United do probably edge Nottingham Forest in terms of their support. Elland Road holds 37,890 at present in comparison to the City Ground’s capacity of 30,445 and Leeds United often take large gates away on their travels that are usually above and beyond the majority of Championship sides support bases. This being said, both grounds are notorious for creating a buzzing, noisy atmosphere and it’s fair to say that both sides are up there as the two of the best in the Football League.
Leeds United have won the first division on three occasions as opposed to Nottingham Forest who have only won it once, but contrastingly, Nottingham Forest have won two European Cups and Leeds United have only finished as runners-up in the competition. Both clubs have won the FA Cup, Nottingham Forest on two occasions and Leeds United once – so in terms of honours, it’s largely debatable as to which you could consider a ‘bigger club’.
Both clubs have struggled in terms of their recent history, making a transition from being giants of English Football into sides that have suffered mid-table mediocrity and have flirted with League One in recent years. Leeds United have been the most successful in recent history, only dropping out of the top-flight in 2004 whereas Forest dropped out of the Premier League in 1999, two seasons before Leeds United reached the Champions League semi finals.
It’s clear both of these sides have incredibly rich histories and although you could compare other factors such as their record transfer fees, the amount of time they’ve spent in the top divisions and their global outreach at present, it’s highly debatable as to who is the bigger club. Historically speaking, you could argue Forest are the bigger club in terms of the honours they’ve won, but more recently, you could argue that Leeds United are a bigger club given their tremendous home and away support.
In either case, it’s your opinion but something that most football fans can unanimously agree is that these are two of the biggest sides in the Football League.