It’s official – new Super League champions Wigan are the most successful club in the history of British rugby league.
Nearest challengers St Helens have enjoyed only 72 per cent of the success of Wigan, according to new research conducted by Dr Michael Sheard, a writer and academic based in North Yorkshire.
Halifax are the only non-Super League club to make the top 10 in the ‘Ultimate Rugby League Table’, a system devised by Sheard that gives recognition for successes achieved since 1896 in the Championship, Challenge Cup, Regal Trophy, World Club Challenge and Super League.
Sheard’s research awarded points to teams who have made the semi finals or further of the Challenge Cup and Regal Trophy, as well as the winners and runners up of the World Club Challenge.
Teams who either finished in the top three of a ‘first past the post’ Championship season, or reached the play-off semi-finals in years when a Grand Final system has determined the champions, have also been awarded points.
Dr Sheard said: “I wanted to put together as comprehensive as possible a measure to compare the successes of different clubs. When I was growing up, Wigan were the team. They dominated everything, then St Helens knocked them off their perch and more recently Bradford and Leeds have also enjoyed periods of considerable dominance in the Super League era. As an amateur historian of the game, I was just curious to see how the great teams compared.”
He added: “What surprised me was the size of Wigan’s lead at the top of the table. I’m well aware of their success, but just how successful they’ve been over so many years is quite remarkable.
“I also expected Bradford to have been ahead of Warrington, but Warrington’s rise in recent years is inversely correlated to Bradford’s demise. They’ve taken over from Bradford as a power in the Super League era and they’re ahead of them in this table looking at the whole history of the game, too.
“The other thing that was interesting was seeing the teams that no longer exist, names like Liverpool Stanley, Manningham and Leeds Parish Church. Looking back through the ages like that was fascinating.”
Sheard’s research awarded the following points:
Challenge Cup: Winner – 60 points, runner up – 30 points, semi finalists – 15 points
Regal Trophy: Winner – 40 points, runner up – 20 points, semi finalists – 10 points
World Club Challenge: Winner – 30 points, runner up – 15 points
Dr Sheard’s ‘Ultimate Rugby League Table’ (Points totals in brackets)
1 Wigan (6,565)
2 St Helens (4,730)
3 Leeds (4,290)
4 Warrington (2,550)
5 Bradford Northern/Bulls (2,325)
6 Huddersfield (2,130)
7 Hull (2,085)
8 Widnes (1,910)
9 Halifax (1,840)
10 Salford (1,620)
11 Hull KR, 12 Oldham, 13 Swinton, 14 Wakefield, 15 Castleford, 16 Hunslet, 17 Featherstone, 18 Leigh, 19 Dewsbury, 20 Barrow, 21 Broughton Rangers, 22 Batley, 23 Workington, 24 Bradford (who later became Bradford Park Avenue AFC), 25 Rochdale, 26 Runcorn, 27 Keighley/St Helens Recreation, 29 London, 30 Liverpool Stanley/Manningham, 32 Catalan Dragons/York, 34 Sheffield, 35 Whitehaven, 36 Blackpool Borough, 37 Leeds Parish Church/Prescot/Toulouse, 40 Bramley.