Codified by Ebenezer Cobb Morley in 1863, association football as we know it is more than 150 years old. Sheffield FC are officially recognised as being the oldest club in existence, having been founded in 1857, whilst Notts County are the oldest currently professional club, the League Two outfit having been founded in 1862.
Today though, we’re taking on a video suggested by one of our subscribers that focuses on some slightly less historic clubs. This is a video on the best clubs to have been founded in the last 50 years, so from 1968 to 2018. By best, we mean the best right now, not the best over the entire course of their history.
If this video does well, we’d be open to maybe doing a video on the best clubs founded over 125 years ago or even the best founded in the last 10 years. As always, let us know what you think of those ideas and your own future video suggestions in the comments section.
Here are our 7 best clubs founded in the last 50 years:
7. Atlanta United – 4 Years Old
Since the MLS was only dreamt up in preparation for the 1994 World Cup, and the league’s first season only came in 1996, every US team would be eligible for this seven.
The best American outfit right now, in our eyes though, also happens to be one of the newest. Atlanta United made their MLS debuts in 2017, finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference, followed by a 2nd place finish in 2018. They top an aggregate 2017 and 2018 combined conferences table, with the two New York clubs in 2nd and 3rd.
Atlanta’s success has been built on young South American talent, most notably in the cases of their two star men, Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron, who are among the best players in the MLS. This more forward-thinking and less big-name-focussed approach has worked wonders at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it’s one that more and more MLS teams will surely start to adopt.
At the time of recording this video, Atlanta United have reached the MLS Cup final in only their second season of competitive football. By the time you’re watching this, they’ll either have won or lost that game – but either way, they take seventh here.
6. FC Copenhagen – 26 Years Old
Founded in 1992 in a merger of Copenhagen Boldklub and Boldklubben 1903, FC Copenhagen have been the most successful club in Denmark in the 26 years since then, winning 12 league titles and 8 Danish Cups.
FC Midtjylland supporters may feel a little hard done by not to see their team feature here, since they topped the Danish Superliga last season, whilst FC Copenhagen slumped to a 4th placed finish, their poorest campaign since the turn of the millenium. However, they have got back to winning ways this season, and currently top the table once again.
Managed by former Wolves boss Stale Solbakken, Copenhagen have a handful of decent players, but their star man right now is probably former Ajax and Middlesbrough forward Viktor Fischer. Really highly rated as a youngster, Fischer has had a difficult couple of years, but looks to have found his feet once more albeit at a lower standard in his native Denmark now.
5. Getafe – 35 Years Old
The second oldest club in this list of relatively new clubs, Getafe in its current form was founded in 1983. Both a merger and a phoenix club, the original Getafe club – Club Getafe Deportivo – were founded in 1946, but were liquidated whilst playing in the fourth tier in 1983.
The club in its current incarnation began life in the eighth tier of Spanish football, winning four consecutive promotions in their first four seasons. They reached the Segunda Division in 1994, before consecutive relegations almost saw them fall out of existence once more in 1997.
Since then, however, Getafe have been far more successful than their predecessors ever were. They were promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2004, where they spent 12 seasons, recording a record high 6th placed finish in the 2009-10 campaign. Even following relegation in 2016, the club bounced back immediately, finishing 8th in La Liga last season and currently finding themselves in 9th place, only three points behind their near neighbours Real Madrid.
4. FC Krasnodar – 10 Years Old
A new club dreamt up by Russian billionaire Sergey Galitsky, FC Krasnodar were founded in 2008, starting life in the third tier of Russian football. Two promotions in two seasons meant they were a Russian Premier League club by 2010.
Since then, the club has never finished lower than 10th, and they’ve finished in the top 4 in each of the last 4 seasons. As well as moving into a state-of-the-art 34,000-seater stadium modelled on a Roman colosseum in 2016 – which surprisingly wasn’t chosen as one of Russia’s venues for the 2018 World Cup – Krasnodar are also second in the Russian Premier League table right now, so things are looking up for the club.
Krasnodar have some very decent players at their disposal right now, from Swedish international Viktor Claesson to Peru star Christian Cueva, but they lost arguably their best player Fyodor Smolov to reigning champions Lokomotiv Moscow over the summer.
3. RB Salzburg – 13 Years Old
When Red Bull bought SV Austria Salzburg back in 2005 and changed the club’s name, badge and colours, they declared that “this is a new club with no history”. They were later forced to withdraw that statement and change their stance, but we agree with them.
Whilst a case can be made for the club being ‘refounded’ rather than ‘founded’ in 2005, we think it’s a weak one, about as weak as trying to argue that MK Dons were founded in 1889. SV Austria Salzburg had been a successful club, winning three league titles and reaching a UEFA Cup final in a period of just four years in the 1990’s.
The new club, RB Salzburg, have been pretty untouchable in Austrian football over the last few years though, having won 5 consecutive league titles, and they are unbeaten this season with a 14 points cushion at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga.
They currently top their Europa League group, having reached the semi-finals of the competition last season.
2. RB Leipzig – 9 Years Old
Unlike in the case of RB Salzburg, there can be no doubts about the fact that RB Leipzig are a new club. The Red Bull group bought the playing rights of fifth tier outfit SSV Markranstadt, but made no bones about the fact that this was a new club they were forming in 2009.
German football is rooted in tradition, and Red Bull faced a number of challenges with their new outfit. They couldn’t include the words ‘Red Bull’ in the team’s official name, due to DFB rules, which they quickly made a mockery of by giving Leipzig the unusual prefix RasenBallsport, literally ‘Lawn Ball Sports’, which meant they could use the initials RB, and RB Leipzig was born.
Although the club won’t be winning any popularity contests outside of Leipzig, they have been very successful on the pitch. Following four promotions in seven seasons, the 2016-17 campaign would be their first in the Bundesliga, and they rocked the division with a second placed finish. They dropped down to sixth last season, but are up in third – one place ahead of Bayern Munich – at the time of this recording, so have to take second place in this seven.
0. Honourable Mentions
Since it seems unlikely that we will make a part 2 of this video, our apologies if this was one you really enjoyed, we’re going to take a look at some honourable mentions between first and second place.
A handful of youthful MLS outfits made our shortlist, from LA Galaxy to the Seattle Sounders, although it was probably New York Red Bulls who came closest to making the seven itself.
Just south of the USA we come to Santos Laguna, the reigning champions of the Liga MX Clausura, who currently find themselves in fourth place in the division. Founded in 1983, the club celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.
Over in Europe, Ligue 1 side Toulouse were only founded in 1970. Currently 15th in the top flight of French football, Toulouse can boast a couple of familiar faces to followers of the Premier League, such as Max Gradel and Stephane M’Bia.
And our final honourable mentions come from the nation where Stephane Mbia previously played his football, China. It’s no secret that Chinese Super League clubs have spent a lot of money over the last few years, and we’d give honourable mentions to both Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande, the division’s two best teams.
Shanghai SIPG were founded in 2005, and they currently top the Chinese Super League, thanks in no small part to their trio of Brazilian stars Hulk, Elkeson and Oscar, as well as their prolific homegrown right winger Wu Lei.
Guangzhou, meanwhile, were actually founded in 1954, but they technically became a new club when they turned professional in 1993. That means they’ve only been around for a quarter of a century, but they won seven consecutive Chinese Super League titles between 2011 and 2017, and currently boast Brazilian stars such as Paulinho and Talisca.
Right, that’s it for the honourable mentions. I’m sure a very many of you know what’s coming, but nevertheless, here is top spot…
1. Paris Saint-Germain – 48 Years Old
The city of Paris doesn’t have a particularly illustrious footballing past. Prior to 2013, Paris-based clubs had won only 3 league titles, and only 2 of them had been won by Paris Saint-Germain. The likes of Saint-Etienne, Marseille and even Monaco led the way in terms of league titles, up until PSG’s takeover in 2011.
Since then, the club has spent an enormous amount of money and completely transformed the landscape of French football. They are by far the best team in the land, with a dazzling attacking trio containing the two most expensive players in world football – Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – as well as the club’s all time leading goal scorer Edinson Cavani.
They have won five of the last six Ligue 1 titles, and it’s difficult to see anyone catching them anytime soon, especially since they’ve already amassed a 14 point lead at the top of the table.
Founded in 1970 in a merger of Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain, PSG won promotion to Ligue 1 in 1974 under the guidance of France legend Just Fontaine. They enjoyed flutters of success in the 1990’s and 2000’s, starring some world class footballers from George Weah to Ronaldinho, but never the sustained trophy-hoovering that we see from them now.
Despite their relentlessness in Ligue 1 and their extraordinarily talented playing squad, which means they simply have to top this seven, PSG’s Qatari owners haven’t yet managed to get the team beyond the quarter-final stage in the Champions League.