At the start of every new season, every football fan gets their crystal balls out to try and predict what will happen in the glorious four professional divisions of the English footballing pyramid. But no one truly knows what’s in store. Except for one dedicated hero among us.
Back in 2015 Reddit user Lorf_Yimzo decided to consult the next best thing to a simulator and run his version of Football Manager 2015 for a thousand years, in order to see what the famed computer game would come up with for England’s divisions. It took him 58 days to get all the way through to 3015, but we think you’ll agree it was completely worth it.
The key winners of the next millennium were Bramall Lane’s finest Sheffield United, who notched up 168 titles, also registering the highest Premier League points total of 101 in the epic 2374/75 season. The FA Cup was dominated by Burnley, who won it 101 times - they also were the second most-successful team in the Premier League and the most consistent club, spending 982 seasons in the top flight. Meanwhile, Real Madrid continued to dominate Europe, winning 108 Champions League titles - presumably including the long-awaited ‘La Centésima’, while Lazio were the 48-time winners of the Europa League - which we’re not sure is something they’d be pleased or disappointed about.
Meanwhile, attendances got rather out of hand, with Burnley averaging 112,278 at the Harry Potts Arena in the 2901/02 season (despite, as one Reddit user pointed out, the population of Burnley only being 73,000 - perhaps they all got breeding in the mid 2500s) and a whopping 583,214 cramming into Celtic Park to watch them play APOEL in the Europa League in 2987. Imagine the view from the back. Imagine the traffic out of the ground afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Met. Police became unexpectedly popular - their Rideout Stadium held 48,000 by the end of the game.
At the other end of proceedings, York City went 29 games without winning a Johnston’s Paint (Football League) Trophy match - a losing streak spread over a mind-boggling 196 years.
In the World Cup, England were ‘far and away the best nation’ - although that’s possibly due to England being the only league nation active - while Venezuela and Ecuador became ever more powerful. Poor old Holland didn’t win their first one until 2586.
We can’t even begin to fully describe the epicness of the sim, so you can immerse yourself in Lorf’s century-by-century guide to the twists and turns below - there’s good news for Stoke, Southend and even Bromley fans.
Here's a massive spreadsheet of all the occupants of the Premier League and their records
The first surprise of the sim, was Derby winning the Premier League in 2021 with Southampton coming in 3rd. They fell pretty quickly, but then a surprisingly dominant Stoke took over, trading titles with Man U and occasionally Newcastle. Coventry also had a dominant spell, winning 6 titles in 7 years. Arsenal and Burnley entered the mix as contenders as well as Nottingham Forest and Blackburn. The century ended with a very dominant Man U.
This century started with a very powerful Stoke, as they won 7 titles in a row as well as 14 titles in 17 years. Later, Burnley became dominant as the PL turned into a power struggle between the 2 teams. Newcomers West Brom and Barnsley also stole some titles, especially Barnsley, who won quite a few in the last couple decades.
With Stoke on the decline, a newcomer fills their spot: Sheffield United. They traded titles mostly with Man U, though later with Barnsley and Southend United. This century had no real dominance, as teams struggled to string titles together. Though teams such as MK Dons, Hull, and Plymouth came and went, the five big players were Sheffield, Arsenal, Barnsley, Southend, and Burnley.
Southend replaced Sheffield's position of dominance, winning many titles early on. Cambridge, Chesterfield, and Hull were also contenders. 7 titles in a row marked an all-time high for Southend, as they hammered their opposition for the rest of the century, with occasional wins from Brighton, Barnsley, and Man City.
This century brought about Sunderland into relevance, who battled furiously with Southend, though small bouts of prowess from Sheffield, Man City, and Cambridge prodded them into relevance. Burnley also had a very good mid-century. Bristol Rovers, Reading, and Arsenal were also prominent late century.
This century started with battles between QPR, Burnley, and Southend for the title. Later, Plymouth, Tottenham, and Exeter were quite good, and even Barnsley was back. Sheffield tore up the PL mid-century including 8 titles in 9 seasons. A resurgent Arsenal ended the century.
This century followed similar to previous ones. Sheffield, Barnsley, Burnley, Southend, and Arsenal battled for the title, with occasional visits from other clubs into the top spot, including Sheffield Wednesday, Preston, Rotherham, and Plymouth. Later in the century, a dominant Crystal Palace won title after title, which amounted to 15 wins in 26 years.
Burnley started this century off with a bang, winning 7 in a row right off the bat. Burnley dominance continued with challenges from Plymouth, Liverpool, and Norwich. However Sheffield Utd. took their place with 10 titles in 11 seasons and ended the century in that way, along with wins from Brentford and Preston.
The 2800s, or the dark years as I call them, started with Sheffield Utd. and Rotherham being the only 2 title winners for 30 years straight. And who stopped them? Burnley, with 10 successive titles. Arsenal finally broke the bore spell, which brought in new face Bromley, as well as Maidstone and QPR.
2900s and 3000s
The last century starts with a feud between Bromley and Burnley, which is broken up by Rotherham. This battle continues through until a resurgent Hull gets in the way. This opens the door for Brentford, Ipswich, and Man City to become regular title contenders. The 3000s turn into a struggle between Brentford, Ipswich, and Nottingham Forest with the very last title ever going to Hull City.