Aston Villa have been out of the Premier League for three years, but that hasn’t stopped supporters from declaring they are one of the biggest clubs in England.
A survey of more than 3,500 football fans has attempted to find out what they think makes a big club and Villa have been voted into the top 10.
Ten different criteria were used to determine the size of a club, with Betway asking fans to rate them in terms of importance.
Total silverware, match-going support, European pedigree, worldwide support and total Premier League seasons were the top five criteria and were favourably weighted in the survey.
Stadium size, recent Premier League seasons, recent silverware, number of internationals and transfer spend rounded off the 10 categories.
Every club that has played in the Premier League was included in the survey and ranked in a sliding scale from 20 points down to one. Every team below 20th scored nothing in the respective category.
The ‘Big Six’ locked out the top six places, with Manchester United taking the first position ahead of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Manchester City finished fifth, with fans deciding that their back-to-back titles were less important than historic success.
That ethos clearly counted in Villa’s favour, with match-going support, European pedigree and total seasons in the Premier League helping to boost their final score and secure ninth place.
The survey ensured Villa could also claim to be the biggest club in the Midlands, with Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest all behind them in the rankings.
West Bromwich Albion narrowly missed out on the top 20, while big rivals Birmingham City were nowhere to be seen after spending the last eight seasons in the Championship.
Villa fans have rightly argued that they should be classed as a big club and regaining their Premier League status will help to cement that view moving forward.
The next task will be to overhaul Everton and West Ham United in the list and put some real pressure on the Premier League’s biggest clubs.