Last weekend, when Liverpool faced Fulham at home, a game that, on paper, they should have won, they missed the opportunity of becoming Champions of England...
Not the Premier League Champions—it's far too early for that, but the Unofficial English Domestic Championship.
Fulham are the current holders—and if Liverpool had beaten them, then the title would have been heading back to Anfield.
For the people who have no idea of what I'm talking about, let me explain a little more.
In 1967, Scottish football fans claimed that, in beating World Cup holders England 3-2 at Wembley in 1967, Scotland had become unofficial world champions.
In 2002, a caller to a football phone-in radio show echoed that claim, and threw down a tantalising statistical gauntlet. Who, the caller wondered, were the current holders of the unofficial title? Identifying the current unofficial champions required tracing the lineage of title matches from 1872 right up to date.
This mammoth task was undertaken by various dedicated football stattos. Unfortunately as no clear rules were set out, no clear definitive answer was found.
A group of individuals decided to set the rules for future traces, and such the Unofficial Football World Championships were born.
The first ever international match took place on 30/11/1872, between England and Scotland. This match was a 0-0 draw. The following year England beat Scotland 4-2 making them the first ever World Champions. Now, if you go through every international match, taking the winner to be the World Champions (with a draw the champions keep the title) you end up with Holland as the current World Champions.
The Unofficial Football World Championships remains very much, unofficial, but it has received a thumbs-up of sorts from FIFA.
'As long as people have fun with football and that it is played in the spirit of respect for all involved, the non-violation of the Laws of the Game and the ethics of sport, FIFA is more than happy!' exclaimed a statement from the FIFA Media Department. 'We wish UFWC fans a lot of fun!'
Since the tracing of the "World Champions" was achieved, it was decided to set the rules, and track down other "Unofficial Champions." Who were the English Domestic Champions? Who were the Club European Champions? Who were the Champions of various regions?
Well, all these "Unofficial Champions" have been traced.
At the beginning of this season, Manchester United were the champions (they beat Chelsea in the European Cup Final in Moscow, who had subsequently beaten Newcastle on May 11).
As Liverpool were the first English team to beat United since their win in Moscow, Liverpool became the Unofficial Domestic Champions, but it was short-lived. On Nov. 1, they were defeated by Spurs, who subsequently lost the title to Fulham on Nov. 15.
If Liverpool had beaten Fulham last week, they would have taken the title back...
List of current "Unofficial Champions" as of Nov. 28, 2008
- Current Unofficial European Club Champions - Manchester United
- Current Unofficial English Domestic Champions - Fulham FC
- Current Unofficial World Champions - Holland
- Current Unofficial African Nations Champions - Chad
- Current Unofficial European Champions - Finland
- Current Unofficial South American champions - Brazil
Source of Data