Visualisation - How European clubs dominate their leagues

Sat, Jul 21, 2012

Click here to see the visualisation.

This is a visualization showing how various European football clubs have dominated their respective national leagues over various time periods. The visualization shows data for England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

The visualization is self-explanatory. You can choose a league to view from the dropdown and then choose the sliders to select an era for which you want to look at the data. For fine adjustment, after clicking on either slider, you can use your keyboard to select a time period.

  • Athletic Bilabo was very dominant in Spain during the first 20 years of the La Liga from 1930 to 1950. However, throughout the rest of the time period, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF have absolutely dominated La Liga.
  • Torino dominated Italian football in the 1940’s, winning 5 league titles.
  • Except for the period between 2002 and 2008, French Ligue 1 had a lot of variety in terms of League champions.
  • Borussia Mönchengladbach had a golden period in the 1970’s, winning 5 titles. They have never won the Bundesliga in any other decade. While it would appear that Bayern Munich totally dominates German football, they won exactly 1 title in the 40 years between 1927 and 1967.
  • Regardless of the era, Ajax has dominated Dutch football.
  • For the 30 year period between 1962 and 1992, the English league invariable went to Merseyside. Liverpool won 13 and Everton won 4.


I happened to read this brilliant piece from French Football Weekly on how Paris Saint-Germain’s and their Qatari owners’ desire to buy their way in to success may not be in the best interest of the French game. Among other things, the author points out that the last five years have shown that anybody can mount a title challenge and this kind of diversity in contenders for the title is unique in Europe. That was an Aha! moment. While the list of French champions for the last five years reads “Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lille, Montpellier”, few would have forgotten how Lyon won 7 consecutive titles from the 2001-2002 season to 2007-2008 season.

This kept me thinking about during certain time periods, certain teams tend to dominate their leagues to a great extend. Other illustrious examples similar to Lyon include Manchester United in the 1990s, Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s, Torino in the 1940s and Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1970s. I decided to create the above visualization to make sense of this trend.


This is a Treemap. A treemap recursively divides area to in to rectangles, and the area of any node is proportional to it’s value. This is a treemap of depth 2, where the relationship is essentially Club -> Championship Years. You can see a more comprehensive example of a Treemap visualization with more depth here.


All the data was obtained from Wikipedia. I used d3.js to create the visualizations, and jQueryUI for the sliders.

I have put the code and the data used for creating this visualization here on Github. Feel free to take the data and code and make more awesome visualizations.