Rangers and Linfield battle for coveted record

Who will be first past the post in the race for 55 league titles?

Linfield manager David Healy. Picture: Niall Carson/PA
Linfield manager David Healy. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Despite their best efforts, the Northern Ireland Football League were finally forced to call time on their 2019-20 season this week.

The outcome of their Premiership campaign, which saw Linfield four points clear of Coleraine at the top of the table with seven games remaining when football was suspended in March, will be decided using a “mathematical model determined by an independent football data consultancy”. On the assumption that David Healy’s Linfield side are declared champions, for what would be the 54th time, it will see them claim a share of the world record tally for domestic league titles currently held by Rangers.

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It will add an intriguing twist to the “going for 55” narrative which supporters of the Ibrox club will once again carry longingly with them into the 2020-21 season.

As Rangers attempt to turn Celtic’s current monopoly of the Scottish title back into a duopoly, it’s interesting to note that their Old Firm rivals are fourth on the all-time list, rapidly closing in on them with 51. The only other country where two clubs have been so dominant since league football began is Uruguay, where the Montevideo giants Penarol and Nacional have won 52 and 47 league titles respectively. Olympiakos, closing in on their 45th Greek title, and 44-times Paraguayan champions Olimpia rate honourable mentions. But that world record is likely to stay in Belfast or Glasgow for a while yet.

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