In the 2022/23 National League campaign Wrexham and Notts County were the standout teams. All season long they were engaged in a tussle for one automatic promotion spot and it seemed a little unfair that despite both clubs easily breaking the 100-point barrier, only one was guaranteed a spot in the Football League.
It is early days yet, with less than half of the season gone, but it looks like we could, possibly, see something in the second tier in 2023/24. Things are slightly different in the Championship, with two automatic spots and a third team gaining promotion through the play-offs. However, at the time of writing, Leeds United are in third place, 10 points adrift of second, despite having collected 41 points from their opening 21 games.
At that rate of accrual, the West Yorkshire outfit would garner 90 points over the whole season. In 2021/22 Fulham won the Championship title with 90 points, as did Bournemouth in 2014/15. However, if they maintain their current output, the leaders at the time of writing, Leicester, would end the campaign with a massive 114 points, whilst second-placed Ipswich would have 112, leaving Leeds trailing in their wake!
As said, there is a long way to go, and whilst both Leicester and the Tractor Boys are odds-on favourites to gain promotion this term, there are no guarantees they will manage that, let alone maintain their current pace. That said, they could, of course, collect even more points than they are currently on target for. The Foxes have been beaten three times but there are no guarantees that they will lose again, even in a division as fiercely competitive as the Championship.
Time will tell who wins the title, who goes up, and just how many points they manage to accumulate after all 46 games. But what is the current record for the most points in a 46-game Championship season? Let’s take a look at the top dogs since the second tier was rebranded in 1992 when the Premier League was created (although note it was then the Football League First Division, before becoming the Football League Championship in 2004 and then the EFL Championship 12 years later).
Top 10 Highest Championship Points
Reading Have a Royal Season in 2005/06 to Set Record
The current target for Leicester, Ipswich, Leeds or anyone else, was set by Reading in the 2005/06 campaign. Though the Royals are struggling right now, having been relegated to the third tier at the end of last season, they actually spent three campaigns in the Premier League between 2006/07 and 2012/13. They even managed to finish eighth in their first-ever EPL outing, winning 16 league games that campaign.
That fine performance was not a huge surprise given it came on the back of their record-setting Championship campaign of 2005/06. Managed by the exceptional and very experienced Steve Coppell, the Berkshire outfit were simply magnificent. They actually began the campaign with a defeat at home but incredibly they would only lose one more game during the whole season.
They went down 2-1 to Plymouth to kick things off but then won their next three games by a cumulative score of 10-0. They didn’t lose again until the 35th game of the season and were top of the table for well over half of the campaign, moving clear after 19 matches and at one stage in the middle of the season putting together a run of 10 consecutive victories.
They were a free-scoring side, as you might expect, and notched 99 goals that year, conceding just 32. They recorded 31 wins and 13 draws, losing once at home and once away but after that opening-day defeat at the Madejski, they dropped just six more points in front of their own fans all season.
In the end they finished a massive 16 points clear of second-placed Sheffield United and fully 25 ahead of Watford in third. Their goal difference of +67 was a massive 37 better than the Blades’ in what was truly an incredible performance.
They were an excellent all-round team who played entertaining football but they certainly had a lot to thank strike duo Dave Kitson and Kevin Doyle for. Both strikers bagged 18 league goals that term but they shared the glory round too, with Leroy Lita and Steve Sidwell both getting into double-figures in the league and 14 different players scoring more than once.
Five Other Championship Centurions
Over the years lots of teams have got into the high 90s in terms of points in the Championship. With 46 games sides require not much more than two points per match to reach such a tally but only five teams aside from the Royals have ever made it to three figures.
Sunderland are the next best, the Black Cats racking up 105 points in 1998/99 as they surged to the title. They held the second-tier points record for many years, Chelsea’s 99 in 1988/89 being the best prior to that. The four other clubs to reach triple figures all did so in the 21st century but none could better Sunderland until Reading did.
Newcastle and Leicester both managed to accumulate 102 points, the Geordies doing so in 2009/10 under Chris Hughton. Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan battered in the goals for the Mags as they lost just four games during their title-winning campaign. The Foxes notched 102 points in 2013/14, a performance which paved the way for their incredible Premier League victory a couple of seasons later.
The East Midlands side beat Burnley to the title with players who would go on to win the PL, such as Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Burnley are another of our Championship centurions and the most recent team to achieve the feat. Under Vincent Kompany they got 101 points in 2022/23 as they dominated the division.
And last but not least we have Fulham, the Cottagers also registering 101 points. The west London side did so in 2000/01 when Frenchman Jean Tigana was the boss. They won the title by 10 points ahead of Blackburn Rovers.