"League" football in England is organised into four divisions, the foremost being the FA Premier League, the remaining three remaining under the jurisdiction of what is legally known as simply The Football League. At the end of the season, a few teams in each division are either promoted or relegated depending upon their proximity to the top or the foot of the table.

As a further incentive to teams to avoid the comfort zone of mid-table mediocrity, play-offs have been instituted for teams from Divisions 1, 2, and 3 finishing within 4 positions of the automatic qualifiers in their respective divisions. The winner of each set of play-offs is also promoted.

The rewards for Premiership teams are places in European competitions such as the Champions League, and represent a considerable financial incentive for teams.

In addition, if the topmost team from the Nationwide Conference has a ground which is satisfactory for League football, the lowest team from the Third Division is relegated to the Conference and the promoted team acquires full league status as happened in the season 2000/01 with the promotion of Rushden and Diamonds F.C and the relegation of Barnet F.C For season 2002/03 two up, two down was introduced, the second team promoted under the play-off system.

There is no system of play-offs for the top teams in a division; the league winner is determined solely based on the best record. The record is evaluation primarily on wins and losses, with three points for a win and one point for a draw, with goal differential serving as a tie-breaker; however, if the teams are entirely equal, the team which has scored the most goals would finish top, if that was equal a play-off would be held at a neutral venue. The League-wide League Cup, and the FA Cup that is dominated by League teams, use a single-elimination format to determine a champion.

Table of contents
1 Welsh and Scottish Teams
2 Former Structures of the English Football League
3 Domestic Cup Competitions
4 External link

Welsh and Scottish Teams

Professional football teams from Wales (Cardiff City, Wrexham, and Swansea City) play in the English Football League, thus largely disqualifying themselves from the UEFA club competitions, although lower teams play in the League of Wales. Currently, the three Welsh clubs that play in the English Football League can only enter the UEFA Cup by winning the FA Cup or Carling Cup. Champions League places are available only to Premier League clubs, and no Welsh clubs are currently in the Premiership. Scotland has its own football league system which includes the English team, Berwick Rangers. Until recently, the English team Oswestry Town played in the Welsh Premier Division. The club merged with (and took the name of) Total Network Solutions in 2003 and currently plays in the Welsh town of Llansantffraid. However, the club plans to build a new stadium in Oswestry.

Former Structures of the English Football League

Formed in 1888 as one division comprising Accrington F.C, Aston Villa F.C, Blackburn Rovers F.C, Bolton Wanderers F.C, Burnley F.C, Derby County F.C, Everton F.C, Notts County F.C, Preston North End F.C, Stoke F.C, West Bromwich Albion F.C and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C

  • Second Division added in 1892.
  • Third Division added in 1920.
  • Third Division (North) added in 1921, Third Division renamed Third Division (South).
  • Third Division (South) and Third Division (North) amalgamated to form Third Division and Fourth Division in 1958.
  • FA Premier league formed after break from Football League in 1992. Second Division renamed First Division, Third Division renamed Second Division and Fourth Division renamed Third Division. These leagues are now officially known as Divisions One, Two and Three, respectively.

Domestic Cup Competitions

The FA Cup is the principal domestic cup competition, and is open to clubs of all levels. The winners qualify for the following season's UEFA Cup. The League Cup is open only to Premiership and Football League teams, and also provides a route into European play. The Community Shield (formerly the Charity Shield) is an annual match between the Premiership champions and the FA Cup winners. There are also competitions restricted to lower-division clubs: the Football League Trophy (Associate Members' Cup) for members of the Second and Third Divisions, the FA Trophy for semi-professional non-league clubs, and the FA Vase for lower-ranking non-league clubs.

Premiership Teams

Lists updated for the 2003-04 season. In parentheses is the year since which the team has continuously been in the highest level of English league football,followed by the year it originally reached that level.

First Division Teams

Second Division Teams

Third Division Teams

  • Boston United F.C
  • Bristol Rovers F.C
  • Bury F.C
  • Cambridge United F.C
  • Carlisle United F.C
  • Cheltenham Town F.C
  • Darlington F.C
  • Doncaster Rovers F.C
  • Huddersfield Town A.F.C
  • Hull City F.C
  • Kidderminster Harriers F.C
  • Leyton Orient F.C
  • Lincoln City F.C
  • Macclesfield Town F.C
  • Mansfield Town F.C
  • Northampton Town F.C
  • Oxford United F.C
  • Rochdale F.C
  • Scunthorpe United F.C
  • Southend United F.C
  • Swansea City F.C
  • Torquay United F.C
  • Yeovil Town F.C
  • York City F.C

Teams relegated from the Third Division to the Conference and not returned

  • Barnet F.C
  • Chester City F.C
  • Exeter City F.C
  • Halifax Town F.C
  • Hereford United F.C
  • Scarborough F.C
  • Shrewsbury Town F.C

Halifax Town are the only team to have been relegated twice from the Football League.

Other teams no longer with full league status

  • Aberdare Athletic F.C
  • Accrington Stanley F.C
  • Accrington F.C
  • Aldershot F.C
  • Ashington F.C
  • Barrow F.C
  • Bootle F.C
  • Bradford Park Avenue F.C
  • Burton Swifts F.C
  • Burton United F.C
  • Burton Wanderers F.C
  • Darwen F.C
  • Durham City A.F.C
  • Gainsborough Trinity F.C
  • Gateshead F.C (South Shields F.C)
  • Glossop North End F.C
  • Leeds City F.C
  • Loughborough F.C
  • Maidstone United F.C
  • Merthyr Town F.C
  • Middlesbrough Ironopolis F.C
  • Nelson F.C
  • New Brighton F.C
  • New Brighton Tower F.C
  • Newport County F.C
  • Northwich Victoria F.C
  • Southport F.C
  • Stalybridge Celtic F.C
  • Thames Association F.C
  • Wigan Borough F.C
  • Workington F.C

Other non-league teams of note

External link