1896–97 Football League

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The 18961897 season was the ninth season of The Football League.

Final league tables[edit]

The tables below are reproduced here in the exact form that they can be found at the The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation website[1] and in Rothmans Book of Football League Records 1888–89 to 1978–79,[2] with home and away statistics separated.

Beginning with the season 1894–95, clubs finishing level on points were separated according to goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded), or more properly put, goal ratio. In case one or more teams had the same goal difference, this system favoured those teams who had scored fewer goals. The goal average system was eventually scrapped beginning with the 1976–77 season.

Since the goal average was used for this purpose for such a long time, it is presented in the tables below even for the seasons prior to 1894–95, and since the goal difference is a more informative piece of information for a modern reader than the goal average, the goal difference is added in this presentation after the goal average.

During the first five seasons of the league, that is until the season, 1893–94, re-election process concerned the clubs which finished in the bottom four of the league. From the 1894–95 season and until the 1920–21 season the re-election process was required of the clubs which finished in the bottom three of the league.[2]

First Division[edit]

First Division
Season 1896–97
Champions Aston Villa
(3rd English title)
Relegated Burnley
FA Cup winners Aston Villa (3rd FA Cup title)
Matches played 240
Goals scored 751 (3.13 per match)
Top goalscorer Steve Bloomer (Derby County), 24
Biggest home win Derby CountyWest Brom 8–1 (25 Dec 1896)
Sheffield UnitedBlackburn 7–0 (9 Jan 1897)
Biggest away win BlackburnAston Villa 1–5 (28 Nov 1896)
Highest scoring Derby CountyWest Brom 8–1 (25 Dec 1896)
Derby CountyBury 7–2 (26 Sept 1896)
EvertonWest Brom 6–3 (17 Apr 1897)
Longest winning run 6 matches
Everton (19 Dec 1896 – 6 Feb 1897)
Longest unbeaten run 12 matches
Aston Villa (3 Oct 1896 – 2 Jan 1897)
Longest losing run 6 matches
Everton (6 Feb 1897 – 16 Apr 1897)
Highest attendance 40.000
Everton - Liverpool F.C. (3 Oct 1896)
Lowest attendance 1000
Nottingham Forest - Burnley (24 Oct 1896)
Sheffield United - Blackburn Rovers (9 Jan 1897)
Average attendance 7.734
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Aston Villa 30 10 3 2 36 16 11 2 2 37 22 73 38 1.921 +35 47
2 Sheffield United 30 6 4 5 22 16 7 6 2 20 13 42 29 1.448 +13 36
3 Derby County 30 10 2 3 45 22 6 2 7 25 28 70 50 1.400 +20 36
4 Preston North End 30 8 4 3 35 21 3 8 4 20 19 55 40 1.375 +15 34
5 Liverpool 30 7 6 2 25 10 5 3 7 21 28 46 38 1.211 +14 33
6 The Wednesday 30 9 4 2 29 11 1 7 7 13 26 42 37 1.135 +5 31
7 Everton 30 8 1 6 42 29 6 2 7 20 28 62 57 1.088 +5 31
8 Bolton Wanderers 30 7 3 5 22 18 5 3 7 18 25 40 43 0.930 –3 30
9 Bury 30 7 5 3 25 15 3 5 7 14 29 39 44 0.886 –5 30
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 30 6 4 5 26 14 5 2 8 19 27 45 41 1.098 +4 28
11 Nottingham Forest 30 8 3 4 30 16 1 5 9 14 33 44 49 0.898 –5 26
12 West Bromwich Albion 30 7 2 6 18 16 3 4 8 15 40 33 56 0.589 –23 26
13 Stoke 30 8 3 4 30 18 3 0 12 18 41 48 59 0.814 –11 25
14 Blackburn Rovers 30 8 1 6 27 25 3 2 10 8 37 35 62 0.565 –27 25
15 Sunderland 30 4 6 5 21 21 3 3 9 13 26 34 47 0.723 –13 23
16 Burnley[3] 30 4 5 6 25 25 2 2 11 18 36 43 61 0.705 –18 19

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against;
GA = Goal average; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Key
League Champions
FA Cup Winners, see Aston Villa
Into test matches

First Division results[edit]

Home \ Away[1] AST BLB BOL BUR BRY DER EVE LIV NOT PRE SHE STO SUN WED WBA WOL
Aston Villa 3–0 6–2 0–3 1–1 2–1 1–2 0–0 3–2 3–1 2–2 2–1 2–1 4–0 2–0 5–0
Blackburn Rovers 1–5 1–0 3–2 1–2 5–2 4–2 1–0 0–0 0–4 1–3 2–1 1–2 4–0 1–2 2–0
Bolton Wanderers 1–2 0–0 2–1 2–0 1–3 2–0 1–4 0–0 3–1 0–2 4–0 1–0 2–1 2–2 1–2
Burnley 3–4 0–1 0–2 1–0 2–3 2–1 4–1 2–2 2–2 1–1 1–3 1–1 1–1 5–0 0–3
Bury 0–2 3–0 2–2 1–1 1–0 3–1 1–2 2–0 0–0 0–1 4–2 1–1 1–1 3–0 3–2
Derby County 1–3 6–0 1–0 3–2 7–2 0–1 3–2 1–1 2–2 1–3 5–1 1–0 2–1 8–1 4–3
Everton 2–3 0–3 2–3 6–0 1–2 5–2 2–1 3–1 3–4 1–2 4–2 5–2 2–1 6–3 0–0
Liverpool 3–3 4–0 0–2 1–2 3–1 2–0 0–0 3–0 0–0 0–0 1–0 3–0 2–2 0–0 3–0
Nottingham Forest 2–4 2–1 2–0 4–1 3–0 1–2 3–0 2–0 0–0 2–2 4–0 2–1 2–2 0–1 1–2
Preston North End 0–1 3–1 2–3 5–3 2–2 0–2 4–1 1–1 3–2 1–0 3–0 5–3 2–2 0–0 4–0
Sheffield United 0–0 7–0 1–0 1–0 2–2 2–2 1–2 1–1 0–3 0–2 1–0 3–0 2–0 0–1 1–3
Stoke City 0–2 1–0 2–3 3–2 3–0 2–2 2–3 6–1 3–0 2–1 2–0 0–1 0–0 2–2 2–1
Sunderland 4–2 0–1 1–1 1–1 0–1 1–2 1–1 4–3 2–2 1–1 0–1 4–1 0–0 2–1 0–3
The Wednesday 1–3 6–0 0–0 1–0 2–0 2–0 4–1 1–2 3–0 1–0 1–1 4–3 0–0 3–1 0–0
West Bromwich Albion 3–1 1–0 1–0 3–0 0–0 1–4 1–4 0–1 4–0 1–1 0–1 1–2 1–0 0–2 1–0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–2 1–1 4–0 2–0 1–1 1–0 0–1 1–2 4–1 1–1 1–1 1–2 0–1 2–0 6–1

Source: [1]
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Test Matches 1897[edit]

The test matches were a kind of play-offs, in which the bottom 1st Division teams faced the top 2nd Division teams. The 1st Division teams, if coming out as winners, would retain their places in the division. If a 2nd Division team won, it would be considered for 1st Division membership through an election process. Losing 2nd Division teams would stay in the 2nd Division.

First round[edit]

Final[edit]

Third Place[edit]

Test Match Summary[edit]

Reference works, such Encyclopedia of British Football[4] and Association Football,[5] present the following table with the heading given above.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
(2nd Div. Champions) Notts County 1–0 Sunderland (1st Div. 15th) 1–0
Sat 17 Apr
0–0
Mon 19 Apr
(1st Div. 16th) Burnley 2–2 Newton Heath (2nd Div. 2nd) 2–0
Mon 19 Apr
0–2
Wed 21 Apr
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
(1st Div. 16th) Burnley 1–2 Notts County (2nd Div. Champions) 0–1
Sat 24 Apr
1–1
Mon 26 Apr
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
(2nd Div. 2nd) Newton Heath 1–3 Sunderland (1st Div. 15th) 1–1
Sat 24 Apr
0–2
Mon 26 Apr
Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Notts County 4 2 2 0 3 1 +2 6
2 Sunderland 4 1 2 1 3 2 +1 4
3 Burnley 4 1 1 2 3 4 –1 3
4 Newton Heath 4 1 1 2 3 5 –2 3
Key
Elected to play in First Division
Invited to play in Second Division

Test Match Consequences[edit]

It is likely that the league decided on re-election to the First Division and on promotion and relegation on the basis of the summary table above. It is not clear why all the four teams did not play each other, since it would only have required two more matches for each of them.

  • Notts County won both fixtures and were elected to play in the 1st Division the following season.
  • Coming from the 2nd Division, Newton Heath apparently would have needed a win in order to advance. It appears that in this case, a draw, the preference was given to Burnley, who came to the test matches from a higher division.
  • Sunderland salvaged through re-elections its position in the 1st Division, having won in the second round of the test matches. It was the fate of Newton Heath to remain in the 2nd Division.

Second Division[edit]

Second Division
Season 1896–97
Champions Notts County (1st title)
Promoted Notts County
Failed re-election Burton Wanderers
Matches played 240
Goals scored 907 (3.78 per match)
Top goalscorer Tom Boucher (Notts County), 22
John Murphy (Notts County), 22 [6]
Biggest home win DarwenWalsall 12–0 (26 Dec 1896)
Biggest away win WalsallSmall Heath 1–6 (24 Oct 1896)
Highest scoring DarwenWalsall 12–0 (26 Dec 1896)
Longest winning run 6 matches
Small Heath (13 Mar 1897 – 16 Apr 1897)
Notts County (19 Dec 1896 – 27 Feb 1897)
Longest unbeaten run 10 matches
Newton Heath (9 Jan 1897 – 10 Apr 1897)
Longest losing run 12 matches
Lincoln City F.C. (21 Sep 1896 – 16 Jan 1897)
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Notts County[7] 30 12 1 2 60 18 7 3 5 32 25 92 43 2.140 +49 42
2 Newton Heath 30 11 4 0 37 10 6 1 8 19 24 56 34 1.647 +22 39
3 Grimsby Town 30 12 2 1 44 15 5 2 8 22 30 66 45 1.467 +21 38
4 Small Heath 30 8 3 4 36 23 8 2 5 33 24 69 47 1.468 +22 37
5 Newcastle United 30 13 1 1 42 13 4 0 11 14 39 56 52 1.077 +4 35
6 Manchester City 30 10 3 2 39 15 2 5 8 19 35 58 50 1.160 +8 32
7 Gainsborough Trinity 30 10 2 3 35 16 2 5 8 15 31 50 47 1.064 +3 31
8 Blackpool 30 11 3 1 39 16 2 2 11 20 40 59 56 1.054 +3 31
9 Leicester Fosse 30 11 2 2 44 20 2 2 11 15 37 59 56 1.054 +3 30
10 Woolwich Arsenal 30 10 1 4 42 20 3 3 9 26 50 68 70 0.971 –2 30
11 Darwen 30 13 0 2 54 16 1 0 14 13 45 67 61 1.098 +6 28
12 Walsall 30 8 2 5 37 25 3 2 10 17 44 53 69 0.768 –16 26
13 Loughborough 30 10 0 5 37 14 2 1 12 13 50 50 64 0.781 –14 25
14 Burton Swifts 30 7 4 4 33 20 2 2 11 13 41 46 61 0.754 –15 24
15 Burton Wanderers 30 8 1 6 22 22 1 1 13 9 45 31 67 0.463 –36 20
16 Lincoln City 30 4 2 9 17 27 1 0 14 10 58 27 85 0.318 –58 12

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against;
GA = Goal average; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Key
Division Champions, into test matches
Into test matches
New club in the league
Re-elected
Failed re-election or resigned

Second Division results[edit]

Home \ Away[1] BLP BRS BRW DRW GAI GRI LEI LIN LOU MNC NEW NWH NTC SMH WAL WOO
Blackpool 3–0 5–0 1–0 1–1 1–0 3–0 3–1 4–1 2–2 4–1 4–2 3–2 1–3 3–2 1–1
Burton Swifts 2–0 1–1 2–0 4–0 0–0 2–1 4–0 3–1 5–0 3–0 3–5 1–4 1–1 1–3 1–2
Burton Wanderers 3–1 1–0 1–0 3–2 5–1 2–1 2–0 0–1 1–1 0–1 1–2 0–3 2–6 1–0 0–3
Darwen 2–3 5–1 3–0 3–2 3–1 4–1 4–1 5–1 3–1 2–1 0–2 2–1 2–0 12–0 4–1
Gainsborough Trinity 2–0 4–1 2–1 2–4 1–1 0–2 7–0 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 3–2 1–3 2–0 4–1
Grimsby Town 2–2 3–0 3–0 4–2 1–1 4–1 3–1 8–1 3–1 3–2 2–0 3–1 2–1 0–1 3–1
Leicester Fosse 2–1 3–0 2–1 4–1 0–0 4–2 4–1 4–2 3–3 5–0 1–0 2–3 0–1 4–1 6–3
Lincoln City 3–1 1–1 2–3 1–0 0–2 0–3 2–1 0–2 0–1 1–2 1–3 1–1 1–3 2–1 2–3
Loughborough 4–1 0–2 6–0 4–2 1–0 1–4 0–2 3–0 2–0 3–0 2–0 0–1 2–0 1–2 8–0
Manchester City 4–2 3–1 2–1 4–1 4–1 3–1 4–0 3–0 1–1 1–2 0–0 1–4 3–0 5–0 1–1
Newcastle United 4–1 2–1 3–0 5–1 1–2 3–0 3–1 2–1 4–1 3–0 2–0 2–2 4–3 2–0 2–0
Newton Heath 2–0 1–1 3–0 3–1 2–0 4–2 2–1 3–1 6–0 2–1 4–0 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–1
Notts County 3–1 6–1 5–0 4–0 2–0 1–3 6–0 8–0 3–1 3–3 3–1 3–0 1–2 5–2 7–4
Small Heath 1–3 1–2 3–2 5–1 2–2 0–1 2–2 1–2 3–0 3–1 3–1 1–0 3–1 3–3 5–2
Walsall 2–2 5–2 2–0 4–0 1–1 0–1 1–1 5–0 5–1 3–2 0–2 2–3 1–3 1–6 5–3
Woolwich Arsenal 4–2 3–0 3–0 1–0 6–1 4–2 2–1 6–2 2–0 1–2 5–1 0–2 2–3 2–3 1–1

Source: Ian Laschke: Rothmans Book of Football League Records 1888–89 to 1978–79. Macdonald and Jane’s, London & Sydney, 1980.
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "England 1896–97". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b Ian Laschke: Rothmans Book of Football League Records 1888–89 to 1978–79. Macdonald and Jane’s, London & Sydney, 1980.
  3. ^ Not re-elected due to test match results. Invited to join Second Division.
  4. ^ Soar, Phil & Tyler, Martin: Encyclopedia of British Football, Willow Books, London. Fourth, updated and revised edition, 1984, p. 168.
  5. ^ A. H. Fabian & Green, Geoffrey: Association Football, Volume Two, p. 236. The Caxton Publishing Company Ltd., London, 1960.
  6. ^ "English League Leading Goalscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  7. ^ Elected to First Division on the basis of test match results.

External links[edit]

  • Ian Laschke: Rothmans Book of Football League Records 1888–89 to 1978–79. Macdonald and Jane’s, London & Sydney, 1980.