1920–21 Southern Football League

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The 1920–21 season was the 23rd in the history of the Southern League. League was split into two sections, one for English clubs and one for Welsh clubs.[1] The previous season had seen all Division One clubs elected to the Football League to form the new Third Division, leaving ten of the eleven clubs from Division Two (Caerphilly, who had finished bottom of Division Two, had resigned from the league) as the sole remaining members, all of which were from Wales. As a result, the league admitted thirteen new clubs from England (nine of which were reserve teams) and one from Wales (Aberdare Athletic).[1]

Brighton & Hove Albion reserves won the English section, whilst Barry won the Welsh section.[1] Brighton reserves were declared Southern League champions after defeating Barry in a championship play-off; after a 1–1 draw at Millwall's Den stadium, Brighton beat Barry 2–1 after eighty minutes of extra-time in a replay at Cardiff City's Ninian Park.[2]

Alongside Barry, five other Southern League clubs applied for election to the two places in Division Three South of the Football League. Welsh Section runners-up Aberdare Athletic and the English Section's eighth-placed club Charlton Athletic won the most votes and joined the League the following season.[3]

English section[edit]

Southern Football League English Section
Season 1920–21
Champions Brighton & Hove Albion II (1st title)
Promoted Charlton Athletic
Relegated Chatham Town (resigned)
Thornycrofts (resigned)
Matches played 156
Goals scored 512 (3.28 per match)

All thirteen clubs in the English section were new to the league.

Pos Club P W D L GF GA GAv1 Pts2 Notes
1 Brighton & Hove Albion II 24 16 3 5 65 29 2.24 35
2 Portsmouth II 24 13 7 4 44 20 2.20 33
3 Millwall Athletic II 24 12 4 8 46 24 1.92 28
4 Southampton II 24 10 7 7 53 35 1.51 27
5 Boscombe 24 10 6 8 25 40 0.63 26
6 Reading II 24 11 3 10 41 34 1.21 25
7 Luton Town II 24 8 8 8 38 35 1.09 24
8 Charlton Athletic 24 8 8 8 41 41 1.00 24 Elected to the 1921-22 Football League
9 Watford II 24 9 4 11 43 45 0.96 22
10 Norwich City II 24 7 7 10 31 39 0.79 21
11 Gillingham II 24 6 5 13 32 47 0.68 17
12 Chatham Town 24 5 6 13 24 47 0.51 16 Left league at end of season
13 Thornycrofts 24 4 6 14 29 76 0.38 14

1 The system of using goal average to separate two teams tied on points was used up until the 1976–77 season.

2 The points system: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for losing.

Welsh section[edit]

Southern Football League Welsh Section
Season 1920–21
Champions Barry
Promoted Aberdare Athletic
Relegated Mid Rhondda (resigned)
Llanelly (resigned)
Matches played 156
Goals scored 512 (3.28 per match)

A total of 11 teams contest the division, including ten sides from previous season and one new team.

Newly elected teams:

  • Aberdare Athletic
Pos Club P W D L GF GA GAv1 Pts2 Notes
1 Barry 20 13 4 3 35 12 2.92 30
2 Aberdare Athletic 20 12 3 5 29 23 1.26 27 Elected to the 1921-22 Football League
3 Ebbw Vale 20 10 5 5 34 23 1.48 25
4 Pontypridd 20 10 3 7 34 23 1.48 23
5 Mid Rhondda 20 10 3 7 26 18 1.44 23 Left league at end of season
6 Abertillery 20 8 5 7 35 24 1.46 21
7 Ton Pentre 20 7 5 8 32 34 0.94 19
8 Aberaman Athletic 20 5 7 8 30 33 0.91 17
9 Llanelly 20 7 2 11 28 46 0.61 16 Left league at end of season
10 Mardy 20 2 6 12 18 39 0.46 10
11 Porth Athletic 20 3 3 14 28 54 0.52 9

1 The system of using goal average to separate two teams tied on points was used up until the 1976–77 season.

2 The points system: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for losing.

Football League election[edit]

As Grimsby Town had been transferred from Division Three (which was to become Division Three South) to the new Division Three North, Crystal Palace had been promoted to Division Two, and no teams had been relegated from Division Two to the new Division Three South, there were two vacancies in the newly renamed division.[3] The Arsenal representative at the Football League meeting proposed that the bottom two clubs in Division Three the previous season (Brentford and Gillingham) be re-elected automatically, a decision that was approved with only one representative against.[3]

In total, eight non-League clubs applied, six from the Southern League, one from the Western League and one from the Welsh National League (South). Aberdare Athletic and Charlton Athletic were successful, and joined the Football League the following season.[3]

Club League Votes
Aberdare Athletic Southern League 38
Charlton Athletic Southern League 30
Bath City Western League
Abertillery Southern League
Barry Southern League
Bridgend Town Welsh National League (South)
Pontypridd Southern League
Aberaman Athletic Southern League Withdrew before vote

References[edit]