The Football League

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This article is about the English football league. For the Greek football league with the same name, see Football League (Greece).
The Football League
The Football League.png
Country England
Other club(s) from Wales
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1888
Divisions Football League Championship
Football League One
Football League Two
Number of teams 72 (24 in each division)
Levels on pyramid 2–4
Promotion to Premier League
Relegation to Football Conference
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup, Football League Cup
Football League Trophy[1]
International cup(s) UEFA Europa League[2]
Current champions Leicester City
(2013–14)
Most championships Liverpool (18 titles)
TV partners Sky Sports
BBC (Highlights only)
Website football-league.co.uk
2014–15 Football League

The Football League is a league competition featuring professional men's association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest such competition in world football. It was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The Football League has been associated with a title sponsor since 1983. As this sponsor has changed over the years the league too has been known by various names.[3] Presently, it is called the Sky Bet Football League after its sponsor, Sky Betting and Gaming.[4]

Since 1995 it has had 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One, and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the League and is further extended to allow the top Championship clubs to exchange places with the lowest-placed clubs in the Premier League, and the bottom clubs of League Two to switch with the top clubs of the Football Conference, thus integrating the League into the English football league system. Although primarily a competition for English clubs, two clubs from Wales, Newport County and Cardiff City, also take part, while in the past Swansea City, Wrexham, Merthyr Town and Aberdare Athletic have been members.

The Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy. The operations centre of The Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London.[5] It was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston.[6]

Overview[edit]

The Football League consists of 72 professional association football clubs in England and Wales. It runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions. The Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs. Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992 when, in a step to maximise their revenue, the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, which was renamed in 2007 as the Premier League. The Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total, 136 teams have played in the Football League[7] up to 2013 (including those in the Premier League, since clubs must pass through the Football League before reaching the former).

Competition[edit]

League[edit]

The Football League's 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions: the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two (previously the Football League First Division, Football League Second Division and Football League Third Division respectively; they were renamed for sponsorship reasons). Each division has 24 clubs, and in any given season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season.

Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the next higher division, while those at the bottom may be relegated to the next lower one. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from The Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places. At the lower end, two League Two clubs lose their Football League status with relegation to the National division of the Football Conference, while two teams from Conference National join League Two of The Football League in their stead.

Division Promoted directly Promoted via playoffs Relegated
The Championship Top 2 clubs One from 3rd to 6th place finishers Bottom 3 clubs
League One Top 2 clubs One from 3rd to 6th place finishers Bottom 4 clubs
League Two Top 3 clubs One from 4th to 7th place finishers Bottom 2 clubs

Promotion and relegation are determined by final league positions, but to sustain interest for more clubs over the length of the season one promotion place from each division is decided according to a playoff between four clubs, which takes place at the end of the season. It is therefore possible for a team finishing sixth in the Championship or League One, or seventh in League Two, to be promoted rather than the clubs finishing immediately above them in the standings.

Reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League (for the Midlands and North) or the Football Combination (for the South).

Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season. If a club enters administration before 31 March of any given season, they will immediately be deducted 10 points; entering administration from 1 April onward will see the points deduction either held over until the end of the season (if the club finishes outside the relegation places), or applied the following season (if the club was relegated anyway). It is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these will result in a second, potentially unlimited (though in practise usually between 15 and 20) points deduction.

The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted; the opposing club(s) do not earn any points from this, however.

Cup[edit]

The Football League organises two knock-out cup competitions: the Football League Cup (called the Capital One Cup for sponsorship reasons) and the Football League Trophy (called the Johnstone's Paint Trophy for sponsorship reasons). The League Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all Football League and Premier League clubs, with the winner eligible to participate in the UEFA Europa League. The Football League Trophy is for clubs belonging to League One and League Two of the Football League. The Football League celebrated its 100th birthday in 1988 with a Centenary Tournament at Wembley between 16 of its member clubs.

History[edit]

William McGregor, founder of The Football League

After four years of debate, The Football Association finally permitted professionalism on 20 July 1885. Before that date many clubs made payments to "professional" players to boost the competitiveness of their teams, breaking FA rules and arousing the contempt of those clubs abiding by the laws of the amateur Football Association code.[citation needed] As more and more clubs became professional the ad-hoc fixture list of FA Cup, inter-county, and ordinary matches was seen by many as an unreliable stream of revenue, and ways were considered of ensuring a consistent income.[8]

A director of Aston Villa, William McGregor, was the first to set out to bring some order to a chaotic world where clubs arranged their own fixtures, along with various cup competitions.[8] On 2 March 1888, he wrote to the committee of his own club, Aston Villa, as well as to those of Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Stoke and West Bromwich Albion; suggesting the creation of a league competition that would provide a number of guaranteed fixtures for its member clubs each season. His idea may have been based upon a description of a proposal for an early American college football league, publicised in the English media in 1887 which stated: "measures would be taken to form a new football league ... [consisting of] a schedule containing two championship games between every two colleges composing the league".[9][10]

The first meeting was held at Anderton's Hotel in London on 23 March 1888 on the eve of the FA Cup Final.[11] The Football League was formally created and named in Manchester at a further meeting on 17 April at the Royal Hotel.[11] The name "Association Football Union" was proposed by McGregor but this was felt too close to "Rugby Football Union". Instead, "The Football League" was proposed Major William Sudell, representing Preston, and quickly agreed upon.[8] Although the Royal Hotel is long gone, the site is marked with a commemorative red plaque on The Royal Buildings in Market Street. The first season of the Football League began a few months later on 8 September with 12 member clubs from the Midlands and North of England: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (renamed Stoke City in 1926),[12] West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Each club played the other twice, once at home and once away, and two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. This points system was not agreed upon until after the season had started; the alternative proposal was one point for a win only. Preston won the first league title without losing a game, and completed the first league–cup double by also taking the FA Cup.

In 1890 Stoke were not re-elected to the league, and were replaced for the 1890–91 season by Sunderland, who won it in their second, third and fifth year. Stoke were (re-)elected for the 1891–92 season, along with Darwen, to take the league to 14 clubs.

Preston North End, Aston Villa and Sunderland dominated the early years of the game; in the first fourteen seasons the only other clubs to win (single) league titles were Everton, Sheffield United and Liverpool.

Addition of the Second Division[edit]

A new Second Division was formed in 1892 with the absorption of the rival Football Alliance. Alliance clubs Nottingham Forest, The Wednesday (later Sheffield Wednesday) and Newton Heath (later Manchester United) were added to the new First Division, and Darwen were reallocated to the new Second, bringing the First Division total to 16 clubs. With the addition of Northwich Victoria (from The Combination), Burslem Port Vale (later Port Vale, from the Midland League) and Sheffield United (from the Northern League), the Second Division started with 12 clubs, as Alliance club Birmingham St George's disbanded at that point. The bottom clubs of the lower division were subsequently required to apply for re-election to the League at the end of each season.

The Second Division increased to 15 clubs for season 1893–94 with the addition of Liverpool from the Lancashire League, Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Newcastle United from the Northern League, Rotherham Town from the Midland League, and Woolwich Arsenal (later Arsenal), who became the first team from the South of England to compete. Accrington, relegated from Division 1, and Bootle resigned from the League. For the following season 1894–95 there was a net increase to 16 with the addition of Bury from the Lancashire League, Leicester Fosse (later Leicester City) and Burton Wanderers (who later joined with existing Second Division club Burton Swifts to form Burton United) from the Midland League along with Lincoln City FC, while Northwich resigned and Middlesbrough Ironopolis disbanded.

Both Liverpool and Bury won the division at the first attempt.

In 1895 Loughborough replaced Walsall Town Swifts.[13] In 1896 Blackpool from the Lancashire League and Gainsborough Trinity from the Midland League replaced Burslem Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra.[14] In 1897 Luton Town from the United League replaced Burton Wanderers.[15]

Automatic promotion and relegation for two clubs was introduced in 1898 when the previous system of test matches between the bottom two clubs of the First Division and the top two clubs of the Second Division was brought into disrepute when Stoke and Burnley colluded in the final match to ensure they were both in the First Division the next season. At this point both Divisions of the League expanded to eighteen, with the addition of Barnsley from the Midland and Yorkshire Leagues, Burslem Port Vale, Glossop from the Midland League, and New Brighton Tower from the Lancashire League to the Second Division.[16]

The original logo of The Football League

20th century[edit]

After a few years other northern clubs began to catch up, with the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester United joining the League and having success. From 1900, Aston Villa (1899–1900, 1909–10), Liverpool (1900–01, 1905–06), Sunderland (1901–02, 1912–13), The Wednesday (1902–03, 1903–04), Newcastle United (1904–05, 1908–09), Manchester United (1907–08, 1910–11) and Blackburn Rovers (1911–12, 1913–14) all won two titles prior to the outbreak of World War I, while Everton added a second title to their much earlier success in the last season, 1914–15.

It was not until the early years of the 20th century, and the expansion of both Leagues to 20 clubs (in 1905), that further southern clubs such as Chelsea and Clapton Orient (1905), Fulham (1907), and Tottenham Hotspur (1908) established themselves in the League. There would be a further wait until 1931 before a southern club, Arsenal, would win the League for the first time.

Unlike in most other Leagues in Europe, no single English club managed to remain an ever present in the division during the one hundred and four years of its existence as the top division in the country. Everton come closest, missing just four seasons through relegation, and remain one of only two clubs in England to have played over 100 top-flight seasons, along with Aston Villa.

Post-World War I[edit]

The League was suspended for four seasons during World War I and resumed in 1919 with the First and Second Divisions expanded to 22 clubs. On resumption West Bromwich Albion (1919–20) and Burnley (1920–21), both original 12 clubs, won their first-ever titles (in Albion's case their only title to date).

In 1920, leading clubs from the Southern League joined the League to form a new Third Division, which in 1921 was renamed the Third Division South upon the further addition of more clubs in a new Third Division North. One club from each of these divisions would gain promotion to the Second Division, with the two relegated clubs being assigned to the more appropriate Third Division. To accommodate potential difficulties in this arrangement, clubs in the Midlands such as Mansfield Town or Walsall would sometimes be moved from one Third Division to the other.

Following this burst of post-war growth, the League entered a prolonged period of relative stability with few changes in the membership, although there were changes on the pitch. In 1925, a new offside law reduced the number of opponents between the player and the goal from three to two, leading to a large increase in goals, and numbers on shirts were introduced in 1939.

Between 1923 and 1926, Huddersfield Town were the first team to win three consecutive league titles (and never won another one, though they finished as runners-up for the following two years). This was equalled by Arsenal between 1932 and 1935, during a period from 1930 to 1938 in which they won five titles out of eight.

Manchester City (1936–37) became the only other club to be added to the list of Football League winners prior to the outbreak of World War II, the fourteenth club to achieve the feat since 1888–89.

Post-World War II[edit]

The League was suspended once more in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II, this time for seven seasons. The Third Divisions were expanded to 24 clubs each in 1950, bringing the total number of League clubs to 92, and in 1958 the decision was made to end the regionalisation of the Third Divisions and reorganise the clubs into a new nationwide Third Division and Fourth Division. To accomplish this, the clubs in the top half of both the Third Division North and South joined together to form the new Third Division, and those in the bottom half made up the Fourth Division. Four clubs were promoted and relegated between these two lower divisions, while two clubs exchanged places in the upper divisions until 1974, when the number increased to three.

Clubs to win their first League titles in the quarter-century following World War II were Portsmouth (1948–49 and 1949–50), Tottenham Hotspur (1950–51 and 1960–61), founder members of the League Wolverhampton Wanderers (1953–54, 1957–58 and 1958–59), Chelsea (1954–55), Ipswich Town (1961–62) and Leeds United (1968–69).

Tottenham Hotspur became the first club in the 20th century to win the League and F.A. Cup 'Double' in 1960–61, a season after Wolverhampton Wanderers had come within a whisker of achieving the feat themselves (Wolves won the 1959–60 F.A. Cup and were runners-up to Burnley in the League by a single point).

Post-World War II changes in league football included the use of white balls in 1951 and the first floodlit game (played between Portsmouth and Newcastle United) in 1956, opening up the possibility of midweek evening matches.

By far the biggest change for league clubs during this era was a new cup competition open to all the members of the League, the Football League Cup, which was held for the first time in 1960–61 to provide clubs with a new source of income. Aston Villa won the inaugural League Cup and, despite an initial lack of enthusiasm on the part of some other big clubs, the competition became firmly established in the footballing calendar, although it was not until the dawn of the 1970s that all 92 Football League clubs regularly participated in the competition season after season.

Substitutes (1 per team per match) were first allowed for injured players in 1965, and for any reason the next year.

1970s[edit]

Beginning with the 1976–77 season, the clubs finishing level on points began to be separated according to goal difference (the difference between goals scored and goals conceded) rather than goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded). This was an effort to prevent unduly defensive play encouraged by the greater advantage in limiting goals allowed. In the event that clubs had equal points and equal goal differences, priority was given to the club that had scored the most goals. There has been only one season, 1988–89, when this level of differentiation was necessary to determine the League champion, and this was the occasion of one of the most dramatic nights in League history, when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2–0 at Anfield in the last game of the season to win the League on this tiebreaker – by a single Michael Thomas goal in the final minute of the final game of the season.

Two clubs won their first League titles during the 1970s: founder members of the League Derby County (1971–72 and 1974–75) and Nottingham Forest (1977–78), both clubs managed by Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. Since then no clubs have won their first Football League (Premier League since 1992) title, so Nottingham Forest are the 23rd and last club to acquire the title for the first time in its history in 1977–78.

The logo of The Football League from 1988 until 2004

1980s[edit]

Another important change was made in 1981, when it was decided to award three points for a win instead of two, a further effort to increase attacking football. (This scoring rule was not added by FIFA to the World Cups until the 1994 cup after the perceived dominance of defensive play at Italia 90.)

The early 1980s also saw a significant decline in league attendances as a result of the recession and the ongoing problem of hooliganism. This did no favours for the financial position and league standing of numerous clubs, and several - including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swansea City and Middlesbrough - were almost forced out of business as a result. The fortunes of the First Division clubs suffered a fresh blow in 1985 when all English clubs were banned from European competitions as a result of the Heysel disaster, where rioting involving Liverpool fans at the European Cup final in Belgium resulted in 39 spectator deaths.

In a similar vein, playoffs to determine promotion places were introduced for the 1986–87 season so that more clubs remained eligible for promotion closer to the end of the season, and at the same time to aid in the reduction over two years of the number of clubs in the First Division from 22 to 20. For the first two seasons, the playoffs were contested between the lowest placed team to avoid automatic relegation and three highest placed teams to miss out on automatic promotion in the division below, before it was altered from the 1988–89 season to include just the four clubs who had missed out on automatic promotion in the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions. 1986–87 was indeed the first season of the decade where Football League attendances increased, helped by improved economic conditions and falling unemployment nationally.

At the same time, automatic promotion and relegation between the Fourth Division and the Football Conference was introduced for one club, replacing the annual application for re-election to the League of the bottom four clubs and linking the League to the developing National League System pyramid.

Emblematic of the confusion that was beginning to envelop the game, the number of clubs at the top of the league would return to 22 for the 1991–92 season, which increased competitiveness in the 1990–91 season as four teams would be promoted from the Second and Third Divisions instead of the normal three (with seventh place being the minimum position for the playoffs), while in the Fourth Division an unprecedented five promotion places were up for grabs, with eighth place being high enough for the playoffs. The end of the ban on English clubs in Europe also helped boost interest in English football. However, the economy was now in another recession, and added to that the clubs in the top two English divisions were faced with the requirement of having all-seater stadiums by 1994–95 in order to comply with the Taylor Report that followed the death of 96 Liverpool fans as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989.

The League also expanded to 93 clubs for the 1991–92 season and planned to raise the number again to 94 clubs for 1992–93, but after Aldershot and Maidstone United both went out of business within a few months of each other in mid-1992, this plan was abandoned. The issues creating the uncertainty in the game all centred on money.

The increasing influence of money in English football was evident with such events as the first £1m transfer in the game, that of Trevor Francis from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest in February 1979. The first £2million player transferred between English clubs was Tony Cottee, who moved from West Ham United to Everton in July 1988 - although several players had already been sold by English clubs to foreign clubs for even higher fees.

Before the formation of the FA Premier League, the highest transfer fee paid was £2.9million for the transfer of Dean Saunders from Derby County to Liverpool during the 1991 close season. The first £3million player was Alan Shearer, who moved from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers in July 1992, the summer before the first Premier League season. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal for the establishment of a new league was tabled that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League.[17] The newly formed top division would have commercial independence from the Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. The argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe.[18]

1992: the foundation of the Premier League[edit]

During the 1991–92 season, the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League en masse and 20 February 1992 Premier League was formed as a limited company working out of an office at the Football Association's then headquarters in Lancaster Gate.[19] This meant a break-up of the 104-year-old Football League that had operated until then with four divisions; the Premier League would operate with a single division and the Football League with three. There was no change in competition format; the same number of teams competed in the top flight, and promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the new First Division remained on the same terms as between the old First and Second Divisions.

The 1991–92 season had ended with 92 clubs in the Football League, with the 93rd club, Aldershot, having been declared bankrupt and forced to resign from the Fourth Division a few weeks before the end of the season. Colchester United, the GM Vauxhall Conference champions, were promoted to the new Division Three as the 71st members of the reorganised Football League. However, this number would soon drop to 70 due to the closure of Maidstone United at the beginning of the 1992–93 season, and the Football League abandoned its expansion plan. This meant that there would once again be 92 clubs in the highest four divisions of English football.

1992–2004: Three divisions[edit]

There were few major changes to the structure Football League in the 12 seasons which followed the breakaway that created the FA Premier League, perhaps the only notable changes being an expansion to 72 clubs from 70 for the 1995–96 season after the Premier League was streamlined to 20 clubs from 22, and the introduction of a second relegation place to the Football Conference from the end of the 2002–03 season.

However, following the formation of the Premier League, it became increasingly difficult for newly promoted clubs to establish themselves in the top flight. Whereas newly promoted teams had once normally survived for at least a few seasons in the old First Division, it was now the norm for at least one newly promoted club to be relegated straight back from the Premier League to Division One. In the nine seasons that followed the formation of the Premier League, at least one newly promoted club suffered this fate - and in the 1997–98 season it happened to all three newly promoted teams. There were exceptions, however; including Blackburn Rovers, who were promoted to the Premier League on its formation and were champions a year later, and Newcastle United, who were promoted in 1993 and finished in the top six for the next four seasons, finishing Premier League runners-up twice.

The trend of relegated clubs to win an instant promotion back to the top flight continued, however. In the 12 seasons following the formation of the Premier League, there were just three seasons where none of the newly relegated sides failed to win an instant return to the Premier League.

The widening gulf between the top two divisions of English football can largely be put down to the increased wealth of the Premier League clubs, and the wealth gained by these clubs - combined with parachute payments following relegation - has also made it easier for many of them to quickly win promotion back to the top flight.

In spite of the economic prosperity between 1992 and 2004, many Football League clubs did run into financial problems during this time, although none of them were forced out of business. These include Oxford United, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Bradford City and Leicester City. Some of these clubs were faced with financial problems as a result of the lost revenue resulting from Premier League relegation and a failure to return to this level, as well as the collapse of ITV Digital in 2002.[20]

Just after the end of the 2001–02 season, South London based Wimbledon were given permission to move to Milton Keynes, some 70 miles from their traditional home. A relocation on this scale was unprecedented in English football, and led to the majority of the club's fans switching their support to a new fan-formed club, AFC Wimbledon, who joined the Combined Counties League. The club's move to Milton Keynes was completed in September 2003, when they became tenants of the National Hockey Stadium until a new permanent home was completed four years later, and the club's name changed to Milton Keynes Dons in June 2004.

2004 Football League rebranding[edit]

2004–05 was the first season to feature the rebranded Football League. The First Division, Second Division and Third Division were renamed the Football League Championship, Football League One and Football League Two respectively. Coca-Cola replaced the Nationwide Building Society as title sponsor.

The Football League's collection of historic materials is held by the National Football Museum.

[edit]

Records[edit]

League sponsorship[edit]

Since 1983 the League has accepted lucrative sponsorships for its main competition. Below is a list of sponsors and the League's name under their sponsorship:

  • A Upon the breakaway of the first division in 1993 to form the Premier League, Barclays became a secondary sponsor in the newly formed top division, becoming the primary sponsor from 2001 up to the present.

After the formation of the Premier League the newly slimmed-down football League (70 clubs until 1995 and 72 clubs since) renamed its divisions to reflect the changes. The old Second Division became the new First Division, the Third Division became the Second Division, and the Fourth Division became the Third Division. The financial health of its clubs had become perhaps the highest League priority due to the limited resources available. However, there were some promising signs for the future, as the League planned to announce new initiatives beginning with the 2004–05 season, coinciding with the start of a new sponsorship agreement with Coca-Cola. The first of these changes was a rebranding of the League with the renaming of the First Division as The Championship, the Second Division as League One and the Third Division as League Two. The League's cup competitions have had different sponsors.

Media rights[edit]

The other major source of revenue is television. The 1980s saw competition between terrestrial broadcasters for the rights to show League matches, but the arrival on the scene of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting (Sky TV), eagerly searching for attractive programming to build its customer base and willing to pay huge sums, changed the picture entirely. The League's top tier clubs had been agitating for several years to be able to keep more of the League's revenue for themselves, threatening to break away and form their own league if necessary. In 1992 the threat was realised as the First Division clubs left to establish the FA Premier League and signed a contract for exclusive live coverage of their games with Sky TV. The FA Premier League agreed to maintain the promotion and relegation of three clubs with The Football League, but The League was now in a far weaker position — without its best clubs and without the clout to negotiate high-revenue TV deals. This problem was exacerbated with the collapse in 2002 of ITV Digital, holder of TV rights for The Football League, which cost League clubs millions of pounds in revenue.

In 2001 the league signed a £900 million deal with ITV Digital, but in March 2002 the channel was put into administration by its parent companies when the league refused to accept a £130 million reduction in the deal. In November 2007 the league announced a new domestic rights deal worth £264 million with Sky and the BBC for the three seasons from 2009 to 2012. It covers Football League, League Cup and Football League Trophy matches and the full range of media: terrestrial and pay television, broadband internet, video-on-demand and mobile services. The deal represents a 135% increase on the previous deal and works out at an average of over £1.2 million per club per season, though some clubs will receive more than others. Sky will provide the majority of the coverage and the BBC broadcast 10 exclusively live matches from the Championship per season and the semi-finals and finals of the League Cup.[23] In 2012, Sky Sports signed a new exclusive deal to broadcast all Matches after the BBC pulled out of the deal owing the financial cuts that the BBC Sport department was going through. However the BBC signed a new deal to still broadcast The Football League Show highlights programme.

Radio coverage in the United Kingdom is also a major source of live football and is a major output source for the Football League, with every major game broadcast nationally on BBC Radio Five Live, TalkSPORT and digitally on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra which is available digitally online or via DAB Radio. Globally, matches are sometimes broadcast on BBC World Service. Many Football League matches are broadcast to local audiences via BBC Local Radio stations or by commercial stations.

On 18 September 2008, the Football League unveiled a new Coca-Cola Football League podcast, hosted by BBC Radio Five Live's Mark Clemmit to be released every Thursday.[24] In the 2012 / 2013 season the Podcast was renamed the npower football league show but still hosted by Mark Clemmit. Mark Clemmit continued to host the show as TradePoint came on board in the 2013 / 2014 season to be the title sponsor of the newly re-branded 'Football League Radio'. The programme is now produced by digital production studio, Engage Sports Media.

Governance and management[edit]

Board[edit]

The Football League Board meets monthly and consists of two independent directors, three directors representing the Championship, two representing League One, and one representing League Two. Current (August 2014) members are:[25]

    • Greg Clarke - Chairman
    • Shaun Harvey - Chief Executive
    • Debbie Jevans CBE - Independent Director
    • Andy Ambler (Millwall)
    • Keith Lamb (Middlesbrough FC)
    • Karl Oyston (Blackpool FC)
    • James Rodwell (Notts County)
    • Matt Porter (Leyton Orient)
    • Ian Lenagan (Oxford United)

Senior Management[edit]

Former Presidents[edit]

Football League clubs[edit]

Below are listed the member clubs of The Football League for the 2014–15 season. In total there have been 141 Football League members. Originally the bottom club(s) of the bottom division(s) had to seek reapplication each year, which was voted by all the other members. Clubs occasionally exploited this by banding together to vote a weaker team in. Walsall holds the record for the most reapplications for the Football League. Former Football League clubs include all 20 of the current members of the Premier League along with various relegated, removed or defunct clubs.

Championship League One League Two
Birmingham City Barnsley Accrington Stanley
Blackburn Rovers Bradford City AFC Wimbledon
Blackpool Bristol City Burton Albion
Bolton Wanderers Chesterfield Bury
Bournemouth Colchester United Cambridge United
Brentford Coventry City Carlisle United
Brighton & Hove Albion Crawley Town Cheltenham Town
Cardiff City Crewe Alexandra Dagenham & Redbridge
Charlton Athletic Doncaster Rovers Exeter City
Derby County Fleetwood Town Hartlepool United
Fulham Gillingham Luton Town
Huddersfield Town Leyton Orient Mansfield Town
Ipswich Town Milton Keynes Dons Morecambe
Leeds United Notts County Newport County
Middlesbrough Oldham Athletic Northampton Town
Millwall Peterborough United Oxford United
Norwich City Port Vale Plymouth Argyle
Nottingham Forest Preston North End Portsmouth
Reading Rochdale Shrewsbury Town
Rotherham United Scunthorpe United Southend United
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Stevenage
Watford Swindon Town Tranmere Rovers
Wigan Athletic Walsall Wycombe Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers Yeovil Town York City

Past League winners[edit]

NB: League and FA Cup Double winners are highlighted in bold.

1888–1892[edit]

When the Football League was first established, all 12 clubs played in just one division.

No. Season Winner
  1. 1888–89 Preston North End
  2. 1889–90 Preston North End
  3. 1890–91 Everton
  4. 1891–92 Sunderland

1892–1920[edit]

In 1892 the Football League absorbed 11 of the 12 clubs in the rival Football Alliance after it folded, meaning the League now had enough clubs to form another division. The existing division was renamed the First Division and the new division was called the Second Division.

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions
  5. 1892–93 Sunderland Small Heath
  6. 1893–94 Aston Villa Liverpool
  7. 1894–95 Sunderland Bury
  8. 1895–96 Aston Villa Liverpool
  9. 1896–97 Aston Villa Notts County
 10. 1897–98 Sheffield United Burnley
 11. 1898–99 Aston Villa Manchester City
 12. 1899–1900 Aston Villa The Wednesday
 13. 1900–01 Liverpool Grimsby Town
 14. 1901–02 Sunderland West Bromwich Albion
 15. 1902–03 The Wednesday Manchester City
 16. 1903–04 The Wednesday Preston North End
 17. 1904–05 Newcastle United Liverpool
 18. 1905–06 Liverpool Bristol City
 19. 1906–07 Newcastle United Nottingham Forest
 20. 1907–08 Manchester United Bradford City
 21. 1908–09 Newcastle United Bolton Wanderers
 22. 1909–10 Aston Villa Manchester City
 23. 1910–11 Manchester United West Bromwich Albion
 24. 1911–12 Blackburn Rovers Derby County
 25. 1912–13 Sunderland Preston North End
 26. 1913–14 Blackburn Rovers Notts County
 27. 1914–15 Everton Derby County
-
1915–19 League suspended due to World War I
 28. 1919–20 West Bromwich Albion Tottenham Hotspur

1920–1921[edit]

In 1920 the Football League admitted the clubs from the first division of the Southern League (the Southern League continued with its remaining clubs) and Grimsby Town, who had failed to be re-elected to the Second Division the season before and been replaced by Cardiff City (of the Southern League). The clubs were placed in the new Third Division:

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division Champions
 29. 1920–21 Burnley Birmingham Crystal Palace

1921–1958[edit]

After just one season under the old format, the League expanded again. This time it admitted a number of clubs from the north of England to balance things out, as the last expansion brought mainly clubs from the south. The existing Third Division was renamed the Third Division South, and the new division was named the Third Division North. Grimsby Town transferred to the new northern division. Both divisions ran in parallel, with clubs from both Third Divisions being promoted to the national Second Division at the end of each season:

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division (North) Champions Third Division (South) Champions
 30. 1921–22 Liverpool Nottingham Forest Stockport County Southampton
 31. 1922–23 Liverpool Notts County Nelson Bristol City
 32. 1923–24 Huddersfield Town Leeds United Wolverhampton Wanderers Portsmouth
 33. 1924–25 Huddersfield Town Leicester City Darlington Swansea Town
 34. 1925–26 Huddersfield Town The Wednesday Grimsby Town Reading
 35. 1926–27 Newcastle United Middlesbrough Stoke City Bristol City
 36. 1927–28 Everton Manchester City Bradford Park Avenue Millwall
 37. 1928–29 The Wednesday Middlesbrough Bradford City Charlton Athletic
 38. 1929–30 Sheffield Wednesday Blackpool Port Vale Plymouth Argyle
 39. 1930–31 Arsenal Everton Chesterfield Notts County
 40. 1931–32 Everton Wolverhampton Wanderers Lincoln City Fulham
 41. 1932–33 Arsenal Stoke City Hull City Brentford
 42. 1933–34 Arsenal Grimsby Town Barnsley Norwich City
 43. 1934–35 Arsenal Brentford Doncaster Rovers Charlton Athletic
 44. 1935–36 Sunderland Manchester United Chesterfield Coventry City
 45. 1936–37 Manchester City Leicester City Stockport County Luton Town
 46. 1937–38 Arsenal Aston Villa Tranmere Rovers Millwall
 47. 1938–39 Everton Blackburn Rovers Barnsley Newport County
-
1939–46 League suspended due to World War II
 49. 1946–47 Liverpool Manchester City Doncaster Rovers Cardiff City
 50. 1947–48 Arsenal Birmingham City Lincoln City Queens Park Rangers
 51. 1948–49 Portsmouth Fulham Hull City Swansea Town
 52. 1949–50 Portsmouth Tottenham Hotspur Doncaster Rovers Notts County
 53. 1950–51 Tottenham Hotspur Preston North End Rotherham United Nottingham Forest
 54. 1951–52 Manchester United Sheffield Wednesday Lincoln City Plymouth Argyle
 55. 1952–53 Arsenal Sheffield United Oldham Athletic Bristol Rovers
 56. 1953–54 Wolverhampton Wanderers Leicester City Port Vale Ipswich Town
 57. 1954–55 Chelsea Birmingham City Barnsley Bristol City
 58. 1955–56 Manchester United Sheffield Wednesday Grimsby Town Leyton Orient
 59. 1956–57 Manchester United Leicester City Derby County Ipswich Town
 60. 1957–58 Wolverhampton Wanderers West Ham United Scunthorpe United Brighton and Hove Albion

1958–1992[edit]

For the beginning of the 1958–59 season, national Third and Fourth Divisions were introduced to replace the regional Third Division North and Third Division South:

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division Champions Fourth Division Champions
 61. 1958–59 Wolverhampton Wanderers Sheffield Wednesday Plymouth Argyle Port Vale
 62. 1959–60 Burnley Aston Villa Southampton Walsall
 63. 1960–61 Tottenham Hotspur Ipswich Town Bury Peterborough United
 64. 1961–62 Ipswich Town Liverpool Portsmouth Millwall
 65. 1962–63 Everton Stoke City Northampton Town Brentford
 66. 1963–64 Liverpool Leeds United Coventry City Gillingham
 67. 1964–65 Manchester United Newcastle United Carlisle United Brighton & Hove Albion
 68. 1965–66 Liverpool Manchester City Hull City Doncaster Rovers
 69. 1966–67 Manchester United Coventry City Queens Park Rangers Stockport County
 70. 1967–68 Manchester City Ipswich Town Oxford United Luton Town
 71. 1968–69 Leeds United Derby County Watford Doncaster Rovers
 72. 1969–70 Everton Huddersfield Town Leyton Orient Chesterfield
 73. 1970–71 Arsenal Leicester City Preston North End Notts County
 74. 1971–72 Derby County Norwich City Aston Villa Grimsby Town
 75. 1972–73 Liverpool Burnley Bolton Wanderers Southport
 76. 1973–74 Leeds United Middlesbrough Oldham Athletic Peterborough United
 77. 1974–75 Derby County Manchester United Blackburn Rovers Mansfield Town
 78. 1975–76 Liverpool Sunderland Hereford United Lincoln City
 79. 1976–77 Liverpool Wolverhampton Wanderers Mansfield Town Cambridge United
 80. 1977–78 Nottingham Forest Bolton Wanderers Wrexham Watford
 81. 1978–79 Liverpool Crystal Palace Shrewsbury Town Reading
 82. 1979–80 Liverpool Leicester City Grimsby Town Huddersfield Town
 83. 1980–81 Aston Villa West Ham United Rotherham United Southend United
 84. 1981–82 Liverpool Luton Town Burnley Sheffield United
 85. 1982–83 Liverpool Queens Park Rangers Portsmouth Wimbledon
 86. 1983–84 Liverpool Chelsea Oxford United York City
 87. 1984–85 Everton Oxford United Bradford City Chesterfield
 88. 1985–86 Liverpool Norwich City Reading Swindon Town
 89. 1986–87 Everton Derby County Bournemouth Northampton Town
 90. 1987–88 Liverpool Millwall Sunderland Wolverhampton Wanderers
 91. 1988–89 Arsenal Chelsea Wolverhampton Wanderers Rotherham United
 92. 1989–90 Liverpool Leeds United Bristol Rovers Exeter City
 93. 1990–91 Arsenal Oldham Athletic Cambridge United Darlington
 94. 1991–92 Leeds United Ipswich Town Brentford Burnley

1992–2004[edit]

Following the breakaway of the clubs in the First Division to form the FA Premier League, the Football League no longer included the top clubs in England, and the Football League champions were no longer the national champions of England. Therefore, the Second Division became the First Division, the Third Division became the Second Division and the Fourth Division became the Third Division.

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division Champions
 95. 1992–93 Newcastle United Stoke City Cardiff City
 96. 1993–94 Crystal Palace Reading Shrewsbury Town
 97. 1994–95 Middlesbrough Birmingham City Carlisle United
 98. 1995–96 Sunderland Swindon Town Preston North End
 99. 1996–97 Bolton Wanderers Bury Wigan Athletic
100. 1997–98 Nottingham Forest Watford Notts County
101. 1998–99 Sunderland Fulham Brentford
102. 1999–2000 Charlton Athletic Preston North End Swansea City
103. 2000–01 Fulham Millwall Brighton & Hove Albion
104. 2001–02 Manchester City Brighton & Hove Albion Plymouth Argyle
105. 2002–03 Portsmouth Wigan Athletic Rushden & Diamonds
106. 2003–04 Norwich City Plymouth Argyle Doncaster Rovers

2004–present[edit]

In 2004, the Football League renamed its divisions: the First Division became the Football League Championship, the Second Division became Football League One and the Third Division became Football League Two.

No. Season Championship Champions League One Champions League Two Champions
107. 2004–05 Sunderland Luton Town Yeovil Town
108. 2005–06 Reading Southend United Carlisle United
109. 2006–07 Sunderland Scunthorpe United Walsall
110. 2007–08 West Bromwich Albion Swansea City Milton Keynes Dons
111. 2008–09 Wolverhampton Wanderers Leicester City Brentford
112. 2009–10 Newcastle United Norwich City Notts County
113. 2010–11 Queens Park Rangers Brighton & Hove Albion Chesterfield
114. 2011–12 Reading Charlton Athletic Swindon Town
115. 2012–13 Cardiff City Doncaster Rovers Gillingham
116. 2013–14 Leicester City Wolverhampton Wanderers Chesterfield

At the end of the 2005–06 season, Reading finished with a record 106 points, beating the previous record of 105 held by Sunderland.

Titles by club[edit]

Due to the breakaway of the Premier League in 1992, winning the Football League title no longer makes a team the top tier champions of English football.

Club Top flight titles Football League titles
1889–1992
Premier League titles
1993–2014
Football League titles
1993–2014
Manchester United 20 7 13 0
Liverpool 18 18 0 0
Arsenal 13 10 3 0
Everton 9 9 0 0
Aston Villa 7 7 0 0
Sunderland 6 6 0 4
Chelsea 4 1 3 0
Manchester City 4 2 2 1
Newcastle United 4 4 0 2
Sheffield Wednesday 4 4 0 0
Huddersfield Town 3 3 0 0
Leeds United 3 3 0 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 3 0 2
Blackburn Rovers 3 2 1 0
Burnley 2 2 0 0
Portsmouth 2 2 0 1
Derby County 2 2 0 0
Preston North End 2 2 0 0
Tottenham Hotspur 2 2 0 0
Nottingham Forest 1 1 0 1
Ipswich Town 1 1 0 0
Sheffield United 1 1 0 0
West Bromwich Albion 1 1 0 1
Reading 0 0 0 2
Bolton Wanderers 0 0 0 1
Cardiff City 0 0 0 1
Charlton Athletic 0 0 0 2
Crystal Palace 0 0 0 1
Fulham 0 0 0 1
Leicester City 0 0 0 1
Middlesbrough 0 0 0 1
Norwich City 0 0 0 1
Queens Park Rangers 0 0 0 1

Football League titles[edit]

Includes Premier League titles.

Team First tier Second tier Third tier Fourth tier Total Titles
Manchester United
20
2
22
Liverpool
18
4
22
Arsenal
13
13
Everton
9
1
10
Aston Villa
7
2
1
10
Sunderland
6
5
1
12
Sheffield Wednesday
4
5
9
Newcastle United
4
3
7
Chelsea
4
2
6
Manchester City
4
7
11
Wolverhampton Wanderers
3
3
3
1
10
Leeds United
3
3
6
Huddersfield Town
3
1
1
5
Derby County
2
4
1
7
Preston North End
2
3
2
1
8
Burnley
2
2
1
1
6
Tottenham Hotspur
2
2
4
Portsmouth
2
1
3
6
Blackburn Rovers
3
1
1
5
Ipswich Town
1
3
2
6
Nottingham Forest
1
3
1
5
Sheffield United
1
1
1
3
West Bromwich Albion
1
3
4
Leicester City
7
1
8
Birmingham City
5
1
6
Middlesbrough
4
4
Notts County
3
2
3
8
Norwich City
3
2
5
Bolton Wanderers
3
1
4
Grimsby Town
2
3
1
6
Reading
2
3
1
6
Fulham
2
2
4
Stoke City
2
2
4
Crystal Palace
2
1
3
West Ham United
2
2
Millwall
1
3
1
5
Bristol City
1
3
4
Charlton Athletic
1
3
4
Brentford
1
2
3
6
Bradford City
1
2
3
Bury
1
2
3
Coventry City
1
2
3
Oldham Athletic
1
2
3
Oxford United
1
2
3
Queens Park Rangers
2
2
4
Cardiff City
1
1
1
3
Luton Town
1
1
1
3
Blackpool
1
1
Doncaster Rovers
4
2
6
Plymouth Argyle
4
1
5
Lincoln City
3
1
4
Barnsley
3
3
Hull City
3
3
Brighton and Hove Albion
3
2
5
Chesterfield
2
4
6
Port Vale
2
1
3
Rotherham United
2
1
3
Stockport County
2
1
3
Swansea City
2
1
3
Watford
2
1
3
Bristol Rovers
2
2
Leyton Orient
2
2
Southampton
2
2
Carlisle United
1
2
3
Swindon Town
1
2
3
Darlington
1
1
2
Cambridge United
1
1
2
Mansfield Town
1
1
2
Northampton Town
1
1
2
Shrewsbury Town
1
1
2
Southend United
1
1
2
Wigan Athletic
1
1
2
Bournemouth
1
1
Bradford Park Avenue
1
1
Hereford United
1
1
Nelson
1
1
Newport County
1
1
Scunthorpe United
1
1
Tranmere Rovers
1
1
Wrexham
1
1
Gillingham
2
2
Peterborough United
2
2
Walsall
2
2
Exeter City
1
1
Milton Keynes Dons
1
1
Rushden & Diamonds
1
1
Southport
1
1
Wimbledon
1
1
Yeovil Town
1
1
York City
1
1

Play-offs[edit]

Championship Play-off final, 2006. (Leeds United v. Watford, Millennium Stadium)

The Football League Play-Offs are used as a means of determining the final promotion place from each of the league's three divisions. This is a way of keeping the possibility of promotion open for more clubs towards the end of the season.

The format was first introduced in 1987, after the decision was made to reduce the top flight from 22 to 20 clubs over the next two seasons; initially, the play-offs involved the team finishing immediately above the relegation places in a given division and the three teams who finished immediately below the promotion places in the division below – essentially one team was fighting to keep their place in the higher division while the other three teams were attempting to take it from them. In 1989, this was changed—instead of teams from different divisions playing each other, the four teams below the automatic promotion places contested the play-offs. The first season of this arrangement saw the final being contested in home and away legs. The four teams play off in two semi-finals and a final, with the team winning the final being promoted. Originally the semi-finals and the final were all two-legged home-and-away affairs, but from 1990 onwards the final is a one-off match . It is in this format that the play-offs continue today. A proposal to have six teams rather than four competing for the final place was defeated at the league's AGM in 2003.[26]

Play-off winners[edit]

Season Division Two Division Three Division Four
1986–87 Charlton Athletic Swindon Town Aldershot
1987–88 Middlesbrough Walsall Swansea City
1988–89 Crystal Palace Port Vale Leyton Orient
1989–90 Swindon Town1 Notts County Cambridge United
1990–91 Notts County Tranmere Rovers Torquay United
1991–92 Blackburn Rovers Peterborough United Blackpool
Season Division One Division Two Division Three
1992–93 Swindon Town West Bromwich Albion York City
1993–94 Leicester City Burnley Wycombe Wanderers
1994–95 Bolton Wanderers Huddersfield Town Chesterfield
1995–96 Leicester City Bradford City Plymouth Argyle
1996–97 Crystal Palace Crewe Alexandra Northampton Town
1997–98 Charlton Athletic Grimsby Town Colchester United
1998–99 Watford Manchester City Scunthorpe United
1999-00 Ipswich Town Gillingham Peterborough United
2000–01 Bolton Wanderers Walsall Blackpool
2001–02 Birmingham City Stoke City Cheltenham Town
2002–03 Wolverhampton Wanderers Cardiff City Bournemouth
2003–04 Crystal Palace Brighton & Hove Albion Huddersfield Town
Season Championship League One League Two
2004–05 West Ham United Sheffield Wednesday Southend United
2005–06 Watford Barnsley Cheltenham Town
2006–07 Derby County Blackpool Bristol Rovers
2007–08 Hull City Doncaster Rovers Stockport County
2008–09 Burnley Scunthorpe United Gillingham
2009–10 Blackpool Millwall Dagenham & Redbridge
2010–11 Swansea City Peterborough United Stevenage
2011–12 West Ham United Huddersfield Town Crewe Alexandra
2012–13 Crystal Palace Yeovil Town Bradford City
2013–14 Queens Park Rangers Rotherham United Fleetwood Town

1: Due to financial irregularities, Swindon were prevented from taking their place in the top division, which was awarded to the losing finalists, Sunderland.

Footballs[edit]

The Mitre Pro 100T is the official match football of the Football League and is used by all 72 teams from the Championship and Leagues One and Two. Mitre's current deal started in the 2007–08 season and runs until the end of the 2010–11 season. As of the 2007–08 season, every Football League Championship team has their own Mitre football for home matches. The balls sport the home team's crest and colours.

Huddersfield Town played the 2008–09 season with a customised Mitre ball to celebrate their centenary. The Football League rules have not allowed this before, but they were relaxed as Mitre were formerly based in Huddersfield.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ League One and Two clubs only, Football League Trophy
  2. ^ FA Cup or League Cup winners
  3. ^ After its title sponsors, the Football League has formerly been known as the Canon League, the Today League, the Barclays League, the Endsleigh League, the Nationwide Football League, the Coca-Cola Football League and the npower Football League
  4. ^ a b "Sky Bet to sponsor the Football League". The Football League. 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  5. ^ The Football League | About Us
  6. ^ Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC on This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2. 
  7. ^ Tony Brown (27 February 2013). "125 Years of the Football League in Numbers". football-league.co.uk. Retrieved 11 Sep 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c One letter, two meetings and 12 teams - the birth of league football, BBC News, Paul Fletcher, 26 February 2013
  9. ^ The New York Times, 27 March 1887
  10. ^ The Leeds Mercury Issue 15289, 9 April 1887.
  11. ^ a b Butler, Bryon (1998). 100 Seasons of League Football. England: Queen Anne Press. p. 392. ISBN 1-85291-595-1. 
  12. ^ The Oatcake (19 July 2000). "SCFC History". oatcake.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 October 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  13. ^ Football Club History Database after 1894–95 season events
  14. ^ Football Club History Database after 1895–96 season events
  15. ^ Football Club History Database after 1896–97 season events
  16. ^ Football Club History Database after 1897–98 season events
  17. ^ "In the matter of an agreement between the Football Association Premier League Limited and the Football Association Limited and the Football League Limited and their respective member clubs". HM Courts Service. 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2006. [dead link]
  18. ^ "A history of the Premier League". Premier League official website. Retrieved 4 January 2008. 
  19. ^ "A History of The Premier League". Premier League. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  20. ^ "ITV Digital goes broke". BBC. 27 March 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Coca-Cola And The Football League Sign New Deal". The Coca-Cola Company. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  22. ^ "Football League names Npower as new sponsor". BBC News. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  23. ^ Football League Agrees Historic Deal with Sky Sports and BBC, www.football-league.premiumtv.co.uk, 6 November 2007.
  24. ^ "Podcast Top of the League". Football-league.co.uk. Retrieved 25 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "The Football League Board". The Football League. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | Play-off plans shelved". BBC News. 5 June 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2009. 

External links[edit]