North West Counties Football League

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North West Counties Football League
North West Counties Football League logo.png
Country England England
Confederation FA
Founded 1982
Divisions Premier Division
First Division
Number of teams 41
22 (Premier Division)
19 (First Division)
Levels on pyramid 9–10
Feeder to Northern Premier League
Division One North and Division One South
Domestic cup(s) Men United Cup
First Division Trophy
FA Cup
FA Vase
Current champions Norton United (Premier Division)
Nelson (First Division)
(2013–14)
Website Official website
2014–15 season

The North West Counties Football League is a football league in the North West of England. As of 2014, the league covers Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Southern Cumbria, Northern Staffordshire, the High Peak area of Derbyshire, and the far west of West Yorkshire. In the past, the league has also hosted clubs from North Wales. The league currently has two divisions: the Premier Division, at level nine in the English football league system, and the First Division at level ten. The league is a member of the Joint Liaison Council which administers the Northern arm of the National Football System in England.[1]

History[edit]

The league was formed in 1982 by the merger of the Cheshire County League and the Lancashire Combination. It originally consisted of three divisions, but this was reduced to two in 1987, partly because of the creation of an extra division in the Northern Premier League (NPL). At the same time, promotion and relegation between the two leagues was introduced, with either the first or second placed club in the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) being entitled to a place in the NPL, subject to their ground meeting that league's requirements.[1]

The NWCFL has six feeder leagues of its own with eligibility for promotion to the First Division being accorded to champions of the Cheshire Association Football League, Liverpool County Premier League, West Cheshire Amateur Football League, Staffordshire County Senior League, West Lancashire Football League, and Manchester Football League, subject to their grounds meeting the NWCFL's requirements.[1]

The first sponsorship of the NWCFL came in with Bass who remained the league sponsors until 1995. In 1998, the regional train operating company, First North Western became the new sponsor in a two year deal.[1]

The area covered by the NWCFL is coloured in cyan.

In the 2008–09 season, Division One was renamed the Premier Division and Division Two became the First Division.

The only club to have played in the top division every season since its inception is St Helens Town. Three clubs have won a league and cup double, Ashton United in 1991–92, Kidsgrove Athletic in 1997–98 and F.C. United of Manchester in 2006–07, while Atherton Laburnum Rovers are the only club to have won consecutive championships in 1992–93 and 1993–94. For three consecutive seasons in the 1980s Clitheroe won each of the NWCFL divisions. In 1983–84 they were Division Three champions, the following season they won the Division Two championship and then in 1985–86 they were crowned Division One champions.[1]

The league is currently home to two former Football League clubs; Glossop North End and Nelson, while AFC Darwen are a continuation of Darwen. The Bootle club is not the same one as the former Football League club. Former NWCFL members Accrington Stanley have risen to play in the Football League.

For sixteen years the record attendance for a NWCFL match was 1,353 for a First Division championship decider between Radcliffe Borough and Caernarfon Town in the 1982–83 season. In the 1998–99 season a crowd of 2,281 saw Workington's championship deciding match with Mossley at Borough Park. In the 2005–06 season a new record was set, with 6,023 at Gigg Lane for a Division Two match between FC United of Manchester and Great Harwood Town on 23 April 2006. The following season, due mainly to the relatively large support for FC United of Manchester, saw attendances rise and included a record 4,058 for an evening match, with Salford City's Division One home game against FC United of Manchester.[1]

The NWCFL has two cup competitions – the League Cup which is open to all clubs and the First Division Trophy. For the 2014–15 season, the League Cup is known as The Men United Cup.[2] Until it was disbanded in 2014, the league also ran a reserve league together with its own dedicated League Cup.[3] From 1990–91 to 1999–2000 the league also ran a Floodlit Trophy competition.[1]

2014–15 clubs[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

Club
Finishing position 2013–14 Consec seasons in division Consec seasons in NWCFL
1874 Northwich 3rd in Division One 1 2
Abbey Hey 20th 2 17
AFC Blackpool 13th 4 33
AFC Liverpool 7th 4 7
Alsager Town 18th 7 7
Ashton Athletic 6th 7 9
Bacup & Rossendale Borough 21st 12 33
Barnoldswick Town 16th 5 6
Bootle 8th 6 9
Colne 9th 11 19
Congleton Town 10th 14 14
Glossop North End 3rd 23 33
Maine Road 4th 11 28
Nelson 1st in Division One 1 4
Runcorn Linnets 2nd 8 9
Runcorn Town 5th 4 5
Silsden 15th 10 11
Squires Gate 19th 13 24
St. Helens Town 17th 33 33
Stockport Sports 11th 3 3
West Didsbury & Chorlton 12th 2 3
Winsford United 14th 8 14

First Division[edit]

Club
Finishing position 2013–14 Consec seasons in division Consec seasons in NWCFL
AFC Darwen 9th 5 5
Ashton Town 12th 28 29
Atherton Collieries 5th 6 33
Atherton Laburnum Rovers 8th 3 18
Barnton 5th in Cheshire League Division One 1 1
Cammell Laird 1907 11th in Northern Premier League Division One North 1 1
Chadderton 13th 17 33
Cheadle Town 11th 14 32
Daisy Hill 18th 33 33
Eccleshall 17th 12 12
Hanley Town 4th 2 2
Holker Old Boys 6th 16 22
Irlam 10th 7 7
Litherland REMYCA 5th in Liverpool County Premier League Premier Division 1 1
Northwich Flixton Villa 19th 4 4
Oldham Boro 16th 29 33
Rochdale Town 7th 25 25
Widnes 14th 2 2
Wigan Robin Park 22nd in Premier Division 1 7

Previous divisional champions[edit]

1982–87[edit]

The league was formed with three divisions.

Season Division One Division Two Division Three
1982–83 Burscough Radcliffe Borough Colne Dynamoes
1983–84 Stalybridge Celtic Fleetwood Town Clitheroe
1984–85 Radcliffe Borough Clitheroe Kirkby Town
1985–86 Clitheroe Kirkby Town Blackpool Mechanics
1986–87 Stalybridge Celtic Droylsden Atherton Collieries

1987–2008[edit]

Due to the expansion of the Northern Premier League, and the withdrawal of clubs who could no longer meet the ground requirements, the third division was disbanded and a two division format instigated, a format that still remains in place.

F.C. United players gather around the North West Counties League Division Two Trophy while fans take pictures
F.C. United were crowned champions of the North West Counties Football League Division Two in 2005–06
Season Division One Division Two
1987–88 Colne Dynamoes Ashton United
1988–89 Rossendale United Vauxhall G M
1989–90 Warrington Town Maine Road
1990–91 Knowsley United Great Harwood Town
1991–92 Ashton United Bamber Bridge
1992–93 Atherton Laburnum Rovers Maghull
1993–94 Atherton Laburnum Rovers Haslingden
1994–95 Bradford Park Avenue Flixton
1995–96 Flixton Vauxhall G M
1996–97 Trafford Ramsbottom United
1997–98 Kidsgrove Athletic Oldham Town
1998–99 Workington Fleetwood Freeport
1999–2000 Vauxhall GM Woodley Sports
2000–01 Rossendale United Warrington Town
2001–02 Kidsgrove Athletic Stand Athletic
2002–03 Prescot Cables Bacup Borough
2003–04 Clitheroe Colne
2004–05 Fleetwood Town[4] Cammell Laird
2005–06 Cammell Laird FC United of Manchester
2006–07 FC United of Manchester Winsford United
2007–08 Trafford New Mills

2008–present[edit]

In the 2008–09 season, the league renamed their divisions to the Premier Division and First Division.

Season Premier Division First Division
2008–09 AFC Fylde Bootle
2009–10 Newcastle Town Stone Dominoes
2010–11 New Mills AFC Blackpool
2011–12 Ramsbottom United[5] Wigan Robin Park[6]
2012–13 Padiham Formby
2013–14 Norton United Nelson

League Cup winners[edit]

The NWCFL League Cup is for all members of the Premier and First divisions.

First Division Trophy winners[edit]

The First Division Trophy is for all members of the First Division. It was known as the Second Division Trophy from 1989 to 2008.

Floodlit Trophy winners[edit]

The NWCFL Floodlit Trophy was for all members of the Premier and First divisions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "LEAGUE HISTORY – A Brief History of the North West Counties Football League". North West Counties Football League. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  2. ^ "Introducing The Men United Cup". NWCFL. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "News from the League AGM". NWCFL. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Note that the Fleetwood Town club that won the Division Two title in 1983–84 is not the same club as the one of the same name who won the Division One Championship in 2004–05. The earlier club folded in 1993, and the new club was not formed until 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers, then Fleetwood Freeport before taking the Fleetwood Town name in 2002.
  5. ^ "Ramsbottom Are Champions". NonLeagueDaily.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Double Celebration For Wigan Robin Park". NWCFL. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]