Northern Football League

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Northern League
Northern League logo.png
Country England
Founded 1889
Divisions Division One
Division Two
Number of teams 45
Levels on pyramid Levels 9 and 10
Feeder to Northern Premier League
Division One North
Domestic cup(s) Northern League Challenge Cup
Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup
J.R. Cleator Cup
Current champions Spennymoor Town (Division One)
North Shields (Division Two)
(2013–14)
Website Ebac Northern League
2014–15

The Northern League is a football league in north east England for semi-professional and amateur teams. Having been founded in 1889, it is the oldest surviving football league in the world after the Football League.

It contains two divisions; Division One and Division Two. Division One sits on the ninth tier of the English football league system, five divisions below the Football League. These leagues cover County Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, northern Cumbria and the northern half of North Yorkshire.

The champions and the runners-up of Division One are eligible for promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League, subject to certain criteria.

History[edit]

The Northern League ran as one of two major amateur competitions (with the Isthmian League) in tandem with the professional Football League, Southern League and, since 1968, the Northern Premier League.

The area covered by the Northern League is coloured in red.

In 1974, amateur status was abandoned by the Football Association and amateur leagues like the Northern had to find a place in the overall structure of non-League football. Unlike its southern equivalent the Isthmian League who became a feeder in 1982, the Northern League rejected repeated invitations to become a feeder league to the Alliance Premier League, later the Conference, when that league was created in 1979.

Ultimately, the Northern League remained out of the football pyramid until 1991, a decision that proved very costly to its status. The league declined throughout the 1980s as its leading clubs defected to other leagues within the football pyramid, such as the Northern Counties East Football League.

When the Northern League was finally forced into the pyramid, the opportunity to become a feeder league to the Conference had long passed and the Northern League was forced to become a feeder league to the lower division of the Northern Premier League, two tiers below the Conference.

The League suffered a further blow to its prestige in 1995 when the Football Association limited the entry to the FA Trophy to the first three steps of the pyramid thereby disqualifying the Northern League's clubs and those in equivalent competitions from competing for the FA Trophy. Northern League clubs now compete for the FA Vase.

The League had an unusual sponsorship deal put in place by Brooks Mileson, owner of the Albany Group, who were its sponsors in 2003. In that year, Mileson announced that he had created a trust which would continue to sponsor the league throughout his lifetime and that of his sons. In 2008, however, the league announced that this sponsorship had come to an end, and it held a raffle to determine its next sponsor. Interested parties were invited to buy a stake in the raffle for £250. The winning stake was held by a local training company and the league was known as the skilltrainingltd Northern League from the 2008–09 season until the 2011–12 season.[1] The league is currently sponsored by dehumidifier manufacturer Ebac.[2]

Current clubs[edit]

Division One[edit]

Northern Football League is located in Northern England
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Map showing the location of teams in the 2011–12 Northern League
Club
Finishing position 2011–12 Finishing position 2012–13
Ashington 5th 7th
Bedlington Terriers 7th 15th
Billingham Synthonia 13th 12th
Billingham Town 17th 20th
Bishop Auckland 8th 6th
Celtic Nation 2nd in Division Two (promoted) 10th
Consett 15th 9th
Crook Town 10th in Division Two 1st in Division Two (promoted)
Dunston UTS 3rd 5th
Durham City 9th in Northern Premier League Division One North (voluntarily demoted)) 15th
Guisborough Town 16th 11th
Hebburn Town 18th 18th
Marske United 18th 19th
Morpeth Town 20th in Division Two 3rd in Division Two (promoted)
Newcastle Benfield 12th 21st
Newton Aycliffe 1st in Division Two (promoted) 17th
Penrith 19th 13th
Shildon 8th 8th
Spennymoor Town 1st 2nd
Sunderland Ryhope Community Association 10th 22nd
Team Northumbria 1st in Division Two 16th
West Auckland Town 6th 4th
Whitley Bay 3rd 3rd

Division Two[edit]

Club
Finishing position 2011–12 Finishing position 2012–13
Alnwick Town 1st in Northern Alliance Premier Division (promoted to Division Two) 21st
Birtley Town 13th 17th
Brandon United 19th 18th
Chester-le-Street Town 8th 13th
Darlington Railway Athletic 15th 5th
Esh Winning 21st in Division One (relegated) 20th
Heaton Stannington - 1st in Northern Alliance Premier Division (promoted)
Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association 10th 4th
North Shields 4th 8th
Northallerton Town 9th 6th
Norton & Stockton Ancients 14th in Division One 24th in Division One (relegated)
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 22nd in Division One (relegated) 14th
Seaham Red Star 17th 10th
South Shields 19th 23rd in Division One (relegated)
Stokesley Sports Club 16th 15th
Thornaby 14th 19th
Tow Law Town 18th 11th
Washington 16th 12th
West Allotment Celtic 20th in Division One (relegated) 7th
Whickham 6th 16th
Whitehaven 7th 9th
Willington - 2nd in Wearside League (promoted)

Champions[edit]

Middlesbrough Ironopolis were champions three times in a row in the 1890s.

Originally the league comprised a single division. The champions were as follows:[3]

Season Champions
1889–90 Darlington St. Augustine's
1890–91 Middlesbrough Ironopolis
1891–92 Middlesbrough Ironopolis
1892–93 Middlesbrough Ironopolis
1893–94 Middlesbrough
1894–95 Middlesbrough
1895–96 Darlington
1896–97 Middlesbrough

In 1897, the league briefly split into two divisions.[3][4][5][6]

Season Division One Division Two
1897–98 Stockton Howden-le-Wear
1898–99 Bishop Auckland Stockton St. John's
1899–1900 Darlington Whitby

In 1900, the league reverted to a single division.[3]

Season Champions
1900–01 Bishop Auckland
1901–02 Bishop Auckland
1902–03 Newcastle United A
1903–04 Newcastle United A
1904–05 Newcastle United A

In 1905 the league split into two sections, one for professionals and one for amateurs. This lasted for a single season.[3]

Season Professional Amateur
1905–06 Sunderland A Bishop Auckland

In 1906 the league reverted to a single division, a format retained until 1982.[3]

Season Champions
1906–07 Stockton
1907–08 South Bank
1908–09 Bishop Auckland
1909–10 Bishop Auckland
1910–11 Eston United
1911–12 Bishop Auckland
1912–13 Esh Winning Rangers[7]
1913–14 Willington
1914–15 Crook Town
1915–19 Not contested due to World War I
1919–20 South Bank
1920–21 Bishop Auckland
1921–22 South Bank
1922–23 Eston United
1923–24 Tow Law Town
1924–25 Tow Law Town
1925–26 Willington
1926–27 Crook Town
1927–28 Chilton Colliery Recreation Athletic
1928–29 Stockton
1929–30 Willington
1930–31 Bishop Auckland
1931–32 Stockton
1932–33 Stockton
1933–34 Shildon
1934–35 Shildon
1935–36 Shildon
1936–37 Shildon
1937–38 Ferryhill Athletic
1938–39 Bishop Auckland
1939–40 Shildon
1940–45 Not contested due to World War II
1945–46 Stanley United
1946–47 Bishop Auckland
1947–48 Ferryhill Athletic
1948–49 Evenwood Town
1949–50 Bishop Auckland
1950–51 Bishop Auckland
1951–52 Bishop Auckland
1952–53 Crook Town
1953–54 Bishop Auckland
1954–55 Bishop Auckland
1955–56 Bishop Auckland
1956–57 Billingham Synthonia
1957–58 Ferryhill Athletic
1958–59 Crook Town
1959–60 West Auckland Town
1960–61 West Auckland Town
1961–62 Stanley United
1962–63 Crook Town
1963–64 Stanley United
1964–65 Whitley Bay
1965–66 Whitley Bay
1966–67 Bishop Auckland
1967–68 Spennymoor United
1968–69 North Shields
1969–70 Evenwood Town
1970–71 Evenwood Town
1971–72 Spennymoor United
1972–73 Blyth Spartans
1973–74 Spennymoor United
1974–75 Blyth Spartans
1975–76 Blyth Spartans
1976–77 Spennymoor United
1977–78 Spennymoor United
1978–79 Spennymoor United
1979–80 Blyth Spartans
1980–81 Blyth Spartans
1981–82 Blyth Spartans

In 1982 the league added a second division.[3]

Season Division One Division Two
1982–83 Blyth Spartans Peterlee Newtown
1983–84 Blyth Spartans Chester-le-Street Town
1984–85 Bishop Auckland Brandon United
1985–86 Bishop Auckland Newcastle Blue Star
1986–87 Blyth Spartans Billingham Synthonia
1987–88 Blyth Spartans Stockton
1988–89 Billingham Synthonia Consett
1989–90 Billingham Synthonia Murton
1990–91 Gretna West Auckland Town
1991–92 Gretna Stockton
1992–93 Whitby Town Dunston Federation Brewery
1993–94 Durham City Bedlington Terriers
1994–95 Tow Law Town Whickham
1995–96 Billingham Synthonia Morpeth Town
1996–97 Whitby Town Northallerton
1997–98 Bedlington Terriers Chester-le-Street Town
1998–99 Bedlington Terriers Durham City
1999–2000 Bedlington Terriers Brandon United
2000–01 Bedlington Terriers Ashington
2001–02 Bedlington Terriers Shildon
2002–03 Brandon United Penrith
2003–04 Dunston Federation Brewery Ashington
2004–05 Dunston Federation Brewery West Allotment Celtic
2005–06 Newcastle Blue Star Consett
2006–07 Whitley Bay Spennymoor Town
2007–08 Durham City Penrith Town
2008–09 Newcastle Benfield Horden Colliery Welfare
2009–10 Spennymoor Town Stokesley
2010–11 Spennymoor Town Newton Aycliffe
2011–12 Spennymoor Town Team Northumbria
2012–13 Darlington 1883 Crook Town
2013–14 Spennymoor Town North Shields

Cup Competitions[edit]

Northern League teams play in a number of Cup competitions:

At national level:

At regional level:

At league level

  • Northern League Challenge Cup
  • Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup (for Division 2 teams only)
  • JR Cleator Cup (curtain raiser between League and Cup winners)


References[edit]

  1. ^ Anthony Vickers (2008-08-08). "League’s new name". Evening Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  2. ^ Steve Brown (2012-06-04). "The Northern League has a new sponsor – County Durham-based dehumidifier manufacturer Ebac Ltd.". Sunday Sun. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "England – Northern League". RSSSF. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  4. ^ "HOWDEN-LE-WEAR". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  5. ^ "STOCKTON ST JOHN'S". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  6. ^ "WHITBY". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  7. ^ "ESH WINNING RANGERS". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 

External links[edit]