1896–97 Southern Football League

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The 1896-97 season was the third in the history of the Southern League. Southampton St.Mary's won the Division One championship. Millwall Athletic applied for election to Football League. However, they were not elected.

Division One[edit]

Southern Football League Division One
Season 1896–97
Champions Southampton St.Mary's (1st title)
Promoted none
Relegated Royal Ordnance Factories
(resigned)
Matches played 110
Goals scored 429 (3.9 per match)

Division One featured seven teams from previous season and five new clubs: two promoted from Division Two and three newly elected members.

Teams promoted from Division Two:

  • Wolverston L&NWR - champions, winners of testing matches
  • Sheppey United - runners-up, winners of testing matches

Newly promoted teams:

Pos Club P W D L GF GA GAv1 Pts2 Notes
1 Southampton St.Mary's 20 15 5 0 63 18 3.5 35 Changed name to Southampton at end of season
2 Millwall Athletic 20 13 5 2 63 24 2.63 31
3 Chatham Town 20 13 1 6 54 29 1.86 27
4 Tottenham Hotspur 20 9 4 7 43 29 1.48 22
5 Gravesend United 20 9 4 7 35 34 1.03 22
6 Swindon Town 20 8 3 9 33 37 0.89 19
7 Reading 20 8 3 9 31 49 0.63 19
8 New Brompton 20 7 2 11 32 42 0.76 16
9 Northfleet 20 5 4 11 24 46 0.52 14 Relegation test matches
10 Sheppey United 20 5 1 14 34 47 0.72 11
11 Wolverton L&NWR 20 2 0 18 17 74 0.23 4
12 Royal Ordnance Factories 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Resigned from league after seven matches, record expunged

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.

Division Two[edit]

Southern Football League Division Two
Season 1896–97
Champions Dartford
Promoted none
Relegated Freemantle (resigned)
1st Scots Guards
(resigned)
1st Coldstream Guards
(resigned)
Matches played 156
Goals scored 618 (3.96 per match)

Division Two featured five teams from previous season and eight new clubs, all of which were newly elected.

Newly promoted teams:

  • Dartford - Kent League members
  • RETB Chatham - Kent League members
  • 1st Coldstream Guards
  • Freemantle
  • Southall
  • Warmley
  • West Herts
  • Wycombe Wanderers
Pos Club P W D L GF GA GAv1 Pts2 Notes
1 Dartford 24 16 4 4 83 19 4.37 36 Promotion test matches
2 RETB Chatham 24 11 9 4 49 37 1.32 31
3 Freemantle 24 12 4 8 58 40 1.45 28 Promotion test matches, left league at end of season
4 Uxbridge 24 11 5 8 62 37 1.68 27
5 Wycombe Wanderers 24 10 6 8 37 54 0.69 26
6 Chesham 24 11 3 10 41 55 0.75 25
7 Southall 24 9 6 9 55 52 1.06 24
8 1st Scots Guards 24 9 6 9 49 50 0.98 24 Left league at end of season
9 West Herts 24 11 1 12 41 49 0.84 23
10 Warmley 24 10 3 11 44 43 1.02 23
11 Old St.Stephen's 24 5 7 12 36 52 0.69 17
12 Maidenhead 24 4 8 12 33 64 0.52 16
13 1st Coldstream Guards 24 3 6 15 30 66 0.45 12 Left league at end of season

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.

Promotion-relegation test matches[edit]

At the end of the season, test matches were held between the bottom three clubs in Division One and the top three clubs in Division Two. Third-placed Freemantle were the only Division Two club to win, but withdrew from the league at the end of season, meaning their defeated opponents Northfleet remained in Division One.[1][2]


Division One clubs v Division Two clubs

Football League elections[edit]

Only one Southern League club, Millwall Athletic, applied for election to Division Two of the Football League. However, they received only one vote and were not elected.[3]

Club League Votes
Lincoln City Football League 21
Burton Swifts Football League 15
Luton Town United League 13
Burslem Port Vale Midland League 11
Burton Wanderers Football League 9
Nelson Lancashire League 7
Glossop North End The Combination 5
Fairfield Lancashire League 3
Crewe Alexandra The Combination 2
Millwall Athletic Southern League 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Northfleet at the Football Club History Database
  2. ^ Freemantle at the Football Club History Database
  3. ^ A history of admission to the Football League

External links[edit]