Football Alliance

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Football Alliance
Number of teams12

The Football Alliance was an association football league in England which ran for three seasons, from 1889–90 to 1891–92.


It was formed by 12 clubs as an alternative to the Football League, which had begun in the 1888–89 season, also with 12 member clubs. The Alliance covered a similar area to the League, stretching from the English Midlands to the North West, but also further east in Sheffield, Grimsby and Sunderland. Some of the clubs which founded the Alliance had played in The Combination the year before, but that league collapsed as a result of the disarray and lack of organisation. The president of the Football Alliance was John Holmes, also the president of The Wednesday who were the first champions winning fifteen games out of twenty-two.

At the end of the Alliance's first season, when Stoke dropped out of the Football League to be replaced by Sunderland, the Alliance accepted them as a new member. The following year, Stoke and Darwen, another Alliance club, were accepted into the Football League, taking its membership to 14 clubs.

In 1892 it was decided to merge the two leagues, and so the Football League Second Division was formed, consisting mostly of Football Alliance clubs. The existing League clubs, plus three of the strongest Alliance clubs, comprised the Football League First Division.

Member clubs[edit]

Club Admitted Resigned
Ardwick 1891 18922
Birmingham St George's 1889 1892
Bootle 1889 18922
Burton Swifts 1891 18922
Crewe Alexandra 1889 18922
Darwen 1889 18911
Grimsby Town 1889 18922
Lincoln City 1891 18922
Long Eaton Rangers 1889 1890
Newton Heath 1889 18921
Nottingham Forest 1889 18921
Small Heath 1889 18922
Stoke 1890 18911
Sunderland Albion 1889 1891
The Wednesday 1889 18921
Walsall Town Swifts 1889 18922

1 Elected to Football League First Division
2 Elected to Football League Second Division

Football Alliance champions[edit]

Season Winners
1889–90 The Wednesday
1890–91 Stoke
1891–92 Nottingham Forest