Northern Premier League

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Northern Premier League
NorthernPremierLeaguelogo.png
Country  England
Other club(s) from  Wales
Founded 1968
Number of teams 68
24 (Premier Division)
22 (Division One North)
22 (Division One South)
Level on pyramid 7 and 8
Promotion to Level 6
National League North
Relegation to Level 9
Northern Football League
Northern Counties East Football League
North West Counties Football League
Midland Football League
United Counties League
Domestic cup(s) National
FA Cup
FA Trophy
League
League Challenge Cup
Current champions Blyth Spartans (Premier Division)
Lancaster City (Division One North)
Shaw Lane (Division One South)
Website Evo-Stik League
2017–18

The Northern Premier League is an English football league that was founded in 1968. It has three divisions - the Premier Division (which stands at level 7 of the English football league system) - and Division One North and Division One South (which both stand at level 8).

Geographically, the league covers all of Northern England, and the northern areas of the Midlands. Originally a single-division competition, a second division was added in 1987: Division One, and in 2007 a third was added when Division One split into two geographic sections - Division One North and Division One South.

Successful teams at the top of the NPL Premier Division are promoted to level 6 of the pyramid (either National League North or National League South), and at the bottom end of the competition, teams are relegated down to level 9, where several regional feeder leagues promote clubs into the league.

History[edit]

The Northern Premier League (NPL) was founded in 1968, as the northern equivalent of the Southern League, decades after the other two leagues at what is now the seventh tier of the English football league system, the Isthmian League and the Southern League. At that time they were the highest level non-League division below the English Football League, the same level as the other league in Northern England, the Northern League.[1]

Over the next two decades, the NPL successfully displaced its older rival to become the pre-eminent regional competition in Northern England, with the Northern League eventually forced to accept status as feeder league to the NPL. In 1979, upon the creation of the Alliance Premier League (which later became the Conference and is now the National League), the NPL became a feeder league and fell down one level in the English football league system, and with the then-Conference's addition of regional divisions in 2004 the NPL was demoted by a further tier and there are now two levels between it and the English Football League.

From 1992–93 to 1994–95 the League's Division One included two non-English clubs, Caernarfon Town from Wales and Gretna from Scotland, who have later joined their countries' league systems. Colwyn Bay, Bangor City, Newtown, and Rhyl have also played in the league.

  • 1968–69 to 1968–69: Premier Division
  • 1987–88 to 2006–07: Premier Division, Division One
  • 2007–08 to present: Premier Division, Division One North, Division One South

Sponsorship[edit]

Due to title sponsorship deals, the league has been billed under various names, including a sixteen-year spell as the Unibond League, the longest such deal in world football.[2] When this deal ended in 2010, a new deal was announced which will see the competition billed as the Evo-Stik League until at least the 2016–17 season.[3][4][5]

Structure[edit]

Since 2007, the NPL has had three divisions: the Premier Division, Division One North and Division One South. Prior to 2007 there was just a single Division One.[1]

The Premier Division has 24 clubs, with the champions promoted to the National League along with the winners of a playoff between the second to fifth place clubs. Theoretically, clubs from the NPL could be promoted into either of the National League's two regional divisions, however, the geographical footprint of the NPL has never overlapped with that of the National League South, therefore (as of 2015) all promoted NPL clubs have been placed in the National League North. The bottom four teams are usually relegated to Division One North or South, however NPL Premier Division clubs in the most southerly locales could be placed in the Southern League Division One Central in the event of relegation.

From the 2009–10 season, Division One North and South have 22 clubs each. In each division, the champions are promoted to the Premier Division, along with the winners of a playoff between the second to fifth place clubs. The bottom two clubs in each division are relegated to one of the feeder leagues below provided there are enough suitable promotion candidates from those leagues. The champions of the three feeder leagues covering the NPL area are promoted each season. These are the Northern League, the Northern Counties East League, and the North West Counties League. Clubs in the northern extremities of the Midland League and the United Counties League may also be promoted to the Northern Premier League.

Should there be an unusually large or small number of clubs relegated to and/or promoted to the level of the NPL from Northern England, the National League System (NLS) Committee can order one or more of the NPL's southernmost clubs to transfer to the Southern League (or vice versa) to maintain numerical balance between the leagues.

Division One North and South teams receive a bye to the Preliminary Round of FA Cup Qualification. Premier Division teams receive a bye to the First Round of Qualification.

The league currently runs two one cup competition, with all member clubs competing in the League Challenge Cup. In the past, the league has run other competitions, such as the Chairman's Cup, the President's Cup and the Peter Swales Shield.

2017–18 member clubs[edit]

Honours[edit]

Champions[edit]

Season
1968–69 Macclesfield Town
1969–70 Macclesfield Town
1970–71 Wigan Athletic
1971–72 Stafford Rangers
1972–73 Boston United
1973–74 Boston United
1974–75 Wigan Athletic
1975–76 Runcorn
1976–77 Boston United
1977–78 Boston United
1978–79 Mossley
1979–80 Mossley
1980–81 Runcorn
1981–82 Bangor City
1982–83 Gateshead
1983–84 Barrow
1984–85 Stafford Rangers
1985–86 Gateshead
1986–87 Macclesfield Town
Season Premier Division Division One
1987–88 Chorley Fleetwood Town
1988–89 Barrow Colne Dynamoes
1989–90 Colne Dynamoes Leek Town
1990–91 Witton Albion Whitley Bay
1991–92 Stalybridge Celtic Colwyn Bay
1992–93 Southport Bridlington Town
1993–94 Marine Guiseley
1994–95 Marine Blyth Spartans
1995–96 Bamber Bridge Lancaster City
1996–97 Leek Town Radcliffe Borough
1997–98 Barrow Whitby Town
1998–99 Altrincham Droylsden
1999–00 Leigh RMI Accrington Stanley
2000–01 Stalybridge Celtic Bradford Park Avenue
2001–02 Burton Albion Harrogate Town
2002–03 Accrington Stanley Alfreton Town
2003–04 Hucknall Town Hyde United
2004–05 Hyde United North Ferriby United
2005–06 Blyth Spartans Mossley
2006–07 Burscough Buxton
Season Premier Division Division One North Division One South
2007–08 Fleetwood Town Bradford Park Avenue Retford United
2008–09 Eastwood Town Durham City Retford United
2009–10 Guiseley FC Halifax Town Mickleover Sports
2010–11 FC Halifax Town Chester Barwell
2011–12 Chester AFC Fylde Grantham Town
2012–13 North Ferriby United Skelmersdale United King's Lynn Town
2013–14 Chorley Curzon Ashton Halesowen Town
2014–15 FC United of Manchester Salford City Mickleover Sports
2015–16 Darlington 1883 Warrington Town Stafford Rangers
2016–17 Blyth Spartans Lancaster City Shaw Lane

[edit]

Since the league's formation in 1968, the following clubs have won promotion to higher levels of the English football league system -

Season Club Position Promoted to
1977–78 Wigan Athletic 1st Football League Division Four
1978–79 Altrincham
Scarborough
Boston United
Stafford Rangers
Northwich Victoria
Bangor City
Barrow
2nd
4th
6th
8th
10th
12th
16th
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
Alliance Premier League
1979–80 Frickley Athletic 3rd Alliance Premier League
1980–81 Runcorn 1st Alliance Premier League
1981–82 Bangor City 1st Alliance Premier League
1982–83 Gateshead 1st Alliance Premier League
1983–84 Barrow 1st Alliance Premier League
1983–84 Stafford Rangers 1st Football Conference
1985–86 Gateshead 1st Football Conference
1986–87 Macclesfield Town 1st Football Conference
1987–88 Chorley 1st Football Conference
1988–89 Barrow 1st Football Conference
1989–90 Gateshead 2nd Football Conference
1990–91 Witton Albion 1st Football Conference
1991–92 Stalybridge Celtic 1st Football Conference
1992–93 Southport 1st Football Conference
1994–95 Morecambe 2nd Football Conference
1996–97 Leek Town 1st Football Conference
1997–98 Barrow 1st Football Conference
1998–99 Altrincham 1st Football Conference
1999–00 Leigh RMI 1st Football Conference
2000–01 Stalybridge Celtic 1st Football Conference
2001–02 Burton Albion 1st Football Conference
2002–03 Accrington Stanley 1st Football Conference North
2003–04 Hucknall Town
Droylsden
Barrow
Alfreton Town
Harrogate Town
Southport
Worksop Town
Lancaster City
Vauxhall Motors
Gainsborough Trinity
Stalybridge Celtic
Altrincham
Runcorn
Ashton United
Bradford Park Avenue
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
17th*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2004–05 Hyde United
Workington
1st
2nd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2005–06 Blyth Spartans
Farsley Celtic
1st
4th*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2006–07 Burscough
AFC Telford United
1st
4th*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2007–08 Fleetwood Town
Gateshead
1st
3rd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2008–09 Eastwood Town
Ilkeston Town
1st
2nd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2009–10 Guiseley
Boston United
1st
3rd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2010–11 FC Halifax Town
Colwyn Bay
1st
2nd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2011–12 Chester
Bradford Park Avenue
1st
4th*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2012–13 North Ferriby United
Hednesford Town
1st
2nd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2013–14 Chorley
AFC Fylde
1st
3rd*
Football Conference North
Football Conference North
2014–15 FC United of Manchester
Curzon Ashton
1st
4th*
National League North
National League North
2015–16 Darlington 1883
Salford City
1st
3rd*
National League North
National League North
2016–17 Blyth Spartans
Spennymoor Town
1st
2nd*
National League North
National League North

Asterisk indicates club was promoted via play-offs

Cup competitions[edit]

League Challenge Cup[edit]

The league currently runs one cup competition, the League Challenge Cup, which is contested by every club in the league.[6]

Finals[edit]

Season Winner Result Runner-up Venue Attendance
1968–69 Bangor City 5–2
(agg.)
Runcorn 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1969–70 Altrincham 4–3
(agg.)
Macclesfield 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1970–71 Fleetwood 1–1
(agg.)
1–0 (rep.)
Macclesfield 1L:
2L:
rep.
1L:
2L:
rep.
1971–72 Wigan Athletic 4–2
(agg.)
Gainsborough Trinity 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1972–73 Northwich Victoria 3–2
(agg.)
Wigan Athletic 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1973–74 Boston United 4–3
(agg.)
Altrincham 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1974–75 Runcorn 2–1
(agg.)
Stafford Rangers 1L:
2L:
1L:
2L:
1975–76 Boston United 4–3
(agg.)
Mossley 1L: York Street
2L: Seel Park
1L: 2,212
2L: 711
1976–77 Scarborough 1–0 Runcorn Maine Road
1977–78 Matlock Town 3–0 Boston United Maine Road
1978–79 Mossley 4–1 Northwich Victoria Maine Road 5,054
1979–80 Runcorn 2–0 Lancaster City Maine Road
1980–81 Runcorn 4–3 Marine Maine Road
1981–82 Gainsborough Trinity 1–0 Mossley Maine Road 1,658
1982–83 Burton Albion 2–1 Macclesfield Town Maine Road
1983–84 South Liverpool 1–1 (wp) Hyde United Maine Road
1984–85 Marine 3–2 Goole Town Maine Road
1985–86 Hyde United 1–0 Marine Maine Road
1986–87 Burton Albion 2–0 Macclesfield Town Maine Road
1987–88 Goole Town 2–2 (wp) Barrow Maine Road 1,579
1988–89 Mossley 2–1 Fleetwood Maine Road 2,110
1989–90 Hyde United 1–0 Gateshead Maine Road
1990–91 Southport 4–1 Buxton Maine Road 1,700
1991–92 Marine 1–0 Frickley Athletic Maine Road
1992–93 Winsford United 1–1 (wp) Warrington Town Maine Road
1993–94 Spennymoor United 3–1 Hyde United Wetherby Road 585
1994–95 Bamber Bridge 2–1 Bishop Auckland Burnden Park
1995–96 Hyde United 1–1 (wp) Leek Town Burnden Park 501
1996–97 Gainsborough Trinity 1–0 Boston United Sincil Bank
1997–98 Altrincham Gainsborough Trinity Saltergate
1998–99 Stalybridge Celtic 2–1 Guiseley
1999–00 Lancaster City 1–0 Worksop Town
2000–01 Lancaster City 2–2 (wp) Bishop Auckland Giant Axe 530
2001–02 Accrington Stanley 5–4
(agg.)
Bradford Park Avenue 1L: Horsfall Stadium
2L: Crown Ground
1L: 471
2L: 1,107
2002–03 Marine 3–0
(agg.)
Gateshead 1L: Filtrona Park
2L: Rossett Park
1L: 184
2L: 425
2003–04 Droylsden 4–1
(agg.)
Hucknall Town 1L: Butcher's Arms Ground
2L: Watnall Road
1L: 424
2L: 597
2004–05 Matlock Town 5–3
(agg.)
Whitby Town 1L: Causeway Lane
2L: Turnbull Ground
1L: 547
2L: 490
2005–06 Farsley Celtic 1–0 Stocksbridge Park Steels Throstle Nest 507
2006–07 Fleetwood 1–0 Matlock Town Wincham Park 426
2007–08 Eastwood Town 3–0 Skelmersdale United Tameside Stadium 372
2008–09 Guiseley 3–2 Ilkeston Town Tameside Stadium 227
2009–10 Boston United 2–0 Retford United Ashby Avenue 503
2010–11 Ashton United 1–0 Northwich Victoria Wincham Park 489
2011–12 North Ferriby United 4–1 Rushall Olympic Coronation Park 256
2012–13 North Ferriby United 1–1 (wp) Curzon Ashton Throstle Nest 179
2013–14 AFC Fylde 1–0 Skelmersdale United Edgeley Park 358
2014–15 Warrington Town 0–0 (wp) Farsley Edgeley Park 731
2015–16 Marine 2–1 Scarborough Athletic Throstle Nest 690
2016–17 Bamber Bridge 2–1 Grantham Town Harrison Park 474

Defunct competitions[edit]

In the past the league has run three other cup competitions - the President's Cup, Chairman's Cup and Peter Swales Shield.[7]

Winners[edit]

Season President's Cup Chairman's Cup Peter Swales Shield
1970–71 - - Wigan Athletic
1971–72 - - Wigan Athletic
1972–73 - - Boston United
1973–74 - - Boston United
1974–75 - - Wigan Athletic
1975–76 - - Boston United
1976–77 - - Boston United
1977–78 - - Matlock Town
1978–79 - - Altrincham
1979–80 - - Runcorn
1980–81 - - Runcorn
1981–82 Buxton - Gainsborough Trinity
1982–83 King's Lynn - Burton Albion
1983–84 Workington - Barrow
1984–85 Rhyl - Stafford Rangers
1985–86 Worksop Town - Gateshead
1986–87 Macclesfield Town - Bangor City
1987–88 South Liverpool - Chorley
1988–89 Bangor City - Mossley
1989–90 Fleetwood Town - Leek Town
1990–91 Witton Albion - Witton Albion
1991–91 Morecambe - Stalybridge Celtic
1992–93 Winsford United - Southport
1993–94 Guiseley - Marine
1994–95 Lancaster City - Marine
1995–96 Worksop Town - Hyde United
1996–97 Blyth Spartans - Gainsborough Trinity
1997–98 Runcorn - Altrincham
1998–99 Droylsden - Altrincham
1999–00 Trafford Hyde United Leigh RMI
2000–01 Stalybridge Celtic Barrow Stalybridge Celtic
2001–02 Barrow Worksop Town Accrington Stanley
2002–03 Stalybridge Celtic Hucknall Town Accrington Stanley
2003–04 Barrow Hyde United Droylsden
2004–05 Bamber Bridge Kidsgrove Athletic Hyde United
2005–06 Bradford Park Avenue Blyth Spartans Blyth Spartans
2006–07 Buxton Guiseley Burscough
2007–08 FC United of Manchester Retford United Fleetwood Town
2008–09 Trafford Durham City Eastwood Town
2009–10 Belper Town Mickleover Sports Guiseley
2010–11 Lancaster City - FC Halifax Town
2011–12 - - Chester
2012–13 - - Skelmersdale United
2013–14 - - Halesowen Town

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier History". The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. Pitch Hero Ltd. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Allcock, Alan (2 May 2010). "Evo-Stik New Sponsors From 2010–2011". The Evo-Stik League Website. Pitch Hero Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Kirkbride, Philip (1 May 2010). "Northern Premier League secures new sponsor". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Watters, David (18 May 2012). "Sponsor commits to three more years on night of national honours and celebration". The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. Pitch Hero Ltd. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Watters, David (22 December 2013). "Christmas comes early for League!". The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. Pitch Hero Ltd. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "CUP WINNERS CHALLENGE CUP". The UniBond League. Archived from the original on 23 July 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Snee, Tom (22 June 2011). "League Statement: President's Cup". The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. Pitch Hero. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 

External links[edit]