United Counties League
|Number of teams||40|
|Level on pyramid||Levels 9–10|
|Feeder to||Southern League Division One Central|
Northern Premier League Division One South
|Domestic cup(s)||United Counties League Cup|
|Current champions||Yaxley (Premier Division)|
Pinchbeck United (Division One)
The United Counties League (also known after its sponsor as the Future Lions United Counties League) is an English football league covering Northamptonshire, Rutland and Bedfordshire, as well as parts of Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. It had a total of four divisions, two for first teams and two for reserve teams, but the reserves' divisions were merged into a single division for the 2013–14 season and remains so at present.
Clubs in the Premier Division are eligible to enter the FA Cup in the Preliminary Round stages. Those clubs in the league with floodlights are eligible for the FA Vase, and there are knockout cups for the Premier/Division One clubs and for the Reserve Divisions clubs.
The United Counties League was formed in 1895 as the Northamptonshire Junior League, dropping the ‘Junior’ one year later. It took its current name in 1934 as teams from other counties had long since been a part of the league. Over the years the UCL has ‘united’ teams from Northamptonshire, Rutland and Bedfordshire with those from parts of Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and even Norfolk. Northampton Town joined the league in 1897 and became champions in their second season before moving up to the Southern League. They would become the league’s first former member to reach the Football League in 1920. In 1900 Bedford Queens became the first club from outside the county to join the league.
The Premier Division is at level 9 (step 5) of the National League System, feeding into the Southern Football League Division One Central. There are currently nineteen clubs in this division, three less than is normal for Leagues at a similar level in the English football league system. The member clubs take part in Cup competitions organised by the County FA to which they are affiliated and other Cup competitions.
Division One is at level 10 (step 6) in the football pyramid above three smaller local leagues at the base of the recognized NLS: the Northamptonshire Combination, Bedfordshire Football League, Peterborough & District League, and Lincolnshire League. There are currently twenty-two clubs in this division. It is one of the few step 6 divisions across the country that is not all-floodlit.
The membership of the two reserve divisions (Reserve Division One and Reserve Division Two) is made up largely of the Reserve teams of the clubs in the main United Counties League. These divisions were merged into a single division of twenty teams for season 2013/14, and continued as such since then.
|Season||Premier Division||Division One||Reserves Division||League Cup||Reserve Divisions Cup|
|2013–14||Spalding United||Oadby Town||Cogenhoe United||Huntingdon Town||Peterborough Northern Star|
|2014–15||AFC Rushden & Diamonds||Northampton Spencer||Bugbrooke St Michaels||AFC Rushden & Diamonds||Bugbrooke St Michaels|
|2015–16||AFC Kempston Rovers||Peterborough Sports||Rushden & Higham United Reserves||Peterborough Sports||Rothwell Corinthians Reserves|
|2016–17||Peterborough Sports||Daventry Town||Lutterworth Athletic Reserves||Yaxley||Raunds Town Reserves|
|2017–18||Yaxley||Pinchbeck United||Bugbrooke St Michaels Reserves||Leicester Nirvana||Yaxley Reserves|