Football League First Division
Football League First Division
Countries England
Wales
Founded 1888
Folded 2004
Number of teams 24
Levels on pyramid 2 (1992-2004)
1 (1888-1992)
Promotion to Premier League (1992-)
Relegation to Second Division
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
League Cup
International cup(s) European Cup (1956-1985, 1991-1992)
European Cup Winners' Cup (1960-1985, 1990-2004)
UEFA Cup (1971-1985, 1990-2004)
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1955-1971)
Last champions Norwich City
(2003-04)

The First Division was a division of The Football League between 1888 and 2004 and the highest division in English football until the creation of the Premier League in 1992. The secondary tier in English football has since become known as the Championship.

Contents

History

The Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director Charlie Fossey. It originally consisted of a single division of 12 clubs (Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (now Stoke City), West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers), simply known as The Football League. When the League admitted additional members from the rival Football Alliance in 1892, it was split into two divisions; the original League was expanded (the two best Alliance members joining) and renamed the First Division, while the rest of the Alliance members were admitted into the Second Division.

For the next 100 years, the First Division was the undisputed top professional league in English football. Then, in 1992 the 22 clubs making up the First Division elected to resign from the Football League and set up the Premier League. They did so largely to capitalise upon their status as the biggest and most wealthy clubs in the country, and negotiate more profitable television rights. The Football League was consequently re-organised, with the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions now renamed the First, Second and Third respectively. Thus, the First Division, while still the top level of the Football League, now became the second level of the entire English football league system, thus the top clubs inherited the promotion playoff system from the old Second Division.

The First Division was renamed as the Football League Championship prior to the start of the 2004–05 season, for commercial reasons. However, it remains as the second tier of English football.

First Division only clubs

Clubs who have competed in the top flight First Division, but not the Premier League, include:

Club First Division
Titles
FA Cups
Won
League Cups
Won
Total Seasons Last
Relegation
Current Status
(2011–12)
Levels in
Pyramid
Accrington 5 1892–93 Defunct
Bradford Park Avenue 3 1920–21 Northern Premier League Premier Division &100000000000000070000007
Brentford 5 1946–47 League One &100000000000000030000003
Brighton & Hove Albion 4 1982–83 Championship &100000000000000020000002
Bristol City 9 1979–80 Championship &100000000000000020000002
Bury 2 22 1928–29 League One &100000000000000030000003
Cardiff City 1 15 1961–62 Championship &100000000000000020000002
Carlisle United 1 1974–75 League One &100000000000000030000003
Darwen 2 1893–94 North West Counties Football League First Division &1000000000000001000000010
Glossop North End 1 1899–1900 North West Counties Football League Premier Division &100000000000000090000009
Grimsby Town 12 1947–48 Conference National &100000000000000050000005
Huddersfield Town 3 1 30 1971–72 League One &100000000000000030000003
Leyton Orient 1 1962–63 League One &100000000000000030000003
Luton Town 1 16 1991–92 Conference National &100000000000000050000005
Millwall 2 1989–90 Championship &100000000000000020000002
Northampton Town 1 1965–66 League Two &100000000000000040000004
Notts County 1 30 1991–92 League One &100000000000000030000003
Oxford United 1 3 1987–88 League Two &100000000000000040000004
Preston North End 2 2 46 1960–61 League One &100000000000000030000003

The Accrington Stanley club competing today in League Two, as well as its 1891 predecessor, are unrelated to the original Accrington club.

One-time runners-up

Nine clubs were top-flight First Division runner-ups (but not champions) once, and have not repeated that performance: Bristol City (1907), Oldham Athletic (1915), Cardiff City (1924), Leicester City (1929), Charlton Athletic (1937), Blackpool (1956), Queens Park Rangers (1976), Watford (1983) and Southampton (1984).

Size

The First Division initially consisted of 12 founder clubs; since then it has undergone a series of expansions as football became more popular and the number of quality teams increased. There were also a series of contractions in the late 1980s, although they were soon reversed, as follows:

No. of teams From To
12 1888 1891
14 1891 1892
16 1892 1898
18 1898 1905
20 1905 1915
22 1919 1987
21 1987 1988
20 1988 1991
22† 1991 1995
24 1995

† as the second tier of professional football in England (from 1992)

The trophy

The English Football League Championship trophy, designed and manufactured by Vaughtons of Birmingham in 1890, is the same one that England's champion team received until the Premier League came into existence in the summer of 1992.

Known sometimes as “The Lady” because the lid bears the figure of a woman, the trophy has been presented to some of English football’s legendary teams. They include the great Huddersfield Town triple title winners of the 1920s and the Arsenal teams that won five titles in eight seasons in the 1930s. Manchester United’s Busby Babes carried off the trophy in 1956 and 1957 before the Munich air disaster, and Liverpool collected the trophy 11 times in 18 seasons between 1972/73 and 1989/90. The last team to collect the trophy as English champions were Leeds United in 1991/92. Since then, as the prize of the second tier, no team can retain it due to being promoted to the Premier League.

Player's medals

As of the 1947–48 season making 7 appearances for their club during the season was not enough for a player to qualify for a winners medal.[1]

As of the 1975–76 season players had to make 14 appearances for their club during the season in order to qualify for a winners medal.[2]

Previous First Division champions

1888–1992

See List of English football champions.

1993–2004

See List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors. See also Football League Championship Play-Offs for playoff winners.

References

  1. ^ "Player profile: Bryn Jones". Arsenal player database. Arsenal.com. http://www.arsenal.com/history/profiles/357/bryn-jones. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Joey Jones: Profile". Liverpool FC. http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/history/past-players/joey-jones. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
N/A
First tier of English football
1888-1992
Succeeded by
Premier League
Preceded by
Football League Second Division
Second tier of English football
1992–2004
Succeeded by
Football League Championship

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