- Isthmian League
Isthmian League Countries England Founded 1905 Divisions Premier Division
Division One North
Division One South
Number of teams 66
Premier Division: 22
Division One North: 22
Division One South: 22
Levels on pyramid 7 and 8 Promotion to Conference South Relegation to Combined Counties League
Eastern Counties League
Essex Senior League
Spartan South Midlands League
Sussex County League
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
Isthmian League Cup
Current champions Sutton United (Premier Division)
East Thurrock United (Division One North)
Metropolitan Police (Division One South)
Website Official website 2011–12 Isthmian League
The Isthmian League is a regional football league covering London and South East England featuring semi-professional and amateur clubs. It is sponsored by Ryman, and therefore officially known as the Ryman League. It was founded in 1905 by amateur clubs in the London area. It now consists of 66 teams in three divisions; the Premier Division above its two feeder divisions, Division One North and Division One South. Together with the Southern League and the Northern Premier League, it forms the seventh and eighth levels of the English football league system. It has various regional feeder leagues and the league as a whole is a feeder league mainly to the Conference South.
Before the Isthmian League was formed, there were no leagues in which amateur clubs could compete, only cups. Therefore a meeting took place between representatives of Casuals, Civil Service, Clapton, Ealing Association, Ilford and London Caledonians to discuss the creation of a strong amateur league. All the clubs supported the idea and the Isthmian League was born on 8 March 1905. Membership to the league was through invitation only. The league was strongly dedicated to amateurism; the champions did not even receive a trophy or medals; the league motto was honour sufficit. Teams less able to compete financially thus gravitated to it rather than the Southern League, while those with ambition and money would move in the opposite direction. Although the league established itself as one of the strongest amateur leagues in the country, routinely providing the winners of the FA Amateur Cup, it was still seen as being at a lower level than the Southern League which was the top regional semi-professional league. By 1922 the league had fourteen clubs and over the next five decades, only a few new members were admitted, mainly to fill vacancies left by clubs leaving the league. Most new Isthmian League members joined from the Athenian League, which was similarly dedicated to amateurism. The Isthmian League was most likely named after the ancient Isthmian Games, with the later Athenian League, Corinthian League and Delphian League all adding a Classical flavour to amateur football competition.
The league began to admit professionalism in the 1970s. A second division of sixteen clubs was formed in 1973 and a third division followed in 1977. The league refused to participate in the formation of the Alliance Premier League in 1979 and whilst two Isthmian clubs, Enfield and Dagenham, defected to the APL in 1981, it was not until 1985 that the Isthmian League champions were given a promotion place to the newly renamed Football Conference. The reward of promotion into the Conference means that, since 1985, no team has retained the title (as had happened on 22 occasions previously). The Athenian League disbanded in 1984 when the Isthmian League Second Division split into North and South Divisions. These were restructured again to Second and Third Divisions in 1991.
In 2002, the league was restructured again, with the First and Second Divisions merging to become Division One North and Division One South, and the Third Division being renamed as Division Two. In addition, the league's three feeder leagues—the Combined Counties League, Essex Senior League and Spartan South Midlands League—ran in parallel with Division Two, and were able to feed directly into the regional Division Ones.
In 2004, The Football Association pushed through a major restructuring of the non-league National League System, creating new regional divisions of the Football Conference. The Isthmian League was reduced back down to three divisions, and its boundaries were changed to remove the overlap with the Southern League.
In 2006, further reorganisation saw a reversion to two regional Division Ones and the disbandment of Division Two. This current plan calls for clubs based on the edges of the Isthmian League's territory to transfer to and from the Southern League as necessary to maintain numerical balance between the leagues. One team, Clapton, had been ever-present in the Isthmian League since its foundation, but they moved to the Essex Senior League for the 2006–07 season.
The Isthmian League was the first league to have sponsorship, having been selected by Rothmans, who sponsored the league from 1973 to 1977. The company offered prize money for position in the league but money was deducted for bookings. Thus the money encouraged both more goals and fair play. The sponsors after Rothmans to the present day have been: Michael Lawrie (1977–78), Berger (1978–82), Servowarm (1982–85), Vauxhall-Opel (1985–90), Vauxhall (1990–91), Diadora (1991–95), ICIS (1995–97) and Ryman (1997–present).
The Isthmian League Cup has run since 1975 and involves all Isthmian League teams.
Since 2007, the Isthmian League has run a youth league called the Isthmian Youth League. This league is not restricted to members of the Isthmian League.
For the 1973–74 season, the Second Division was added.
Season First Division Second Division 1973–74 Wycombe Wanderers Dagenham 1974–75 Wycombe Wanderers Staines Town 1975–76 Enfield Tilbury 1976–77 Enfield Boreham Wood
For the 1977–78 season, the Premier Division was added.
Season Premier Division First Division Second Division 1977–78 Enfield Dulwich Hamlet Epsom & Ewell 1978–79 Barking Harrow Borough Farnborough Town 1979–80 Enfield Leytonstone/Ilford Billericay Town 1980–81 Slough Town Bishop's Stortford Feltham 1981–82 Leytonstone & Ilford Wokingham Town Worthing 1982–83 Wycombe Wanderers Worthing Clapton 1983–84 Harrow Borough Windsor & Eton Basildon United
For the 1984–85 season, the Second Division was reorganised into North and South regions.
Season Premier Division First Division Second Division North Second Division South 1984–85 Sutton United Farnborough Town Leyton Wingate Grays Athletic 1985–86 Sutton United St Albans City Stevenage Borough Southwick 1986–87 Wycombe Wanderers Leytonstone/Ilford Chesham United Woking 1987–88 Yeovil Town Marlow Wivenhoe Town Chalfont St Peter 1988–89 Leytonstone/Ilford Staines Town Harlow Town Dorking 1989–90 Slough Town Wivenhoe Town Heybridge Swifts Yeading 1990–91 Redbridge Forest Chesham United Stevenage Borough Abingdon Town
For the 1991–92 season, the regional Second Divisions were merged and the Third Division was added.
Season Premier Division First Division Second Division Third Division 1991–92 Woking Stevenage Borough Purfleet Edgware Town 1992–93 Chesham United Hitchin Town Worthing Aldershot Town 1993–94 Stevenage Borough Bishop's Stortford Newbury Town Bracknell Town 1994–95 Enfield Boreham Wood Thame United Collier Row 1995–96 Hayes Oxford City Canvey Island Horsham 1996–97 Yeovil Town Chesham United Collier Row & Romford Wealdstone 1997–98 Kingstonian Aldershot Town Canvey Island Hemel Hempstead Town 1998–99 Sutton United Canvey Island Bedford Town Ford United 1999–00 Dagenham & Redbridge Croydon Hemel Hempstead Town East Thurrock United 2000–01 Farnborough Town Boreham Wood Tooting & Mitcham United Arlesey Town 2001–02 Gravesend & Northfleet Ford United Lewes Croydon Athletic
At the end of the 1994-95 season, Enfield were denied promotion to the Conference. Their place was taken by Slough Town who finished as runners-up
For the 2002–03 season, the First Division was reorganised into North and South regions and the Third Division was disbanded.
Season Premier Division Division One North Division One South Division Two 2002–03 Aldershot Town Northwood Carshalton Athletic Cheshunt 2003–04 Canvey Island Yeading Lewes Leighton Town
For the 2004–05 season Division Ones North and South were merged.
Season Premier Division Division One Division Two 2004–05 Yeading AFC Wimbledon Ilford 2005–06 Braintree Town Ramsgate Ware
For the 2006–07 season, Division One was reorganised into North and South regions and Division Two was disbanded.
Season Premier Division Division One North Division One South 2006–07 Hampton & Richmond Borough AFC Hornchurch Maidstone United 2007–08 Chelmsford City Dartford Dover Athletic 2008–09 Dover Athletic Aveley Kingstonian 2009–10 Dartford Lowestoft Town Croydon Athletic 2010–11 Sutton United East Thurrock United Metropolitan Police
League Cup winners
- "The Ryman Football League". isthmian.co.uk. Ryman Football League. http://www.isthmian.co.uk/. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- "Isthmian League History". fchd.info. Football Club History Database. http://fchd.info/lghist/isthmian/isth.htm. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
Isthmian League Premier DivisionAFC Hornchurch · Aveley · Billericay Town · Bury Town · Canvey Island · Carshalton Athletic · Concord Rangers · Cray Wanderers · East Thurrock United · Harrow Borough · Hastings United · Hendon · Horsham · Kingstonian · Leatherhead · Lewes · Lowestoft Town · Margate · Metropolitan Police · Tooting & Mitcham United · Wealdstone · Wingate & Finchley Division One NorthAFC Sudbury · Brentwood Town · Chatham Town · Cheshunt · Enfield Town · Grays Athletic · Great Wakering Rovers · Harlow Town · Heybridge Swifts · Ilford · Leiston · Maldon & Tiptree · Needham Market · Potters Bar Town · Redbridge · Romford · Soham Town Rangers · Thamesmead Town · Tilbury · Waltham Abbey · Waltham Forest · Ware Division One SouthBognor Regis Town · Burgess Hill Town · Chipstead · Corinthian-Casuals · Crawley Down · Croydon Athletic · Dulwich Hamlet · Eastbourne Town · Faversham Town · Folkestone Invicta · Godalming Town · Hythe Town · Maidstone United · Merstham · Ramsgate · Sittingbourne · Walton & Hersham · Walton Casuals · Whitehawk · Whitstable Town · Whyteleafe · Worthing Seasons1905–06 · 1906–07 · 1907–08 · 1908–09 · 1909–10 · 1910–11 · 1911–12 · 1912–13 · 1913–14 · 1914–15 · 1915–16 · 1916–17 · 1917–18 · 1919 · 1919–20 · 1920–21 · 1921–22 · 1922–23 · 1923–24 · 1924–25 · 1925–26 · 1926–27 · 1927–28 · 1928–29 · 1929–30 · 1930–31 · 1931–32 · 1932–33 · 1933–34 · 1934–35 · 1935–36 · 1936–37 · 1937–38 · 1938–39 · 1939–40 · 1940–41 · 1941–42 · 1942–43 · 1943–44 · 1944–45 · 1945–46 · 1946–47 · 1947–48 · 1948–49 · 1949–50 · 1950–51 · 1951–52 · 1952–53 · 1953–54 · 1954–55 · 1955–56 · 1956–57 · 1957–58 · 1958–59 · 1959–60 · 1960–61 · 1961–62 · 1962–63 · 1963–64 · 1964–65 · 1965–66 · 1966–67 · 1967–68 · 1968–69 · 1969–70 · 1970–71 · 1971–72 · 1972–73 · 1973–74 · 1974–75 · 1975–76 · 1976–77 · 1977–78 · 1978–79 · 1979–80 · 1980–81 · 1981–82 · 1982–83 · 1983–84 · 1984–85 · 1985–86 · 1986–87 · 1987–88 · 1988–89 · 1989–90 · 1990–91 · 1991–92 · 1992–93 · 1993–94 · 1994–95 · 1995–96 · 1996–97 · 1997–98 · 1998–99 · 1999–2000 · 2000–01 · 2001–02 · 2002–03 · 2003–04 · 2004–05 · 2005–06 · 2006–07 · 2007–08 · 2008–09 · 2009–10 · 2010–11 · 2011–12 Football in England National teams National Football CentreSt George's Park (Burton) League system Domestic cups OthersMasters Football ListsList of clubs · Current managers · Stadiums by capacity · By altitude
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