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Timeline of English football


Timeline of English football

1840s – 1850s – 1860s – 1870s – 1880s – 1890s – 1900s – 1910s – 1920s – 1930s – 1940s – 1950s – 1960s – 1970s – 1980s – 1990s – 2000s


2009 – 2008 – 2007 – 2006 – 2005 – 2004 – 2003 – 2002 – 2001 – 2000




  • Luton Town F.C. enter administration on 22 November thus incurring a 10-point deduction for the 2007–08 season.[1]
  • Steve McClaren is fired from the job as England manager after failing to qualify for Euro 2008 – the first time in 24 years that England have failed to qualify for the European Championships.
  • Leeds United are hit with the biggest point deduction yet in English professional football history on 4 August after the club was sold without a C.V.A. after entering administration, required by league rules.[2] This penalty was applied for the 2007–08 season meaning Leeds would start the season on minus 15 points.
  • Manchester United F.C. win the Premiership, the ninth time under Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • Chelsea F.C. win a cup double winning the FA Cup in the first final back at the recently completed Wembley Stadium. The match however was not one of the better finals to ever have graced the wembley turf and finished 1–0. Didier Drogba scored the only goal in the last minute of extra-time. Ryan Giggs set a new record for the player to appear in the most finals, however he could not beat Mark Hughes' record for the most finals won by one player. The victory by Chelsea stopped Manchester United from winning the Double.
  • Leeds United enter administration on 4 May after a number of years struggling with the debt incurred by previous boards, thus incuring a 10-point deduction for the 2006–07 season.
  • Boston United enter administration in the final minutes of the league season to take a 10-point deduction in the 2006–07 season. They are relegated two divisions to the Conference North.
  • Chelsea F.C. become League Cup champions after beating Arsenal F.C. 2–1 at the Millennium Stadium. This was also the last major English Cup Final to be played at the Millennium Stadium before the move back to Wembley Stadium after its completion.
  • American tycoons Tom Hicks pay £174.1m to take over Liverpool F.C..
  • Alan Ball, Jr., member of England's World Cup winning team of 1966, dies of a heart attack aged 61.









1999 – 1998 – 1997 – 1996 – 1995 – 1994 – 1993 – 1992 – 1991 – 1990









  • The Football Association creates the FA Premier League, an elite league of 22 clubs which replaces the old Football League First Division as England's highest division.
  • Blackburn Rovers, back in the top flight for the first time since the 1960s, make Alan Shearer England's most expensive footballer by paying Southampton £3.5million for his services.
  • Leeds United win the last Football League First Division championship before the creation of the FA Premier League.
  • Aldershot, who have struggled to stay afloat for two years, finally go out of business on 25 March. Maidstone United follow suit on 17 August after their financial crisis leaves them with no option but to quit the Football League.
  • Eight years after retiring as a player, Kevin Keegan returns to football as manager of Newcastle United and saves them from Second Division relegation.
  • Chester City move into their new Deva Stadium, having ground-shared with Macclesfield Town for two years since leaving Sealand Road.
  • Gary Lineker retires from international football with 48 goals to his name for England – just one goal short of the record set by Bobby Charlton. He also calls time on his career in England, joining Nagoya Grampus of Japan.
  • England are eliminated from Euro 92 in the group stages after losing their final group game 2–1 to host nation Sweden.
  • After a slow start to the new Premier League campaign puts their league title hopes under serious doubt, Manchester United pay Leeds United £1.2million for French striker Eric Cantona in hope of winning a title race which by late November is being led by the likes of Aston Villa and Norwich City.
  • Paul Gascoigne joins Lazio of Italy in a £5.5million move from Tottenham Hotspur.



  • Liverpool win their eighteenth top-flight title.
  • England reach the semi finals of the World Cup before losing to eventual winners Germany on penalties after a 1–1 draw. Manager Bobby Robson resigns after the competition to take charge of Dutch side PSV Eindhoven and is succeeded by Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor, who in turn is replaced by Czech coach Jozef Venglos – the first foreign manager in the top flight of English football.
  • English clubs are readmitted to European competition after a five-year ban arising from the Heysel Stadium disaster. First Division runners-up, Aston Villa, qualify for the UEFA Cup whilst FA Cup winners, Manchester United, qualify for the Cup Winners' Cup. Champions Liverpool are unable to compete in the European Cup because they have to serve an extra year of the ban.
  • Leeds United won the Second Division championship to end their eight-year exile from the First Division.
  • York City striker David Longhurst collapses and dies in his side's Fourth Division home fixture against Lincoln City at Bootham Crescent.
  • Bournemouth director Brian Tiler, a former Aston Villa player, is killed in a car crash. Manager Harry Redknapp is also involved in the crash but survived.
  • Play-off finals become one-legged matches played at Wembley. In the Second Division, Swindon Town beat Sunderland 1–0 but stay in the Second Division after being found guilty of financial irregularities, with Sunderland being promoted in their place.
  • Manchester United win their first major trophy under the management of Alex Ferguson, beating Crystal Palace 1–0 in the FA Cup final replay after drawing the first match 3–3.
  • Peter Shilton retires from international football at the age of 40, kept goal a record 125 caps for the country.
  • Manchester United and Arsenal were respectively deducted 1 and 2 points, for a 21-man brawl involving their players on the pitch. The first and, so far, the only instances in English league history where a team were docked points for player misconduct.


1989 – 1988 – 1987 – 1986 – 1985 – 1984 – 1983 – 1982 – 1981 – 1980



  • Liverpool wrap up their seventeenth league title after losing just two league games in a 40-game season.
  • Wimbledon beat Liverpool 1–0 to win the FA Cup in one of the most dramatic finals seen at Wembley. The triumph came at the end of Wimbledon's 11th season as a Football League club and only their second as First Division members.
  • Luton Town win the first major trophy of their history by beating Arsenal 3–2 in the League Cup final.
  • Jackie Milburn, former Newcastle United striker, dies of cancer at the age of 64.
  • Lincoln City, the first club to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League, regain their league status at the first time of asking by clinching the Football Conference title.
  • Paul Gascoigne, 21-year-old Newcastle United midfielder, becomes England's first £2million footballer when he signs for Tottenham Hotspur.
  • Shortly after Gascoigne's transfer, the national transfer fee record is broken again when Everton pay £2.2million for West Ham United striker Tony Cottee.
  • Ian Rush returns to Liverpool after an unsuccessful season at Juventus in Italy for £2.8million – the third time in the space of a few weeks that the record fee paid by an English club is broken.
  • Billy Bonds, the oldest outfield player in the Football League at 41, retires from playing with West Ham United.
  • Mark Hughes returns to Manchester United after two years away for a fee of £1.8million.
  • Portsmouth are relegated to the Second Division a year after promotion.


  • Tottenham manager David Pleat resigns after rumours in the media that he has been involved in a vice ring. He is replaced by Terry Venables.
  • Coventry City win the first major trophy in their history by beating Tottenham Hotspur (unbeaten in their previous seven finals) 3–2 in the FA Cup final.
  • Everton win their ninth league title in adversity after struggling with massive injuries all season, still managing to win the league by 11 clear points.
  • Lincoln City become the first English club to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League after the re-election system is scrapped. They are replaced by Conference champions Scarborough.
  • The Football League introduces play-offs to settle the final promotion place initially including one team from the higher division.
  • Former Aston Villa and Wales midfielder Trevor Hockey dies of a heart attack at the age of 43.
  • Arsenal become the first team to defeat Liverpool in a game in which Ian Rush had scored by defeating them 2–1 at Wembley in the League Cup Final.
  • Liverpool are forced to play their first few games of the season away from home after a sewer collapses below the Spion Kop terrace.
  • Ian Rush moves to Juventus, as agreed in his deal the previous summer.
  • Portsmouth are promoted back to the First Division after 29 years away.
  • Alex Ferguson begins to rebuild Manchester United by signing Arsenal defender Viv Anderson, Celtic striker Brian McClair and Norwich City defender Steve Bruce.
  • Liverpool sign Watford and England winger John Barnes for £900,000, and replace Ian Rush with Oxford United's John Aldridge for £750,000.



  • Everton win their 8th league title with 5 league games to spare, they then take their foot off the gas to lose 3 of their last 5 but still set a club record points total.
  • 56 spectators are burnt to death and more than 200 are injured in a fire at Bradford City's Valley Parade stadium on 11 May.
  • 39 spectators, most of them Italian, are trampled to death in rioting on the terraces of the Heysel Stadium at the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus.[4] Despite the carnage, the match is played and Juventus win 1–0. The sequel of the tragedy was a 5-year ban on English clubs from European competition, with a 6-year ban on Liverpool.
  • Everton establish themselves as one of the strongest club sides in Europe after winning the league championship with four matches to spare and adding the Cup Winners' Cup to their trophy cabinet.
  • Anton Johnson is banned from football for life after it is revealed that he had illegally taken control of two football clubs (Southend United and Rotherham United) at the same time and had also mishandled the finances of both clubs.
  • Preston North End and Burnley are both relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time.
  • 16 years old Matthew Le Tissier finishes a trial at Oxford United and signs for Southampton.
  • Oxford United promoted to the top flight, after claiming the Second Division championship, a year after they won the Third Division championship in 1984, the only club to have won two consecutive championships on the way to the Top Flight.
  • A 14-year-old boy is crushed to death by a collapsed wall when Leeds United fans riot on the last game of the Second Division season at Birmingham City, but media coverage and public attention of the tragedy is overshadowed as it occurred on the same afternoon as the Bradford City fire.
  • Harry Catterick, who managed Everton to league title glory in 1963 and 1970 as well as an FA Cup triumph in 1966, dies from a heart attack while watching their FA Cup quarter-final win over Ipswich Town at Goodison Park.







1979 – 1978 – 1977 – 1976 – 1975 – 1974 – 1973 – 1972 – 1971 – 1970






  • Derby County, in David Mackay's first full season as manager, win their second league title in four years to add to the 1972 championship which had been won by Mackay's predecessor, Brian Clough.
  • John Lyall ends his first season as West Ham manager with an FA Cup triumph at the expense of Fulham, whose side included former West Ham captain Bobby Moore.
  • Carlisle United, who had topped the 1974–75 First Division after three games, are relegated after failing to put together a consistent run of good form in their first season as a top division club.
  • Manchester United are promoted back to the First Division one season after losing their top-flight status.
  • Aston Villa re-establish themselves a top English side by winning the League Cup and gaining promotion to the First Division in the same season.



  • An Ian Porterfield goal gives Second Division Sunderland a shock win over Leeds United in the FA Cup final.
  • Leeds United also blow their title chances and Liverpool are crowned league champions instead.
  • Bobby Charlton and Denis Law both leave Manchester United after long and illustrious careers.
  • The Football League announces that three clubs, instead of two, are to be relegated from the First and Second Divisions from the end of the 1973–74 season onwards, with three clubs being promoted to the Second and Third Divisions. The four-up, four-down system between the Third and Fourth Divisions would continue.
  • Hereford United end their first season as a Football League club by winning promotion from the Fourth Division.





1969 – 1968 – 1967 – 1966 – 1965 – 1964 – 1963 – 1962 – 1961 – 1960












1959 – 1958 – 1957 – 1956 – 1955 – 1954 – 1953







  • Wolves win the league title for the first time in their history.
  • West Bromwich Albion complete a double for clubs in central England by winning the FA Cup for the fourth time in their history.
  • Everton finish Second Division runners-up, are promoted to the First Division and have remained there ever since.
  • Bournemouth and Swindon Town are bracketed together in 19th place in the Third Division South having both accumulated 40 league points, scored 67 goals and conceded 70 goals!





  • Football League North (Wartime – Joint Division One League with Football League South)
  • Champions: Sheffield United
  • Derby County become the first team to win the FA Cup after losing a game when two-legged games are introduced for one season only.
  • League football resumes following the end of the Second World War.
  • The Football Association end their boycott of FIFA, paving the way for England to play in World Cup matches.



  • The Football League is abandoned three games into the new season after the outbreak of the Second World War
  • Portsmouth beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in the FA Cup final



  • Arsenal win their third successive league title.



  • Aston Villa set an all-time top-flight record of 129 goals in a season, but still finish runners-up to Arsenal by a point.



  • Arsenal and Chelsea are the first clubs to play with shirt numbers on 25 August.


  • Huddersfield Town become the first team to be the Football League champions three seasons in succession.


  • FA Cup: Sheffield United 1–0 Cardiff City
  • Sheffield United F.C Win the FA Cup. Runners-Up Cardiff City
  • The offside rule is changed: a player is now onside if a minimum of two (instead of three) opposing players are between him and the goal line.


  • Bolton Wanderers defeat West Ham United 2–0 in the first FA Cup final to be held at Wembley. The match kicked off 44 minutes late due to overcrowding – there was an estimated 200,000 fans in attendance, and it wasn't until a white police horse helped clear the pitch that the match took place. As a result, the match is now known as the White Horse Final.
  • Aston Villa centre-half Tommy Ball is shot dead by his neighbour in November thus becoming the only Football League player to have been murdered.[8]





  • Leeds City are expelled and dissolved by the football league after financial irregularities including the payment of players during the First World War. In its place a new club is formed, Leeds United.


  • Everton win the final league title before league football is suspended because of the First World War.
  • FA Cup Final: Sheffield United 3–0 Chelsea
  • Sheffield United F.C Win the FA Cup.


  • Blackburn Rovers win their second league title and their second in three seasons.











  • Norwich City FC formed as an amateur club
  • Sunderland A.F.C. wins their 4th league championship
  • J.H. Davies takes over near bankrupt Newton Heath (L&YR) F.C. and changes its name to Manchester United.
  • Sheffield United 1–1 Southampton - (R) Sheffield United 2–1 Southampton
  • Sheffield United win the FA Cup. Runners Up: Southampton


  • Tottenham Hotspur 2–2 Sheffield United - (R) Tottenham Hotspur 3–1 Sheffield United
  • |Tottenham Hotspur]] become the first non-league club to win the FA Cup. Runners Up: Sheffield United F.C


  • Aston Villa win the league championship, their fifth title in seven years.
  • Sheffield United F.C Finish 2nd.
  • Sunderland Finish 3rd.
  • Leading Goalscorer Billy Garraty (Aston Villa) 27
  • Brighton & Hove Albion are founded.



  • Aston Villa win the last championship of the century, defeating runners-up Liverpool F.C. 5–0 in the last match to secure the title.
  • Sheffield United F.C Win the FA Cup. Runners Up Derby County.


  • Sheffield United F.C secure the league title for the first time and only time.
  • Sunderland Finish 2nd.
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers Finish 3rd.
  • Leading Goalscorer Fred Wheldon (Aston Villa) 21
  • Portsmouth F.C is formed.


  • Aston Villa capture the third league title.
  • Sheffield United Finish 2nd.
  • Derby County Finish 3rd.
  • Leading Goalscorer: Steve Bloomer (Derby County) 22




  • Aston Villa win their first league championship. Later that year though their former captain Archie Hunter dies aged just 35.




  • Everton win their first league championship.
  • Luton Town become the south of England's first professional club in August – paying the entire team 2 shillings and sixpence plus expenses.
  • The penalty kick is introduced.
  • Assistant referees are first introduced as linesmen.


  • Luton Town player Frank Whitby becomes the first professional player in the south of England on 15 December, earning 5 shillings per week.



  • Preston North End complete the first season of the Football League as unbeaten champions. They also become the first team to win the 'double', gaining the FA Cup without conceding a goal.
  • Sheffield United F.C is formed.













  • Aston Villa Football Club is formed by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel, in Aston.
  • Bolton Wanderers Football Club are formed.




  • St Domingo's FC formed later changing its name in November 1878 – to Everton.
  • First "goalkeepers", and transition from "dribbling game" to "passing game" is seen in club matches in Sheffield and London.
  • A match between England and Scotland, finishes in a 1–0 win for England at the Kennington Oval in London. This was the first match between the nations but is not recognised as being the first international (see 1872).



  • The first ever football tournament, the Youdan Cup, is played by twelve Sheffield clubs.
  • Wednesday 4 September 1867, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club was established.







  • Official referees appear for the first time in a football match in Cheltenham, two in field and one in tribune.



  • A time limit on length of play is first introduced and first described in Lancashire[10]



  • First use of referee. During a match in Rochdale, between the Bodyguards club and the Fearnaught club[10]



  • First description of a pass comes from Suffolk.[11][12] In this Moor describes a team ball game with goals in which a player who can not advance further "throws the ball [he must in no case give it] to some less beleaguered friend more free and more in breath than himself". Although this description refers to throwing, Moor tells us that the game was at other times a football one: "Sometimes a large football was used; the game was then called 'kicking camp'."



See also


  1. ^ "Luton suffer 10-point deduction". BBC Sport. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  2. ^ "Leeds hit with 15-point penalty". BBC Sport. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "Injury forces Shearer retirement". BBC News. 22 April 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b On This Day – 29 May 1985 BBC Online –
  5. ^ Guardian Unlimited – "Excited Scotland fans"
  6. ^ BBC Scotland (RealVideo)
  7. ^ "History of Match of the Day". BBC News. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Cowan, Mark (6 May 2010). "The star Villa player shot dead by neighbour". From the archives. Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  9. ^ The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, 15 March 1871; Issue 8181.
  10. ^ a b c page 105
  11. ^ Edward Moor, Suffolk Words and Phrases: Or, An Attempt to Collect the Lingual Localisms, J. Loder, London
  12. ^,M1
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