The Founding Clubs of the English Football League: Where Are They Now?

Jamie WardSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2008

Football became a professional sport in the summer of 1885 with the very first league being contested in 1888 by just 12 clubs. An incredible 120 years later and 11 of the 12 teams are still up and running.

The original set up of the league is the oldest of its kind in the world and has had 130 different clubs involved since its formation.

Alongside the twelve teams of the Football League, stood the twelve clubs of the rival football association—the Football Alliance.

It was created a year later and run along side the Football league for three seasons before it was decided that the two seperate associations would merge to create two divisions contended by the clubs.

The Founders of The Football League

Accrington(folded 1896), Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Derby, Everton, Notts. County, Preston North End, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Founders of The Football Alliance

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Ardwick (Man City), Birmingham St. George (Disbanded 1892), Bootle (Dropped out), Burton Swifts (Folded 1910), Crewe Alexandra, Darwen, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Long Eaton Rangers, Newton Heath (Man United), Nottingham Forest, The Wednesday (Sheffield Wednesday), Small Heath (Birmingham City), Stoke, Sunderland Albion (Disbanded), Walsall Town Swifts (Walsall FC).

Accrington FC: (not to be confused with accrington stanley)

Current league position: Folded

Accrington FC resigned from the Football League after it was relegated to the second division in 1892-93, finishing one place above Newton Heath who themselves were in their very first season.

Aston Villa:

Current League Position: sixth (first tier)

Founded in Aston in 1874, the club is now one of the most successful in the current English league with 20 titles to their credit, including seven league titles and seven FA Cups.

Aston Villa are noted to be the the ones who came up with the idea for the Football League, William McGregor, a director of the club was the person who pionered the format that became the corner stone of the modern game.

Blackburn Rovers:

Current League Position: 19th (first tier)

Blackburn Rovers are one of only three clubs who are founding members of both the Football League and the Premier League. The Lancashire club is also one of only four to have won the Premier League title since its creation in 1992.

Bolton Wanderers:

Current League Position: 11th (first tier)

The Greater Manchester based club has played football in all four professional divisions and have recently seen European football for the first time in their history, reaching the UEFA Cup in 2005-06

Burnley FC: 

Current League Position: fifth (second tier)

A club that has not been in the top Football League division since 1976, Burnley have also experienced the threat of relegation in to non-league football on more than one occasion.

Derby County:

Current League Position: 18th (second tier)

Derby are currently one of eleven clubs that have played in every season of league football since its creation. They have two English League titles, one FA Cup and just one appearance in Europe, reaching the semi-finals in the European Cup.

Everton FC:

Current League Position: sixth (first tier)

With nine Football League titles, five FA Cups, and a European Cup to their credit, the Liverpool based club has contested more seasons (106) in the top tier than any other club.

Notts County:

Current League Position: 17th (fourth tier)

Established in 1862, Notts County are the oldest club from all of the professional teams currently playing. FA Cup winners in 1894, County have never spent much time in the first division and have plyed their trade in the lower leagues for the majority of their history.

Preston North End:

Current League Position: seventh (second tier)

Preston have the honour of being the very first champions in the original season of the Football League in 1888, as well as being the first club to achieve the League and Cup double. They also hold the record, alongside Arsenal, for achieving an entire season unbeaten.

Stoke City:

Current League Position: 18th (first tier)

Formed in 1863, Stoke are the second oldest club, behind Notts County, in professional existence. When they left The Victoria Ground in 1997, Stoke racked up 119 years as residents, a record that is shared with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

West Bromwich Albion:

Current League Position: 20th (first tier)

With just one League title and one League cup, West Brom have achieved a more respectful five titles in the FA Cup. Their many years in the Football League have been spent in the top two tiers, dropping down to the third tier just a couple of times in their history.

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Current League Position: first (second tier)

Wolves have seen plenty of success over the years with an impressive three top flight titles, four FA Cups, two league cups, and one European title. The club is also a major part of WolvesAid, the largest charity that is run in football. Since 1984, Wolves have only spent one season in the top flight.

After witnesing an event on TV in 1962, Liverpool supporters took on a tradition from Brazil and made it their own. Click Here to find out how The Anfield Kop got its voice.

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