Alternate History

The Football League (An Earlier World Cup of Football)

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Country England
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1888
Levels on pyramid 1–3
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
Current champions Manchester City
Most championships Aston Villa (Eleven titles)

The Football League is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. It was founded in 1888 and it's the oldest such competition in world football.



Note: The champions are the same in this TL up until 1904 with OTL. League and FA Cup Double winners are highlighted in bold.


In 1892 the Football League absorbed 11 of the 12 clubs in the rival Football Alliance after it folded, meaning the League now had enough clubs to form another division. The existing division was renamed the First Division and the new division was called the Second Division.

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions
 16. 1903–04 The Wednesday Manchester United
 17. 1904–05 Aston Villa Bristol City
 18. 1905–06 The Wednesday West Bromwich Albion
 19. 1906–07 Newcastle United Nottingham Forest
 20. 1907–08 Aston Villa Bradford City
 21. 1908–09 Sunderland Derby County
 22. 1909–10 Aston Villa Hull City
 23. 1910–11 Everton Notts County
 24. 1911–12 Everton Burnley
 25. 1912–13 Sunderland Blackburn Rovers
 26. 1913–14 Aston Vila Bradford Park Avenue
 27. 1914–15 Sunderland Arsenal
1915–19 League suspended due to World War I
 28. 1919–20 West Bromwich Albion Bradford City


In 1920 the Football League admitted the clubs from the first division of the Southern League (the Southern League continued with its remaining clubs) and Grimsby Town, who had failed to be re-elected to the Second Division the season before and been replaced by Cardiff City (of the Southern League). The clubs were placed in the new Third Division:

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division Champions
 29. 1920–21 Bolton Wanderers Bristol City Southampton


After just one season under the old format, the League expanded again. This time it admitted a number of clubs from the north of England to balance things out, as the last expansion brought mainly clubs from the south. The existing Third Division was renamed the Third Division South, and the new division was named the Third Division North. Grimsby Town transferred to the new northern division. Both divisions ran in parallel, with clubs from both Third Divisions being promoted to the national Second Division at the end of each season:

No. Season First Division Champions Second Division Champions Third Division (North) Champions Third Division (South) Champions
 30. 1921–22 Bolton Wanderers Cardiff City Stockport County Portsmouth
 31. 1922–23 Newcastle United Liverpool Walsall Plymouth Argyle
 32. 1923–24 West Ham United Huddersfield Town Stoke Rochdale
 33. 1924–25 West Bromwich Albion Derby County Darlington Swansea Town
 34. 1925–26 Sunderland Bury Grimsby Town Reading
 35. 1926–27 Huddersfield Town Burnley Stoke Milwall
 36. 1927–28 Chelsea Leicester City Preston North End Brighton & Hove Albion
 37. 1928–29 Derby County Middlesbrough Stockport County Northampton Town
 38. 1929–30 Derby County Plymouth Argyle Leeds United Port Vale
 39. 1930–31 Aston Vila Northampton Town Crystal Palace Everton
 40. 1931–32 Sheffield Wednesday Stoke Chester Lincoln City
 41. 1932–33 Aston Vila Hull City Wrexham Exeter City
 42. 1933–34 Arsenal Bradford City Barnsley Reading
 43. 1934–35 Arsenal Blackpool Halifax Town Brentford
 44. 1935–36 Sheffield Wednesday Brighton & Hove Albion Tranmere Rovers Luton Town
 45. 1936–37 Manchester City Leicester City Oldham Athletic Charlton Athletic
 46. 1937–38 Arsenal Aston Vila Tranmere Rovers Milwall

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