1990–91 Football League

Last updated
The Football League
Season 1990–91
Champions Arsenal
New club in League Darlington

The 199091 season was the 92nd completed season of The Football League.


Final league tables and results

The tables and results below are reproduced here in the exact form that they can be found at The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, [1] with home and away statistics separated.

First Division

The First Division title was won for the second time in three seasons by Arsenal, who lost just one league game all season and managed to overcome disappointents including having two points deducted for a player brawl in a league match in October, a 6-2 home defeat to Manchester United in a League Cup tie in November, and missing captain Tony Adams for two months of the season while he served a prison sentence for a motoring offence. Their only major rivals in the title race were Liverpool, who had looked set to retain the title after winning their opening eight games and remaining unbeaten in the league until December, only for their form to suffer and for manager Kenny Dalglish to suddenly announce his resignation as manager before the end of February. Long-serving coach Ronnie Moran was placed in temporary charge, with former captain Graeme Souness returning to Anfield as manager just before the Reds surrendered their defence of the league title to Arsenal. The Reds were readmitted to European competitions after a six-year ban and qualified for the 1991-92 UEFA Cup.

Crystal Palace finished third in the league to record their highest ever final position, although they were denied the chance to compete in Europe due to UEFA's decision to award only one place in the UEFA Cup to England for 1991-92. Newly promoted Leeds United finished fourth, Manchester City achieved their highest final position for more than a decade by finishing fifth, and Manchester United progressed seven places on their 1990 finish by occupying sixth place in the table, reserving their best form for the cup competitions, where they won the European Cup Winners' Cup and were runners-up in the Football League Cup. Tottenham Hotspur, who were unbeaten in the league until November before a shortage of wins for the rest of the season dragged them down to 10th, finished the season as FA Cup winners for a record eighth time. The season was followed by a dramatic takeover deal by computer tycoon Alan Sugar, who took control of the club, cleared debts exceeding £20million, and installed manager Terry Venables as chief executive, although a fresh shadow hung over the club after star midfielder Paul Gascoigne was left facing a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a serious knee injury in the FA Cup final, following weeks of speculation that he was on the verge of a multi-million pound transfer to Lazio in Italy.

The season saw several managerial changes as well as the changeover at Liverpool. Everton sacked manager Colin Harvey at the end of October and brought Howard Kendall back to Goodison Park from Manchester City, who replaced him with 34-year-old midfielder Peter Reid as player-manager. On the same day that Reid took charge at Maine Road, Coventry City completed a £350,000 move which took England defender Terry Butcher to the midlands club as successor to John Sillett, with 31-year-old Butcher being the youngest manager in the Football League. Aston Villa had lost manager Graham Taylor to the England team before the season began, and appointed Czech coach Jozef Venglos as his successor. Venglos, the first foreign manager in the First Division, inherited a side which had just finished runners-up in the First Division, but saw them slump to finish 17th and then resigned to be succeeded by Ron Atkinson. The end of the season saw QPR sack manager Don Howe after 18 months in charge and bring former player Gerry Francis back to Loftus Road as manager. Despite keeping Luton Town up on the final day of the season, Luton Town manager Jimmy Ryan was sacked by the Kenilworth Road board of directors, who appointed David Pleat as manager for the second time. Chris Nicholl's six-year spell as Southampton manager ended in dismissal and he was replaced by Ian Branfoot. Chelsea manager Bobby Campbell stood down to take on a new role as personal assistant to chairman Ken Bates, and Ian Porterfield was named as his successor.

The expansion of the First Division to 22 clubs for the 1991-92 season meant that just two teams went down to the Second Division. Derby County, who made a satisfactory start to the season but endued a disastrous second half of the campaign, went down in bottom place having won just five games all season. Sunderland went down on the final day of the season just one season after reaching the top flight, with Luton Town managing to escape relegation on the final day of the season for the third year running.

Football League, First Division
Champions Arsenal (10th English title)
Relegated Derby County
European Cup Arsenal
Cup Winners' Cup Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United
UEFA Cup Liverpool [2]
Matches played380
Goals scored1,049 (2.76 per match)
Top goalscorer Alan Smith (Arsenal), 22 [3]
Biggest home win Nottingham Forest 7–0 Chelsea (20 Apr 1991)
Biggest away win Derby County 1–7 Liverpool (23 Mar 1991)
Highest scoring Derby County 4–6 Chelsea (15 Dec 1990)
Longest winning run Liverpool (8 games)
Longest unbeaten run Arsenal (23 games)
Longest losing run Queens Park Rangers (8 games)
PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification or relegation
1 Arsenal (C)38241317418+5683 [lower-alpha 1] Qualification for the European Cup
2 Liverpool 3823787740+3776Qualification for the UEFA Cup
3 Crystal Palace 3820995041+969
4 Leeds United 38197126547+1864
5 Manchester City 381711106453+1162
6 Manchester United 381612105845+1359 [lower-alpha 1] Qualification for the European Cup Winners' Cup first round
7 Wimbledon 381414105346+756
8 Nottingham Forest 381412126550+1554
9 Everton 381312135046+451
10 Tottenham Hotspur 381116115150+149Qualification for the European Cup Winners' Cup qualifying round
11 Chelsea 3813101558691149
12 Queens Park Rangers 381210164453946
13 Sheffield United 381371836551946
14 Southampton 381291758691145
15 Norwich City 381361941642345
16 Coventry City 381111164249744
17 Aston Villa 389141546581241
18 Luton Town 381072142611937
19 Sunderland (R)388102038602234Relegation to the Second Division
20 Derby County (R)38592437753824
Source: World Football
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated
  1. 1 2 Arsenal deducted two points; Manchester United deducted one point due to a brawl in a game between both teams.

First Division results

Arsenal 5–0 4–1 6–14–03–01–02–03–02–12–2 3–1 2–01–12–04–14–01–0 0–0 2–2
Aston Villa 0–02–22–12–03–22–20–00–01–21–51–12–11–12–22–11–13–03–21–2
Chelsea 2–1 1–02–12–12–11–21–24–23–31–13–21–10–02–02–20–23–23–20–0
Coventry City 0–22–11–03–13–03–11–10–12–13–12–22–02–23–10–01–20–02–00–0
Crystal Palace 0–00–02–12–12–10–01–11–01–01–33–01–32–20–01–02–12–11–04–3
Derby County 0–20–24–61–10–22–30–11–72–11–10–00–0 2–1 1–11–16–23–30–11–1
Everton 1–11–02–21–00–02–02–3 2–3 1–02–00–11–00–03–01–23–02–01–11–2
Leeds United 2–25–24–12–01–23–02–04–52–11–20–03–03–12–32–12–15–00–23–0
Liverpool 0–12–12–01–13–02–0 3–1 3–04–02–2 4–0 3–02–01–32–03–22–12–01–1
Luton Town 1–12–02–01–01–12–01–11–03–12–20–10–11–01–20–13–41–20–00–1
Manchester City 0–12–12–12–00–22–11–02–30–33–0 3–3 2–13–12–12–03–33–22–11–1
Manchester United 0–1 1–12–32–02–03–10–21–1 1–1 4–1 1–0 3–00–13–12–03–23–01–12–1
Norwich City 0–02–01–32–20–32–11–02–01–11–31–20–32–61–03–03–13–22–10–4
Nottingham Forest 0–22–27–03–00–1 1–0 3–14–32–12–21–31–15–01–12–03–12–01–22–1
Queens Park Rangers 1–32–11–01–01–21–11–12–01–16–11–01–11–31–21–22–13–20–00–1
Sheffield United 0–22–11–00–10–11–00–00–21–32–11–12–12–13–21–04–10–22–21–2
Southampton 1–11–13–32–12–30–13–42–01–01–22–11–11–01–13–12–03–13–01–1
Sunderland 0–01–31–00–02–11–22–20–10–12–01–12–11–21–00–10–11–00–00–0
Tottenham Hotspur 0–0 2–11–12–21–13–03–30–01–32–13–11–22–11–10–04–02–03–34–2
Wimbledon 0–30–02–11–00–33–12–10–11–22–01–11–30–03–13–01–11–12–25–1
Source: [ citation needed ]
Legend: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

First Division maps

Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Locations of the Football League First Division London teams 1990–1991

Second Division

The Second Division promotion race ended with Oldham Athletic as champions, sealing a return to the First Division after a 68-year absence. West Ham United reclaimed their First Division status at the second attempt, finishing runners-up in the Second Division and also reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The final automatic promotion place was clinched by Sheffield Wednesday, who also won the Football League Cup to end their 56-year wait for a major trophy. Notts County then became the first team to win back-to-back promotions via the playoffs by beating Brighton 3-1 in the Second Division promotion clincher at Wembley. Teddy Sheringham found the net 38 times in the league for fifth-placed Millwall, but was unable to inspire victory in the playoffs, and was then sold to Nottingham Forest for £2.1million - a record fee for a Second Division player.

Hull City were relegated to the Third Division after six years, finishing bottom of the Second Division. They were joined in relegation on the final day by West Bromwich Albion, who had already endured the misery of an FA Cup third round exit at the hands of non-league Woking, and were now facing Third Division football for the first time in their history. However, the reorganisation of the league meant that there was one less relegation place this year, and it was Leicester City who took advantage of this by finishing 22nd and avoiding relegation.

Football League, Second Division
Champions Oldham Athletic (1st title)
Promoted Notts County,
Sheffield Wednesday,
West Ham United
Relegated Hull City,
West Bromwich Albion
Matches played552
Goals scored1,481 (2.68 per match)
Top goalscorer Teddy Sheringham (Millwall), 38 [3]
PosTeamPldHWHDHLHGFHGAAWADALAGFAGAGDPtsPromotion or relegation
1 Oldham Athletic 46175155218872832+3088Division Champions, promoted
2 West Ham United 46156241189951916+2687Promoted
3 Sheffield Wednesday 4612101432310673728+2982Promoted [lower-alpha 1]
4 Notts County 46144545289773127+2180Promoted through play-offs [lower-alpha 2]
5 Millwall 46116643289772723+1973Participated in play-offs
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 461247373193112638670
7 Middlesbrough 461247361785103030+1969
8 Barnsley 461373391665122432+1569
9 Bristol City 461454442862152443367
10 Oxford United 461094412941092837+361
11 Newcastle United 468105242267102534759
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 461166453521381828058
13 Bristol Rovers 461175292046132739358
14 Ipswich Town 46986322841092840857
15 Port Vale 461049322458102440857
16 Charlton Athletic 46878272551083036456
17 Portsmouth 4610673427451424431253
18 Plymouth Argyle 46101033620271418481453
19 Blackburn Rovers 468692627641325391552
20 Watford 465810243277921271451
21 Swindon Town 46869313048113443850
22 Leicester City 4612474133241719502350
23 West Bromwich Albion 467115262137132640948Relegated
24 Hull City 4661073532451422532845
Source: [ citation needed ]
  1. Sheffield Wednesday were this season's League Cup winners but did not earn a place in the UEFA Cup. [2]
  2. Notts County won the play-offs and were promoted.

Second Division results

Barnsley 0–12–12–01–01–13–15–11–11–01–21–11–00–13–01–01–14–01–15–12–11–11–01–1
Blackburn Rovers 1–21–20–12–22–22–10–14–11–01–00–10–12–01–30–01–11–11–02–10–20–33–11–1
Brighton & Hove Albion 1–01–00–10–13–23–12–13–02–40–04–20–01–20–33–21–23–20–43–33–02–01–01–1
Bristol City 1–04–23–1 1–0 0–14–14–21–03–01–41–03–21–23–11–11–14–11–10–43–22–01–11–1
Bristol Rovers 2–11–21–3 3–2 2–11–11–00–02–01–01–11–12–01–00–02–01–20–12–13–11–10–11–1
Charlton Athletic 2–10–01–22–12–22–11–11–20–10–01–03–11–13–30–10–12–10–11–21–22–01–11–0
Hull City 1–23–10–11–22–02–23–35–20–01–12–11–22–23–32–03–20–20–11–11–11–10–01–2
Ipswich Town 2–02–11–31–12–14–42–03–20–10–32–10–01–21–13–13–02–20–21–11–11–00–10–0
Leicester City 2–11–33–03–03–21–20–11–24–31–25–42–10–01–03–11–12–12–42–20–02–11–21–0
Middlesbrough 1–00–12–02–11–21–23–01–16–02–1 3–0 1–00–10–00–04–01–20–22–01–23–20–02–0
Millwall 4–12–13–01–21–13–13–31–12–12–20–11–20–01–24–11–22–04–21–00–24–11–12–1
Newcastle United 0–01–00–00–00–21–31–22–22–1 0–0 1–20–23–22–22–02–02–11–01–11–01–11–10–0
Notts County 2–34–12–13–23–22–22–13–10–23–20–13–02–03–14–01–12–10–20–01–04–30–11–1
Oldham Athletic 2–01–16–12–12–01–11–22–02–02–01–11–12–13–05–32–03–13–23–24–12–11–14–1
Oxford United 2–00–03–03–13–11–11–02–12–22–50–00–03–35–10–05–21–02–22–40–11–32–11–1
Plymouth Argyle 1–14–12–01–02–22–04–10–02–01–13–20–10–01–22–22–01–11–13–31–12–00–11–0
Port Vale 0–13–00–13–23–21–10–01–22–03–10–20–10–11–01–05–13–21–13–10–01–20–11–2
Portsmouth 0–03–21–04–13–10–15–11–13–10–30–00–12–11–41–13–12–42–02–10–11–10–10–0
Sheffield Wednesday 3–13–11–13–12–10–05–12–20–02–02–12–22–22–20–23–01–12–12–12–01–01–12–2
Swindon Town 1–21–11–30–10–21–13–11–05–21–30–03–21–22–20–01–11–23–02–11–22–10–11–0
Watford 0–00–30–12–31–12–10–11–11–00–31–21–21–31–11–12–02–10–12–22–21–10–13–1
West Bromwich Albion 1–12–01–12–13–11–01–11–22–10–10–11–12–20–02–01–21–10–01–22–11–10–0 1–1
West Ham United 3–21–02–11–01–02–17–13–11–00–03–11–11–22–02–02–20–01–11–32–01–03–11–1
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0–52–32–34–01–13–00–02–22–11–04–12–10–22–33–33–13–13–13–21–20–0 2–2 2–1
Source: [ citation needed ]
Legend: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.


Joe Royle’s cavalier Oldham Athletic side dramatically won the Second Division championship — an injury-time penalty completing a 3–2 come-from-behind win against Sheffield Wednesday in their final game, edging them the title from previous leaders West Ham United, who would be promoted as runners-up. Joining them were League Cup winners Sheffield Wednesday, who finished in third place. Neil Warnock guided Notts County to a second successive victory in the promotion play-offs.

Hull City struggled throughout the 1990–91 season and not even the appointment of new manager Terry Dolan could save their Second Division status. They were joined on the last day of the season by West Bromwich Albion, who went down to the Third Division for the first time in their history. Leicester City were saved from suffering the same humiliation by winning their final game of the season. Albion had sacked player-manager Brian Talbot in January following an FA Cup exit at the hands of non-league Woking, but his successor Bobby Gould was unable to save Albion from the dreaded drop.

Newly promoted Bristol Rovers attained their highest league finish in years, finishing 13th. But manager Gerry Francis then resigned to take over at Queen’s Park Rangers, handing over the reins to Martin Dobson, who was just weeks into his job as Northwich Victoria manager.

Jim Smith left Newcastle United in March after more than two years at the helm, making a swift return to management with Portsmouth as successor to Frank Burrows, while Ossie Ardiles was the new man in charge on Tyneside after leaving Swindon Town. 33-year-old Glenn Hoddle was named as Swindon’s new manager.

Colin Todd departed from Middlesbrough after their failure to succeed in the play-offs, being replaced by Lennie Lawrence who called time on nine years with Charlton Athletic, who appointed Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt as joint player-managers.

David Pleat was sacked by Leicester City in February, with Gordon Lee taking charge until the end of the season and being replaced by Brian Little.

In January Jack Walker purchased Blackburn Rovers.

Second Division play-offs

The semifinals were decided over two legs, and only the aggregates are given in the schemata below. The final consisted of only a single match.
The full results can be found at: Football League Division Two play-offs 1991.

1st leg – May 19; 2nd leg – May 22, 1991
Final at Wembley
June 2, 1991
4th Notts County 1 1 2
7th Middlesbrough 1 0 1
4th Notts County 3
6th Brighton & Hove Albion 1
5th Millwall 1 1 2
6th Brighton & Hove Albion 4 2 5

Second Division maps

Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Locations of the Football League Second Division London teams 1990–1991

Third Division

An incredible season for the newly promoted teams in the Third Division saw champions Cambridge United, runners-up Grimsby Town and third placed Southend United all win a second successive promotion. The final promotion place went to playoff winners Tranmere Rovers, who had last played Second Division football in the 1930s, and prepared to thrive as this higher level by signing former Liverpool striker John Aldridge shortly after securing promotion.

Rotherham United and Crewe Alexandra both dropped back into the Fourth Division after just two seasons in the Third Division, with this being Crewe's first relegation for over 20 years, while Mansfield Town's relegation ended their five-year spell in the Third Division. However, the reorganisation of the Football League meant one fewer relegation place in the Third Division, with Fulham finishing 21st but being spared from Fourth Division football for the first time as a result.

Football League, Third Division
Champions Cambridge United (1st title)
Promoted Grimsby Town,
Southend United,
Tranmere Rovers
Relegated Crewe Alexandra,
Mansfield Town,
Rotherham United
Matches played552
Goals scored1,381 (2.5 per match)
Top goalscorer Brett Angell (Southend United), 26;
Tony Philliskirk (Bolton Wanderers), 26 [3]
PosTeamPldHWHDHLHGFHGAAWADALAGFAGAGDPtsPromotion or relegation
1 Cambridge United 461454422211663323+3086Division Champions, promoted
2 Southend United 461364342313193328+1685Promoted
3 Grimsby Town 46163442138872421+3283
4 Bolton Wanderers 461454331810673132+1483Participated in play-offs
5 Tranmere Rovers 461355382110492625+1878Promoted through play-offs [lower-alpha 1]
6 Brentford 46124730229952925+1276Participated in play-offs
7 Bury 46136439267792830+1173
8 Bradford City 46133736227792632+870
9 Bournemouth 461463372057112138070
10 Wigan Athletic 461436402066113134+1769
11 Huddersfield Town 461337372351082028+667
12 Birmingham City 4689621218872428465
13 Leyton Orient 461526351938122039364
14 Stoke City 46977362975111930460
15 Reading 4611573428631419381359
16 Exeter City 461265351643162336+657
17 Preston North End 4611573329461321381356
18 Shrewsbury Town 46878292263143246752
19 Chester City 46103102727461319311251
20 Swansea City 468693133531518392348 Welsh Cup winners, qualified for the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1991–92 First round
21 Fulham 468872722281314341546
22 Crewe Alexandra 466983535521627451844Relegated
23 Rotherham United 4651083138521619493742
24 Mansfield Town 4658102327361419362138
Source: [ citation needed ]
  1. Tranmere Rovers won the play-offs and were promoted.

Third Division results

Birmingham City 1–30–01–10–21–00–31–00–21–12–00–01–23–10–01–11–12–10–11–12–12–01–00–0
Bolton Wanderers 3–14–10–11–01–32–21–03–21–03–00–01–11–01–11–23–10–01–01–00–11–02–12–1
Bournemouth 1–21–03–12–01–10–11–01–12–13–02–13–12–20–00–02–04–23–23–11–11–01–00–3
Bradford City 2–01–13–00–13–10–12–12–03–00–00–22–24–01–02–12–11–02–42–11–20–11–22–1
Brentford 2–24–20–06–12–20–30–11–01–01–21–01–01–00–02–01–01–23–00–10–42–00–21–0
Bury 0–12–22–40–01–13–12–11–33–11–13–22–11–01–03–12–13–12–10–11–11–03–02–2
Cambridge United 0–12–14–02–10–02–21–13–41–01–01–00–01–02–11–13–04–13–11–43–02–03–12–3
Chester 0–10–20–04–21–21–00–23–11–21–01–21–22–01–01–11–01–23–21–01–12–10–21–2
Crewe Alexandra 1–11–30–20–03–32–23–11–31–11–11–21–13–33–02–21–03–11–20–21–23–02–31–0
Exeter City 0–22–12–02–21–12–00–11–13–00–10–02–22–02–04–01–32–03–01–22–02–00–01–0
Fulham 2–20–11–10–00–12–00–24–12–13–20–00–01–11–01–01–12–04–00–30–11–11–21–2
Grimsby Town 0–00–15–01–12–00–11–02–00–12–13–04–02–22–04–13–02–11–01–02–01–00–14–3
Huddersfield Town 0–14–01–31–21–22–13–11–13–11–01–01–11–02–21–00–24–02–11–23–01–22–11–0
Leyton Orient 1–10–12–02–11–21–00–31–03–21–01–00–21–02–11–04–03–03–20–10–23–04–01–1
Mansfield Town 1–24–01–10–10–20–12–21–01–30–21–11–10–03–30–12–01–22–10–10–02–00–21–1
Preston North End 2–01–20–00–31–11–10–20–05–11–01–01–31–12–13–11–21–24–32–12–02–00–42–1
Reading 2–20–12–11–21–21–02–22–22–11–01–02–01–21–22–13–32–01–22–41–00–01–03–1
Rotherham United 1–12–21–10–22–20–33–22–11–12–43–11–41–30–01–11–00–22–20–10–02–31–15–1
Shrewsbury Town 4–10–13–11–01–11–11–21–01–02–22–21–20–03–00–30–15–10–00–12–01–20–10–0
Southend United 2–11–12–11–10–12–10–01–13–22–11–12–00–11–12–13–21–22–12–11–04–11–00–2
Stoke City 0–12–21–32–12–22–21–12–31–02–12–10–02–01–23–10–10–13–11–34–02–21–12–0
Swansea City 2–01–21–20–22–21–20–01–03–10–32–20–01–00–01–23–13–15–00–11–42–11–11–6
Tranmere Rovers 1–01–11–02–12–11–22–01–22–01–01–11–22–03–06–22–10–01–21–13–11–22–11–1
Wigan Athletic 1–12–12–03–01–01–20–12–01–04–12–02–01–11–20–22–11–02–02–24–14–02–40–1
Source: [ citation needed ]
Legend: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Third Division play-offs

The semifinals were decided over two legs, and only the aggregates are given in the schemata below. The final consisted of only a single match.
The full results can be found at: Football League Division Three play-offs 1991.

1st leg – May 19; 2nd leg – May 22, 1991
Final at Wembley
June 1, 1991
4th Bolton Wanderers 1 1 2
7th Bury 1 0 1
4th Bolton Wanderers 0
5th Tranmere Rovers (a.e.t.) 1
5th Tranmere Rovers 2 1 3
6th Brentford 2 0 2

Third Division maps

Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Locations of the Football League Third Division London teams 1990–1991

Fourth Division

A year after sealing an instant return to the Football League, Darlington clinched the Fourth Division title to earn a second successive promotion. Their run of success under manager Brian Little attracted the attention of bigger clubs, and after the end of the season he accepted an offer to manage Leicester City in the Second Division. Stockport County finished runners-up to end their lengthy stay in the Fourth Division, and in doing so their Uruguayan manager became the first foreign manager to achieve promotion in the Football League. Hartlepool United, another team who had endured a long run in the league's lowest tier, sealed promotion in third place, with coach Alan Murray taking charge for the final four months of the season due to manager Cyril Knowles becoming seriously ill, taking over on a permanent basis after the end of the season when Knowles declared himself unable to continue as manager. The fourth promotion place went to Peterborough United, despite the Cambridgeshire club changing its manager twice of the course of the season, beginning with Mark Lawrenson in charge, before switching to Dave Booth in mid November and finally appointing Chris Turner in January.

As with the Second and Third Divisions, the reorganisation of the Football League gave the Fourth Division an additional promotion place, with five teams going up this season instead of the usual four. The final promotion place was clinched by Torquay United, who defeated Blackpool in a penalty shootout in the playoff final, becoming the first Football League team to win promotion on penalties, and ending a run of nearly 20 seasons in the Fourth Division for the Devon club.

The admission of a 93rd club to the Football League for the 1991-92 season meant that there was no relegation from the Fourth Division this season, meaning that bottom placed Wrexham held onto their league status. Joining the league for the 1991-92 season were the Conference champions Barnet, managed by former Manchester United youth team player Barry Fry.

Football League, Fourth Division
Champions Darlington (1st title)
Promoted Hartlepool United,
Peterborough United,
Stockport County,
Torquay United
Relegated to Conference None
New club in the league Darlington
Matches played552
Goals scored1,415 (2.56 per match)
Top goalscorer Steve Norris (Halifax Town), 35 [3]
1 Darlington [lower-alpha 1] 46138236149953224+3083Division Champions, promoted
2 Stockport County 46166154197793028+3782Promoted
3 Hartlepool United 46155335159593233+1982
4 Peterborough United 46139138158872930+2280
5 Blackpool 461733551767102330+3179Participated in play-offs
6 Burnley 461751461665122435+1979
7 Torquay United 461472371341182734+1772Promoted through play-offs [lower-alpha 2]
8 Scunthorpe United 461742512037132042+971Participated in play-offs
9 Scarborough 461355362167102335+369
10 Northampton 461454342148112337167
11 Doncaster Rovers 46125636225992024+1065
12 Rochdale 461094292258102131362
13 Cardiff City 461067262359917311160
14 Lincoln City 4610763227410918341159
15 Gillingham 46995352739112233354
16 Walsall 467124251755132334353
17 Hereford United 469104321944152139553
18 Chesterfield 4681233326521614361553
19 Maidstone United 46959423447122437551
20 Carlisle United 4612383030161617594248
21 York City 468692123371324341246
22 Halifax Town 469683429341625502046
23 Aldershot 468783843241723584041
24 Wrexham 468783334231815402640
Source: [ citation needed ]
  1. New club in the league
  2. Torquay United won the play-offs and were promoted.

Fourth Division results

Aldershot 1–41–20–03–01–00–21–11–02–21–51–00–34–33–35–02–22–23–22–22–30–43–20–1
Blackpool 4–21–23–06–03–01–22–02–02–02–03–05–02–22–11–10–03–13–13–21–01–24–11–0
Burnley 3–02–02–02–10–13–11–02–22–14–02–12–22–13–04–11–02–11–13–21–12–02–00–0
Cardiff City 1–31–13–03–12–10–10–22–01–01–00–20–10–01–01–10–10–01–03–33–30–21–02–1
Carlisle United 1–21–01–13–21–00–22–30–40–31–00–10–01–04–13–21–14–10–31–03–10–32–01–0
Chesterfield 1–02–22–10–04–12–22–11–12–12–31–01–11–20–02–21–10–11–01–11–12–22–12–2
Darlington 3–11–13–14–13–11–01–11–13–00–13–11–11–11–10–12–02–10–01–03–01–01–00–0
Doncaster Rovers 3–01–02–11–14–00–10–11–11–22–23–11–03–02–10–21–00–22–31–01–12–03–12–2
Gillingham 1–12–23–24–02–10–11–02–01–03–02–12–20–20–02–32–21–11–11–32–21–02–30–0
Halifax Town 3–05–31–21–21–12–10–00–11–21–20–41–13–22–11–12–01–20–00–00–15–22–02–1
Hartlepool United 1–01–20–00–24–12–00–01–11–02–12–12–01–03–12–02–22–02–03–10–02–12–10–1
Hereford United 1–01–13–01–14–22–31–11–11–11–01–30–14–01–20–02–03–32–00–00–00–01–02–0
Lincoln City 2–20–11–00–06–21–10–30–01–11–03–11–12–13–10–21–22–01–20–33–22–10–02–1
Maidstone United 1–11–11–03–00–01–02–30–13–15–11–41–14–11–32–00–10–16–12–32–21–30–25–4
Northampton Town 2–11–00–00–01–11–20–30–02–11–03–23–01–12–01–23–20–22–11–01–45–01–02–1
Peterborough United 3–22–03–23–01–12–12–21–12–02–01–13–02–02–01–01–12–00–00–01–20–02–22–0
Rochdale 4–02–10–00–00–13–01–10–31–31–10–02–10–03–21–10–31–12–11–00–03–22–02–1
Scarborough 2–00–10–11–21–11–01–12–12–14–12–02–13–00–21–13–10–03–10–21–01–04–22–2
Scunthorpe United 6–22–01–30–22–03–02–11–11–04–42–13–02–12–23–01–12–13–03–03–01–02–02–1
Stockport County 3–20–02–21–13–13–13–10–01–15–11–34–24–01–02–02–13–02–25–02–13–02–02–0
Torquay United 5–02–12–02–13–02–02–11–03–13–10–11–10–11–10–00–03–12–01–11–10–01–02–1
Walsall 2–22–01–00–01–13–02–21–00–03–10–10–00–00–03–30–10–10–03–00–22–21–01–1
Wrexham 4–20–12–41–03–01–11–12–13–01–22–21–22–22–20–20–02–11–21–01–32–11–10–4
York City 2–00–12–01–22–00–20–13–11–13–30–01–01–00–10–10–40–22–02–20–20–01–00–0
Source: [ citation needed ]
Legend: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.


Brian Little’s Darlington won the Fourth Division championship to earn a second successive promotion, while the other four promotion places went to Stockport County, Hartlepool United, Peterborough United and Torquay United. Torquay were the eventual winners, beating Blackpool in a penalty shootout.

Wrexham finished bottom of the league for the first time since 1965–66, but due to League expansion they avoided relegation into the Conference.

Brian Little left Darlington just after their promotion success, taking over at Leicester City, leaving Frank Gray to pick up the pieces at the Feethams.

Manager Cyril Knowles departed from Hartlepool on sick leave three months before their promotion, with player-coach Alan Murray overseeing the final stages of the campaign. Murray took over on a permanent basis when Knowles confirmed that he would be unable to return to the club following brain surgery.

Fourth Division play-offs

The semifinals were decided over two legs, and only the aggregates are given in the schemata below. The final consisted of only a single match.
The full results can be found at: Football League Division Four play-offs 1991.

1st leg – May 19; 2nd leg – May 22, 1991
Final at Wembley
May 31, 1991
5th Blackpool 1 2 3
8th Scunthorpe United 1 1 2
5th Blackpool 2 (4)
7th Torquay United (pen.) 2 (5)
6th Burnley 0 1 1
7th Torquay United 2 0 2

Fourth Division maps

See also

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  1. "England 1990–91". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  2. Because of the 1985 UEFA ban, no English clubs played european matches between the 1985–86 and 1989–90 season, and England was therefore ranked as 33rd for the 1991/92-season in Europe which gave England only 1 spot in UEFA Cup.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "English League Leading Goalscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2010-10-31.