Football League First Division

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Football League First Division
Organising body The Football League
Founded17 April 1888
Other club(s) from Wales
Number of teams24 (1992–2004)
Level on pyramid1 (1888–1992)
2 (1992–2004)
Promotion to Premier League
Relegation to Second Division
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup FA Community Shield
League cup(s) League Cup
International cup(s) European Cup
(1956–1985, 1991–1992)
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
(1960–1985, 1990–1999)
(1971–1985, 1990–2004)
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
Last champions Leeds United (1st tier)
Norwich City (2nd tier)
Most championships Liverpool
(18 titles)
Most appearances Peter Shilton (849)
Top goalscorer Jimmy Greaves (357)

The Football League First Division is a former division of the Football League and from 1888 to 1992, it was the top tier division in the English football league system. Following the creation of the Premier League, the name was given to the second tier division (which was rebranded as the Football League Championship in 2004 and in 2016 adopted its current name of the EFL Championship).



The Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. It originally consisted of a single division of 12 clubs (Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (now Stoke City), West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers), known as The Football League. When the League admitted additional members from the rival Football Alliance in 1892, it was split into two divisions.

For the next 100 years, the First Division was the top professional league in English football. In 1992 the 22 clubs making up the First Division elected to resign from the Football League and set up the Premier League. The Football League was consequently re-organised, with the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions renamed the First, Second and Third respectively. Thus, the First Division, while still the top level of the Football League became the second level of the entire English football league system.

The First Division was renamed the Football League Championship prior to the start of the 2004–05 season, as part of a league-wide rebrand. The Football League rebranded itself as the English Football League prior to the 2016–17 season, with its top level becoming the EFL Championship at that time.

Liverpool were the most frequent winners of the First Division when it was the top flight of English football, winning it a total of 18 times.

Trophy and players' medals

The Football League First Division trophy was first awarded in 1891, and was presented to the winners through to 1992. [1]

As of the 1947–48 season making seven appearance for their club during the season was not enough for a player to qualify for a winners medal. [2]

As of the 1975–76 season players had to make 14 appearances for their club during the season in order to qualify for a winners medal. [3]

First Division champions

Football League First Division Champions
ClubTitlesWinning seasons
Liverpool181900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90
Arsenal101930–31, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1947–48, 1952–53, 1970–71, 1988–89, 1990–91
Everton91890–91, 1914–15, 1927–28, 1931–32, 1938–39, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1984–85, 1986–87
Manchester United71907–08, 1910–11, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1964–65, 1966–67
Aston Villa71893–94, 1895–96, 1896–97, 1898–99, 1899–00, 1909–10, 1980–81
Sunderland61891–92, 1892–93, 1894–95, 1901–02, 1912–13, 1935–36
Newcastle United41904–05, 1906–07, 1908–09, 1926–27
Sheffield Wednesday41902–03, 1903–04, 1928–29, 1929–30
Leeds United31968–69, 1973–74, 1991–92
Wolverhampton Wanderers31953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59
Huddersfield Town31923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26
Tottenham Hotspur21950–51, 1960–61
Manchester City21936–37, 1967–68
Preston North End21888-89, 1889-90
Blackburn Rovers21911–12, 1913–14
Burnley21920–21, 1959–60
Derby County21971–72, 1974–75
Portsmouth21948–49, 1949–50
Nottingham Forest11977-78
Ipswich Town11961-62
West Bromwich Albion11919-20
Sheffield United11897-98

Related Research Articles


  1. "Football League First Division Trophy, 1890". National Football Museum. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  2. "Player profile: Bryn Jones". Arsenal player database. Arsenal FC. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  3. "Joey Jones: Profile". Liverpool FC. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.