The English Football League comprises professional football clubs from England and Wales. It was established in 1888 as The Football League and in 1892 the Second Division was formed, with the existing division being renamed the First Division.The First World War caused the League to be postponed from 1915 to 1919 and two seasons following its resumption a Third Division was introduced for one season, before being regionalised as North and South. The 1958–59 season saw the introduction of a Fourth Division, with the top 12 clubs from the Third Division North and South from the previous season starting in a national Third Division, and the bottom 12 starting in the Fourth Division. The introduction of the Premier League, which superseded the First Division as the top-flight of English football, caused a reorganisation of the English football league system in 1992, with the Fourth Division being disbanded. The First, Second and Third Divisions were rebranded as the Championship, League One and League Two respectively ahead of the 2004–05 season, which came as part of a then-sponsorship with Coca-Cola.
From the 1986–87 season, the club finishing bottom of the Football League's basement division was relegated to the Conference National (now National League), the highest level of non-League football,depending on the ability of the Conference champions to meet FA requirements. Before this, clubs would lose their League status by failing to gain re-election after finishing in the bottom four of the bottom division. Since the 2002–03 season, the bottom two clubs of League Two face relegation to the National League.
The list includes clubs that are current members of the Premier League, who lost their Football League status upon promotion, and those which lost their status by other means. This includes clubs which have become defunct, merged with another club or have been relegated to a lower position in the pyramid. Where a defunct club has been succeeded by a phoenix club, the new club is listed.
The tables show the first and last seasons in which each club competed in the League. Some clubs' membership was intermittent between their first and last seasons. Clubs shown in bold were among the founder members of the League. As of 2021, the founder member clubs playing in the League are Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Derby County, Preston North End, Stoke City, and West Bromwich Albion. Preston have continuously been League members, whereas the others have played in the Premier League at one time or another.
Four former members of the old Football League Division One no longer play in the Football League (or Premier League): Bradford Park Avenue, Darwen, Glossop North End, and Notts County.
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1920–21||2016–17|
|West Ham United||1919–20||2011–12|
|Aberdare Athletic||1921–22||1926–27||Not re-elected||Merged with Aberaman as Aberdare and Aberaman, later Aberaman Town and now Aberdare Town in the South Wales Alliance League Premier Division|
|Accrington Stanley||1921–22||1961–62||Resigned||Defunct, but a new Accrington Stanley formed in 1968 and are playing in League One|
|Aldershot||1932–33||1991–92||Liquidated||Defunct, Aldershot Town later formed and are playing in the National League|
|Aldershot Town||2008–09||2012–13||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Ashington||1921–22||1928–29||Not re-elected||Playing in the Northern League Division One|
|Barnet||1991–92||2017–18||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Bootle||1892–93||1892–93||Resigned||Defunct. A new club, formed as Langton in 1953, changed name to Bootle in 1973, and now playing in the Northern Premier League Division One West|
|Boston United||2002–03||2006–07||Relegated||Playing in the National League North|
|Bradford Park Avenue||1908–09||1969–70||Not re-elected||Defunct, revived version of the club playing in the National League North|
|Burton Swifts||1892–93||1900–01||Merged with Burton Wanderers to form Burton United||Defunct, a successor club formed in 1950 Burton Albion F.C. plays in League One|
|Burton United||1901–02||1906–07||Not re-elected||Defunct, a successor club formed in 1950 Burton Albion F.C. plays in League One|
|Burton Wanderers||1894–95||1896–97||Not re-elected; later merged with Burton Swifts to form Burton United||Defunct, a successor club formed in 1950 Burton Albion F.C. plays in League One|
|Bury||1894–95||2018–19||Expelled||Expelled during the 2019–20 season without playing a match, due to inability to pay liabilities|
|Chester City||1931–32||2008–09||Relegated||Defunct, successor club Chester playing in the National League North|
|Chesterfield||1899–1900||1908–09||Not re-elected||Defunct. Revived club playing in the National League|
|1921–22||2017–18||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Dagenham & Redbridge||2007–08||2015–16||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Darlington||1921–22||2009–10||Relegated||Defunct, revived version of the club playing in the National League North|
|Darwen||1891–92||1898–99||Resigned||Defunct, AFC Darwen later formed and are playing in the North West Counties League Division One North|
|Durham City||1921–22||1927–28||Not re-elected||Defunct. Revived club playing in the Northern League Division Two|
|Gainsborough Trinity||1896–97||1911–12||Not re-elected||Playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division|
|Gateshead||1919–20||1959–60||Not re-elected||Defunct. New Gateshead (National League North) and South Shields (Northern Premier League Premier Division) clubs formed|
|Glossop||1898–99||1914–15||Not re-elected||Playing in the Northern Premier League Division One West|
|Grimsby Town||1892–93||2020–21||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Halifax Town||1921–22||2001–02||Relegated||Defunct, FC Halifax Town later formed and are playing in the National League|
|Hereford United||1972–73||2011–12||Relegated||Defunct, successor club Hereford playing in the National League North|
|Kidderminster Harriers||2000–01||2004–05||Relegated||Playing in the National League North|
|Leeds City||1905–06||1919–20||Expelled||Defunct, successor club Leeds United playing in the Premier League|
|Macclesfield Town||1997–98||2019–20||Relegated||Defunct, successor club Macclesfield playing in the North West Counties League Premier Division|
|Maidstone United||1989–90||1991–92||Liquidated||Defunct, revived version of the club playing in the National League South|
|Merthyr Town||1920–21||1929–30||Not re-elected||Defunct, revived version playing in Southern League Premier Division South|
|Nelson||1921–22||1930–31||Not re-elected||Playing in the North West Counties League Division One North|
|New Brighton||1923–24||1950–51||Not re-elected||Defunct|
|New Brighton Tower||1898–99||1900–01||Liquidated||Defunct|
|Newport County||1920–21||1987–88||Relegated||Defunct, revived version of the club playing in League Two|
|Northwich Victoria||1892–93||1893–94||Resigned||Playing in the North West Counties League Premier Division|
|Notts County||1888–89||2018–19||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Rotherham County||1919–20||1924–25||Merged with Rotherham Town to form Rotherham United||Defunct, Rotherham United playing in the League One|
|Rotherham Town||1893–94||1895–96||Resigned||Defunct, Rotherham United playing in the League One|
|Rushden & Diamonds||2001–02||2005–06||Relegated||Defunct, AFC Rushden & Diamonds playing in the Southern League Premier Division Central|
|Scarborough||1987–88||1998–99||Relegated||Defunct, Scarborough Athletic later formed and are playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division|
|Southend United||1920–21||2020–21||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Southport||1921–22||1977–78||Not re-elected||Playing in the National League North|
|Stalybridge Celtic||1921–22||1922–23||Resigned||Playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division|
|Stockport County||1900–01||2010–11||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Torquay United||1927–28||2013–14||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Wigan Borough||1921–22||1930–31||Resigned midway through season||Defunct, successor club Wigan Athletic playing in League One|
|Wimbledon||1977–78||2003–04||Relocated and became Milton Keynes Dons. AFC Wimbledon formed as a protest club in 2002||Defunct. Both AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons are playing in League One|
|Workington||1951–52||1976–77||Not re-elected||Playing in the Northern Premier League Division One West|
|Wrexham||1921–22||2007–08||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|Yeovil Town||2003–04||2018–19||Relegated||Playing in the National League|
|York City||1929–30||2015–16||Relegated||Playing in the National League North|
Gillingham Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Gillingham, Kent, England. The only Kent-based club in the Football League, the "Gills" play their home matches at Priestfield Stadium. The team competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system.
Leicester City Football Club is a professional football club based in Leicester in the East Midlands, England. The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of England's football league system, and plays its home matches at the King Power Stadium.
Ipswich Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. They play in League One, the third tier of the English football league system.
Bradford City Association Football Club is an English professional football club in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The team compete in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system, and are managed by Derek Adams. The club's home ground is the 25,136-capacity Valley Parade, which was the site of the Bradford City stadium fire on 11 May 1985, which took the lives of 56 supporters.
Colchester United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Colchester, Essex, England. The team competes in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system.
Hartlepool United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. The team competes in League Two, the fourth division of English football. They were founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company. Hartlepool have played home games at Victoria Park throughout their history. Their main rival is Darlington. The club's mascot, ’H'Angus the Monkey’, was elected mayor at the 2002 Hartlepool Borough Council election. The club also receives vocal support from Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.
Cheltenham Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. From the 2021–22 season, the club will compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, after winning the League Two title. Nicknamed the "Robins", they have played at Whaddon Road since 1932. The club contests rivalries with Gloucester City and Forest Green Rovers.
York City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of York, North Yorkshire, England. The team compete in the National League North, the sixth tier of league football in England, as of the 2020–21 season.
Burton Albion Football Club is a professional association football club in the town of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England. The team compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The club's home ground is the Pirelli Stadium, having moved from Eton Park in 2005. The club's nickname is The Brewers, stemming from the town's brewing heritage.
Brechin City Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the town of Brechin in Angus. The club was founded in 1906 by players and officials of two local clubs, Brechin Harp and Brechin Hearts. The club currently competes in the Highland Football League after successive relegations from the Championship in 2018, League One in 2019 and League Two via the play-off in 2021 after a 3–1 aggregate defeat by Kelty Hearts.
The National League North, formerly Conference North, is a division of the National League in England, taking its place immediately below the top division National League. Along with the National League South, it is at Step 2 of the National League System and the sixth overall tier of the English football league system. It consists of teams located in Northern England, Norfolk and the English Midlands. Since the start of the 2015–16 season, the league has been known as the National League North. As part of a sponsorship deal with Vanarama, the National League North was renamed the Vanarama National League North.
Glossop North End Association Football Club is a football club in Glossop, Derbyshire, England. Formerly members of the Football League, they currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One West and are members of the Derbyshire County Football Association. Their home ground is Surrey Street, currently known as the Amdec Forklift Stadium, which has a capacity of 1,350. The club play in blue, and are nicknamed the Hillmen or the Peakites. Between 1899 and 1992 the club was officially known simply as Glossop.
Weston-super-Mare Association Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England. Nicknamed "The Seagulls", the club is affiliated to the Somerset County Football Association and currently competes in the Southern Premier South, the seventh tier of English football.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in Cardiff, Wales. It competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1899 as Riverside A.F.C., the club changed its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and entered the Southern Football League in 1910 before joining the English Football League in 1920. The team have spent 17 seasons in the top tier of English football, the longest period being between 1921 and 1929. Their most recent season in the top flight was the 2018–19 Premier League season.