The Combination

Last updated
The Combination
Organising body FA
Founded1888 (first incarnation)
1890 (second incarnation)
First season1888-89
Folded1911
Country England
Wales
Number of teams20
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
Last champions Whitchurch F.C. (3rd title)
Most championships Everton reserves (6 titles)

The Combination was a league during the early days of English football. It had two incarnations; the first ran only for the 1888–89 season for teams across the Northern England and the Midlands, and was wound up before completion. The second was created for the 1890–91 season, but disbanded in 1911. The league comprised teams primarily from North West England and later Wales.

Contents

The league should not be confused with the other former Football Combination, a competition for reserve teams from the South of England, or with the Lancashire Combination, another minor league running around the same time.

First incarnation

Sharpe's Card c 1890 depicting Jack Powell as captain of Newton Heath Newton Heath - Jack Powell - First Incarnation.jpg
Sharpe's Card c 1890 depicting Jack Powell as captain of Newton Heath

The first Combination was set up in 1888, the same year the Football League was founded. It consisted of 20 teams, although this proved too many teams for each one to play the other once, let alone twice. Instead each club was to play eight others home and away, making 16 games in total. However unlike the League the Combination was not centrally organised, but left to individual clubs; as a result confusion ensued, as it was not clear whether many matches between clubs were friendlies or Combination matches. Many fixtures were left unfulfilled, and the Combination was wound up in April 1889. [2]

Participating teams included Newton Heath, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Burslem Port Vale, Crewe Alexandra, Bootle, Small Heath, South Shore and Blackburn Olympic. Newton Heath, Grimsby, Crewe, Bootle and Small Heath went on to co-found the Football Alliance the following year.

Second incarnation

The second incarnation was founded in 1890. The twelve founder members were: [3]

Five of the founding teams would eventually go on to play in the Football League, although in the case of Macclesfield, this would not happen until 1997–98. Glossop North End, who joined in 1894, were also elected to the League (in 1898), as were another later member team, Tranmere Rovers.

As the competition evolved, the nature of the teams changed, with many more Welsh teams being involved, as well as the reserve teams of the Football League clubs such as Everton and Crewe Alexandra. By the time the competition folded in 1911 none of the original members still participated, with the exception of Wrexham, who fielded their reserve team. It was succeeded by the Cheshire County League and later by the North West Counties Football League.

Champions

The champions of the league were as follows: [3]

SeasonChampionsRunners-upThird
1890–91 Gorton Villa Macclesfield Chester
1891–92 Everton Reserves Northwich Victoria Macclesfield
1892–93 Everton Reserves Stoke Swifts Chester
1893–94 Everton ReservesStoke Swifts Leek
1894–95 Ashton North End Glossop North End Chester
1895–96 Everton ReservesMacclesfieldGlossop North End
1896–97 Everton ReservesRock FerryChester
1897–98 Everton ReservesCrewe AlexandraChirk
1898–99 Everton Reserves Liverpool ReservesTranmere Rovers
1899–1900 Chirk AAA Wrexham Druids
1900–01 Wrexham Rhyl Bangor
1901–02 Wrexham Burslem Port Vale ReservesOswestry United
1902–03 Wrexham NantwichBirkenhead
1903–04 Birkenhead ChesterNantwich
1904–05 Wrexham Chester Broughton United
1905–06 Whitchurch ChesterGlossop Reserves
1906–07 Whitchurch Chester Wigan Town
1907–08 Tranmere Rovers ChesterOswestry United
1908–09 Chester SaltneyTranmere Rovers
1909–10 Crewe Alexandra ReservesSaltneyChester
1910–11 Whitchurch BangorOswestry United

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References

  1. "Sharpe's Card c 1890 depicting Jack Powell as captain of Newton Heath". Flickr.
  2. Shury, Alan; Brian Landamore (2005) [2002]. "History of Newton Heath F.C.". The Definitive Newton Heath F.C. 'Definitive' Club Histories. with Allen Kristensen and Tony Brown (2nd ed.). Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 11. ISBN   1-899468-16-1.
  3. 1 2 "England - The Combination". RSSSF.