The English Football League Pyramid System – An Introductory Guide
The English Football League pyramid as many football fans know it, is arguably the most watched sport across the globe and the pinnacle of a strong and ingrained football league system.
The sequence of interconnected leagues is run in a hierarchal system with promotion and relegation in place across each division and it is the promotion/relegation scenario which generates most of the excitement.
It also gives every side the hope that one day they could potentially be playing among the big boys of the game – The Premier League.
The leagues making up the seventh to eleventh tiers of English football are made up of more than 1,000 clubs categorized in almost 90 divisions. In addition to the 2 tiers of the Football Conference, they make up the National League system in England, with promotion and relegation taking place at the end of each season.
What is great about the Football system in England is that a team ranking in the lowest possible division can ultimately end up playing in the top tier of English Football. The re-structuring of leagues which had taken place away from the Premier League and Football League has brought the National League System as we know it today.
Oldest teams in the English Football League
Stoke City claim to be the oldest English side in the Football League though there is no proper evidence to confirm this. They have been around since 1863 and after almost a decade in the top-flight, they were relegated in 2018 and have endured a torrid time since then where they occupy the bottom places in the Championship.
The oldest non-English football club are Wrexham who were founded in October 1864. Before dropping down to the lower tiers of English football in 2008, Wrexham had enjoyed an 87-year stint in the Football League. Astonishingly, they also played European Football and even defeated Portuguese giants Porto during the 1970’s. They now lie in 21st in the National League. Some drop that was.
Notts County are still considered as the oldest professional Football club around where it is stated that the team known as the magpies inspired Juventus in donning the iconic black and white stripes.
The last team on our post today which deserves mention are former European champions Nottingham Forest who were first formed in 1865 and still claim they are the oldest team in the country. Along with Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea they remain one of five English sides to have won a European Cup.
In conclusion, the English football system can seem to be quite confusing for those who are not familiar with such structures. However, this is a system that works and which has been designed to give teams the opportunity to move up the tables. Anyone could rise from the bottom to the top if the required resources were available; there is no preventing teams from progressing.
In the following weeks we will start providing you with feature articles on how each division in the English league works, its’ teams and information on promotions and relegation.