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, it became the second tier division. It was rebranded as the Football League Championship in 2004 and in 2016 adopted its current name of the EFL Championship.
|Football League First Division|
|Organising body||The Football League|
|Other club(s) from||Wales|
|Number of teams||24 (1992–2004)|
|Level on pyramid||1 (1888–1992)|
|Promotion to||Premier League (1992–2004)|
|Relegation to||Second Division|
|Domestic cup(s)||FA Cup|
|League cup(s)||League Cup|
Full Members Cup (1985–1992)
|International cup(s)||European Cup (1956–1985, 1991–1992)|
European Cup Winners' Cup (1960–1985, 1990–1999)
UEFA Cup (1971–1985, 1990–2004)
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1955–1971)
|Last champions||Leeds United|
|Most championships||Liverpool |
|Top goalscorer||Jimmy Greaves (357)|
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. Then, 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 now renamed the First, Second and Third respectively. Thus, the First Division, while still the top level of the Football League, now became the second level of the entire English football league system.
The First Division was renamed as 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.
The Football League First Division trophy was first awarded in 1891, and was presented to the winners through to 1992.
The Football League 1890–91 was the third Football league season, after dominating and being crowned champions for the first two football league seasons Preston North End slipped to second and Everton won the league with a two-point gap. Meanwhile, there had been changes in the league since the last football league season, Stoke had not been re-elected to the football league, so joined the rival Football Alliance. They were replaced with Sunderland, who were nicknamed "the team of all talents" at the time.1891–92 Football League
The Football League 1891–92 was the fourth season of English league football, and the last season of the football league running in a single division. Sunderland were the winners of the league which was their first ever league success. At the beginning of the season Stoke had left the Football Alliance and rejoined the Football League. Darwen also joined from the Alliance but they conceded 112 goals and finished bottom.1909–10 Football League
The 1909–10 season was the 22nd season of The Football League.1910–11 Football League
The 1910–11 season was the 23rd season of The Football League.1912–13 Football League
The 1912–13 season was the 25th season of The Football League.1913–14 Football League
The 1913–14 season was the 26th season of The Football League.1946–47 Football League
The 1946–47 season was the 48th completed season of The Football League.
This season was the first to feature a full football programme since the 1938–39 campaign.1993 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 1993 Football League First Division play-off Final was contested by Swindon Town and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium, London. Swindon Town won the match 4–3, despite Leicester coming back from 3–0 down.
Eurosport placed the game at #94 on its list of the 100 Greatest football matches of all-time.1998 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 1998 Football League First Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium, London on 25 May 1998 at the end of the 1997–98 season. The match determined the third and final team to gain promotion from First Division to the Premiership, and was contested by Charlton Athletic, who finished 4th during the league season, and Sunderland, who finished 3rd. The teams reached the final by defeating Ipswich Town and Sheffield United respectively in the two-legged semi-finals.
The match was eventually won by Charlton on penalties after a dramatic match that ended 3-3 after normal time and 4-4 after extra time. Michael Gray missed the crucial penalty that sent Charlton into the Premiership.1999 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 1999 Football League Championship play-off Final was contested between Bolton Wanderers and Watford, played at Wembley Stadium on 31 May 1999. The match was won by Watford through goals from Nick Wright and Allan Smart. As a result, Watford would play in the Premier League for the first time since its inception in 1992. It also meant that Watford had secured promotion for the second successive season, having been promoted as champions of Division Two in 1997–98.2000 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 2000 Football League First Division play-off final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 29 May 2000, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from the First Division to the Premiership in the 1999–2000 season. Ipswich Town faced Barnsley in the last domestic competitive fixture to be played at the original Wembley Stadium.
The match was both teams first appearance in a First Division play-off final. It was the first time Barnsley had been in the play-offs, having been relegated to the First Division after the 1997–98 season, and finishing mid-table the following season. Ipswich made the play-offs for the fourth consecutive season, but this was the first time they had advanced further than the semi-finals.
Ipswich Town won 4–2 and won promotion to the Premiership.2000–01 Football League
The 2000–01 Football League (known as the Nationwide Football League for sponsorship reasons) was the 102nd completed season of The Football League.2001 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 2001 Football League First Division play-off Final was contested by Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End. Bolton won the match 3–0, taking them back to the Premier League. Bolton would remain in the top flight for the next eleven seasons.2001–02 Football League
The 2001–02 Football League (known as the Nationwide Football League for sponsorship reasons) was the 103rd completed season of The Football League.2002–03 Football League First Division
The 2002–03 Football League First Division (referred to as the Nationwide First Division for sponsorship reasons) was the eleventh season of the league under its current format as the second tier of English football.
Portsmouth won the division to return to the Premier League after a fifteen-year absence. In Harry Redknapp's first full season in charge the team secured the title on 27 April, with a victory over Rotherham, having been promoted with four games to spare by defeating Burnley.Leicester City were promoted at the first attempt following their relegation. Their promotion was contentious as they entered administration during the season due to debts in excess of £50 million stemming from their loss of Premier League income and major investment in a new stadium, but were able to write-off these entirely when a new consortium took control and therefore avoided having to sell off players. Following this incident, the Football League would introduce rules that penalised any club entering administration with a ten-point points deduction; although Leicester would still have finished in second place had been this been applied.
Wolverhampton Wanderers won the play-offs to reach the modern-day Premiership for the first time after a 3–0 win in the play-off final against a Sheffield United team which had reached the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions. This marked a return to top-flight football for Wolves after a nineteen-year exodus that had seen them fall as low as the fourth tier. Also leaving the division were Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town, who were all relegated.2003 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 2003 Football League First Division play-off Final was a football match played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 26 May 2003 at the end of the 2002–03 season. The match determined the third and final team to gain promotion from the First Division to the Premier League, and was contested by Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves won the match 3–0, with three first-half goals, taking them back to the top flight for the first time in nineteen years.2003–04 Football League First Division
The 2003–04 Football League First Division (referred to as the Nationwide First Division for sponsorship reasons) was the twelfth and final season of the league under the First Division name, and the twelfth season under its current league division format.2004 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 2004 Football League First Division play-off Final was contested by Crystal Palace and West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Crystal Palace won 1–0, with a goal from Neil Shipperley.Scottish Football League First Division
The Scottish Football League First Division was the second tier in the Scottish football league system between 1975 and 2013.
Football League First Division