Who Were The Founders of The Football League & Where Are They Now?


With the ridiculous Super League idea quickly rubbished by fans and the majority of the footballing community. We look at English football’s very own mini Super League, the clubs who formed the football league all the way back in 1888.

Accrington Stanley

The season began with 12 member clubs from the Midlands and North of England with each club playing each other twice, once and home and once away. One of the northern teams was Accrington Stanley. You may know them from a milk TV advert from the 80s, where a young boy comically says “Accrington Stanley, who are they?” and if you don’t follow much lower league English football you may be wondering the same thing. Despite being a founding member of the football league, Accrington Stanley currently find themselves in mid table of League 1, the third tier of English football.

Aston Villa

This midlands club needs no introduction, since Aston Villa joined the league in 1888, they have gone on to win seven first division titles, five League Cups and the European Cup. After a couple of seasons in the Championship, Villa returned to the Premier League and are making sound progress and fans will hope someday Villa can return to their former glories. You can bet on Aston Villa in the Premier League on link w88 and get some great returns.

Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers have generally been a very successful club. They have spent most of their existence in the top flight of English football, winning three first division titles and six FA Cups. Their most recent standout achievement was winning the Premier League in the 1994-95 season under the guidance of manager Kenny Dalglish and the goalscoring antics of league legend, Alan Shearer. Since then however, it has been a gradual decline for Blackburn. They dropped out of the Premier League at the end of the 2011/12 season. After five consecutive seasons in the Championship they then even dropped as low as League One. They did however manage to bounce straight back and they are currently a comfortable mid table Championship team.

Bolton Wanderers

In the early years, Bolton were a mainstay in the First Division. They finished third in the First Division in 1891–92, 1920–21 and 1924–25. Bolton won the FA Cup three times in the 1920s, and again in 1958.

Bolton hit a low point in their existence when they spent a season in the fourth tier of English football in 1987-88. They did eventually make their way to the top-flight again in 1995 and qualified for the UEFA Cup twice. Bolton and their fans have endured tough times since their relegation to the Championship in 2012, with serious financial problems and dropping all the way down to League 2 in 2020.

Bolton are currently challenging for promotion in League 2 and look to be making their slow climb up the football league pyramid.

Football roots in the UK
Football roots in the UK


Burnley have been champions of England twice and have won the FA Cup once. They are one of only 5 sides to have won all four professional divisions of English football. After a few yo-yo seasons between the Champions and Premier League, Burnley have cemented themselves as a Premier League team and are now in their fifth consecutive Premier League season. Despite occasionally flirting with relegation, Burnley always seem to do enough to stay in the top-flight. You can find the latest relegation markets at Sporting Index.

Derby County

Derby County’s peak came in the 1970s when they twice won the First Division and competed in four European competitions. They were last seen in the Premier League in 2007-08 when they were relegated with a league record low of 11 points. They have since spent the corresponding years in the Championship and they are currently fighting to stay in the division.


Everton are the second-longest continuous serving club in English top-flight football, having only missed four top flight seasons in 1930-31 and three seasons in the 50s. The Merseyside blues have won nine league titles, five FA Cups and one European Cup Winners’ Cup. Everton are currently battling it out for a Europa League position and have an outside chance of claiming a Champions League spot in the Premier League this season.

Notts County

if being a founder member of the football league wasn’t impressive enough, Notts County are also the oldest professional football club in the world. Notts County won the FA Cup in 1894 and have had a couple of third placed finishes in the top-flight. However, they have spent most of their time outside of the top-flight. In the 2018-19 season tragedy struck when Notts County were relegated from the football league for the first time in their history.

Unfortunately for County fans they remain in the National League and fans will hope to see the world’s oldest club make its way back up the football pyramid.


Preston have won both the league and the FA Cup. They were the first team to win the traditional English double, league championship and FA Cup. They were also the original Invincibles having been unbeaten in all matches in the 1888-89 season. Preston were relegated from the top-flight in 1961 and they have not returned since. These days Preston ply their trade in the Championship. They are safe of relegation but several points short of the play-off places, so another season in the second tier of English football beckons.


This founding member club’s only real major trophy to date is the League Cup which was won in 1972. Stoke have spent time in the top three divisions across their existence. They had a 10-year spell in the Premier League from 2008-2018 before returning to the second tier of English football, where they still remain today. Like Preston, they are mid table in the Championship with no chance of relegation or promotion this season.

West Brom

West Brom have spent most of their existence in the top tier of English football, 82 seasons in total. They have been crowned champions of England once in 1919-20, while also winning the FA Cup five times. The club most recently won promotion back to the Premier League in 2019-20 but look almost certain to be relegated this season, so it will be another season in the second tier of English football next season.


The final team of the 12 founders is the midlands outfit, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves have won the English League three times in the 50s and have also won four FA Cups. After a long spell away from the Premier League, Wolves bounced back in 2017-18 and haven’t looked back since, under the stewardship of Portuguese manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves are one of the best footballing teams in the Premier League and the good times could return for the midlands outfit.

Sources: nottscountyfc.co.uk

Football most historical trophies
Football most historical trophies