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Southern Football League
Southern League
Country England.png England
Flag of Wales.gif Wales
Confederation The Football Association
Founded 1894
Divisions Premier Division
Division One South & West
Division One Central
Number of teams 67
Promotion to Conference North
Conference South
Relegation to Combined Counties League
Hellenic League
Midland Alliance
Spartan South Midlands League
United Counties League
Wessex League,
Western League
Levels on pyramid Level 7 and Level 8
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
FA Trophy
Southern League Cup
Current champions Hereford (Premier Division)
Taunton Town (D1 South West)
Beaconsfield Town (D1 South East) (2017–18)
Website Official website
Football current event 2018–19

The Southern League, currently known as the Calor League under the terms of a sponsorship agreement, is an English men's football competition featuring semi-professional and amateur clubs from the South West, 'South Central' and Midlands of England and South Wales. Together with the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League it forms levels seven and eight of the English football league system.

The structure of the Southern League has changed several times since its formation in 1894, and currently there are 67 clubs which are divided into three divisions. The Premier Division is at step 3 of the National League System (NLS), and is a feeder division, mainly to the Conference South but also to the Conference North. Feeding the Premier Division are two regional divisions, Division One South & West and Division One Central, which are at step 4 of the NLS. These divisions are in turn fed by various regional leagues.

History

Football in the south of England

Professional football (and professional sport in general) developed more slowly in Southern England than in Northern England. Professionalism was sanctioned by The Football Association as early as 1885, but when The Football League was founded in 1888 it was based entirely in the north and midlands with the County Football Associations in the South being firmly opposed to professionalism.

Woolwich Arsenal (nowadays simply Arsenal) were the first club in London to turn professional in 1891 and were one of the prime motivators behind an attempt to set up a Southern League to mirror the existing Northern and Midlands based Football League. However, this venture failed in the face of opposition from the London Football Association and Woolwich Arsenal instead joined the Football League as its only representative south of Birmingham in 1893. Additionally, an amateur league, the Southern Alliance was founded in 1892, with seven teams from the region, but that folded after one incomplete season.

Formation of the Southern League

Nonetheless, another attempt was made to form the Southern League, and this time it was successful. A competition for both professional and amateur clubs was founded in 1894 under the initiative of Millwall Athletic (now simply Millwall). Initially only one division was envisaged, but such was the enthusiasm, that eventually two divisions were formed. The sixteen founder members were:

Division One
Chatham
Clapton
Ilford
Luton Town
Millwall Athletic
Reading
Royal Ordnance Factories
2nd Scots Guards
Swindon Town
Division Two
Bromley
Chesham
Maidenhead
New Brompton
Old St Stephen's
Sheppey United
Uxbridge

2nd Scots Guards withdrew before the first season started and were replaced by Southampton St Mary's. Woolwich Arsenal attempted to add their reserve side to the second division but this application was refused.

Current members

Central

South

East

West

League structure

The league structure has changed several times over the years, and currently consists of a Premier Division at step 3 of the pyramid, with Division One South & West and Division One Central at step 4. The winners of the Premier Division, together with the winners of a playoff, are promoted to the Conference North or Conference South, depending on their location.

Clubs relegated from the Southern League can be placed in any of fourteen lower level leagues, but in practice it is likely to be one of the following (based on geography):

From time to time, clubs outside the promotion and relegation positions based at the geographical edges of the Southern League will be compelled to leave the League by the NLS Committee, should it be necessary for them to compete in the Northern Premier or Isthmian Leagues so as to correct any imbalances brought on by the geographical distribution of the teams promoted and relegated to this level. Teams in the Northern Premier or Isthmian Leagues have also been entered into the Southern League for the same reason.

League Cup winners

External links

Southern Football League seasons

1990-91 · 1991-92 · 1992-93 · 1993-94 · 1994-95 · 1995-96 · 1996-97 · 1997-98 · 1998-99 · 1999-00 · 2000-01 · 2001-02 · 2002-03 · 2003-04 · 2004-05 · 2005-06 · 2006-07 · 2007-08 · 2008-09 · 2009-10 · 2010-11 · 2011-12 · 2012-13 · 2013-14 · 2014-15 · 2015-16 · 2016-17 · 2017-18 ·

Football in England
League competitions The FA Cup competitions
Premier League England (B) (C) FA Cup
Football League (Champ, 1, 2) (U-21) (U-20) Football League Cup
National League (Prem, N, S) (U-19) (U-18) FA Community Shield
Northern Premier (Prem, 1N, 1S) (U-17) (U-16) EFL Trophy
Southern League (Prem, Cen, 1S&W) List of clubs FA Trophy
Isthmian League (Prem, 1N, 1S) List of stadiums Conference League Cup (Defunt)
(by capacity) FA Vase
List of leagues
Records