English football league system

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The English football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football clubs in England, with five teams from Wales, one from Guernsey, one from Jersey and one from the Isle of Man also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the theoretical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system.

The top level of the system is the Premier League. Below that are levels 2-4, organized by the English Football League, then the National League System from levels 5-10, and thereafter feeder leagues run by relevant county football associations on an ad hoc basis.

The exact number of clubs varies from year to year as clubs join and leave leagues, merge, or fold altogether, but an estimated average of 15 clubs per division implies that more than 7,000 teams of nearly 5,300 clubs are members of a league in the English men's football league system.

The pyramid for women's football in England runs separately to nine tiers and some England-based men's clubs play outside the English football league system.


Level System Division(s) Clubs
1 Premier League n/a 20
2 English Football League EFL Championship 24
3 English Football League EFL League One 24
4 English Football League EFL League Two 24
5 National League System National League 24
6 National League System National League North and National League South 24 each
7 National League System Northern Premier League Premier Division, Southern Football League Premier Central, Southern Football League Premier South, and Isthmian League 22 each
8 National League System Northern Premier League Division One East, Northern Premier League Division One Midlands, Northern Premier League Division One West, Southern Football League Division One East, Southern Football League Division One West, Isthmian League Division One North, Isthmian League Division One South Central, and Isthmian League Division One South East 20 each

Defunct Clubs

Club Location Venue
Bury Bury Gigg Lane
Hereford United Hereford Edgar Street
Wimbledon Wimbledon National Hockey Stadium


List of English football seasons

League.png Leagues Portal

Clubs of the English football league system
Premier League AFC Bournemouth • Arsenal • Aston Villa • Brentford • Brighton & Hove Albion • Chelsea • Crystal Palace • Everton • Fulham • Leeds United • Leicester City • Liverpool • Manchester City • Manchester United • Newcastle United • Nottingham Forest • Southampton • Tottenham Hotspur • West Ham United • Wolverhampton Wanderers
English Football League League Championship Birmingham City • Blackburn Rovers • Blackpool • Bristol City • Burnley • Cardiff City • Coventry City • Huddersfield Town • Hull City • Luton Town • Middlesbrough • Millwall • Norwich City • Preston North End • Queens Park Rangers • Reading • Rotherham United • Sheffield United • Stoke City • Sunderland • Swansea City • Watford • West Bromwich Albion • Wigan Athletic
League One Accrington Stanley • Barnsley • Bolton Wanderers • Bristol Rovers • Cambridge United • Charlton Athletic • Cheltenham Town • Derby County • Exeter City • Fleetwood Town • Forest Green Rovers • Ipswich Town • Lincoln City • Milton Keynes Dons • Morecambe • Oxford United • Peterborough United • Plymouth Argyle • Port Vale • Portsmouth • Sheffield Wednesday • Shrewsbury Town • Wycombe Wanderers
League Two AFC Wimbledon • Bradford City • Carlisle United • Crawley Town • Crewe Alexandra • Doncaster Rovers • Gillingham • Grimsby Town • Harrogate Town • Hartlepool United • Leyton Orient • Mansfield Town • Newport County • Northampton Town • Rochdale • Southend United • Stevenage • Stockport County • Sutton United • Swindon Town • Torquay United • Tranmere Rovers • Walsall
National League System National League Aldershot Town • Altrincham • Barnet • Boreham Wood • Bromley • Chesterfield • Dagenham & Redbridge • Dover Athletic • Eastleigh • King's Lynn Town • Notts County • Oldham Athletic • Scunthorpe United • Solihull Moors • Southend United • Torquay United • Woking • Wrexham • Yeovil Town • York City
National League North AFC Fylde • Darlington • Kidderminster Harriers
National League South Ebbsfleet United • Weymouth
Lower Leagues
Defunct Clubs Bury • Gateshead • Hereford United • Wimbledon
Related Articles FA Cup • Premier League records • Seasons

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