English league · Records & statistics

English League Tiers – Nomenclature

Whatever the actual legal structure, since its inception in 1992-93, the Premier League has served the same function as the old First Division of the Football League did up to 1992 – that is, a division comprising 20 or 22 clubs which make up the top tier of English league football.

The old Second Division became the First Division, until it was renamed the Championship at the start of the 2004-05 season.

The old Third Division became the Second Division, and has since 2004-05, become League One.

The old Fourth Division became the Third Division, and has become League Two since 2004-05.

When compiling records, it makes sense to compare the current leagues or divisions with the equivalent historical tier.

It makes more sense to refer to the first four tiers of English league football, when speaking of them both currently and historically, as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th tiers or levels of English football, rather than by the official names (then and now).

(Article first published on BBC 606)


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