1919 – 1949

1919: The football League wasted no time in expanding following the Great War, the first season back (1919/20) would see both Division’s increased to 22 teams. Tottenham were relegated in to Division Two after finishing bottom in the last campaign before the war, Leeds City were expelled after making illegal payments to players during the war. Manager Herbert Chapman would also serve a short ban. The clubs fixtures would be taken over by Port Vale who were already joined by Rotherham County, Coventry City, South Shields and West Ham United as new sides in the Division. Glossop North End were not elected after finishing bottom of the league in 1915. In the First Division, promoted Derby, Preston and controversially fifth placed Arsenal had been chosen to make the numbers up.

1920: The first full season of the post first war saw West Bromwich Albion win their first and only title to date. The Baggies scored 104 goals in the 42 match campaign, winning the title by nine points over nearest rivals Burnley. With the FA Cup now at Stamford Bridge, a single extra time goal by Billy Kirton gave Aston Villa their fifth trophy over Second Division runners up Huddersfield Town in their debuting finals appearance. Tottenham Hotspur convincingly won the Division Two title, like West Brom, scoring over a hundred goals over 42 matches.

In the summer of 1920, Leeds United, formed the previous year following Leeds City’s expulsion are admitted in to the Second Division at the expense of Lincoln. The Football League is expanded again to include a Third Division of 22 teams. This would largely be made up of Southern sides although Grimsby who finished bottom of Division Two the year previous would join 21 new clubs in the league. Hosts Belgium beat Spain to become the second nation to win Olympic Football gold.

1921: Burnley went one better than in 1920 with there first Football League Championship. Manchester City finished second. Newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur won the cup after beating Wolves at Stamford Bridge 1-0. It would be Spurs second Challenge Cup win since the first, twenty years earlier. Birmingham were champions of the Second Division with Crystal Palace the first ever winners of Division Three. That following summer the football league again increased its numbers, a further twenty sides would join the league with the Third Division being split in to North and South Sections. The league now had 82 teams in all Division’s, a far cry from the twelve that started the competition 33 years previous.

1922: Stockport County, relegated after finishing bottom of Division Two a year before would be first winners of the twenty team Third Division North. Southampton, who finished runners up in the Third Division a year previous were Southern Section winners. Both sides gained promotion that year in to the Second Division, which Nottingham Forest had earlier won. Huddersfield Town were Cup winners in the last final at Stamford Bridge over Preston North End. Billy Smith with the only goal of the game. Liverpool finished Champions with Tottenham second in the First Division. Syd Puddefoot is the first footballer to be transferred for £5,000, moving from West Ham United to Scottish side Falkirk. Weeks later Warney Creswell moves from South Shields to Sunderland for £5,500.

1923: The FA Cup would now have a new home after the British Empire Stadium, big enough to house 127,000 supporters was built at the cost of £750,000 in 300 working days. The first final was to be played between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United, but well over 200,000 spectators turned up wanting to watch the showpiece at the new stadium. After many delays due to crowd congestion a single white horse named Billy, would become famous for successfully helping the authorities move back the crowd so that the game could kick off.

With spectators lining the touchlines and many more outside the ground, goals from David Jack and Jack Smith would give Bolton a famous first ever win. In Division One, Liverpool would be crowned champions again, for the fourth time in history. Sunderland, second for the fourth time in theirs. Notts County win the Second Division ahead of cup finalists West Ham with Nelson, Division Three North Champions and Bristol City, relegated a year earlier becoming Division Three South winners. Stoke and Oldham are relegated from Division One. The football pools are introduced despite worry from the authorities that encouraging gambling is not a good idea.

1924: Huddersfield Town, Managed by former Leeds City boss Herbert Chapman win the league for the first time in their history. Welsh side Cardiff, are runners up, losing only on goal difference to the Yorkshire ‘Terriers’ with Town pipping them to the closest of championships with goal average exactly the same, having conceded less and having won one more game. Leeds United, a side made up of many players from Chapman’s old club Leeds City are Second Division Champions, only four years after joining the league. Wolves, after relegation the year before are Division Three North Champions. Portsmouth win Division Three South. Neil Harris and Stan Seymour’s goals give Newcastle the cup, they beat Aston Villa 2-0 in the final to record their second FA Cup final win. Uruguay win their first Olympic title against Switzerland in Paris 3-0.

1925: The Terriers take the title again, Huddersfield win their second championship, a two point margin over West Bromwich Albion is enough for Herbert Chapman’s team to retain the title, despite drawing sixteen of their forty-two matches. Leicester and Manchester United are promoted at the expense of Nottingham Forest and Preston, Darlington are Division Three North winners whilst Swansea win the Southern Section. In the FA Cup, Sheffield United beat Cardiff City 1-0, The Welsh side are the first non English FA Cup finalist’s since Queens Park of Scotland in 1885 to feature in the cup final. In the close season, Herbert Chapman leaves Huddersfield Town to join Arsenal. The Offside rule is amended to allow only two players, instead of the previous three, to be between an attacker with the ball and goal. This move is to encourage more attacking play.

1926: Huddersfield Town become the first team to win three successive championships, Manager Cecil Potter winning the crown in his first season in charge. Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal finish runners up, the clubs highest finish since joining the football league in 1893. The Wednesday are promoted as champions from Division Two, Derby go up as runners up. Grimsby (North) and Reading (South) win their respective Third Division Championships. Bolton Wanderers win their second FA Cup final in four years, a David Jack goal late on is enough to give them a 1-0 win over relegated Manchester City. It’s also the first cup final to be broadcast live on radio by the BBC.

1927: Huddersfield cannot make it four in a row as Newcastle beat them to the Championship, United’s first in eighteen years and fourth in total. Middlesbrough are Second Division Champions, Portsmouth are also promoted to the first division as runners up. Leeds and West Brom going in the opposite direction. In Division Three, Stoke win the Northern Section, Stockport are only the second team in football league history to have points deducted after fielding an ineligible player. Bristol City finish top of the South. The FA Cup is won by Cardiff City, they beat Arsenal 1-0 to become the first ever non English winners of the trophy. Arsenal’s match with Sheffield United is the first league game to be broadcast live on radio.

1928: Everton are champions for the first time in thirteen years, William Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean scoring a record 60 league goals for them. Huddersfield are second for the second successive season. Tottenham & Middlesbrough go down in to Division Two. Replacing them are Champions Manchester City and runners up Leeds United who were relegated in to the division the season before. Bradford Park Avenue are Champions of Division Three North, Millwall win the Third Division South. Blackburn Rovers beat Huddersfield 3-1 in the FA Cup, Rovers first win since 1891. David Jack leaves Bolton for Arsenal in a deal worth over £10,000. Arsenal along with Chelsea wear numbers on the back of their shirts for league matches. The first teams to do this regularly. England leave FIFA over a dispute with the Amateur side.

The national professional team are humiliated in a game on March 31st 1928 as neighbors Scotland beat them 5-1 at Wembley. The away side instrumented through Alex James and Hughie Gallacher are dubbed ‘the Wembley Wizards’. Two months later (May 15th) England lose to Spain 4-3 in Madrid. The National teams first ever loss on foreign soil. Uruguay win gold in the Amsterdam Olympics after beating Argentina in a replayed final. Bolton striker David Jack joins Arsenal for a World Record fee of £10,890. On the continent Italian side Internazionale were forced by the countries fascist leader Benito Musselini to drop their name, after believing it to have communist overtones. Inter oblidged and became Societa Sportiva Ambrosiana.

1929: A FIFA congress in Barcelona paves way for a global international soccer tournament. The Jules Rimet trophy, named after the president of FIFA himself would kick off in Uruguay the following year. The Wednesday are First Division Champions after pipping Leicester City to the Football League title by a point. Aston Villa finish in third just a point adrift of Leicester. Middlesbrough are promoted back in to the First Division as champions of Division Two for the second time in three years, Grimsby as runners up are also promoted in to the First Division,  both sides replacing Cardiff and Bury. In the Third Division South, Charlton are champions despite finishing level on points with Crystal Palace. In the Northern Section, Bradford City win the league. Bolton Wanderers win their third FA Cup final at Wembley of the decade, they beat Portsmouth 2-0.

1930: Sheffield Wednesday, renamed after their third title success a year previous are Football League Champions again. They convincingly win the league ahead of Derby in second place. Burnley and Everton, who had won the league two years previous are both relegated. Blackpool are Second Division Champions and go up with runners up Chelsea. Third Division North Winners Port Vale are joined by South Section winners Plymouth in the following campaigns Second Division. Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal win the FA Cup against the Managers former club Huddersfield Town. The Gunners winning 2-0 thanks to Alex James and Jack Lambert. Arsenal’s first FA Cup success. 13 teams enter the new FIFA world cup competition. The tournament’s debut is played in Uruguay, although many European nations invited (including England), snub the event due to the long demanding sea trip to South America. the hosts eventually go on to win the trophy beating Argentina 4-2 in the final. The thirteen teams that took part were as follows: Uruguay, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, United States & Yugoslavia.

1931: Following the clubs first FA Cup win the year before, Arsenal win the Championship for the first time in the clubs history as they comfortably see off Aston Villa who end in second place. Everton, following relegation the year previous bounce straight back up as Second Division Champions. The Toffees are joined by West Bromwich Albion, Leeds and Manchester United are relegated from the First Division. Chesterfield are winners of Division Three North, near rivals Notts County are Southern Section winners. Two goals by William ‘Ginger’ Richardson help West Brom win the Cup, they beat neighbors Birmingham 2-1 in the Wembley final. During the first half of the 1931/32 season Wigan Borough, founder members of the Third Division North resign from the football league following financial crisis.

1932: Everton end a remarkable two years as Champions of the Football League. After relegation in 1930 the club won back promotion a year later and in the 1931/32 campaign they see off runners up Arsenal to lift their second first division championship in four years. Grimsby, promoted in 1929 are relegated along with bottom club West Ham United. Wolves, as champions of Division Two and Leeds, as runners up take the place of the First Divisions relegated sides. In the Third Division North, Lincoln pip Gateshead on goal difference to the title, Fulham win the Southern Section by two points over Reading. Thanks to two Jack Allen goals, Newcastle beat Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup final. The Los Angeles Olympics are the first not to include a Football tournament since Athens in 1896. Argentine striker Bernabe Ferreyra becomes the most expensive footballer on the planet as he moves between Atletico Tigre and River Plate for £23,000.

1933: Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal are football league champions for the second time in three years. Aston Villa finish behind them in second four points adrift of the winners. With both Bolton & Blackpool relegated, Stoke (Champions) and Spurs (Runners Up) of the Second Division take there place in Division One. In the Third Division North, Hull are champions, in the Southern Section, Brentford win the league. Everton lift their third trophy in as many years as they win the FA Cup beating Manchester City 3-0 in the final, Dixie Dean amongst the three scorers in a game that squad numbers are also worn for the first time. Everton numbered 1-11 and City 12-22 allowing the radio commentator and listeners to spot players more easily.

1934: The start of the year may have been a sad time at Arsenal football club following the shock death of their Manager Herbert Chapman due to pneumonia. Chapman, aged 55 had revolutionized football with his stylish attacking WM formation and was the first Manager to win the title with two different sides. His five titles and two FA Cups in eleven years with sides that had previously never won those honors earns him the legendary status he deserves today. Arsenal, four points clear at the top of the league when Chapman died on 6th January 1934 would go on to win the league, fittingly beating Huddersfield Town, Chapman’s other success story, to the title. Huddersfield finishing three points behind the Gunners.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United would be relegated after finishing bottom, Newcastle also going down after finishing in 21st position. Grimsby ended the 33/34 season as Second Division Champions, Preston also promoted following a second placed finish. In Division Three South, Norwich won the league, Burnley triumphing in the North. Manchester City improved on defeat the year before to win the FA Cup for the first time in their history against Portsmouth. City winning 2-1 in a game refereed by Stanley Rous, who retired from officiating a day after the final, the same year becoming Secretary of the Football Association. The second FIFA World Cup is held in Italy, the host’s beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 after extra time in the tournaments first outright final.

1935: With George Allison in charge having taken the reigns after Chapman’s death the year previous, Arsenal win there third successive First Division title four points in front of Sunderland. Brentford are promoted for the first time after winning the Second Division, two years after winning the Third Division South. Bolton are also back in the top flight after relegation two years earlier, they finish second with Leicester and Tottenham relegated, moving in the opposite direction. Doncaster win the Third Division North, Charlton are champions of Division Three South. Sheffield Wednesday win the FA Cup, beating West Bromwich Albion in an entertaining final 4-2. Ellis Rimmer’s two late goals helping Wednesday to their third final. Managers are banned from standing on the touchline during matches.

1936: Sunderland end three years of Arsenal league dominance with the clubs first title since 1913. The Rokerites are convincing winners too, scoring over 100 goals and despite conceding 74 from their 42 games, finish eight points clear of runners up Derby. Manchester United are Second Division title winners with Charlton runners up. Aston Villa and Blackburn finish in the first division’s relegation places. Chesterfield win the Third Division North, fifteen points clear of Chester. Coventry win the Third Division South finishing a point above Luton. ‘Hatters’ striker Joe Payne scores ten goals in the clubs 12-0 win over Bristol Rovers. Arsenal make up for a poor sixth placed league finish by their standards, they beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the FA Cup thanks to a Ted Drake goal. In September the BBC show match highlights for the first time as Arsenal’s game with Everton is shown on television. Italy are Olympic gold winners after beating Austria 2-1 after extra time in the final.

1937: Manchester City are football league champions for the first ever time with Charlton Athletic finishing second, the ‘Addicks’ highest ever finish following promotion the year before. The other newly promoted side Manchester United are relegated with Sheffield Wednesday who finish bottom. Leicester and Blackpool are promoted in their place as the top two in Division Two. Stockport win the Third Division North Championship for the second time in their history. Luton win the Southern Section for the first time. Sunderland with Raich Carter amongst the goals beat Preston North End 3-1 to win the FA Cup final at Wembley.

1938: After two years absence, the football league championship trophy is back at Highbury for the fifth time. Arsenal pipping Wolves to the title by a point. Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion are relegated with Aston Villa (as champions) and Manchester United (for the second time in three years) promoted from Division Two. Millwall are Division Three South Champions for the second time whilst Tranmere Rovers reach the second division after winning the Third Division North. In the first ever FA Cup to be shown live on television, George Mutch made BBC commentator Thomas Woodrooffe eat his hat with a last minute penalty goal in extra time of the final against Huddersfield Town. Seconds before and with the score at nil nil Woodrooffe had stated ‘If theirs a goal scored now I’ll eat my hat’ The commentator keeping his promise some days later by eating a sugar coated cap shaped cake. England beat Germany 6-3 in Berlin with the English side famously giving the Nazi salute pre kick off. Aston Villa are jeered off the pitch a day later after failing to follow the National sides gesture before beating a German Select XI. No dispute over the best side in the world, as Italy are World Champions again after beating Hungary 4-2 in the final played in Paris.

1939: Everton win the 38/39 title with Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second consecutive year as runners up. Birmingham and Leicester are relegated with Blackburn Second Division Champions and Sheffield United runners up thus gaining promotion. Burnley win Division Three North and Newport County win the Third Division South. The following season numbers become compulsory on the back of shirts for league games before the outbreak of a second world war cuts the football league campaign short just three matches in. The League and FA suspend its competitions with immediate effect. Unaware at the time that no official competitions would be played for a further seven years. Portsmouth win the least FA Cup final before the war, they beat Wolves in the final 4-1.

1940: West Ham United win the War Cup, a ‘unofficial’ regional mini league competition is devised into groups as the outbreak of war makes traveling far to matches very difficult. The teams with the best records going on to a Wembley Final. The Hammers beat Blackburn 1-0 in front of 42,399.

1941: The Second War Cup final is won by Preston North End who beat Arsenal 2-1 in a replay at Ewood Park after drawing 1-1 at Wembley.

1942: In a two legged final, Wolves win the third War Cup after beating Sunderland 4-1 at Molineux following a 2-2 draw at Roker Park. Many of the group game fixtures are unfulfilled due to the severity of the War and points averages rather then points total decide the league placing’s of the clubs involved.

1943: Northern Winners Blackpool beat Southern Winners Arsenal 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in the final of the fourth War Cup.

1944: With many footballers by this time signed up to go to war, teams included many guest players in the War Cup that again saw many of its fixtures unfulfilled. Northern & Southern Section finals went ahead however with Aston Villa eventually sharing the trophy after drawing the Stamford Bridge final 1-1.

1945: Following victory in the second world war, the War Cup’s last season is eventually won by Bolton Wanderers who beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final at Stamford Bridge. Matt Busby becomes Manager of Manchester United. The FA Cup is the first ‘official’ competition to re-start after the war, the competition’s extra preliminary round kicks off on September the 5th with the final in April the following year.

1946: In the FA Cup Derby County go on to beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 after extra time to become first post war winners. The Quarter Finals in the competition are played over two home and away legs for the first and only time. This largely due to no football league fixtures taking place. That is soon to change though when on Saturday August 31st 1946, the Football League finally return’s to action after a break of seven long years. Success in World War II is marred by the many lives lost and many buildings damaged. Many of those buildings were Football Grounds, forcing relocation for some clubs as they try and rebuild the damage caused. Many of the deaths were fans players and officials of the game we love. With huge crowds flocking back to the matches, the 1946/47 campaign was to get underway with the same 82 clubs that started the 1939/40 season before its disruption. The FA appoint Walter Winterbottom as the National Team’s Manager, Winterbottom becomes the first permanent Manager of the England side. England rejoin FIFA.

1947: Liverpool become first post Second World War champions, winning a tightly contested First Division by a point over runners up Manchester United and third placed Wolves. Even Stoke in fourth finish just two points off the title winners who celebrate their fifth top flight trophy success. At the other end Leeds finish bottom with Brentford relegated in twenty-first. Manchester City and Burnley gain promotion from Division Two. Doncaster win the Third Division North whilst in the South, Cardiff are Division Three winners. Charlton Athletic make up for the previous years final disappointment by winning the FA Cup after beating Burnley 1-0 in extra time. Chris Duffy is the scorer in a game that for the second successive year sees the matchball burst.

1948: Arsenal, Managed by Tom Whittaker win the First Division Championship over nearest rivals Manchester United who pip Burnley to second on goal difference. Blackburn and Grimsby Town suffer relegation to Division Two whilst Birmingham and Newcastle replace them. Birmingham winning their fourth Second Division Championship (the first in 1893 was as Small Heath). QPR are Third Division South winners, Lincoln win Division Three North for the second time. League runners up Manchester United go one better in the Challenge Cup after beating Blackpool 4-2 in the final. It’s Matt Busby’s first trophy as United Manager with Jack Rowley netting twice. Blackpool striker Stan Mortenson is also amongst the goals in front of 98,842 at Wembley.

1949: Bob Jackson’s Portsmouth are champions of the football league for the first time in the clubs history. ‘Pompey’ win the title by five points over Manchester United who finish second for the third successive year post war. Derby are third level on points with United but with a worse goal difference. Preston and Sheffiedl United (bottom) finish in the relegation positions with Second Division Champions Fulham and runners up WBA moving up in their place. Hull (North) and Swansea (South) win there respective division three titles. Wolverhampton Wanderers, skippered by Billy Wright win the FA Cup for the third time. Wolves beat Leicester 3-1 in the final Jesse Pye (two) and Sammy Smyth netting for the eventual winners. In Europe, tragedy hit the Torino side on 4th May 1949, having already won the Italian League, their plane crashed in to a hill near Turin following flying back in low visibility from a friendly match played against Benfica, killing all 31 on board including 18 team players.

The Football League

1918/19No Competition (World War I)
1919/20West Bromwich AlbionBurnleyChelseaThe Wednesday
1920/21BurnleyManchester CityBolton WanderersBradford Park Avenue
1921/22LiverpoolTottenham HotspurBurnleyManchester United
1922/23LiverpoolSunderlandHuddersfield TownOldham Athletic
1923/24Huddersfield TownCardiff CitySunderlandMiddlesbrough
1924/25Huddersfield TownWest Bromwich AlbionBolton WanderersNottingham Forest
1925/26Huddersfield TownArsenalSunderlandNotts County
1926/27Newcastle UnitedHuddersfield TownSunderlandWest Bromwich Albion
1927/28EvertonHuddersfield TownLeicester CityMiddlesbrough
1928/29The WednesdayLeicester CityAston VillaCardiff City
1929/30Sheffield WednesdayDerby CountyManchester CityEverton
1930/31ArsenalAston VillaSheffield WednesdayManchester United
1931/32EvertonArsenalSheffield WednesdayWest Ham United
1932/33ArsenalAston VillaSheffield WednesdayBlackpool
1933/34ArsenalHuddersfield TownTottenham HotspurSheffield United
1934/35ArsenalSunderlandSheffield WednesdayTottenham Hotspur
1935/36SunderlandDerby CountyHuddersfield TownBlackburn Rovers
1936/37Manchester CityCharlton AthleticArsenalSheffield Wednesday
1937/38ArsenalWolverhampton WanderersPreston North EndWest Bromwich Albion
1938/39EvertonWolverhampton WanderersCharlton AthleticLeicester City
1939/40Season Suspended after three games played, Competition Disbanded (World War II)
1940/41No Competition (World War II)
1941/42No Competition (World War II)
1942/43No Competition (World War II)
1943/44No Competition (World War II)
1944/45No Competition (World War II)
1945/46No Competition (World War II)
1946/47LiverpoolManchester UnitedWolverhampton WanderersLeeds United
1947/48ArsenalManchester UnitedBurnleyGrimsby Town
1948/49PortsmouthManchester UnitedDerby CountySheffield United

The FA Cup

1918/19No Competition (World War I)
1919/20Aston VillaHuddersfield Town1-0 aetStamford Bridge
1920/21Tottenham HotspurWolverhampton Wanderers1-0Stamford Bridge
1921/22Huddersfield TownPreston North End1-0Stamford Bridge
1922/23Bolton WanderersWest Ham United2-0Wembley
1923/24Newcastle UnitedAston Villa2-0Wembley
1924/25Sheffield UnitedCardiff City1-0Wembley
1925/26Bolton WanderersManchester City1-0Wembley
1926/27Cardiff CityArsenal1-0Wembley
1927/28Blackburn RoversHuddersfield Town3-1Wembley
1928/29Bolton WanderersPortsmouth2-0Wembley
1929/30ArsenalHuddersfield Town2-0Wembley
1930/31West Bromwich AlbionBirmingham City2-1Wembley
1931/32Newcastle UnitedArsenal2-1Wembley
1932/33EvertonManchester City3-0Wembley
1933/34Manchester CityPortsmouth2-1Wembley
1934/35Sheffield WednesdayWest Bromwich Albion4-2Wembley
1935/36ArsenalSheffield United1-0Wembley
1936/37SunderlandPreston North End3-1Wembley
1937/38Preston North EndHuddersfield Town1-0 aetWembley
1938/39PortsmouthWolverhampton Wanderers4-1Wembley
1939/40No Competition (World War II)
1940/41No Competition (World War II)
1941/42No Competition (World War II)
1942/43No Competition (World War II)
1943/44No Competition (World War II)
1944/45No Competition (World War II)
1945/46Derby CountyCharlton Athletic4-1 aetWembley
1946/47Charlton AthleticBurnley1-0 aetWembley
1947/48Manchester UnitedBlackpool4-2Wembley
1948/49Wolverhampton WanderersLeicester City3-1Wembley