A Brief History Of The Premier League

I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that will know all about the Premier League and how it came to being. For those that don’t and with the new season almost upon us, here is a little insight on how the 104 year old existence of the Football League regenerated into the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two.

A Brief History Of The Premier League

The first signs of clubs wanting to breakaway from the Football League was in 1988, and it came at a time when more and more money was being invested in the sport. In 1986 the Football League received £6.8 million for a two year deal. Come 1988 the sum rocketed to £44 million for four years. Top clubs, realising that there could be a chance to capitalize on the influx of money coming in, threatened a breakaway to form a “Super League”. These clubs however were finally persuaded to stay.

At the end of the 1990/91 season, proposals were made to form a new league. The proposed league would bring more money into the game overall. Up to the turn of the 1990’s English football had been at the centre of a low point in its long history. English clubs had been banned from European Competition following the Hysel Disaster, plus stadiums were getting old, facilities were generally poor, and hooliganism was a big problem.

The start of the nineties started well though with the England national team reaching the World Cup semi finals and Manchester United winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1991 after the European ban had been lifted. This was where the aforementioned new league would come in and reap the benefits of the nation’s upturn in fortunes on the pitch.

On July 17th 1991 the top flight clubs in the English game signed a founder members agreement. The new league would have licence to negotiate its own sponsorship and broadcast agreements due to it having commercial independence from both the Football League and the Football Association. This would in turn enable clubs to compete  once again with other clubs in Europe due to the extra income and was given as the main argument for the breakaway.

On May 27th 1992 the current teams in the First Division of the Football League resigned and the FA Premier League was formed. Even after the breakaway, no changes to the format of English football was announced. Relegation and promotion from the Premier League would still happen every season and there would still be four divisions: The Premier League, the First division (the old Second division), The Second division (the old Third division), and the Third division (the old Fourth division).

The first season of the newly formed Premier League was the 1992/93 season. Twenty two clubs competed. The historic first goal came from Sheffield United’s Brian Dean in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United.

The first big change came in before the 1995/96 season. The Premier League changed from twenty two teams to twenty. This meant that the Football league would now be expanded from seventy clubs to seventy two. This also meant that the Football League could now have three division with an equal number of teams, 24 in each. In 2004/05 the Football League was rebranded to how we now know it. The First, Second and Third Divisions were renamed the Championship, League One and League Two.

A total of 46 teams have played in the Premier League up to the end of the 2014/15 season. Only seven clubs have participated in each Premier League season, these are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

During its 23 year existence there have been five different winners of the Premier League title. Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. At present Manchester United are the most successful team in the Premier League winning the title on 13 occasions.

Who knows how long it will be before the next big changes come into the game. A 39th game to be played in different countries has been rumoured for several years, for example. Football is forever changing so don’t be surprised if the next change is just around the corner.


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  1. Dear Sir/Madam: Grateful if you can tell me where I can find a copy of the 1991 Founder Members Agreement between the FA and the FA Premier League? I am particularly interested in look at section 51 of the Agreement outlining the authority of the FA over the Premier League with regard to voiding or ending the 2019/20 season and the promtion/relagation of clubs to and from the Championship and Champions League respectively. Unable to locate a copy of the Agreement on the Football Association or Premeir League’s website’s. Grateful for any advice or guidance you can provide me with: Jeremy Evans: SA: 15/05/20: Contact details below: Thank You:

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