Arnott Insurance Northern League

Founded: 1889

The Northern League is the oldest surviving league after the Football League. Traditionally the league was amongst the strongest amateur competitions in the country and provided numerous winners and finalists of the Amateur Cup. Due to their geographical remoteness from the rest of the country the league and its members were loathe to join the pyramid. The possibility to feed into the Alliance Premier League and later the Northern Premier League was missed. After losing a number of long standing ambitious clubs to other leagues within the pyramid the Northern League finally joined the pyramid as a feeder to Division One of the NPL in 1991, two levels below that which could have been achieved ten years before. A further blow to the league's prestige was suffered in 1995 when the FA decided that due to their position in the pyramid member clubs would have to play in the FA Vase instead of the FA Trophy as they had traditionally played in.

Participation in the pyramid proved to be equally problematic for the Northern League as isolation from it was. Financial and ground problems frequently cause clubs to go out of business and consequently disbandments often balance out promotion without it being necessary to relegate clubs. In 1993 the Northern League were concerned that their standards were falling as clubs promoted to the NPL were not being replaced by relegated clubs and refused to release champions Whitby Town unless they received a relegated club in return. Whitby were thus denied promotion. The following year Blyth Spartans were allowed to depart in place of champions Durham City whose new ground was not ready in time, since then neither the champions nor runners-up have met the promotion criteria. No club has yet been relegated to the Northern League (although Penrith were transferred from the North West Counties League in 1997) and despite a steady stream of promoted clubs from their feeder leagues the Northern League has yet to relegate a club.

Founder Members

Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Elswick Rangers, Middlesbrough, Newcastle East End, Newcastle West End, Stockton, Birtley, Darlington St. Augustine's, South Bank.

Area Covered

The Northern League covers the North Eastern part of the Northern Premier League area including NorthYorkshire, County Durham, Teeside, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.


2 divisions, 39 clubs
Division One (20 clubs)
Division Two (19 clubs)

The league briefly operated a second division from 1897 to 1900. Apart from this period the league consisted of a single division until the formation of Division Two in 1982.

Division One

Promotion: 1 club to the UniBond League (subject to meeting the League's entry criteria)

Relegation: 3 clubs to Division Two

Composition 1999-2000

Bedlington Terriers, Billingham Synthonia, Billingham Town, Chester-le-Street Town, Consett, Crook Town, Dunston Federation Brewery, Durham City, Easington Colliery, Guisborough Town, Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA, Marske United, Morpeth Town, Peterlee Newtown, Seaham Red Star, Shotton Comrades, South Shields, Thornaby-on-Tees, Tow Law Town, West Auckland Town.


Promoted from Division Two: Durham City, Shotton Comrades, Peterlee Newtown


Relegated to Division Two: Newcastle Blue Star, Penrith, Shildon

Name Change

Stockton became Thornaby-on-Tees

Recent Champions

1999 Bedlington Terriers
1998 Bedlington Terriers
1997 Whitby Town
1996 Billingham Synthonia
1995 Tow Law Town
1994 Durham City
1993 Whitby Town
1992 Gretna
1991 Gretna
1990 Billingham Synthonia

Division Two

Promotion: 3 clubs to Division One

Feeder Leagues: JPL Wade Northern Alliance, Nissan Wearside League

Composition 1999-2000

Alnwick Town, Ashington, Brandon United, Eppleton CW, Esh Winning, Evenwood Town, Hebburn, Horden CW, Kennek Roker CA, Murton, Newcastle Blue Star, Northallerton, Norton & Stockton Ancients, Penrith, Prudhoe Town, Shildon, Washington Ikeda Hoover, Whickham, Willington.


Relegated from Division One: Newcastle Blue Star, Penrith, Shildon


Promoted to Division One: Durham City, Shotton Comrades, Peterlee Newtown

Name Change

Ryhope CA merged with Kennek Roker (Wearside League) to become Kennek Roker CA
Washington became Washington Ikeda Hoover

Recent Champions

1999 Durham City
1998 Chester-le-Street Town
1997 Northallerton
1996 Morpeth Town
1995 Whickham
1994 Bedlington Terriers
1993 Dunston Federation Brewery
1992 Stockton
1991 West Auckland Town
1990 Murton


UniBond League

About this document

Prepared and maintained by James M. Ross

Author: James M. Ross
Last updated: 20 Apr 2000

Copyright © 1997,2000 James M. Ross
You are free to use the data within this document in whole or part for non-commercial use providing that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. Copying of the document itself or replication on any other web site is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.