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Northern League (football)

From Academic Kids

The Northern League (currently sponsored by the Albany Uninsured Loss Recovery Service and known as the Albany Northern League) is a football league in North East England for semi-professional and amateur teams. Having been founded in 1889, the Northern League is the oldest surviving league after The Football League. It consists of two divisions. Division 1 of the Northern League is on the ninth tier of the English football league system, five divisions below the Football League. The champions of the first division are eligible for promotion to the Northern Premier League's First Division, subject to certain criteria.

The Northern League ran as one of three major amateur competitions (with the Isthmian League and the Southern League) in tandem with the (professional) Football League until 1968, when the Northern Premier League was created. Unlike its upstart rival, the Northern League rejected repeated invitations to become a feeder league to the Alliance Premier League, later the Conference, when that league was created in 1979.

Ultimately, the Northern League would remain out of the football pyramid until 1991, a decision that proved very costly to its status. The league declined throughout the 1980s as its leading clubs defected to leagues that were in the pyramid, such as the Northern Counties (East) League. When the Northern League was fianlly forced into the pyramid, the opportunity to become a feeder league to the Conference had long passed and the Northern League was forced to become a feeder league to the lower division of the NPL, two tiers below the Conference. The League suffered a further blow to its prestige in 1995 when the Football Association disqualified its clubs from competing for the FA Trophy. Northern League clubs now compete for the FA Vase.

Below the second division of the Northern League in the pyramid are the Northern Alliance, the Wearside League, and the Teesside league, each covering a separate geographic area.

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