1888–89 in English football

The 1888–1889 season was the 18th season of competitive association football in England.


A new competition, The Football League, started this season. The Football League was open to clubs all over the United Kingdom, but the first twelve entrants (Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (now Stoke City), West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers) were all from the Midlands or North of England (in later years the competition became the de facto English league, though some clubs from outside England still compete in it). Each club in the League played each other twice (once at home and once away) and would be awarded two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. From these points, a league table was drawn up. Preston North End were in first place at the end of the season and thus became the first ever Football League champions. They did not lose a match all season (a feat only accomplished once since, by Arsenal in 2003–04) and also won the FA Cup.

The Football League is still going today and now has 72 clubs in three divisions (down from an all-time high of 92 clubs in four divisions). Since the 1992–93 season, it has become only the second-most important league competition, behind the FA Premier League in the English football league system.


National team

England finished second in the 1889 British Home Championship, which was won by Scotland.

John Yates, of Burnley, scored 3 goals against Ireland in his only appearance for England.

Date Venue Home team Visitors Score Comp England scorers
23 Feb 1889 Victoria Ground, Stoke-on-Trent  England  Wales4–1BHC Billy Bassett (West Bromwich Albion), John Goodall (Preston North End), Jack Southworth (Blackburn Rovers) & Fred Dewhurst (Preston North End)
2 Mar 1889 Anfield, Liverpool  England  Ireland6–1BHC Alf Shelton (Notts County), John Yates (Burnley) (3), Joe Lofthouse (Accrington) & John Brodie (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
13 Apr 1889 Kennington Oval, London  England  Scotland2–3BHC Billy Bassett (West Bromwich Albion) (15 & 17 mins)


1889 British Home Championship Table

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1  Scotland3210102+ 85
2 England3201125+ 74
3 Wales311145 – 13
4 Ireland3003216 – 140


Competition Winner
FA CupPreston North End (1st FA Cup title)
The Football LeaguePreston North End (1st English title)*

* Indicates new record for competition

FA Cup

Main article: 1888–89 FA Cup


For more details on this match, see 1889 FA Cup Final.
Date Home team Visitors Score Venue
30 Mar 1889 Preston North End Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0 Kennington Oval

The Football League

League table

The Football League
Season 1888–89
Champions Preston North End
(1st English title)
Relegated none
FA Cup winners Preston North End (1st FA Cup title)
Matches played 132
Goals scored 586 (4.44 per match)
Top goalscorer John Goodall (Preston North End), 21
Biggest home win Aston VillaNotts County 9–1 (29 Sept 1888)
Biggest away win Notts CountyPreston 0–7 (3 Nov 1888)
Highest scoring 10: Aston VillaNotts County 9–1 (29 Sept 1888)
BoltonNotts County 7–3 (9 Mar 1889)
Blackburn RoversAccrington 5–5 (15 Sept 1888)
Longest winning run 6 – Preston North End (8 Sep – 13 Oct 1888)
Longest unbeaten run 22 – Preston North End (8 Sep 1888 – 9 Feb 1889), the entire season
Longest losing run 8 – Derby County (29 Sep – 8 Dec 1888)
Highest attendance ?
Lowest attendance ?
Average attendance ?
1Preston North End22184074154.93340
2Aston Villa22125561431.41929
3Wolverhampton Wanderers22124650371.35128
4Blackburn Rovers22106666451.46726
5Bolton Wanderers221021063591.06822
6West Bromwich Albion221021040460.87022
10Derby County22721341610.67216
11Notts County22521540730.54812
League champions
FA Cup winners (see Preston North End)
Failed re-election (none)

Stadia and locations

Team Location Stadium Stadium capacity
Accrington Accrington Thorneyholme Road n/a
Aston Villa Birmingham Perry Barr Stadium n/a
Blackburn Rovers Blackburn Leamington Street 600–700
Bolton Wanderers Bolton Pike’s Lane n/a
Burnley Burnley Turf Moor n/a
Derby County Derby Racecourse Ground n/a
Everton Liverpool Anfield n/a
Notts County Nottingham Trent Bridge Cricket Ground n/a
Preston North End Preston Deepdale n/a
Stoke Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Ground n/a
West Bromwich Albion Birmingham Stoney Lane n/a
Wolverhampton Wanderers Wolverhampton Dudley Road n/a

Top scorers[1]

Rank Scorer Club Goals Matches played Goals per match
1England John Goodall Preston North End 21211.00
2Scotland James D. RossPreston North End18210.86
3England Albert AllenAston Villa17210.81
4England John SouthworthBlackburn Rovers16210.76
England Harry WoodWolverhampton Wanderers16170.94
6England Thomas GreenAston Villa14210.67
7Scotland James BroganBolton Wanderers13220.59
England David WeirBolton Wanderers13220.59
9England Frederick DewhurstPreston North End12170.71
England Herbert L. FecittBlackburn Rovers12170.71
Scotland Alexander BarbourAccrington12190.63
Scotland Alexander HigginsDerby County12210.57
England Thomas PearsonWest Bromwich Albion12220.55


  1. Fußball-Weltzeitschrift No. 10, Jan/Feb 1988.

External links

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