2005–06 in English football

The 2005–06 season was the 126th season of competitive association football in England.


Diary of the season

National team

England qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, after finishing top of UEFA Qualifying Group 6.

Date Venue Opponents Score[18] Competition England scorers Match Report
17 August 2005 Parken Stadion, Copenhagen (A)  Denmark 1–4 F Wayne Rooney BBC
3 September 2005 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (A)  Wales 1–0 WCQ Joe Cole BBC
7 September 2005 Windsor Park, Belfast (A)  Northern Ireland 0–1 WCQ   BBC
8 October 2005 Old Trafford, Manchester (H)  Austria 1–0 WCQ Frank Lampard (pen) BBC
12 October 2005 Old Trafford, Manchester (H)  Poland 2–1 WCQ Michael Owen, Frank Lampard BBC
12 November 2005 Stade de Genève, Geneva (N)  Argentina 3–2 F Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen (2) BBC
1 March 2006 Anfield, Liverpool (H)  Uruguay 2–1 F Peter Crouch, Joe Cole BBC
25 May 2006 Madejski Stadium, Reading (H)  Belarus 1–2 F ('B' team) Jermaine Jenas BBC
30 May 2006 Old Trafford, Manchester (H)  Hungary 3–1 F Steven Gerrard,
John Terry,
Peter Crouch
3 June 2006 Old Trafford, Manchester (H)  Jamaica 6–0 F Frank Lampard,
Jermaine Taylor (o.g.),
Michael Owen,
Peter Crouch (3)
10 June 2006 FIFA WM Stadion Frankfurt, Frankfurt (N)  Paraguay 1–0 WCF Carlos Gamarra (o.g.) BBC
15 June 2006 Frankenstadion, Nuremberg (N)  Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 WCF Peter Crouch,
Steven Gerrard
20 June 2006 FIFA WM Stadion Köln, Cologne (N)  Sweden 2–2 WCF Joe Cole,
Steven Gerrard
25 June 2006 Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart (N)  Ecuador 1–0 WCF David Beckham BBC
1 July 2006 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen (N)  Portugal 0–0 (FT), 0–0 (aet), 1–3 (P) WCF BBC


Competition Winner Details Match Report
2005 UEFA Super Cup Liverpool Beat CSKA Moscow 3–1 UEFA
2005–06 FA Premier League Chelsea BBC
2005–06 FA Cup Liverpool Beat West Ham United 3–1 on penalties; 3–3 after extra time BBC
2005–06 Football League Cup Manchester United Beat Wigan Athletic 4–0 BBC
2005–06 Football League Championship Reading Finished on record 106 points BBC
2005–06 Football League One Southend United Consecutive promotions BBC
2005–06 Football League Two Carlisle United Consecutive promotions BBC
2005 FA Community Shield Chelsea Beat Arsenal 2–1 BBC
2005–06 Football League Trophy Swansea City Beat Carlisle United 2–1 BBC

European qualification

Competition Qualifiers Reason for Qualification
UEFA Champions League Chelsea 1st in FA Premier League
Manchester United 2nd in FA Premier League
UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round Liverpool 3rd in FA Premier League
Arsenal 4th in FA Premier League
UEFA Cup Tottenham Hotspur 5th in FA Premier League
West Ham United In lieu of FA Cup winners
(qualification awarded as FA Cup runners-up because FA Cup winners Liverpool had already qualified for the Champions League)
Blackburn Rovers In lieu of League Cup winners
(qualification awarded as next-highest (6th) Premier League finishers to have not qualified for Europe because League Cup winners Manchester United had already qualified for the Champions League)
UEFA Intertoto Cup Third round Newcastle United Highest Premier League finishers (7th) to have entered and not qualified for any other European competition

League tables

Premier League

Chelsea, on 91 points, won their second Premier League title in a row. Manchester United, whose 83-point tally would have been enough for title glory in most seasons, finished runners-up. Liverpool's league form improved drastically following the previous season and they finished in 3rd place, just 1 point behind United; in addition, they also won the FA Cup, giving manager Rafael Benitez his second major trophy in just his second season. Arsenal snatched the last Champions League spot from under the noses of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, after the latter's players went down with a bout of food-poisoning. The Gunners 4-2 victory over Wigan on the final day of the season saw them end 92 years of playing at Highbury before they moved into their new 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium.

Ultimately joining Tottenham in the UEFA Cup were Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United who were promoted the previous season and took the European spot by virtue of being FA Cup runners-up.

Newly promoted Wigan Athletic, who were many pundit's tip for relegation in pre-season, defied the odds to finish 10th in their first season in the top-flight. Middlesbrough finished 14th after a disappointing league season, but did reach the UEFA Cup Final – the first European final in their history – where they were beaten 4–0 by Sevilla.

Sunderland, promoted last season as champions, were relegated with a league record low of 15 points, breaking the previous record that they set themselves in 2002–03, while West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City both hit the 30-point mark and battled bravely, but both were unable to avoid relegation after dismal runs of league form. Portsmouth spent almost the entire season in the relegation zone, but after the return of Harry Redknapp (many Portsmouth fans were convinced Redknapp only went to bitter rivals Southampton last season just to get them relegated), they stayed up after a late run of good results.

Qualification or relegation
1 Chelsea (C) 38 29 4 5 72 22+50 91 2006–07 UEFA Champions League Group stage
2 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 72 34+38 83
3 Liverpool 38 25 7 6 57 25+32 82 2006–07 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round
4 Arsenal 38 20 7 11 68 31+37 67
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 18 11 9 53 38+15 65 2006–07 UEFA Cup First round
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 19 6 13 51 42+9 63
7 Newcastle United 38 17 7 14 47 42+5 58 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup Third round
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 15 11 12 49 41+8 56
9 West Ham United 38 16 7 15 52 553 55 2006–07 UEFA Cup First round 1
10 Wigan Athletic 38 15 6 17 45 527 51
11 Everton 38 14 8 16 34 4915 50
12 Fulham 38 14 6 18 48 5810 48
13 Charlton Athletic 38 13 8 17 41 5514 47
14 Middlesbrough 38 12 9 17 48 5810 45
15 Manchester City 38 13 4 21 43 485 43
16 Aston Villa 38 10 12 16 42 5513 42
17 Portsmouth 38 10 8 20 37 6225 38
18Birmingham City (R) 38810202850−2234 Relegation to the 2006–07 Football League Championship
19West Bromwich Albion (R) 3879223158−2730
20Sunderland (R) 3836292669−4315

Source: Barclays Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
For further information on European qualification see Premier League – Qualification for European competitions.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

1.Liverpool had already qualified for the Champions League by league position, as a result, their UEFA Cup berth that they earned through winning the 2005–06 FA Cup, went to West Ham, who were FA Cup runners-up. Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry (Arsenal) – 27

The Football League

Football League Championship

Reading entered the top flight for the first time in their history, breaking Sunderland's points record of 106 in the process by accumulating 106 points (coincidentally, Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League while breaking the record for lowest number of points under the current scoring system). Sheffield United joined them, returning to the Premier League after twelve years and earning Neil Warnock his fourth promotion as a manager. Surprise package Watford, initially tipped for relegation, entered the play-offs and beat Leeds United 3–0 in the Millennium Stadium final, who were unable to shake off a bad run of form (worse than any of the three relegated sides) that saw them lose out in the race for automatic promotion.

Crystal Palace fared the best out of the teams relegated from the Premier League the previous season, by getting to the play-offs but losing in the semi-finals. Norwich never managed better than mid-table, while Southampton endured an awful season that saw Sir Clive Woodward take up a much-criticised role as director of football, manager Harry Redknapp return to local rivals Portsmouth and the side looking in danger of relegation for much of the season, only managing a mid-table finish with a late surge in form, thanks to the appointment of George Burley. Chairman Rupert Lowe ultimately paid the price by being forced to resign after the end of the season.

The relegation battle was principally fought by four sides: Crewe, Brighton, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday ultimately won the battle, and the remaining three were relegated all on the same day, after Wednesday beat Brighton 2–0. While Crewe and Brighton had not spent long in the division and were considered to be punching above their weight, Millwall underwent a disastrous season, getting through five managers and four chairmen before relegation.

1Reading (C) (P)46311329932+67106
2Sheffield United (P)46261287646+3090
3Watford (P)46221597753+2481
4Preston North End46202065930+2980
5Leeds United462115105738+1978
6Crystal Palace462112136748+1975
7Wolverhampton Wanderers461619115042+867
8Coventry City461615156265–363
9Norwich City46188205665–962
10Luton Town461710196667–161
11Cardiff City461612185859–160
13Stoke City46177225463–958
14Plymouth Argyle461317163946–756
15Ipswich Town461414185366–1356
16Leicester City461315185159–854
18Hull City461216184955–652
19Sheffield Wednesday461313203952–1352
20Derby County461020165367–1450
21Queens Park Rangers461214205065–1550
22Crewe Alexandra (R)469 15225786–2942
23Millwall (R)46816223562–2740
24Brighton & Hove Albion (R)46717223971–3238

Leading goalscorer: Marlon King (Watford) – 21

Football League One

Southend United surprised many by winning a second successive promotion, returning to the Championship after nearly a decade (when it was called Division One). Colchester United also made the Championship for the first time in their history, but their promotion was tempered by the loss of manager Phil Parkinson to Hull City. A highly competitive play-off race saw Barnsley emerge as winners, beating Swansea City at the Millennium Stadium 4–3 on penalties after both normal time and extra-time finished 2–2, to return to the Championship after three seasons of struggle in Division Two/League One.

Following relegation and becoming the first former European champions to be subsequently relegated to the third tier of their domestic league, Nottingham Forest struggled for most of the season and were in danger of suffering a second successive relegation. The departure of Gary Megson saw a late upturn in form and surge towards the play-offs; however, they missed out on the last day of the season, finishing 7th.

At the bottom, Walsall endured their second relegation in three seasons, Swindon became the first former Premier League side to slip to the bottom division. Hartlepool crashed out of the division after nearly earning promotion last season, while MK Dons suffered the relegation they only avoided the previous season when Wrexham were docked points for entering administration.

1Southend United (C) (P)462313107243+2982
2Colchester United (P)462213115840+1879
4Huddersfield Town461916117259+1373
5Barnsley (P)461818106244+1872
6Swansea City461817117855+2371
7Nottingham Forest461912156752+1569
8Doncaster Rovers46209175551+469
9Bristol City461811176662+465
10Oldham Athletic461811175860–265
11Bradford City461419135149+260
12Scunthorpe United461515166873–560
13Port Vale461612184954–560
15Yeovil Town461511205462–856
18Tranmere Rovers461315185052–254
20Rotherham United461216185262–1052
21Hartlepool United (R)461117184459–1550
22Milton Keynes Dons (R)461214204566–2150
23Swindon Town (R)461115204665–1948
24Walsall (R)461114214770–2347

Leading goalscorers: Billy Sharp (Scunthorpe United) – 23, and Freddy Eastwood (Southend United) – 23

Football League Two

Carlisle United were another side who earned a second successive promotion, only two years after a relegation from the League that some predicted would see the end of the club. Northampton Town joined them, making up for two seasons of play-off disappointment, and Leyton Orient ended a decade in the bottom division by earning promotion in almost the last minute of the season. Grimsby Town conceded on 91 minutes, and 14 seconds after the fans of Orient celebrated, Lee Steele scored to seal promotion for Orient. This strike also confirmed Oxford United's relegation. Wycombe started the season with a 21-game unbeaten run that saw five of their players named in the PFA League Two team of the year. Two tragic off-the-field events, however, saw them fall away in the second part of the season before losing to Cheltenham Town in the playoff semi-finals. Grimsby Town lost 1–0 to Cheltenham in the final at the Millennium Stadium.

Rushden & Diamonds failed to improve on the previous season, and paid the price with relegation to the Conference. Oxford United joined them, despite the return of manager Jim Smith, and became the first former winners of a major trophy to be relegated to the Conference.

1Carlisle United (C) (P)462511108442+4286
2Northampton Town (P)46221776337+2683
3Leyton Orient (P)46221596751+1681
4Grimsby Town462212126444+2078
5Cheltenham Town (P)461915126553+1272
6Wycombe Wanderers461817117256+1671
7Lincoln City461521106553+1266
9Peterborough United461711185749+862
10Shrewsbury Town461613175555061
11Boston United461516155060–1061
12Bristol Rovers46179205967–860
15Chester City461412205359–654
16Mansfield Town461315185966–754
17Macclesfield Town461218166071–1154
20Torquay United461313205366–1352
21Notts County461216184863–1552
22Stockport County461119165778–2152
23Oxford United (R)461116194356–1449
24Rushden & Diamonds (R)461112234476–3245

* Deducted 1 point for fielding an ineligible player

Leading goalscorer: Rickie Lambert (Rochdale) – 22

Non-League football

Competition Winners
Conference National winners Accrington Stanley
Conference National play-off winners Hereford United
Conference North winners Northwich Victoria
Conference South winners Weymouth
FA Trophy Grays Athletic
FA Vase Nantwich Town

Transfer deals

Summer transfer window

The summer transfer window ran from the end of the previous season until 31 August.

January transfer window

The mid-season transfer window ran from 1 to 31 January 2006.

For subsequent transfer deals see List of English football transfers 2006–07

Famous debutants




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