Preston North End, winners of the first ever Football League in 1888-89, when they went the whole season undefeated and also won the FA Cup.
Welcome to the Football League Players website. Here, you will find line-ups for all divisions of the English Football League (and, since 1992, the FA Premier League). Click the menu at the top to go to the decade, season and division that you would like to see.
The line-ups (starting XIs, with appropriate numbers of substitutes after 1966-67, and playing or non-playing squad members) are sourced from a variety of places – mostly the Rothmans (later Sky Sports) Football Yearbook, the News of the World/Nationwide Football Annual (and its predecessors), the Playfair Football Annual, the English National Football Archive and the sadly defunct since1888.com.
There is no statistical information on players – for that, I recommend Barry Hugman’s Footballers (which includes post-war data from the Football League Players’ Records books), Neil Brown’s Post-War A-Z Transfer Database, the Association of Football Statisticians’ 11v11 site, Soccerbase (for information from 1996-97 onwards) and worldfootball.net. You may also want to see the Football Squads archive, which goes back to 1993-94 for the Premier League, and 1999-2000 for all other divisions.
Full final tables and results for the English Football League (and Premier League) can be found at the Rec. Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation site.
A note on how the line-ups are displayed – each team is laid out thus:
Goalkeeper; Defenders; Midfielders; Attacker(s), or, in the case of earlier line-ups, Goalkeeper; Full-Backs; Half-Backs; Attackers.
Within that, players are lined up as follows:
2-3-5 – GK; RB, LB; CH, CH, CH; OR, IR, CF, IL, OL.
3-2-5 – GK; RB, LB, CB; WH, WH; OR, IR, CF, IL, OL.
4-2-4 – GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, MF; RW, CF, CF, LW.
4-3-3 – GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, MF, MF; RW, CF, LW or GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, MF, MF; CF, CF, CF.
4-4-2 – GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, RW, MF, LW; CF, CF.
4-5-1 – GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, MF, RW, MF, LW; CF.
4-2-3-1 – GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; DM, DM; MF, MF, MF; CF or GK; RB, LB, CB, CB; MF, MF; RW, AM, LW; CF.
(NB: RB – right-back, LB – left-back, CH – centre-half, OR – outside-right, IR – inside-right, CF – centre-forward, IL – inside-left, OL – outside-left; CB – centre-back, MF – midfield, RW – right-wing, LW – left-wing; DM – defensive midfield, AM – attacking midfield, FW – forward.)
Substitutes are listed in positional order e.g. GK, DF, MF, MF, FW.
Players should only be listed once per season. Where someone appeared for more than one club in a season, I have tried to list them where they played the most matches. Players who moved on short-term loans (one month or less) are listed at their parent clubs; those on longer-term loans where they played a significant number of matches are included there. Anyone loaned from another league (within the British Isles or abroad) is featured, no matter how many times he appeared.
Any accents used in a player’s native language are included (e.g. Jan Åge Fjørtoft); for players from former Soviet republics, I have tried to use approved transliterations from each language. (So Sheffield United’s Belarussian forward is listed as Pyotr Kachura rather than Petr Katchouro or Kachuro.)
Managers may be listed more than once, if they managed more than one club per season for a significant amount of time. (For example, in 1993-94, you will find Mike Walker under both Norwich City and Everton.) Clubs with more than one manager per season are denoted as follows: Manager: Roy Hodgson/Kenny Dalglish.
Where clubs changed manager very soon after the start of the season or very close to the end, I have generally not tended to note whoever’s tenure was shortest. For example, during the 2003-04 season, Glenn Hoddle, who left Tottenham in mid-September 2003, is not listed. I have made an exception where someone managed the club for just a brief period – so you will find ‘Manager: Dave Hockaday/Darko Milanič/Neil Redfearn’ given for Leeds United in 2014-15. An ampersand (&) denotes a joint managerial position, e.g. ‘Manager: Alan Curbishley & Steve Gritt.’ I have not made a special note of player-managers, but you will find them listed as both a player and manager.
Caretaker managers are not listed unless they were appointed for a reasonable amount of time, usually on an interim basis.
I have tried to list teams under their home colours for that season, with information drawn from the Historical Football Kits site. So, for example, Cardiff City are usually listed in blue, with their brief change to red (2012-14) noted; Leeds United are in yellow or blue until the 1960s when Don Revie changed their strip to mirror Real Madrid’s white.
If you have any questions, comments or corrections, please email me.