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Football Conference

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The formation of the Alliance Premier League in 1979 was the first true attempt at a formation of a national league below the Football League. Twenty teams competed in the inaugural season, being drawn from the Northern Premier League and the Southern League. After 25 years, only Northwich Victoria remained as the last ever-presents, and they were demoted in 2005 to the Northern Division due to wranglings about the ownership of their new ground and expelled from the league altogether in 2010.

A major breakthrough in the Conference's history came in 1986 when the Football League finally agreed to automatic promotion and relegation. Scarborough were the first club to take advantage, replacing Lincoln City in Football League Division Four for 1987-88. From the 2002-03 season, a second promotion place was achieved, going to the winners of a play-off competition between those clubs in 2nd - 5th place.

Conference clubs have accounted for numerous Football League clubs in F.A. Cup ties over the years, with the biggest achievements have been of defeats of Division One (pre-Premier League days) clubs Birmingham City (by Altrincham), and Coventry City (by Sutton United). The furthest reached in the competition is the quarter finals, by Lincoln City in 2016-17.

A second layer, with Northern and Southern Divisions feeding into the existing league (re-christened as the National Division) started in 2004-05, heading the wholescale re-organisation of the non-league pyramid. The National Division became the Premier Division in 2007.

Sponsors of the Alliance Premier League

  • 1979-1984 Unsponsored
  • 1984-1986 Gola
  • Change of name to Football Conference
  • 1986-1997 GM Vauxhall
  • 1997-1998 Vauxhall
  • 1998-2007 Nationwide
  • 2007-2013 Blue Square
  • 2013-2014 Skrill
  • 2014-date Vanarama

    Single Division

    1983-84Maidstone United
    In 1987, the league changed name to "Football Conference"
    1987-88Lincoln City
    1988-89Maidstone United
    1991-92Colchester United
    1992-93Wycombe Wanderers
    1993-94Kidderminster Harriers
    1994-95Macclesfield Town
    1995-96Stevenage Borough
    1996-97Macclesfield Town
    1997-98Halifax Town
    1998-99Cheltenham Town
    1999-00Kidderminster Harriers
    2000-01Rushden & Diamonds
    2001-02Boston United
    2002-03Yeovil Town
    2003-04Chester City
    In 2004, extra "North" and "South" divisions were added below the existing division, which was christened "National". The National Division became the Premier Division in 2007.
    Season National North South
    2004-05 Barnet Southport Grays Athletic
    2005-06 Accrington Stanley Northwich Victoria Weymouth
    2006-07 Dagenham & Redbridge Droylsden Histon
    Season Premier North South
    2007-08 Aldershot Town Kettering Town Lewes
    2008-09 Burton Albion Tamworth A F C Wimbledon
    2009-10 Stevenage Borough Southport Newport County
    2010-11 Crawley Town Alfreton Town Braintree Town
    2011-12 Fleetwood Town Hyde Woking
    2012-13 Mansfield Town Chester Welling United
    2013-14 Luton Town AFC Telford United Eastleigh
    2014-15 Barnet Barrow Bromley
    Another name change was made in 2015, this time to "The National League".
    Season National North South
    2015-16 Cheltenham Town Solihull Moors Sutton United
    2016-17 Lincoln City AFC Fylde Maidenhead United
    2017-18 Macclesfield Town Salford City Havant & Waterlooville
    2018-19 Leyton Orient Stockport County Torquay United

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