Football League III (North) Records

Division 3 North was formed in 1921, a year after the corresponding Division 3 South. Whereas the Southern Section was just the old Southern League Division 1 with Grimsby in place of Cardiff, the new Northern Section was drawn from a variety of Leagues: Stockport were relegated from Division 2; Grimsby transferred from Division 3 South; Walsall and Wrexham joined from the Birmingham League; Crewe, Nelson, Rochdale, Southport, Stalybridge Celtic and Tranmere joined from the Central League; Accrington Stanley, Barrow and Wigan Borough joined from the Lancashire Combination; Chesterfield, Halifax and Lincoln joined from the Midland League; Ashington, Darlington, Durham City and Hartlepool joined from the North-Eastern League. The Northern Section was extended to its full complement of 22 teams with the election of Doncaster (from the Midland League) and New Brighton (from the Lancashire Combination) in 1923. With a further extension to 24 teams each in 1950, the two regional divisions continued until 1958, when they were merged to form the national Divisions 3 and 4.

Of course, Reading did not compete in Division 3 North. They did however meet teams from the Northern Section several times in the FA Cup. Note that these are indicated by a 4 superscript in the record, with 3 indicating Division 3 South prior to 1958. Reading's complete record against Division 3 North teams is as follows:

            PL     W    D    L    GF    GA    PTS    P3/PL
HOME         7     2    1    4    11     9      5    1.000
AWAY         4     0    4    0     5     5      4    1.000
NEUTRAL      1     1    0    0     2     0      2    3.000
TOTAL       12     3    5    4    18    14     11    1.167
(7 seasons)

This can be broken down by opponent as follows (for details see here).

                        PL  HW HD HL  HF  HA  AW AD AL  AF  AA  PTS    P3
 1. Southport            3   0  1  0   1   1   1  1  0   3   1    2     5
 2. Chester City         2   1  0  0   3   0   0  1  0   3   3    3     4
 3. Wrexham              3   1  0  1   4   2   0  1  0   1   1    3     4
 4. Hull City            2   0  0  1   1   2   0  1  0   0   0    1     1
 5. Doncaster Rov        1   0  0  1   2   3   0  0  0   0   0    0     0
 6. Darlington           1   0  0  1   0   1   0  0  0   0   0    0     0

As with Division 3 South, it is possible to produce a complete table of all Division 3 North games between 1921 and 1958. It is ranked by the actual number of points gained.

                        PL     W    D    L    GF    GA    PTS
 1. Wrexham           1282   501  293  488  2040  1982   1295
 2. Tranmere Rov      1240   506  255  479  2073  1987   1267
 3. Stockport Co      1076   515  230  331  2027  1444   1260
 4. Rochdale          1282   472  268  542  2007  2239   1212
 5. Southport         1282   440  317  525  1811  2064   1197
 6. Hartlepool Utd    1282   469  255  558  1947  2212   1193
 7. Crewe Alexandra   1282   454  270  558  1944  2247   1178
 8. Accrington Stan   1282   467  240  575  2013  2343   1174
 9. Halifax Town      1282   438  297  547  1763  2120   1173
10. Darlington        1198   436  247  515  1932  2117   1119
11. Barrow            1282   427  257  598  1754  2242   1111
12. Gateshead          996   402  245  349  1689  1628   1049
13. Lincoln City       880   419  171  290  1667  1273   1009
14. Chesterfield       860   410  167  283  1555  1203    987
15. Carlisle Utd       996   365  217  414  1647  1795    947
16. York City          954   345  230  379  1573  1617    920
17. Rotherham Utd      884   366  171  347  1547  1502    903
18. Chester City       870   328  203  339  1460  1392    859
19. Doncaster Rov      712   329  172  211  1266   977    830
20. New Brighton       884   287  187  410  1191  1527    761
21. Bradford City      704   285  169  250  1166   996    739
22. Mansfield Town     704   280  165  259  1220  1141    725
23. Oldham Athletic    658   256  171  231  1085  1002    683
24. Bradford PA        616   272  133  211  1090   915    677
25. Hull City          468   222  112  134   875   604    556
26. Grimsby Town       432   200   85  147   672   534    485
27. Walsall            452   175   85  192   720   743    435
28. Scunthorpe Utd     368   151  106  111   577   478    408
29. Wigan Borough      412   145   94  173   635   706    384
30. Nelson             370   144   60  166   628   722    348
31. Barnsley           218   130   38   50   467   278    298
32. Workington T       322   110   77  135   472   524    297
33. Ashington          328   109   71  148   489   650    289
34. Port Vale          218   105   66   47   367   230    276
35. Durham City        286    95   54  137   394   529    244
36. Derby County        92    54   18   20   221   108    126
37. Stalybridge Cel     76    33   11   32   104   110     77
38. Stoke City          42    27    9    6    92    40     63
39. Wolverhampton W     42    24   15    3    76    27     63
40. Bury                46    23   10   13    94    62     56
41. Coventry City       42    16    6   20    73    82     38
42. Shrewsbury T        46    15    7   24    43    74     37

Barnsley, Doncaster and Lincoln were champions three times. Chesterfield, Grimsby, Hull, Port Vale and Stockport were each champions twice. Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue, Darlington, Derby, Nelson, Oldham, Rotherham, Scunthorpe, Stoke, Tranmere and Wolves were all champions once. Note that Rotherham's record includes that for Rotherham County, who merged with Rotherham Town (themselves a Division 2 club from 1893-96) to form the current Rotherham United club in 1925. Gateshead's record includes that for South Shields (to 1930).

Accrington Stanley, Barrow, Crewe, Halifax, Hartlepool, Rochdale, Southport and Wrexham were present for all 30 seasons of Division 3 North. Coventry, Grimsby, Mansfield, Port Vale, Shrewsbury and Walsall also competed in Division 3 South.

As a general rule, throughout these records, Division 3 South is ranked above Division 3 North. This is not just narrow parochialism (although that plays its part), but based on hard statistics - the analysis of results in the 1958-59 season. It is also supported by the representative games played between the two leagues in the 1950s. The South won on three occasions, the North on only one, and there were two draws.

    1954-55  Division 3 South     2    Division 3 North     0  (at Elm Park, Reading)
    1955-56  Division 3 North     3    Division 3 South     3  (at Peel Park, Accrington)
    1956-57  Division 3 South     2    Division 3 North     1  (at Highfield Road, Coventry)
             Division 3 North     2    Division 3 South     1  (at Edgeley Park, Stockport)
    1957-58  Division 3 South     2    Division 3 North     2  (at Selhurst Park, London)
             Division 3 North     0    Division 3 South     1  (at Brunton Park, Carlisle)

The Reading players to represent the South were: Wally Hinshelwood (at Elm Park), Jimmy Wheeler (at Peel Park), and Bill Davies (at Brunton Park).

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