United League

The United League was founded in 1896 to provide additional mid-week fixtures for teams drawn from a number of leagues. The founder members were Arsenal and Loughborough from the Football League, Luton, Millwall and Tottenham from the Southern League, and Kettering, Rushden and Wellingborough from the Midland League. Reading joined the League for its third season, 1898-99, finishing in sixth place. They then joined a general exodus of the Southern teams, leaving the United League with a rump of Midlands teams. A number of new teams were recruited, including the recently formed Northampton Town, and the less notable Desborough Unity and Finedon Revellers. The League struggled on in this form for three seasons, before being suspended in 1902.

The League was re-formed in 1905 solely as a secondary competition for Southern League teams, although membership soon dwindled. A Northern Section was formed in 1908, with the Southern champions, New Brompton (later to become Gillingham), beating the Northern champions, Rotherham Town (later to merge with Rotherham County to form Rotherham United), 4-1 in a play-off. However, this was the final curtain and the League folded.

The following table gives the champions and runners-up:

                         Champions                 Runners-up
    1896-97  United      Millwall Athletic         Luton Town
    1897-98  United      Luton Town                Tottenham Hotspur
    1898-99  United      Millwall Athletic         Southampton
    1899-00  United      Wellingborough            Kettering
    1900-01  United      Rothwell Town Swifts      Luton Town
    1901-02  United      Irthlingborough Town      Rothwell Town Swifts
    1902-05  United      no competition
    1905-06  United      Watford                   Crystal Palace
    1906-07  United      Crystal Palace            Brighton & Hove Alb
    1907-08  United      Brentford                 Southend United
    1908-09  United      New Brompton         4    Rotherham Town       1

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