World War I Leagues

London Combination

On the outbreak of the First World War both the Football League and Southern League attempted to continue, a decision that attracted some criticism. When they were eventually suspected in 1915 the leading teams from London formed the London Combination. Reading were initially refused admission to the main competition, but did participate in the second, supplementary tournament. In the 1916-17 season, Reading participated in the main competition, but resigned after just seven games, their place being taken by Portsmouth. In following seasons membership was restricted to London clubs. The success of the London Combination lead to some talk of a breakaway London League in 1919, but this was forestalled by the Football League who elected Chelsea and Arsenal to an expanded Division 1 and West Ham from the Southern League to Division 2. Instead the London Combination became a reserve league, eventually extending to the rest of the South of England and being renamed the Football Combination.

Champions Runners-up
1915-16 LCO Chelsea Millwall
LCO-2 Chelsea West Ham United
1916-17 LCO West Ham United Millwall
1917-18 LCO Chelsea West Ham United
1918-19 LCO Brentford Arsenal

South Western Combination

The South Western Combination lasted only one season, with Southampton and Portsmouth joining the London Combination for the 1916-17 season.

Champions Runners-up
1915-16 SWCO Portsmouth Southampton

Football League Lancashire & Midland Sections

The Football League, which was still largely a northern affair, formed two sections – based in Lancashire and the Midlands. Each section competed in a primary competition, with a play-off between the two champions after 1917-18, and then were split into smaller groups for a supplementary competition. Following the end of the War in 1918-19, two additional Victory Leagues were organised, won by Middlesbrough and West Brom respectively.

Champions Runners-up
1915-16 Lancs Manchester City Burnley
Mid Nottingham Forest Sheffield United
1916-17 Lancs Liverpool Stockport County
Mid Leeds City Barnsley
1917-18 Lancs Stoke Liverpool
Mid Leeds City1 Sheffield United
1918-19 Lancs Everton Stoke
Mid Nottingham Forest2 Birmingham
1 Leeds City beat Stoke 2-0 / 0-1 in play-off
2 Nottingham Forest beat Everton 0-0 / 1-0 in play-off