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Isthmian League

Isthmian League logo

Formed in 1905, The Isthmian League soon became the primary amateur league in the South of England.

Starting, as many early leagues did, in a small manner with six clubs, the league had to survive a crisis after only two seasons, when three of the six all left to join the Amateur Football Assocation. Luckily, replacements were found, and a year later, the league expanded to 10 teams.

Since then, the league has usually had many more clubs wanting to join than it has vacancies. For a long period, membership was by invitiation only, many ambitious clubs being unable to convince existing members that they deserved a place at the expense of an existing club. The closed shop situation was not really broken until the 1950s when Barking and Bromley joined. A few new clubs followed, including no less than 4 in 1963, mainly from the Athenian League.

In 1973 the league took a step many had been clamouring for for decades - a second division was formed, again absorbing mainly Athenian League clubs. Since then, further expansion and eventual assimilation into the national pyramid system has seen the structure of the league form into a very strong league of several divisions, the top division being a direct feeder to the Football Conference.

The amateur status of the league, maintained until the distinction between professional and amateur players was abolished in 1974, meant that the member clubs all had the F.A. Amateur Cup to compete for, and very successful they were too. On no less than 30 occasions did an Isthmian club pick up the Cup, Clapton leading the way with 5, closely followed by Dulwich Hamlet with 4.

After a swathe of re-organisations of non-league football, the clubs of the Isthmian League were split between the F.A. Trophy and the F.A. Vase. Dagenham in 1979-80, followed by Bishop's Stortford the year after were the first Isthmian clubs to take the Trophy at Wembley. Yeading are the only Isthmian club to lift the Vase, while Southall, Oxford City and Berkhamsted Town have all been losing finalists. Since 2006, all Isthmian clubs play in the Trophy.

Although it's geographic coverage has shifted somewhat due to the re-organisation of the non-league pyramid, the league is currently the highest regional league for a large swathe of the South East of England, covering clubs from the South Midlands to the South Coast, and from the New Forest eastwards to the North Sea.

Currently the league consists of 3 divisions of up to 22 clubs each, a Premier Division and two Division Ones split North and South.

 

Sponsors of the Isthmian League

 

Single Division only

Season Champions
1905-06 London Caledonians
1906-07 Ilford
1907-08 London Caledonians
1908-09 Bromley
1909-10 Bromley
1910-11 Clapton
1911-12 London Caledonians
1912-13 London Caledonians
1913-14 London Caledonians
1914-19 Competition suspended
1919 Leytonstone
1919-20 Dulwich Hamlet
1920-21 Ilford
1921-22 Ilford
1922-23 Clapton
1923-24 St Albans City
1924-25 London Caledonians
1925-26 Dulwich Hamlet
1926-27 St Albans City
1927-28 St Albans City
1928-29 Nunhead
1929-30 Nunhead
1930-31 Wimbledon
1931-32 Wimbledon
1932-33 Dulwich Hamlet
1933-34 Kingstonian
1934-35 Wimbledon
1935-36 Wimbledon
1936-37 Kingstonian
1937-38 Leytonstone
1938-39 Leytonstone
1939-45 Competition suspended
1945-46 Walthamstow Avenue
1946-47 Leytonstone
1947-48 Leytonstone
1948-49 Dulwich Hamlet
1949-50 Leytonstone
1950-51 Leytonstone
1951-52 Leytonstone
1952-53 Walthamstow Avenue
1953-54 Bromley
1954-55 Walthamstow Avenue
1955-56 Wycombe Wanderers
1956-57 Wycombe Wanderers
1957-58 Tooting & Mitcham United
1958-59 Wimbledon
1959-60 Tooting & Mitcham United
1960-61 Bromley
1961-62 Wimbledon
1962-63 Wimbledon
1963-64 Wimbledon
1964-65 Hendon
1965-66 Leytonstone
1966-67 Sutton United
1967-68 Enfield
1968-69 Enfield
1969-70 Enfield
1970-71 Wycombe Wanderers
1971-72 Wycombe Wanderers
1972-73 Hendon
 

Divisions One and Two

Season Division One Division Two
1973-74 Wycombe Wanderers Dagenham
1974-75 Wycombe Wanderers Staines Town
1975-76 Enfield Tilbury
1976-77 Enfield Boreham Wood
 

Premier Division, Divisions One and Two

Season Premier Division Division One Division Two
1977-78 Enfield Dulwich Hamlet Epsom & Ewell
1978-79 Barking Harlow Town Farnborough Town
1979-80 Enfield Leytonstone Ilford Billericay Town
1980-81 Slough Town Bishop's Stortford Feltham
1981-82 Leytonstone Ilford Wokingham Town Worthing
1982-83 Wycombe Wanderers Worthing Clapton
1983-84 Harrow Borough Windsor & Eton Basildon United
 

Premier Division, Divisions One, Two North and Two South

Season Premier Division Division One Division Two North Division Two South
1984-85 Sutton United Farnborough Town Leyton-Wingate Grays Athletic
1985-86 Sutton United St Albans City Stevenage Borough Southwick
1986-87 Wycombe Wanderers Leytonstone Ilford Chesham United Woking
1987-88 Yeovil Town Marlow Wivenhoe Town Chalfont St Peter
1988-89 Leytonstone Ilford Staines Town Harlow Town Dorking
1989-90 Slough Town Wivenhoe Town Heybridge Swifts Yeading
1990-91 Redbridge Forest Chesham United Stevenage Borough Abingdon Town
 

Premier Division, Divisions One, Two and Three

Season Premier Division Division One Division Two Division Three
1991-92 Woking Stevenage Borough Purfleet Edgware Town
1992-93 Chesham United Hitchin Town Worthing Aldershot Town
1993-94 Stevenage Borough Bishop's Stortford Newbury Town Bracknell Town
1994-95 Enfield Boreham Wood Thame United Collier Row
1995-96 Hayes Oxford City Canvey Island Horsham
1996-97 Yeovil Town Chesham United Collier Row & Romford Wealdstone
1997-98 Kingstonian Aldershot Town Canvey Island Hemel Hempstead
1998-99 Sutton United Canvey Island Bedford Town Ford United
1999-00 Dagenham & Redbridge Croydon Hemel Hempstead Town East Thurrock United
2000-01 Farnborough Town Boreham Wood Tooting & Mitcham United Arlesey Town
2001-02 Gravesend & Northfleet Ford United Lewes Croydon Athletic
 

Premier Division, Divisions One North, One South and Two

Season Premier Division Division One North Division One South Division Two
2002-03 Aldershot Town Northwood Carshalton Athletic Cheshunt
2003-04 Canvey Island Yeading Lewes Leighton Town
 

Premier Division, Divisions One and Two

Season Premier Division Division One Division Two
2004-05 Yeading A F C Wimbledon Ilford
2005-06 Braintree Town Ramsgate Ware
 

Premier Division, Division One North and South

Season Premier Division Division One North Division One South
2006-07 Hampton & Richmond Borough A F C Hornchurch Maidstone United
2007-08 Chelmsford City Dartford Dover Athletic
2008-09 Dover Athletic Aveley Kingstonian
2009-10 Dartford Lowestoft Town Croydon Athletic
2010-11 Sutton United East Thurrock United Metropolitan Police
2011-12 Billericay Town Leiston Bognor Regis Town

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