Football League
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1896-97

Football League 1897-98

1898-99
  
Final League Table - Division I
Teams in a silver box denotes a player representing England in 1897-98
Team P Home Away
W D L F A W D L F A
Sheffield United 30 9 4 2 27 14 8 4 3 29 17 42
Sunderland 30 12 2 1 27 8 4 3 8 16 22 37
Wolverhampton Wanderers 30 10 4 1 36 14 4 3 8 21 27 35
Everton 30 11 3 1 33 12 2 6 7 15 27 35
The Wednesday 30 12 0 3 39 15 3 3 9 12 27 33
Aston Villa 30 12 1 2 47 21 2 4 9 14 30 33
West Bromwich Albion 30 8 5 2 25 16 3 5 7 19 29 32
Nottingham Forest 30 7 5 3 30 19 4 4 7 17 30 31
Liverpool 30 7 4 4 27 16 4 2 9 21 29 28
Derby County 30 10 3 2 40 19 1 3 11 17 42 28
Bolton Wanderers 30 9 2 4 18 13 2 2 11 10 28 26
Preston North End 30 7 5 3 26 15 1 3 11 9 28 24
Notts County 30 4 6 5 23 23 4 2 9 13 23 24
Bury 30 8 3 4 25 19 0 5 10 14 32 24
Blackburn Rovers 30 4 7 4 20 22 3 3 9 19 32 24
Stoke 30 8 3 4 21 14 0 5 10 14 41 24

Sunderland recorded a seven-match winning run from 27 December 1897:
Liverpool (a) 2-0, Preston (h) 1-0, Notts C. (h) 2-0, Stoke (a) 1-0, Bury (h) 2-1, Liverpool (h) 1-0, Notts C. (a) 1-0, before drawing 2-2 at West Brom on 19 February 1898.
Sheffield United's biggest winning sequence was of five matches.


 
How The League Was Won 1897-98 Season
Timeline
21 consecutive Saturdays from 4 September 1897 to 22 January 1898, plus Boxing Day (Monday, 27th December 1897), Good Friday, 8 April 1898 and Easter Monday, 11 April 1898
With no games allowed in August, there were three opening games on Wednesday, 1 September 1897 and a fourth on the following day. An additional game was played on the last Monday in September, plus one each on the first Monday and Thursday in October, two on Mondays in November, one each on the two days following Boxing Day (Christmas Day and New Year's Day were both on a Saturday) and two on Mondays in January. The remaining games were played on Saturdays, apart from one on a Monday and two on a Tuesday in February, one each on a Monday and a Tuesday, and two on a Thursday in March, and two on a Monday (not including Easter) and one each on a Tuesday and a Thursday in April, with the FA Cup taking precedence on five weekends from the first round on 29 January 1898 to the final on 16 April 1898 (a week later than the previous season which had been brought forward to avoid Easter). There were two weeks between each round, three weeks before the semi-finals and four before the final. The first test match was played four days after the final (on a Wednesday), with the second on the following day. Two games were played on each of the remaining Saturdays, with the other two played on the Tuesday and Thursday in-between. The last league game was on Saturday 30 April (Aston V. 2-0 Nottingham F.), the same day as the test matches were concluded (although ultimately rendered irrelevant as the first division was expanded to 18 clubs).
Saturday, 2 April 1898
Sheffield United 1 Sunderland 0
  
Bramall Lane, Sheffield (20,000)

Johnson

Sunderland missed their big opportunity to go above United, who had released Ernest Needham to play for England at Celtic Park. Defeat left them three points adrift, with three games left, as opposed to United's two. West Brom's defeat at Bolton reduced their chances to only being able to win the title on goal average, but this hope was extinguished, two days later, when they lost at home to Notts County.
Top Two 3 April 1898
Team P
Sheffield United 28 38
Sunderland 27 35

 
Good Friday, 8 April 1898
Bolton Wanderers 0 Sheffield United 1
  
Burnden Park, Bolton (19,395)

Needham
Sunderland struggled at Bury, where they lost two players to injuries early on and United's win at Bolton extended their lead to five points and secured their first title.
Bury 1 Sunderland 0
 
  Gigg Lane, Bury (11,600)

Barbour

 
The Elite League 1897-98 Season (games between the top four)
Team P Home Away
W D L F A W D L F A
Sheffield United 6 2 1 0 3 1 1 1 1 6 5 8
Everton 6 2 0 1 6 4 1 2 0 3 2 8
Sunderland 6 2 1 0 6 3 0 0 3 2 7 5
Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 1 1 1 7 6 0 0 3 3 8 3
Only Sheffield United retained their top-four placing from the previous season. Aston Villa, Derby County and Preston North End all dropped out of the top four. This is not an official league, with tiebreak criteria, but Sheffield United have been placed first, due to both their superior Football League position and their head-to-head record against Everton (4-1 on aggregate).
Games played between the top two:-
Saturday, 5 March 1898
 Sunderland 3 Sheffield United 1
  
Newcastle Road, Sunderland (20,000)

Howell OG
, Wilson, Leslie ~ Cunningham
Saturday, 2 April 1898
Sheffield United 1 Sunderland 0
   Bramall Lane, Sheffield (20,000)

Johnson

 
The Continuous League 1888-98 (first ten seasons)
Team P Wins
Aston Villa 272 148 339
Everton 272 141 324
Preston North End 272 135 318
Sunderland 228 129 297
Everton moved ahead of Preston to go back into second place, but Aston Villa increased their lead at the top to 15 points. This was the sixth and final season of thirty games each, following three of 22 and one of 26 games each, so comparisons with other seasons have little relevance. Sunderland still had the highest average points per game from their eight seasons.
The 'Thirty Games' League
1892-98 (last six seasons)
Team P Wins
Aston Villa 180 107 243
Sunderland 180 98 230
Everton 180 92 216
Derby County 180 76 189
Sunderland reduced Aston Villa's lead to 13 points.
The 'Rolling Five-Season' League
1893-98
Team P Wins
Aston Villa 150 91 208
Sunderland 150 76 182
Everton 150 76 180
Sheffield United 150 67 167
Aston Villa increased their lead to 26 points.

 
Champions: Sheffield United
Manager: Joseph Wostinholm
1897-98 Most Appearances
by England Players
Name Played Goals
Willie Foulke 29  
Ernest Needham 29 8
Harry Thickitt 29  
Fred Priest 28 4
Walter Bennett 26 12
Tommy Morren 26 2
Ran Howell 24  
Walter Bennett, Willie Foulke and Rab Howell did not play for England in 1897-98. Harry Thickitt.did not make his England debut until 1899 and Fred Priest did not make his England debut until 1900.
1897-98 Most Goals
by England Players
Name Played Goals
Walter Bennett 26 12
Ernest Needham 29 8
Villa's Fred Wheldon was top scorer with 23 goals.
Fred Spiksley of The Wednesday was second on the list with 17 and Derby's Steve Bloomer scored 15.

 
England and the Football League 1897-98 Season
England's impact on the Football League
Of the 33 playing positions used during the active 1897-98 season, Football League players provided 23 of them, and of the nine goals scored, League players scored seven of them.
Seven of the 16 first division clubs were represented.
Six Football League games had a direct impact on two of England's games, on 5 March and 2 April.
As a result, on 5 March, England took Aston Villa's Charlie Athersmith and Fred Wheldon, Derby's Jimmy Turner and Sheffield United's Tom Morren. On 2 April, Villa were again without Athersmith and Wheldon, Nottingham Forest were without Frank Forman, Sheffield United were without Ernest Needham and England also took West Brom's Billy Williams.
 
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