No Deposit Poker

How It Works 11 – A Beginners Guide to English Football Pyramid

Ever wondered how the English Football Pyramid is organised? Check out all the key information right here!

Say you wanted to start a football team with the aim of eventually working your way to the highest level of football in England. How could you do it?

The answer is by working your way up the English Football Pyramid.

This is the foundation of football in England with its 11 levels defining how teams can move up and down the Pyramid each season.

Yet it is strange to consider that outside of the top four or five divisions, many football fans and punters are clueless as to how the Pyramid works.

If you are one of them, then this article is for you!

What Is The History Of The English Football Pyramid?

Although the names of the divisions and the number of teams competing in them has changed, the English Football Pyramid has remained as a structure for many years.

As the game expanded as a professional game, so did the number of amateur clubs who wanted to complete below professional level.

With the expansion of football across the UK, a system for promotion and relegation between linked leagues was defined and the first stages of the football pyramid were devised.

As the number of leagues and teams grew, so did the size of the pyramid, which now goes down to 11 levels of the game in England.

How Are The 92 Football League & Premier League Clubs Organised?

Here is how the top five levels of the Football Pyramid in the UK are organised.

LevelLeagueNo of ClubsPromotionsRelegations
1Premier League20N/A3
2EFL Championship2433
3EFL League One2434
4EFL League Two2442
5National League2424

We have divided the pyramid here. That is because from here on, promotion and relegation to divisions can be complicated. This being due to numerous regional leagues feeding into one league above.

From the Championship to the National League, one promotion place is reserved for the winner of the end of season playoff competition. The other promotion places are awarded to the other teams based on league performance.

How Does The Pyramid Structure Continue into Non-League Football?

At Level 6 in the Pyramid, things start to get more complicated. The number of leagues that feed into leagues above them, and relegate teams into leagues below them, increases. Thus making the Pyramid much more complex from level 6 onwards.

We have split the Pyramid into two sections. The first which feeds into the National League North. The Second which feeds into the National League South. Both of these divisions then feed into the National League at Level 5 in the Pyramid

Pyramid Feeding into National League North (Levels 6 to 11)

LevelLeaguesNo of ClubsPromotionsRelegations
6National League North2424
7Southern League Premier Division Central2224
Northern Premier League2224
8Northern Premier League Division One East2022
Northern Premier League Division One West2022
Northern Premier League Division One Central2022
Southern League Division One Central2022
9Northern League Division One2021
Northern Counties East League Premier Division2021
Northern Counties West League Premier Division2421
Midland League Premier Division1821
United Counties League Premier North1821
United Counties League Premier South2021
Hellenic League Premier2021
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division2021
10Combined Counties League2220-3
Eastern Counties League Division 1 North2120-3
Eastern Counties League Division 1 South2220-3
Hellenic League Division 12020-3
Midland League Division 12020-3
North West Counties League Division 1 North1920-3
North West Counties League Division 1 South1820-3
Northern Counties East League Division 12420-3
Northern League Division 22220-3
11Regional Feeder Leagues790TBCTBC

Pyramid Feeding Into National League South (Levels 6 to 11)

LevelLeaguesNo of ClubsPromotionsRelegations
6National League South2424
7Southern League Premier Division South2224
Isthmian League2224
8Southern League Division 1 South2022
Isthmian League Division 1 South Central2022
Isthmian League Division 1 North2022
Istmian League Division 1 South East2022
9Wessex League Premier2021
Western League Premier1921
Combined Counties Premier North2421
Combined Counties Premier South1821
Eastern Counties Premier1821
Essex Senior League2021
Southern Combination League Premier2021
Southern Counties East Premier2121
10South West Peninsula League Premier East1720-3
South West Peninsula League Premier West1720-3
Southern Combination League Division 11820-3
Southern Counties East League Division 11620-3
Spartan South Midlands League Division 12020-3
United Counties League Division 12220-3
Wessex League Division 12120-3
Western League Division 12220-3
11Regional Feeder Leagues790TBCTBC

When looking at the soccer betting available at Bet365 Sport you will see a main focus on top competitions. However, there are also plenty of other bets available down the English Football Pyramid.

Many of these are outright bets. Such as which team will win the league down to the National Leagues North and South. We now know these divisions are one step below the 5th tier of English Football.

These outright bets, as well as bets on fixtures being played are the most popular bets for football fans.

It should be noted that the lower down the pyramid you go, there are fewer betting markets that tend to be available on fixtures.

As such, most football bets tend to be focused on teams in the Football League and above. Admittedly, with a huge concentration on the Premier League.

Which Teams have moved up the Football Pyramid the most?

Over the years there have been a number of teams that have made significant progress up the football pyramid.

Luton Town – In 1992, Luton Town were relegated from the top flight of English football the season before the Premier League started. By 2002, they were in what is now League Two, having suffered two further relegations.

Despite off the field issues, Luton gained promotion back to the Championship by 2005. But soon they fell back down the leagues again, dropping out of the Football League in 2008/9.

They returned to the Football League in 2015. They then followed that with successive promotions in 2018 and 2019 from League Two and League One.

And last season they completed their journey to the Premier League with a Playoff Final victory over Coventry.

Swansea City – In the 1980s, John Toshack’s Swansea came from what was then League Division Four, earning successive promotions to join League Division 1 (now the Premier League).

However after Toshack left for lucrative job offers in Spain, the Swans fortunes declined and they were relegated from the top flight and back down to League Two within the space of a few years.

Then the Swans did the same trick once again, coming up from the lower leagues to join the Premier League. They moved from League 2 in 2004/05 and were in the Premier League by the 2011/12 season.

They were relegated in the 2017/18 season and have remained in the Championship since.

Salford FC – Salford have come from the very lowest reaches of the Football Pyramid, minor local leagues, to the Football League.

After reaching the Northern Premier League, the club was taken over in 2014 by former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers, plus Peter Lim.

David Beckham also purchased 10% of the club a short time later from Lim. They have since climbed from the Northern Premier League through the National League North and National League to EFL Division 2, where they lost in the playoffs last season.

Which Teams have dropped down the Football Pyramid the furthest?

Scunthorpe United – Back in 2010, the Irons were celebrating promotion to the Championship for the second time in three years. 

Two years later, Scunthorpe had dropped into League One and another two years saw them drop into League 2.

They immediately got promoted to League One again, but after a five year stay were relegated back to League 2.

Then in 2021/22 they dropped into the National League. However, last season, they finished bottom of the National League to drop into the National League North.

Oldham Athletic – One of the founder teams of the Premier League, the Latics dropped out of the football league a couple of years ago for the first time.

They are now playing in the National League. A story of dropping down from the top level to the fifth level of the football pyramid in the space of 28 years.

Who are the most famous and successful teams outside the Football League?

There are numerous famous clubs who are now playing outside of the Football League in the lower levels of the Football Pyramid.

Vanarama National League – Level 5

  • Aldershot Town
  • Barnet
  • Chesterfield
  • Gateshead
  • Halifax Town
  • Hartlepool
  • Oldham Athletic
  • Rochdale
  • Southend United
  • York City

National League North – Level 6

  • Chester City
  • Darlington
  • Hereford
  • Scarborough
  • Scunthorpe United
  • Southport

National League South – Level 6

  • Maidstone United
  • Torquay United
  • Yeovil Town

Other Teams

  • Bury AFC (North West Counties League Premier)
  • Macclesfield Town (Northern Premier League)
  • Workington (Northern Premier League)

Ian John

Working my way though the UK's top online poker sites (and some of the ones near the bottom as well) to bring you a first-hand take on the absolute best choices for online poker players from the UK.

Welcome to is an affiliate of the brands we promote throughout this site. While we strive to maintain accuracy throughout our content, we do receive compensation for this promotion.

Here you will find the latest no deposit poker bonuses from the top poker rooms for players from the UK and beyond.

We currently have deals available from some of the UK's top poker rooms that let you play for real money without making any deposit. Use any of the links you see on this site to secure great poker deals at reputable online sites.

UK Poker News& Notes