National League

The National League are, in some sense the gateway to professional football in the UK. In fact, the League composes of a mixture of both semi-professional and professional clubs. Unlike the other four higher divisions, that are all made up of professional clubs. As such, it is the lowest-ranked League in the UK. Meaning that on the overall scale it ranks fifth, but it’s the highest level of the National League System. Also, to keep in mind, the name may appear different in some settings. As it also called the Vanarama League, due to a sponsorship agreement. Yet, some readers and core fans may still refer to its older name, the Conference National. However, in June 6th 2015 it was official rebranded, and the League saw an overhaul. Which leads us to the current time and its name National League.

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Quick history

We already know the exact date and year the League got its new identity. But to give you some more background lets venture down the memory lane. To find the roots, we need to go back to the late 70s, more precise, 1979. Where the leading teams from the Southern Premier League and Northern League launched the Alliance Premier League. By then, it had one single division at its first 25 years of existence. However, in the season 2004/05, a split where made and 3 identities introduced, that persists to this day. As such you will see the main National League, and the two linked but one step lower the League North, and League South. All following the rules and regulations from the National League System (NLS) Committee. Now when you know the origin and rough outlines of said League, let’s check out the teams and what they play for.

How many teams include in the National League?

All in all, the whole vertical of the National League system has roughly a hundred divisions and thousands of teams. Although, the top 3 in the NLS system contains 68 teams. Where the National League has 24, the League North 22, and League South 22. Also, as the League follows the exact same guidelines as the higher one, the same round-robin system comes into account when games play. Meaning that all the team in the same League is playing each other 2 times, home and away. Plus, the rules and regulations apply down to the lowest teams. Saying that no matter where the team is currently positioned, they always have a theoretically chance to climb to the very top.

A season of National League

The League follow the same guidelines as the rest of the football pyramid in the UK. Therefore, a season as such plays between August and May. So when you see the fixtures and result display per season, you going to see it named like 2019/20. Which means, 2019 indicates August while 20 is the following years May. Besides the season walking hand in hand as the rest of the divisions, the same is true about the moving up and moving down, with one minor difference. The club that is National League champions in the at the end of the season is automatically promoted to League Two. While the second spot gets determined after 2nd to 7th placed teams gone through a play-off. While the bottom 4 teams demote to either North or South division. Which is mainly decided by geography. Although, the final saying comes from the NLS Committee.

Who owns the League?

As same as any organization or company structure, the League is per definition structured the same. Meaning that there is a board of directors that is the runner or organiser of the competition. Yet, as the name indicates, Vanarama National League is economically supported by individuals and other companies. All in the spirit to keep the greatly appreciated sport alive in the UK.national league

National League competition champions

As for a club taking home the title more than once. We have to go back as far as the 90s. Where the first position is a two-way tie in between Barnet (1990/91, 2004/05, 2014/15) and Macclesfield Town (1994/95, 1996/97, 2017/18). While 6 teams heavily populate the second place. In no particular order, we have Altrincham (1980/81, 1979/80) Cheltenham Town (1998/99, 2015/16) Enfield (1982/83, 1985/86) Kidderminster Harriers (1993/94, 1999/00) Lincoln City (1987/88, 2016/17) Stevenage Borough (1995/96, 2009/10).

Extraordinary moments in National League

One thing the lower Leagues do so well is to produce some results and record you would have a hard time achieving when playing in the top segment. And some of the recorded moment is truly extraordinary. How about when Yeovil Town (2002/03) and Crawley Town (2010/11) saw through the season with only 3 defeats. Or when the clubs Barnet (1990/91) and Hereford United (2003/04) made 103 confirmed goals in one season. However, one of the more impressive ones has to be when Bristol Rovers and Grimsby Town played the play-off final in 2014/15 season, and 47,000 people showed up.

Top goal scorers and record keepers in National League

Looking into the records of the top goal producers in the League, we find some truly amazing results. And coming in on the first place we have Ricky Miller and his 42 goals in one season if that is not impressive we don’t know what is. Second place is currently held by Matt Tubbs with 37 successes. The third-place is in no sense a bad place to be, especially when you manage to connect to the net 36 times as Stuart Fleetwood did.

Live viewership and the home audience

For the last seven to ten years, the audience showing up to the games has been steady and even. Although, as expected, the numbers are not particularly high, and coming in on an average of around 2,000. And the distribution is noticeable as well, where the top-ranking team see an audience of around 5,000. While the bottom teams looking at numbers dipping down under a thousand. But, it does help the league that more and more sportsbook operators are picking up odds to bet on.

Can you place bets on National League?

As a matter of fact, the League and its odds are usually the same as League Two, With one big difference. Sure you might have the same number of odds except that it will not include all the teams. To explain, While League Two could get cover by the sportsbook operator with all the 24 teams playing. The National League is more likely only to represent by a selected few. Yet you going to find odds worth your time, like 3-Way handicap and full-time result odds.