Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

The last League club to fold

Posted by John Beech on January 12, 2010

As things look grim down South (and to a lesser extent to the West), there has been some memory-scratching going on – which was the last League club to fold?

I’ve heard this dubious distinction being awarded to Accrington Stanley with respect to Football League clubs.  Stanley resigned from the old Division 4 in March 1962, finally folding while in the Lancashire Combination in 1966.  The replacement team reappeared in the Lancashire Combination in 1970.

Bradford Park Avenue, who failed in seeking re-election to the Football League in 1970, folded in May 1974 while playing in the Northern Premier League.

Next to go was Gateshead, who folded in August 1977.  Having lost their Football League status in 1960, they were then playing in the Midland League.

In 1988 Newport County were relegated from the Football League to the Conference, and folded shortly afterwards.

Next to go was Aldershot in March 1992, while playing in the old Division 4.

Another notable, and just more recent, casualty was Maidstone United.  They folded in August 1992 while also in the old Division 4.

Thus any claim that ‘Accrington Stanley was the last League club to fold’ is wrong on two counts – they were no longer in the Football League when they finally folded, whereas both Aldershot and Maidstone United were, and folded much more recently.

For a club folding in the top flight, it is much harder to find any precedent, and I’d be pleased to hear from any football historian who can suggest one.


3 Responses to “The last League club to fold”

  1. Simon Darnell said

    I don’t think any club has ever folded whilst still in the top flight (unless it happened mid-season, with the records expunged afterwards), although if memory serves the original Accrington left the League directly from the highest level and folded soon after.

  2. Can’t think of any top flight club that has ever folded whilst in the top flight. Nearest example may be the original Accrington FC who resigned from the League rather than play in the 2nd division. Can think of three clubs who liquidated whilst in D2: Leeds City, Middlesbrough Ironopolis & New Brighton Tower.

  3. John Beech said

    And there was Darwen. Relegated from the top flight in 1894, they must have the record for most drawn out descent into oblivion as they folded as recently as May last year.

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