Season 156 Review
League champions Arsenal had an indifferent season in defence of their title and by the halfway stage were ten points behind the leaders Chelsea. Chelsea, runners-up last season, started well and after 12 games were nine points clear, having won all but one of their first thirteen game. Another run of consistency in the new year period saw them win 10 games in a 12-game unbeaten run and they were unable to be caught. The surprise chasers were Aston Villa, and, due to a remarkable slump by Chelsea, who only garnered three points from their last six games, kept the race open until the penultimate match. A 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal eventually handed the title to Chelsea and Villa finished five points adrift, but a satisfying eight points clear of Liverpool. The championship is only Chelsea's second, the previous occasion being as long ago as season 13. Bolton Wanderers had another relatively satisfying season, ending up fourth on the same points as Arsenal. Manchester United had another disappointing season, finishing sixth and never really challenging at any point.
Of the three promoted clubs, Fulham performed the best, and finished in a creditable 11th place. Charlton finished 14th. Tottenham Hotspur, last season's Division 1 champions, struggled and only avoided the drop at the last gasp, three points ahead of West Ham United, who were relegated after 19 seasons in the top flight. Southampton took the drop with them along with Leeds United, who ended a run of 44 seasons in the Premier Division.
In Division 1, Newcastle United bounced straight back to the top drawer, after having a slow start to the season. Two seven-game unbeaten runs, broken only by a 3-5 reverse at Wigan (in front of their lowest crowd of the season of just under 6,000), including a 7-0 victory over Wimbledon, either side of Christmas saw them reach the top of the table and they were never caught. Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Reading chased them hard, and Blackburn had secured promotion in their penultimate fixture when a 5-0 victory against Leicester City clinched the runners-up spot, ending an 11-season run in the second tier. This left Reading and Sheffield United to contest for the remaining promotion place. On the last day of the season Reading were in third place on 81 points and visited the Sheffield club, who sat one point behind on 80 points. A draw would have given Reading the promotion place but United, who have narrowly missed out on promotion in the last two seasons, triumphed by a score of 3-2, and the third promotion place was theirs. At the bottom end of the table, Leyton Orient dropped straight back into the Second whilst Wimbledon continued their fall from grace; they were in the Premiership just two seasons ago. Joining them were Bury, who ended a 7-year run in the second tier.
The three promoted clubs from Division Two were Colchester United, Tranmere Rovers and Luton Town. Colchester won the section handsomely with a total of 97 points, and go into the First for the first time in 41 seasons. Tranmere bounced straight back up, having come down only last season. Norwich City, ever promotion hopefuls, failed once again, finishing sixth but only four points from success. They must be favourites to go up soon. Wycombe Wanderers, Brighton, Crewe Alexandra and Northampton Town dropped to the bottom division.
In the Third Division, Colchester United attained a superb 100 points in taking the title, but the standard in the section was high, with both Swansea City and Grimsby Town reaching 95 points. Carlisle United limped up in fourth place on goal difference from Lincoln City, 16 points behind the top three.
A.F.L. Cup to follow.
Liverpool won the A.F.L. Trophy, beating Sheffield United 4-0 in the final.
Plymouth Argyle, who finished fifth in the Second Division, contested the A.F.L. Vase final against runaway winners of Division Three, Doncaster Rovers. For the second season in a row the Southern representatives won the competion, the final score being 2-1.