There’s no doubt that the English soccer league is among the most, if not the most, popular sports leagues in the world. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool are probably the first teams that come to mind when we think of English soccer.
Those teams compete in the Premier League, the top level of the English soccer league system. With 20 teams, the Premier League is, in fact, at the top of a large pyramid of teams.
Of course, not every team can compete in the Premier League. The bottom clubs at each level of the sport in England are relegated for the next season, while the best clubs are promoted.
For example, Sheffield United played heavyweights like Manchester United and Liverpool this past season, and they finished last in the Premier League. If that happens, Sheffield united will face teams like Birmingham City, Middlesbrough, and Preston North End in 2021-22.
The leagues are organized into a hierarchical structure, with promotion and relegation in place in each division. This l promotion and relegation system is the thing that keeps the audience entertained the most.
Maybe a list will help? To simplify this pyramid for you, check the below list of the tiers in the English league:
- Level 1: Premier League – Number of Teams: 20
- Level 2: English Football League Championship – Number of Teams: 24
- Level 3: English Football League One – Number of Teams: 24
- Level 4: English Football League Two – Number of Teams: 24
- Level 5: National League – Number of Teams: 24
- Level 6: National League South and North – Number of Teams: 24
Now that you have a brief idea about the English soccer league system, you know that the Premier League isn’t for everyone but only for those teams that qualify to compete at such a high level.
In this list, we’re going to spotlight the English cities with soccer clubs that haven’t experienced the Premier League, including one city without a soccer club!
Located in central southern England, Oxford is a city that’s well-known for its prestigious university, which was founded in the 12th century. It is known for its renowned university, which was founded in 1096.
The city’s thirty-eight colleges in the medieval center earned the nickname “City of Dreaming Spires” by poet Matthew Arnold.
The High Street is home to University College and Magdalen College. Unfortunately, it’s not blessed with a professional soccer team in the Premier League.
Oxford was relegated to the Conference National after finishing 23rd in the English league, making them the first former winners of a major trophy to be relegated from the Premier League.
Newport is a market town in the Shropshire borough of Telford and Wrekin. It is located near the Shropshire-Staffordshire borders, 6 miles north of Telford and 12 miles west of Stafford.
The town’s parish had 10,814 residents in the 2001 census, but by the 2011 census, the population had climbed to 11,387. According to the ONS, the town is included in the Telford urban area.
Although it is in Wales, Newport, like Swansea and Cardiff, competes in England and is now in League Two. Newport has suffered almost 25 years in a non-league position.
Newport was a major coal port in the nineteenth century, but the industry’s fall impacted the area in the twentieth century and beyond.
Lancaster is a city in the northwestern part of England. The ancient Lancaster Castle, perched on a hilltop, features 19th-century prison cells, antique furnishings, and panoramic views of the River Lune.
A butterfly house, woodland walks, and sea vistas are all available in Williamson Park. The Lancaster Maritime Museum delves into the city’s maritime history.
Despite all of this historic beauty, the city’s club is yet to have a taste of the Premier League. Lancaster city has long been a non-league team, and they currently compete in Division One North of the Northern Premier League, which is the seventh tier overall.
The ancient Romans founded York, a fortified city in northeast England. York Minster, the city’s massive Gothic cathedral from the 13th century, features medieval stained glass and two working bell towers.
The Monk Bar gate has an exhibition tracing the life of Plantagenet King Richard III in the 15th century.
While it’s an excellent destination for tourists, it’s not as great when it comes to its soccer club. The club is not a part of the Premier League, having played in the non-leagues for many seasons.
The club competes in the National League North, the sixth tier in England.
Peterborough is a city in the eastern English county of Cambridgeshire. It’s famous for the Gothic-style Peterborough Cathedral, which dates from the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Peterborough Museum features a reconstructed Victorian operating theatre, as well as fossils and paintings. Footpaths, woodlands, and the Ferry Meadows recreation area can all be found in Nene Park.
Aesthetics aside, Peterborough United, who are currently in League One, have never been able to provide the city with anything more than Championship level action, having spent most of their history since joining the Football League in the bottom two divisions.
The best they ever did in the second tier was finish 10th.
Plymouth is a port city in Devon, a county in the southwest of England. It is the second-largest city in the southwest of England and one of the country’s top 30 most populous cities.
It’s known for its maritime history and the ancient Barbican districts, which feature small, narrow, cobblestone streets.
The National Marine Aquarium is located in Sutton Harbour and houses a deep tank with rays and sharks. Several marinas and the Plymouth Fisheries – a seafood market – are also located in the harbor. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers took ships for the New World from the Mayflower Steps.
The team is currently playing in League One, the third tier of the English soccer system. Since 1901, they’ve played at Home Park, also known as the “Theatre of Greens”. Sadly for Plymouth, their team has never reached higher than the second tier of the English soccer league.
With dazzling architecture and waterside eateries, Salford Quays is a center of contemporary culture and entertainment. The Lowry arts center stages ballet and drama performances, as well as works by L.S. (a local 20th-century artist recognized for depicting city life).
The Imperial War Museum North hosts family events across the canal. At the Lowry Outlet mall, big-name retailers sell cheap clothing. Salford is on the outskirts of Manchester, with Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium located on the city’s famous quayside.
However, the city’s most successful soccer club is still climbing the non-league ladder. After being promoted from the National League in the 2018–19 season, they now play in League Two, the fourth tier of the English soccer league system.
Bristol is a maritime city in the southwest of England and straddles the River Avon. Its former city-center port, the Harbourside, is now a cultural hub where the M Shed museum explores social, local, and industrial history.
Restaurants, boutiques, and cultural institutions, such as the contemporary art gallery The Arnolfini, have been added to the harbor’s 19th-century warehouses.
In 2008, Bristol City came within 90 minutes of joining the Premier League but was defeated in the Championship play-off final by Hull. Bristol Rovers have spent most of the Premier League’s existence in the third tier or lower and briefly slid into non-league in 2014.
They currently compete in League Two, the fourth tier of the English soccer league system.
Wakefield is a cathedral city in West Yorkshire, England, and the administrative center of the City of Wakefield district. The city is located on the Calder River, which runs along the eastern side of the Pennines. Its parish church turned to cathedral status in 1888.
Wakefield is recognized as a rugby league city, with the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats joining the ‘Super League’ in 1998.
You’d be surprised that Wakefield doesn’t have a soccer club. Some claim Wakefield is a rugby league town, while others say it’s because people support other soccer clubs in West Yorkshire’s surrounding areas.
The city’s team dissolved in 2014 after spending their final season in the Northern Premier League Division One North, the English soccer league’s eighth tier.
Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.