Football in North East England
Just like elsewhere in England, football is hugely popular in North East England. Most region’s football teams are competing in the Northern League which is the oldest still existing football league in the world after the Football League. The champions and the runner-up of the Northern League Division One are eligible for promotion into the Northern Premier League which together with the Southern League and the Isthmian League forms the 7 and 8 level on the pyramid of the English football league system. Two North East England football teams compete in the Premier League:
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United F.C. was founded in 1892 when Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End merged into Newcastle United. At the start of the 1893-94 season, the team was invited into the Football League Second Division and five years later joined the First League. The first major success came in the early 20th century when the team took three League Championship titles – in 1904-05, 1906-07 and 1908-09. In the 1900s, the team also reached three FA Cup finals but won only in 1910, winning Barnsley FC.
The success continued in the 1920s and early 1930s and Newcastle United took two more FA Cup titles and won the First Division for the fourth time. But after the 1933-34 season, Newcastle United was relegated to the Second Division and nearly escaped further relegation in 1938. The team returned to the First Division in 1948 and took the FA Cup title three years later. They repeated the success in 1952 by beating Arsenal and 1955 when they defeated Manchester City. But the success didn’t last long and in 1961, the team was once again relegated. Newcastle United returned to the First Division in 1965, qualified for the European Championship after the 1967-68 season and won the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Finals. In 1974 and 1975, they also took the Texaco Cup trophy but lost the 1976 Football League Cup Final. In 1978, Newcastle was relegated for the third time. They were back playing in the First Division in 1993 but the team’s fans would wait nearly a decade for it to return among the best.
Sunderland A.F.C. was founded in 1879. The club joined the Football League in 1890 and won the Championship only one year later. The second Championship title was won in the 1894-95 season and the third in 1908. By the end of the 1935-36 season, the team won its sixth Championship title. Sutherland’s fans, however, are waiting for the seventh one ever since. But they did see their team won the FA Cup in 1937 and 1973. The club reached its lowest point in history in 1987 when it was relegated to the Third Division. After the 1995-96 season, Sunderland was promoted to the First Division but was relegated again at the end of the season. Until the arrival of Niall Quinn in 2006, the team had many ups and downs. Quinn left in February 2012 and the club was taken over by Martin O’Neill, the former Aston Villa manager.