April 17, 1888
Last evening a meeting of representatives from various prominent clubs playing under Association Rules was held in the Royal Hotel, Manchester, for the purpose of considering the advisably of forming a Football League. Mr. W. Mcgregor (Aston Villa) presided, and Mr. Harry Lockett (Stoke) officiated as secretary.
After a long discussion, it was decided that the following clubs should form the league: – Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers, Accrington, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Derby County, Notts County, Stoke, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, and Aston Villa.
Applications were received for admission within the league from Notts Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, and Halliwell, but the representatives of these clubs were informed that their requests could not be entertained, owing to the difficulty of finding dates on which to play matches which will not clash with cup ties.
There is a second league in the course of formation, comprising Derby Junction, Crewe Alexandra, Mitchell’s St George, and other clubs. After a protracted sitting it was agreed to meet at Birmingham on May 2nd to arrange the 24 matches. It was decided that the club which gained the most number of victories in the 24 games be recognised the champion, and if any ties in the aggregate total to play off for the championship. It was decided not to clash in the arranging of the club fixtures with the National Cup tie dates and County Cup dates, but no other conference fixtures will be recognised.
A resolution was proposed to make April 12th the last day of the season, but it was decided that April 30th be the recognised close of the season. It was also decided that next season four other clubs could be proposed as members of the league, but the four lowest on the list who were compelled to retire should be eligible for re-election.
It is hoped by the formation of this league that the matches between the 12 clubs will be made more interesting to the spectators and more successful financially to the promoters, and that the teams will not be weakened by the withdrawal of their best players for the purpose of cup tie matches.
The results in these matches will be taken from the number of wins, draws, and losses, and not from the number of goals scored.
(Source: Nottingham Evening Post: April 18, 1888)