Frequently Asked Questions

What is "The Pyramid?"

"The Pyramid" is the name given to the multitude of English football leagues connected by promotion/relegation arrangements, including the Premiership and Football League. The system allows clubs to potentially start in local leagues and rise all the way top tier of English football, the Premiership.
The name springs from the fact that most of the leagues have several leagues which promote into them. This produces a system such that the lower down a club is, the more local their league, and the lower their travel costs. As you rise higher, the requirements for the grounds become more stringent, and hence more expensive. The crucial thing is that allows clubs to go from the very bottom to League status, providing they have sufficient means. Several clubs have done this, most notably Wimbledon, who were able to reach the Premiership.

Why is it called "non-league football" when the clubs play in leagues?

It isn't "non-league football", it's "non-League football" - that is, football outside the Football League (or the Premiership). The reference to the Football League is why "non-League" has a capital L.

What are the numbers that appear with league names?

The number shown before any league's name is its level. The Premiership is the top level in English football, and hence is at level 1. The Football League Championship is at level 2, because it promotes into the Premiership. The division below that is at level 3, the division below that is at level 4, and so on.
The number in brackets after a division's name is the number of teams in that division.

What is "The National League System"?

The National League System contains those leagues at levels 5-10, as well as divisions at level 11 and 12 which are lower divisions of a league with its top division at level 10. These leagues are tightly controled by the FA, who allocate clubs following promotion or relegation; and also set common standards for grounds at each level (see ground gradings for more details).

What are the "steps" the FA refers to?

The step numbers are used by the FA for the National League System. Step 1 is level 5 (Conference National Division), step 2 is level 6 (Conference North and South divisions), and so on. This site avoids use of step numbers, primarily because it covers leagues above and below the National League System. (Also, the author was not aware of the step system at the time of the site's creation in 2002, possibly because it wasn't then in use by the FA).

How many leagues/divisions/teams are there in the Pyramid?

At the time of writing, the site had details of 148 leagues, containing 487 divisions and over 6,500 clubs. (The 478 divisions where the number of teams is recorded on this site contain a total of 6,422 teams, an average of 13.4 teams per division). This means that every Saturday, approximately one four hundreth of the male population of England will be playing for a Pyramid club. See also the statistics pages.

How long would it take to get from the bottom of the Pyramid to the Premiership?

The lowest division at the time of writing is at level 24, so a team in that division would take 23 years to reach the top. However, 94% of divisions are at level 19 or above, and more than half are at levels 12 to 16.
Last updated 15:48 21/07/2012 | Copyright © 2002-2012 Tom Willis