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The English Football Pyramid System: A Step-by-Step Guide

The English Football Pyramid System: A Step-by-Step Guide

The English football league commands a pyramid – a classic setup that has been driving the game for years. With the wealthiest league on top, the pyramid could be described as the race to reach the Premier League. However, that is not all there is to know about how England’s league system sets itself up. The different fixtures and clubs this pyramid commands are evenly divided based on their performance and today, we are going to break them down for you.

With seven different levels being associated with this pyramid, you have a lot to look forward to when a detailed guide takes from levels 1 to 7. 

Level 1

Premier League – the hardest & the most dominant league in the world

Premier League

The most-watched league in the world barely needs no introduction. Comprising the biggest clubs in English football, the Premier League brings all the weekend action and has been doing so since its inception in 1992. Known as a physical league, for all its intensity and pace, the Premier League is one place where every English club hopes to arrive. Since English football works with the relegation and promotion technique, you can expect three new teams to arrive every season and three to leave. 

The club that finishes on top of the table will be crowned champions while the ones in the bottom three positions will move a level lower. The fight to reach the top usually begins in August and by May, we will be aware of the winner. Since 1992, there have been seven teams to ever win the title and call themselves the best team in England. 

The biggest clubs in the Premier League

Manchester United

The Red Devils have earned their rights to be the biggest club in the Premier League and possibly, in the world. Over the years, United have become a brand of football and credit for the same can be bestowed upon their early days under Sir Alex Ferguson. Known as a tactical genius, he was able to set his teams up to win and was capable of doing so with a certain footballer named Cristiano Ronaldo, the energetic Wayne Rooney and the ever-talented Carlos Tevez.


The Reds are another dominant club in the whole of England having won the Champions League and the Premier League title on several different occasions. Their style of play is often considered to be one of the best and can make any bettor reconsider their betting strategy. Powered by the successful Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool finds themselves at a better stage and are often known as title contenders. With a rich history of lifting titles and upsetting the biggest clubs in football, the Reds do have it all. 

Manchester City

Manchester United’s biggest rivals and arguably one of the best clubs at the moment, Manchester City are another top football club that is known for their unique style of play under Pep Guardiola. While the club was going up and down the league, a rich takeover helped them gain resources and reach the top and are currently more successful than their neighbours, Manchester United.


With Chelsea also being a part of the list, we complete the four teams that dominate English football and often find themselves fighting amongst each other for points. Having won several Premier League titles and Champions Leagues trophies, Chelsea is a force to reckon with and will always remain the same. Their games against the other big clubs in the Premier League often see football betting being considered over everything else.

Level 2 & 3

English Football League Championship – the race for promotion

English Football League Championship

The 2nd level in English football is called the EFL Championship and consists of 24 teams fighting for their right to play in the Premier League. Teams that finish in the top two positions on the table will earn automatic promotion while the next four highest teams compete in play-offs with one team earning the third promotion spot.

Teams that end up in the last three positions will be relegated, meaning that they will play in the 3rd level of English football. Since the competition is most widely seen as the race to reach the Premier League, it is filled with tough fixtures that take place over a gruelling period in English football.

Top Facts of the EFL Championship

  1. Neil Warnock’s and his awards

Just like the Premier League, the Championship is also filled with several awards that are commonly distributed at the end of every game month. And as far as the title for Manager of the Month is concerned, it is Neil Warnock who has won it the most. The former Cardiff City manager has won the award a total of 10 times.

  1. Top goalscorer

The Championship is and will always be filled with different goal scorers who do the job of leading their club forward. And as far as Sheffield United are concerned, their top scorer Billy Sharp has scored the most goals in the league – 220.

English Football League One – an exciting run of fixtures

The promotion and relegation system is often the most exciting part about every league as fans hope to see their teams earn the right to be on top. It is also a notable difference between English and American football, with experts claiming the English system to be the better one.

While the 3rd level is also filled with teams fighting for promotion, the ultimate goal is to reach the Premier League. A total of 24 teams compete in League One with the top two earning promotion and the next four competing in play-offs for the final third spot. 

As the fixtures are set well within the footballing season, you can expect the games to be exciting and the league to be a thrilling experience. 

Level 4 & 5

English Football League Two – the promotion battle

English Football League Two

The fight to earn promotion and reach the topmost level is what makes the pyramid function and one of the main reasons why the Premier League is considered the toughest in the world. While League One has its share of exciting fixtures, League Two can be seen as a promotion battle with teams looking to earn points as quickly as possible.

A total of 24 teams fight for promotion with the top three teams earning it automatically while the next four highest teams enter play-offs to decide who will earn the final spot. The teams in the bottom two will be relegated and will have to play in the 5th level of English football, which is the National League.

National League

The National League might not be hot favourites with online betting when compared to the Premier League but it has a total of 23 teams who regularly fight for points, with promotion being the only objective. While the ones who win the league are automatically promoted, the next six teams will have to enter playoffs with one winner gaining the last promotion spot. 

The teams that end in the bottom four positions will be relegated and will have to either play in the South Division or the North Division. 

Level 6 & 7

National League South and North

National League South and North

The National League South and North operates as level 6 in the pyramid system and see various teams try and enter the National League or go a level higher. The system moves on with the same promotion and relegation technique as the team on the top goes forward while the six best-placed teams fight for their spot through play-offs. 

Like every other system, the teams finishing the bottom three will be relegated based on their location. So they could either be relegated to the Northern, Southern or Isthmian Premier Division. 

Northern Premier Division, Southern Football League South Division, Southern Football League Central Division and Isthmian Premier Division

The lowest level in English football, below National League South and North, comprises different leagues. It begins from the Northern Premier Division and goes all the way to the Isthmian Premier Division. Around 22 teams play in each of these leagues and they all fight for the same objective, i.e. promotion. The system is similar with the champions being automatically promoted and the four best teams entering the playoffs.

Club Competitions – the one for all

English football also has club competitions where teams from all different levels play against each other. The FA Cup is the most famous one in the system where teams from all ten levels play different fixtures while the EFL Cup is the second most favoured club competition with teams from levels 1 to 4. It is a hot subject for sports betting as clubs from different leagues come forward to face each other. 

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