Ever Present Nottingham

At the end of another league season, the 37th in England since its inception in 1987-88, it is an opportune time to look at the number of teams that have been ever-present in the National Leagues.

The National Leagues usually represents the top 60 to 80 clubs in the country although between seasons 2009-10 to 2016-17 inclusive it represented the top 120. Initially the league pyramid contained over 1,000 clubs.

There are only 13 clubs that have played in all 37 seasons:

  • Bath
  • Bedford
  • Bristol
  • Coventry
  • Exeter
  • Gloucester
  • Harlequins
  • Leicester
  • Newcastle (or Gosforth)
  • Northampton
  • Nottingham
  • Sale
  • Saracens

However, the 2020-21 season was restricted due to Covid, so only the top 23 clubs in the country were allowed to play, either the Premiership (12 teams) or Championship (11 teams).

Another 6 teams have played in every season apart from the 2020-21 season:

  • Birmingham Moseley (or Moseley)
  • Blackheath
  • Fylde
  • Leeds (or Yorkshire ‘Leeds’)
  • Plymouth Albion
  • Rosslyn Park

Only 19 Clubs have achieved this feat and all should be warmly congratulated.

It is also good to see the two teams that played in the first ever Courage Club Championship match, Nottingham and Moseley, on Saturday 5th September 1987 are both included on the list, as are both Clubs who participated in the first ever floodlit League match, Coventry and Nottingham, on Wednesday 30th September 1987.