The Football League

Homes of the Football League- Preston Connections. By Dave Bond


1902: Imagine; the headquarters of the Football League then encompassing 36 clubs from places from across the country as diverse as London, Bristol, Newcastle & Manchester situated in a terraced house a stones’ throw from Deepdale, PNEFC ! Thus it was that the League’s affairs were conducted from 248 St. Paul’s Road. This was the home of Tom Charnley PNE secretary who replaced Stoke’s Harry Lockett in the League secretarial role. Tom, a William Sudell protégé, his office boy, friend & former PNE player soon requested more suitable offices. Over the years this led to 8 different FL HQ locations in this, often criticised as obscure, North West Lancashire town of Preston.

(Above) 248 St Paul's Road

(Above) 13 Winckley Street

1903: & a move to 13 Winckley Street – handy for the rail station; a secretary had to be prepared to travel to committee meetings, often in Manchester.
Less than a year later (possibly end of lease or cheaper rent?) a move to 47 Tithebarn St. – now redeveloped as St. John’s centre.


(Above) The site of 47 Tithebarn Street


1913: perhaps to facilitate better communications a move to Castle Chambers Market St.-a once plush hostelry now Pizza Hut opposite the then main Post Office;


1926: The Football League had expanded absorbing en masse the Southern League. There were now 88 clubs, more work & so bigger offices demanded. Now the money was really rolling in! 30 Winckley Square where all the poshest offices were located, overlooking the then perhaps more tastefully (no druggies or winos) laid out park in this once private Victorian playground.

(Above) The former site of Castle Chambers

(Above) 30 Winckley Square


(Above) 6 Starkie Street

1941: WW11 was at its height & under the threat of a Hun invasion the office was requisitioned (as was the Deepdale ground) by the government forcing a move round the corner to 102 Fishergate. An available space & still near the rail station.

1946: Victory in Europe & the League finally decide to buy a place having previously only rented. The Leagues address was now 6 Starkie St. A Georgian style former vicarage in which so many changes to the League’s structure were overseen by Fred Howarth, Tom Charnley’s son in law.

(Above) 102 Fishergate

1959: Hull’s famous son Alan Hardaker acceded to the secretary role. League President Joe Richards, after viewing the Italian League’s luxurious & spacious offices described the place in Preston as a dump.
A former hotel in Lytham St. Anne’s was chosen, by coincidence next to Hardakers home. Quite posh yet sedate but I suppose the League sticking to its Lancashire roots.

1999: With the giants of the breakaway Premier League now overpowering their former siblings of the Football League family the FL HQ was again relocated to Preston & here remains at the Edward VII Quay Navigation Way. Was this a homing instinct?
The title of secretary has now changed to Chief Operating Officer-present incumbent Andy Williamson.

(Above) The current Football League Headquarters at Edward VII Quay Navigation Way


As a Preston man & PNE fan I take special pride relating how Preston North End played a leading role in forming the Football League & how the town of Preston itself was the cradle of a league now copied throughout the world.