1958–59 in English football

The 1958–59 season was the 79th season of competitive football in England.

Diary of the season

August 1958: The Football League season begins with the new national Third and Fourth divisions that have been created from the old Third Division North and Third Division South.

30 August 1958: The Football Association snub Manchester United's wish to participate in the 1958–59 European Cup.[1]

September 1958: Manchester United pay a national record fee of £45,000 for Sheffield Wednesday inside-forward Albert Quixall.[2]

12 November 1958: Wolverhampton Wanderers play their first European Cup game, drawing 2–2 at home to Schalke 04 in the first round first leg.

18 November 1958: Wolverhampton Wanderers lose 2–1 to Schalke 04 in the European Cup first round second leg in West Germany, ending their hopes of being the first team other than Real Madrid (winners of the first three competitions) to win the European Cup.

15 January 1959: Second Division Liverpool suffer a shock FA Cup third round exit when they lose 2-1 to non league Worcester City.[3]

2 May 1959: Nottingham Forest defeat Luton Town 2–1 in the FA Cup final.

Notable debutants

8 September 1958: Bobby Moore, 17-year-old centre-half, makes his debut for West Ham United against Manchester United in the First Division.[4]

Notable retirements

May 1959: Billy Wright, 35, Wolverhampton Wanderers and England captain, after more than 500 appearances for his club and a record 105 for his country.[5]

June 1959: Jackie Blanchflower, 26, Manchester United and Northern Ireland centre-half, who announced his retirement as a player after failing to recover sufficiently from injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster 16 months earlier.[6]


Football Writers' Association

Top goalscorer


First DivisionWolverhampton Wanderers (3)Manchester United
Second DivisionSheffield WednesdayFulham
Third DivisionPlymouth ArgyleHull City
Fourth DivisionPort ValeCoventry City
FA CupNottingham Forest (2)Luton Town
Charity ShieldBolton WanderersWolverhampton Wanderers
Home ChampionshipShared by  England &  Northern Ireland

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition

League table

First Division

In the last season of captain Billy Wright's playing career, Wolves retained their First Division title - the third time they had been league champions in six seasons. There was every reason to hope for continued success in the post-Wright era, though, with younger players like Bobby Mason and Mickey Lill excelling in the team. Manchester United enjoyed a good return in the season following the Munich tragedy, as new signings and younger players integrated with crash survivors to achieve runners-up spot in the league. Arsenal, Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion completed the top five, while newly promoted West Ham United recorded their highest league finish yet by finishing sixth.

Portsmouth and Aston Villa finished the season relegated.

1Wolverhampton Wanderers422859110492.24461
2Manchester United4224711103661.56055
4Bolton Wanderers4220101279661.19750
5West Bromwich Albion4218131188681.29449
6West Ham United422161585701.21448
9Birmingham City422061684681.23546
10Blackburn Rovers4217101576701.08644
11Newcastle United421771880801.00041
12Preston North End421771870770.90941
13Nottingham Forest421761971740.95940
15Leeds United421591857740.77039
17Luton Town4212131768710.95837
18Tottenham Hotspur4213101985950.89536
19Leicester City4211102167980.68432
20Manchester City421192264950.67431
21Aston Villa421182358870.66730

Second Division

Sheffield Wednesday sealed an immediate return to the First Division as Second Division champions, being joined by runners-up Fulham.

Barnsley and Grimsby Town slipped into the Third Division.

1Sheffield Wednesday422868106482.20862
3Sheffield United422371282481.70853
5Stoke City422171472581.24149
6Bristol Rovers4218121280641.25048
7Derby County422081474711.04248
8Charlton Athletic421871792901.02243
9Cardiff City421871765651.00043
10Bristol City421771874701.05741
11Swansea Town421691779810.97541
12Brighton & Hove Albion4215111674900.82241
14Huddersfield Town421681862551.12740
16Ipswich Town421761962770.80540
17Leyton Orient421482071780.91036
18Scunthorpe United421292155840.65533
19Lincoln City421172463930.67729
20Rotherham United421092342820.51229
21Grimsby Town429102362900.68928

Third Division

Plymouth Argyle won the first championship of the new national Third Division, with Hull City finishing one point behind them in second place. Norwich City made the headlines with their run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, but the cup run distracted them from the league as fourth place in the final table wasn't enough for promotion.

Rochdale, Notts County, Doncaster Rovers and Stockport County were relegated to the Fourth Division.

1Plymouth Argyle462316789591.50862
2Hull City462691190551.63661
4Norwich City4622131189621.43557
5Colchester United4621101571671.06052
7Tranmere Rovers462181782671.22450
8Southend United462181785801.06350
9Halifax Town462181780771.03950
11Bradford City4618111784761.10547
12Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic4617121769691.00046
13Queens Park Rangers461981974770.96146
15Swindon Town4616131759571.03545
17Newport County461792069681.01543
19Accrington Stanley4615121971870.81642
20Mansfield Town4614131973980.74541
21Stockport County4613102365780.83336
22Doncaster Rovers461452750900.55633
23Notts County468132555960.57329

Fourth Division

Port Vale were champions of the new Fourth Division, and were joined in promotion by Coventry City, York City and Shrewsbury Town.

1Port Vale4626128110581.89764
2Coventry City4624121084471.78760
3York City462118773521.40460
4Shrewsbury Town46241012101631.60358
5Exeter City4623111287611.42657
7Crystal Palace4620121490711.26852
8Northampton Town462191685781.09051
10Carlisle United4619121562650.95450
12Torquay United4616121878771.01344
14Bradford Park Avenue461872175770.97443
18Crewe Alexandra4615102170820.85440
19Hartlepools United4615102174880.84140
21Oldham Athletic461642659840.70236

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points

National team

Although the England national football team eventually shared victory in the 1959 British Home Championship with Northern Ireland, it was a tough year without so many of the squad's key players lost in the Munich air disaster the year before. The season concluded with a disastrous tour of the Americas, in which the team lost three successive games before restoring some pride in the final match against the USA. The final game against the USA was also the last match for veteran defender and captain Billy Wright after a then record 105 caps. The match was played in front of just 13,000 fans on a gravel pitch in Los Angeles.

Tour of the Americas

28 May 1959
United States  1–8  England
Ed Murphy Bobby Charlton 3 (1P), Ron Flowers 2,
Warren Bradley, Derek Kevan, Johnny Haynes
Wrigley Field, Los Angeles


  1. "United Forbidden To Represent UK". The Gazette. Montreal. Reuters. 1 September 1958. p. 10. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  2. "Stars turn out for Albert's big day". Stockport Express. M.E.N. Media. 2 August 2002.
  3. Statistics. "A timeline for Liverpool Football Club". LFChistory.net. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
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