From TheChels.info - The Chelsea Football Club Wiki
The Football League was founded in 1888 and runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions; the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy.
It was founded by twelve clubs:
- Notts County (formed 1862)
- Stoke City (formed 1863 by workers at North Staffs Railway)
- Aston Villa (formed 1874 by Villa Cross, Wesleyan Chapel)
- Blackburn Rovers (formed 1874 by Blackburn Grammar School)
- Bolton Wanderers (formed 1875 by Christ Church, Bolton)
- Wolverhampton Wanderers (formed 1877 by St Lukes Church, Blakenhall)
- Accrington (1878)
- Everton (formed 1878 by St Domingo Church Sunday School)
- West Bromwich Albion (1878)
- Preston North End (formed 1881 by the cricket club)
- Burnley (formed 1882 by Burnley YMCA)
- Derby County (formed 1884 by the local cricket club)
Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992 when, in a step to maximise their revenue, the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, which was renamed in 2007 as the Premier League. The Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues.
Chelsea were elected to the Football League shortly after foundation in 1905, entering at the Second Division level.