1998–99 Football League

The 1998–99 Football League (known as the Nationwide Football League for sponsorship reasons) was the 100th completed season of The Football League.

Sunderland were crowned First Division champions with 105 points, then a record, having lost just three games all season, to prove right the many pundits who tipped them for promotion. The two other promotion places were secured by two of the division’s least fancied sides — runners-up Bradford City (back in the top division for the first time in 77 years) and playoff winners Watford (who had won their second successive promotion during Graham Taylor’s second spell as manager).

Bury, Oxford United and Bristol City occupied the three relegation places in the First Division. Oxford’s dismal season was mainly down to £10 million debts which were putting the club in real danger of closure, and had also resulted in the suspension of construction of their new stadium near the Blackbird Leys estate.

Kevin Keegan completed his spell as Fulham manager before taking the England job by guiding the Cottagers to the Second Division championship with a staggering 101 points. Following them up were runners-up Walsall and playoff winners Manchester City.

Going down were York City, Northampton Town, Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town. Narrowly avoiding the drop to the Third Division were Oldham Athletic, who just five years earlier had been a Premiership side who came within a whisker of reaching the FA Cup final.

Brentford, Cambridge United, Cardiff City and Scunthorpe United occupied the four promotion places in the Third Division.

Carlisle United kept their league status in remarkable fashion. They entered the final game of the season in bottom place, and with 90 minutes on the clock in their home game against Plymouth Argyle they were drawing 1–1 and needed a win to stay up. The referee then allowed 4 minutes of stoppage time and with just seconds to go, goalkeeper Jimmy Glass came upfield and scored from a rebounded corner to preserve his club’s place in the league which had been held since 1928. Scarborough, who had only joined the league in 1987, were relegated instead. Glass, 25, had been signed on loan from Swindon Town after the transfer line because an injury crisis had left Carlisle without a goalkeeper for the final few games of the season.

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