Seven teams who dropped out of the English Football League and are yet to return

Following Scunthorpe United's relegation from League Two, we take a look at seven clubs who recently dropped out of the Football League and are still fighting for a return to the EFL.

Scunthorpe's proud 72-year run in the English Football League has come to an end as the team's relegation from League Two became official. 

The Iron will now join several other sides outside of the EFL who suffered the same fate, and are still scrapping to rise back up.

Over the years, it has become increasingly more difficult to make it out of the fifth tier of English football, meaning the Glanford Park outfit will have to plan carefully if they do have hopes of an immediate return.

With that in mind, Planet Sport takes a look at seven fifth-tier teams who were relegated out of the Football League and are yet to make it back.


Barnet's The Hive Stadium

Having spent eight consecutive seasons in League Two up to the end of the 2012/13 campaign, the Bees have since gone on to bounce between the Football League and non-league over the past decade.

Their most recent spell in the fourth tier, lasting three seasons, came to an end in 2018, and they are now into their fourth consecutive season in the National League.

This current run is the joint-longest period that Barnet have spent at this level since 1991, with their highest finish of seventh coming in 2019/20. This season, they have 42 points from 39 games, with their defence - the second-leakiest in the league - being the stumbling block.

If things don't improve, they might soon be putting a call-out for a famous bespectacled former Dutch international.


Luke Croll of Chesterfield thanks the fans for their support at full time during the FA Cup match

The Spireites have also been something of a yo-yo team recently, though their seesawing came between League One and League Two.

Their 2018 relegation to the National League was the first time they had been out of the Football League since 1922, and they have taken a few seasons to find their feet, at one point finishing as low as 20th in 2019/20.

Chesterfield have since produced two play-off challenges, including last season which saw them lose 3-2 to Notts County in the quarter-final.

They have rebounded strongly and are in the mix again this time around. Paul Cook's side currently sit fifth, five points inside the play-off spots with five games of the season remaining.

Grimsby Town

John McAtee (#10 Grimsby Town) takes a shot at goal during the Vanarama National League game

The Mariners are in their first season back in the fifth tier after spending five years in League Two. They struggled enormously in their last campaign, with their top scorers in the league being three players who netted just three goals each.

That led to relegation with a last-placed finish, though they have avoided any threat of a continued decline and are another in the mix for promotion, which in their case would represent an immediate return.

Grimsby are currently sixth, four points inside the play-off spots with five games of the season remaining.

Notts County

Notts County fans ahead of the Vanarama National League match at Meadow Lane

Things have really fallen apart for the Magpies in recent times, with two relegations since 2015 confirming their first drop out of the Football League since they became one of the founding members in 1888.

Their tag as the world's oldest professional football club is also well-known, but they are now in their third season outside the top four leagues.

However, they have finished in the play-off spots in both of their previous two National League campaigns, and are challenging again this year.

A third-placed finish in 2019/20 saw them agonisingly fall short as they lost 3-1 in the play-off final to Harrogate Town, before Torquay United beat them 4-2 in the 2020/21 semi-finals after extra time.

This season, Notts County are currently seventh, inside the play-off places by two points.

Southend United

Southend United manager Kevin Maher

Southend joined Grimsby in falling out of League Two at the end of last season, and have since been the most recent prime example that this level is far more tricky to negotiate than many may first assume.

The Shrimpers finished 23rd in 2020/21, three points behind Scunthorpe, which confirmed their relegation out of the Football League for the first time in more than 100 years.

They were considered as possible play-off contenders heading into this season, but off-field issues and fan protests have blighted a poor campaign.

Although Southend look set to finish in mid-table respectability, it has still been disappointing compared to what many had been expecting. They are currently 13th, with 50 points from 39 games.

Stockport County

Stockport County fans in the stands during the Emirates FA Cup Second Round

It's been a long road back for Stockport, but at long last, the Hatters' stock is firmly on the up, and it will take something of a minor earthquake to prevent their return to the Football League this after 11 seasons away.

Having dropped to the Conference in 2011, Stockport's fall continued as just two years later they were relegated to the sixth tier of English football.

They remained at that level until being promoted as champions under the management of Jim Gannon in 2019.

Since being purchased by local businessman Mark Stott in 2020, Stockport now look in their healthiest shape in more than a decade. They are currently seven points clear at the summit of the National League with six games remaining, one of which is against their nearest rivals Wrexham.

Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town mascot Jolly Green Giant during the Emirates FA Cup third round match

Once one of the more well-known commodities in non-league, the Glovers rose as high as the Championship in 2013/14 before plummeting all the way back down.

Yeovil returned to the fifth tier in 2019 and to their credit, they did threaten an immediate return, finishing fourth and losing to Barnet in the play-off quarter-final.

The club have gone on to finish 16th last season, while this year they currently sit in mid-table, with 51 points from 39 games.

Their most notable achievement this season has been a run to the FA Cup third round proper, where they hosted Championship outfit Bournemouth. They will be hoping for more consistency next season, with their very mixed-bag form of 13 wins, 12 draws, and 14 losses having held them back.

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