On 22 March 1888, the Football League was founded by Scotsman William McGregor, then director of Aston Villa. The original twelve members were Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
McGregor first proposed the idea in a letter to the clubs dated 2 March, proposing a meeting at Anderton's Hotel in London for later in the month. That first meeting on 22 March was "informal," with a formal meeting following on 17 April. The league's first season began a few months later on 8 September 1888.
Prior to the formation of the Football League, the individual clubs in England scheduled their own fixtures. With the League, however, each club played the other clubs two times - once home and once away - earning two points for a win and one point for a draw. Preston North End claimed the first league title.
Today, the Football League oversees levels two through four in the English pyramid - the Championship, League One, and League Two. Teams promoted from the Championship enter the Premier League, while teams relegated from League Two compete in the Football Conference.