Notts County is widely recognized as the oldest professional association football club in the world, with a founding date of 1862. In 1888, Notts County joined eleven other clubs to found the Football League. The club struggled early and were relegated to Division Two in 1893. They did enjoy some success in the FA Cup, however, making the Final in 1891 and winning it in 1894.
The Magpies returned to the top flight in 1897 and spent the majority of the pre-WWI years in Division One, but after the war, they again slid back into the lower tiers, spending lengthy spells in Division Three. By the time they played Swansea City on 21 September 1968, Notts County had spent the previous four years in Division Four, the Football League's lowest tier. The loss to Swansea marked the nadir of the Magpies' fortunes, signifying a drop from Football League founder to the bottom the entire Football League organization.
Notts County avoided relegation, finishing in 19th place out of 24 teams. In 1969, the club appointed Jimmy Sirrel as manager and he orchestrated the club's climb back through the higher divisions. They made it back to Division One in 1981.
The club has since returned to the lower divisions, having last played in the top flight in 1992. They currently play in England's third tier.