Notable ex-EFL clubs plying their trade in the National League in season 2024/25

oldham on map with red pin in it

The National League season 2024/25 could well be another fascinating campaign in the fifth tier of the English game. One interesting factor in the division is the presence of former EFL clubs in the division.

However, who are the most notable former EFL clubs who will be taking part in the National League in season 2024/25?

Oldham Athletic

The Latics are history-makers. They are the only club from the Premier League era to have suffered relegation to the National League.

The club from Greater Manchester spent just two seasons in the Premier League in seasons 1992/93 and 1993/94 before suffering relegation to the second tier.

Relegation to the second tier was just the start of a spiral of decline and a freefall down the English football pyramid. However, Athletic didn’t drop into the National League until 2022 after five seasons of struggles in League Two.

While the club has seemingly stabilised off the pitch, Oldham has been mediocre on the field, producing 10th and 12th-place finishes, respectively, in the National League.


While Rochdale never reached the top of the English game like Oldham, Dale has spent the majority of their history in the English Football League. In fact, the north west outfit had not played lower than the fourth team of the EFL for over a century.

Rochdale spent seven years in League One before relegation to League Two and then spent two seasons in the third tier, only to once again suffer the spectre of relegation in season 2023/24.

Relegation to the fifth tier may not have been that surprising, as Dale had been on a dangerous downward spiral of form for a good while.

Not only had they narrowly avoided relegation from League Two in season 2022/23, but their league placings in League Two were also pretty low before they finally succumbed to the drop.

Hartlepool United

The north east club never played above the third level of the English game. However, they remained a Football League club for 89 straight seasons before falling into the National League for the first time in 2017.

United played in the fifth tier for four seasons before winning promotion back to the EFL in 2020/21. However, they spent just two seasons in League Two before suffering relegation once again in 2022/23.

The following season, Hartlepool finished a disappointing 12th place in the National League table. The 2024/25 campaign will be just the fifth that Hartlepool has spent in the fifth tier in their history.

Southend United

Similar to their contemporaries on this list, like Oldham and Hartlepool, the Shrimpers have spent the majority of their history in the EFL. The highest they got in the English football pyramid was in season 2006/07 when they were in the Championship for a season.

After that one campaign, they spent a few seasons yo-yo-ing between the third and fourth tiers of the English game.

Southend suffered back-to-back relegations in seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21. United played in the National League for the first time in season 2021/22. So far, they have recorded 13th and 8th place finishes in the fifth tier.

York City

For most of the Yorkshire club’s existence, York City’s story consisted of mostly third—and fourth-level football. However, City dropped into the fifth tier in the season 2003/04.

The Minstermen spent eight seasons in the then Conference before winning promotion to League Two in 2012. York spent four seasons back in the EFL before dropping back into the National League in 2016.

Things got even worse a year later when they were relegated to the National League North. They eventually recovered from the back-to-back relegations by winning promotion back to the fifth tier in season 2021/22.

However, their respective finishes of 19th and 20th in the National League suggest that City could well be back in the sixth tier soon if they don’t improve.

Yeovil Town

The Glovers’ history is almost the complete opposite of that of the other former EFL clubs on our list in that they have spent the majority of their history in non-league football.

The first time Town won promotion to the Football League came in season 2002/03. They enjoyed a strong decade, which peaked in season 2012/13 with promotion to the Championship.

However, Yeovil then suffered the disappointment of back-to-back relegations, which led them back to League Two. Worse was to follow in season 2018/19 when they slipped back into the National League.

Yeovil’s crazy 20-odd-year rollercoaster of a journey took a bad turn in season 2022/23 when they suffered relegation to the sixth tier of the English game.

However, Town will be back in the fifth tier in season 2024/25, as they won the National League South to earn promotion back to the fifth tier.

Forest Green Rovers

Like Yeovil, Forest Green Rovers have spent most of their history in non-league football until recent decades. In season 2016/17, they won the League Two play-offs.

Things got even better for Rovers when they were again promoted to League One via the play-offs in season 2021/22. Unfortunately for Forest Green, they suffered back-to-back relegations and will play in the National League in season 2024/25.


The Bees have experienced mixed fortunes in recent decades. They first won promotion to the EFL in season 1990/91, when they won the Conference title.


They spent a decade in the third and fourth tiers of the English game before a return to the National League in season 2000/01. However, after spending four seasons in the fifth tier, Barnet won promotion back to the EFL.

The Bees spent eight seasons in League Two, two seasons in the fifth tier, before three more seasons in the EFL. They last featured in the Football League in season 2017/18.

Since their last relegation, Barnet has struggled to make an impact on the fifth tier, except in season 2023/24, when they finished as runners-up in the table, only to suffer defeat in the play-offs.

Which of the former EFL clubs on our list will make the biggest impact on the National League’s season 2024/25?

By Bob