Football in England
Today Englands top domestic league, the Premier League, is one of the most popular and richest sports leagues in the world, with six of the ten richest football clubs in the world. The England national football team is one of only 8 teams to win the World Cup, a total of five English club teams have won the UEFA Champions League. Football was played in England as far back as medieval times, kicking ball games are described in England from 1280. An account of an exclusively kicking game from Nottinghamshire in the fifteenth century bears similarity to association football. By the 16th centuries references to organised teams and goals had appeared, there is evidence for refereed, team football games being played in English schools since at least 1581. The eighteenth-century Gymnastic Society of London is, arguably, the worlds first football club, the Cambridge rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were particularly influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester, during the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School also devised a set of rules. These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, the Sheffield FA played by its own rules until the 1870s with the FA absorbing some of its rules until there was little difference between the games. A match between Sheffield and Hallam F. C. on 29 December 1862 was one of the first matches to be recorded in a newspaper, on 8 March 1873, the England national teams 4–2 win over Scotland at the Oval was the first ever victory in international football. The late nineteenth century was dominated by the split between the amateur and professional teams, which was roughly aligned along a North-South divide. Northern clubs were keen to adopt professionalism as workers could not afford to play on an amateur basis, preston North End were inaugural winners in 1888–89, and were also the first club to complete the double of both winning the league and the FA Cup. Aston Villa repeated the feat in 1896–97 and it remained at 40 until the league was suspended after the 1914–15 season with the outbreak of World War I. Other clubs to win titles in this period include Sheffield United, Manchester United. During the war, competitive football was suspended, however, an unofficial Wartime Football league was played from 1915–16 to 1918–19, although the FA Cup was suspended until after the war. The next season the league was expanded with the Third Division divided into North and South sections. In the 1923–24 season the Third Division North was expanded to 22 clubs, Bolton Wanderers defeated West Ham United to win this landmark game. Bolton Wanderers would win the FA Cup on three occasions during the 1920s, by the turn of the 1930s, the national side regularly played against other national teams from outside the British Isles
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
The club was formed in 1878 and has played at its home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. Albion were one of the members of the Football League in 1888 and have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football. They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20 and have been runners-up twice but they have had success in the FA Cup. The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, and they also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966. The clubs longest consecutive period in the top division spanned twenty-four years between 1949 and 1973, and from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever spell out of the top division and they currently play in the Premier League. The team has played in blue and white stripes for most of the clubs history. The club was founded as West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 by workers from George Salters Spring Works in West Bromwich, the club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association in 1881 and became eligible for their first competition, the Birmingham Cup. They reached the quarter-finals, beating several longer-established clubs on the way, in 1883, Albion won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup. Albion joined the Football Association in the year, this enabled them to enter the FA Cup for the first time in the 1883–84 season. In 1885 the club turned professional, and in 1886 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time and they reached the final again in 1887, but lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. In 1888 the team won the trophy for the first time, as FA Cup winners, they qualified to play in a Football World Championship game against Scottish Cup winners Renton, which ended in a 4–1 defeat. Thus when the Football League started later that year, Albion became one of the founder members. Albions second FA Cup success came in 1892, beating Aston Villa 3–0 and they met Villa again in the 1895 final, but lost 1–0. The team suffered relegation to Division Two in 1900–01, their first season at The Hawthorns and they were promoted as champions the following season but relegated again in 1903–04. The club won the Division Two championship once more in 1910–11, and the season reached another FA Cup Final. Albion won the Football League title in 1919–20 for the time in their history following the end of World War I. The team finished as Division One runners-up in 1924–25, narrowly losing out to Huddersfield Town, in 1930–31, they won promotion as well as the FA Cup, beating Birmingham 2–1 in the final. The Double of winning the FA Cup and promotion has not been achieved before or since, Albion reached the final again in 1935, losing to Sheffield Wednesday, but were relegated three years later
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, the Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east, the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain in its centre and south, and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England became a state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the worlds first industrialised nation, Englands terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north and in the southwest, the capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the name England is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means land of the Angles. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages, the Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as Engla londe, is in the ninth century translation into Old English of Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English People. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars, it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. An alternative name for England is Albion, the name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo, in it are two very large islands called Britannia, these are Albion and Ierne. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, the word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. Albion is now applied to England in a poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago, Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years
England national football team
The England national football team represents England in international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England are one of the two oldest national teams in football, alongside Scotland, whom played in the worlds first international football match in 1872. Englands home ground is Wembley Stadium, London, and the current manager is Gareth Southgate, England contest the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship, which alternate biennially. In contesting for the World Cup seventeen times over the past sixty four years, England won the 1966 World Cup, when they hosted the finals, the England national football team is the joint-oldest in the world, it was formed at the same time as Scotland. A representative match between England and Scotland was played on 5 March 1870, having been organised by the Football Association, a return fixture was organised by representatives of Scottish football teams on 30 November 1872. Over the next forty years, England played exclusively with the other three Home Nations—Scotland, Wales and Ireland—in the British Home Championship, to begin with, England had no permanent home stadium. They joined FIFA in 1906 and played their first ever games against countries other than the Home Nations on a tour of Central Europe in 1908, Wembley Stadium was opened in 1923 and became their home ground. The relationship between England and FIFA became strained, and this resulted in their departure from FIFA in 1928 and their first ever defeat on home soil to a foreign team was a 0–2 loss to the Republic of Ireland, on 21 September 1949 at Goodison Park. A 6–3 loss in 1953 to Hungary, was their defeat by a foreign team at Wembley. In the return match in Budapest, Hungary won 7–1 and this still stands as Englands worst ever defeat. After the game, a bewildered Syd Owen said, it was like playing men from outer space, in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, England reached the quarter-finals for the first time, and lost 4–2 to reigning champions Uruguay. Although Walter Winterbottom was appointed as Englands first ever manager in 1946. In UEFA Euro 1968, the reached the semi-finals for the first time. England qualified for the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico as reigning champions, and reached the quarter-finals, England had been 2–0 up, but were eventually beaten 3–2 after extra time. They failed in qualification for the 1974, leading to Ramseys dismissal, under Ron Greenwood, they managed to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, despite not losing a game, they were eliminated in the second group stage. Despite losing to Italy in the third place play-off, the members of the England team were given bronze medals identical to the Italians’, the England team of 1990 were welcomed home as heroes and thousands of people lined the streets, for a spectacular open-top bus parade. However, the team did not win any matches in UEFA Euro 1992, drawing with tournament winners Denmark, the 1990s saw four England managers, each in the role for a relatively brief period. Graham Taylor was Robsons successor, but resigned after England failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, at UEFA Euro 1996, held in England, Terry Venables led England, equalling their best performance at a European Championship, reaching the semi-finals as they did in 1968
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Crewe /kruː/ is a railway town and civil parish within the borough of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The area has a population of 72,863, from 1946 until 2002 it was also the home of Rolls-Royce motor car production. The Pyms Lane factory on the west of the town now produces Bentley motor cars exclusively, Crewe is 158 miles north of London and 35 miles south of Manchester. Crewe was thus named after the station, rather than the other way round. The name derives from an Old Welsh word criu, meaning weir, Crewe was founded in the township of Monks Coppenhall which, with the township of Church Coppenhall, formed the ancient parish of Coppenhall. The railway station was named after the township of Crewe in which it was located, eventually, the township of Crewe became a civil parish in its own right also named, rather confusingly, Crewe. This civil parish changed its name to Crewe Green in 1974 to avoid confusion with the adjacent town, the railway station remained part of the civil parish of Crewe, outside the boundary of the municipal borough until 1936. An old, local riddle describes the unusual states of affairs, The place which is Crewe is not Crewe. Until the Grand Junction Railway company chose Crewe as the site for its works and railway station in the late 1830s. Winsford,7 miles to the north, had rejected an earlier proposal, Crewe railway station was built in fields near to Crewe Hall and was completed in 1837. A new town grew up, in the parishes of Monks Coppenhall and Church Coppenhall, alongside the increasingly busy station, GJR chief engineer Joseph Locke helped lay out the town. The town has a park, Queens Park, the land for which was donated by the London and North Western Railway. It has been suggested that their motivation was to prevent the rival Great Western Railway building a station on the site, the railway provided an endowment towards the building and upkeep of Christ Church. Until 1897 its vicar, non-conformist ministers and schoolteachers received concessionary passes, the company provided a doctors surgery with a scheme of health insurance. A gasworks was built and the water supply was adapted to provide drinking water. The railway also opened a market in 1854 and a clothing factory for John Compton who provided the company uniforms. During World War II the strategic presence of the railways and Rolls-Royce engineering works made Crewe a target for air raids. The borough lost 35 civilians to these, the worst raid was on 29 August 1940 when some 50 houses were destroyed, Crewe crater on Mars is named after the town of Crewe
Wales national football team
The Wales national football team represents Wales in international football. It is controlled by the Football Association of Wales, the body for football in Wales. During their history, Wales have qualified for two international tournaments. They reached the quarter-finals of the 1958 FIFA World Cup and they reached the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016 after beating Belgium in the quarter-final match on 1 July 2016. This was, therefore, the first time that Wales had reached the semi-final of a major tournament, Wales also progressed through UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying to the quarter-final, which was played on a home and away leg basis but they did not feature in the finals tournament. At all levels including the teams the Welsh national team draws players primarily from clubs in the English football league system. The main professional Welsh clubs play in the English leagues, with some full-time and part-time professional clubs playing in the Welsh football league system. Wales played its first competitive match on 25 March 1876 against Scotland in Glasgow, Scotland took the spoils winning 2–0. Wales first match against England came in 1879 – a 2–1 defeat at the Kennington Oval, London and in 1882 Wales faced Ireland for the first time, the associations of the four Home Nations met in Manchester on 6 December 1882 to set down a set of worldwide rules. This meeting saw the establishment of the International Football Association Board to approve changes to the rules, the 1883–84 season saw the formation of the British Home Championship, a tournament which was played annually between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, until 1983–84. Wales were champions on 12 occasions, winning seven times whilst sharing the title five times. As a result, Wales did not enter the first three World Cups, in 1932 Wales played host to the Republic of Ireland, the first time they played against a side from outside the four home nations. A year later, Wales played a match outside the United Kingdom for the first time when they travelled to Paris to take on France in a match which was drawn 1–1. The top two teams were to qualify for the finals in Brazil, but Wales finished bottom of the group. The 1950s were an age for Welsh football with stars such as Ivor Allchurch, Cliff Jones, Alf Sherwood, Jack Kelsey, Trevor Ford, Ronnie Burgess, Terry Medwin. Wales made its only World Cup finals tournament appearance in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden, however, their path to qualification was unusual. In the Asian/African qualifying zone Egypt and Sudan had refused to play against Israel following the Suez crisis, as a result, FIFA proclaimed Israel winners of their respective group. However, FIFA did not want a team to qualify for the World Cup finals without actually playing a match and so lots were drawn of all the second placed teams in UEFA
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
For the original Cathkin Park ground, see Cathkin Park. Cathkin Park is a park in Glasgow, Scotland. The park is maintained by the parks department, and it is a public place where football is still played. The park contains the site of the second Hampden Park, previously home to the football clubs Queens Park, the original Hampden Park is just to the west, as the course of the original Cathcart Road is now in Queens Park Rec. The park formerly contained a stadium, which had played host to organised football since 1884. It was originally known as Hampden Park and was rented by Queens Park between 1884 and 1903, when Queens Park moved to the third Hampden Park, Third Lanark took over the lease. They renamed it New Cathkin Park (as they had played at another stadium named Cathkin Park just to the east of Dixon Halls on the east side of the Cathcart Road. This is also where the first major Anglo-Scottish club competition, the British League Cup final, took place in 1902, Third Lanarks last match at Cathkin took place on 25 April 1967, when they played out a 3–3 draw against Queen of the South. Jimmy Davidson scored one goal for Queens and Brian McMurdo two, including the last ever senior goal at the Park. The stadium subsequently fell into disrepair and most of the fabric was gradually removed, the remains of the terraces from 3 sides of the ground can be seen in the park. However, a reformed Third Lanark team, which plays in the Greater Glasgow Amateur League, currently plays in the park, as do Hampden AFC, video of the remaining terraces May 2011
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and third largest in the United Kingdom. Historically part of Lanarkshire, it is now one of the 32 council areas of Scotland and it is situated on the River Clyde in the countrys West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians, Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain. From the 18th century the city grew as one of Great Britains main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America. Glasgow was the Second City of the British Empire for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew in population, reaching a peak of 1,128,473 in 1939. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers about 2.3 million people, at the 2011 census, Glasgow had a population density of 8, 790/sq mi, the highest of any Scottish city. Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is well known in the sporting world for the football rivalry of the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers. Glasgow is also known for Glasgow patter, a dialect that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city. Glasgow is the form of the ancient Cumbric name Glas Cau. Possibly referring to the area of Molendinar Burn where Glasgow Cathedral now stands, the later Gaelic name Baile Glas Chu, town of the grey dog, is purely a folk-etymology. The present site of Glasgow has been settled since prehistoric times, it is for settlement, being the furthest downstream fording point of the River Clyde, the origins of Glasgow as an established city derive ultimately from its medieval position as Scotlands second largest bishopric. Glasgow increased in importance during the 10th and 11th centuries as the site of this bishopric, reorganised by King David I of Scotland and John, there had been an earlier religious site established by Saint Mungo in the 6th century. The bishopric became one of the largest and wealthiest in the Kingdom of Scotland, bringing wealth, sometime between 1189 and 1195 this status was supplemented by an annual fair, which survives as the Glasgow Fair. Glasgow grew over the following centuries, the first bridge over the River Clyde at Glasgow was recorded from around 1285, giving its name to the Briggait area of the city, forming the main North-South route over the river via Glasgow Cross. The founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of the bishopric to become the Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1492 increased the towns religious and educational status and landed wealth. Its early trade was in agriculture, brewing and fishing, with cured salmon and herring being exported to Europe, Glasgow was subsequently raised to the status of Royal Burgh in 1611. The citys Tobacco Lords created a water port at Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde. By the late 18th century more than half of the British tobacco trade was concentrated on Glasgows River Clyde, at the time, Glasgow held a commercial importance as the city participated in the trade of sugar, tobacco and later cotton
Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, the second largest on the island of Ireland, and the heart of the tenth largest Primary Urban Area in the United Kingdom. On the River Lagan, it had a population of 286,000 at the 2011 census and 333,871 after the 2015 council reform, Belfast was granted city status in 1888. Belfast played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, and was an industrial centre until the latter half of the 20th century. It has sustained a major aerospace and missiles industry since the mid 1930s, industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Irelands biggest city at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education, business, and law, additionally, Belfast city centre has undergone considerable expansion and regeneration in recent years, notably around Victoria Square. Belfast is served by two airports, George Best Belfast City Airport in the city, and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The Giants Ring, a 5, 000-year-old henge, is located near the city, Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. The ONeill clan had a presence in the area, in the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe ONeill built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn ONeill of the Clannaboy ONeills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, evidence of this period of Belfasts growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries, industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, tobacco, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, and at the end of the 19th century, Belfast briefly overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland. The Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, in 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule, which had divided the city. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned, the accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfast was heavily bombed during World War II, in one raid, in 1941, German bombers killed around one thousand people and left tens of thousands homeless. Apart from London, this was the greatest loss of life in a raid during the Blitz. Belfast has been the capital of Northern Ireland since its establishment in 1921 following the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and it had been the scene of various episodes of sectarian conflict between its Catholic and Protestant populations. These opposing groups in conflict are now often termed republican and loyalist respectively. The most recent example of conflict was known as the Troubles – a civil conflict that raged from around 1969 to 1998