The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
Nottingham Forest F.C.
Nottingham Forest Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottinghamshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club, often referred to as Forest, have played matches at the City Ground since 1898. Founded in 1865, Forest were founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889, since then, they have mostly competed in the top two League tiers, bar five seasons in the third tier. Forest won the FA Cup in 1898 and 1959, Forest were founded in 1865 as Nottingham Forest Football and Bandy Club by a group of shinty players shortly after their neighbours Notts County, in 1862. They joined the Football Alliance in 1889, and won the competition in 1892, in their early years Forest were a multi-sports club, as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, the baseball club Forest deployed were British champions in 1899. Forests charitable approach to the sport helped teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, in 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest also donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton, Forest claimed their first major honour when they won the 1898 FA Cup, beating Derby County 3–1 at Crystal Palace. However, for much of the first half of the 20th century the club spent life in the Second Division and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom. In 1949 the club were relegated to the Third Division, but were promoted back two years later as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. They therefore became the first team to defeat the Wembley hoodoo, by this time Forest had replaced Notts County as the biggest club in Nottingham and went on to become runners-up in the First Division and FA Cup semi-finalists in 1967. However, after a successful period for the club, Forest were relegated from the First Division in 1972. Clough became the most successful manager in the history of Nottingham Forest, cloughs first game in charge was the third round FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1–0 victory thanks to a goal by Scottish centre-forward Neil Martin. Nottingham Forest became one of the few teams to win the First Division Championship a year after winning promotion from the Second Division and they also won the European Super Cup and two League Cups. The club reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1983–84 but were knocked out by Anderlecht in controversial but uncertain circumstances. The case was dismissed and Anderlecht was acquitted from all charges Nottingham Forests next major trophies came in 1989 when they won the Football League Cup. Cloughs side retained the League Cup in 1990 when they beat Oldham Athletic 1–0, in Forests team that day was young Irish midfielder Roy Keane, who had joined the club the previous summer. In the summer of 1991, Brian Clough broke Forests transfer record fee by signing the top scorer, Millwall striker Teddy Sheringham
In several countries, celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 has the main focus rather than December 25, with gift-giving and sharing a traditional meal with the family. Although the month and date of Jesus birth are unknown, by the fourth century the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25. Today, most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar and this is not a disagreement over the date of Christmas as such, but rather a preference of which calendar should be used to determine the day that is December 25. Although it is not known why December 25 became a date of celebration, December 25 was the date the Romans marked as the winter solstice, the shortest, and therefore darkest day of the year. Jesus was identified with the Sun based on an Old Testament verse, the date is exactly nine months following Annunciation, when the conception of Jesus is celebrated. Finally, the Romans had a series of pagan festivals near the end of the year, so Christmas may have been scheduled at this time to appropriate, or compete with, one or more of these festivals. The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, the economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world. Christmas is a form of Christs mass. It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, crīst is from Greek Khrīstos, a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ, Messiah, meaning anointed, and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form Christenmas was also used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal, it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse. In addition to Christmas, the holiday has been known by other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as midwinter, or, more rarely, Nativity, meaning birth, is from Latin nātīvitās. In Old English, Gēola referred to the corresponding to December and January. Noel entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis, the canonical gospels of Luke and Matthew both describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem in Judea, to a virgin mother. In the Gospel of Luke account, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census and it says that angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. In the Matthew account, magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later settles in Nazareth. The Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke are prominent in the gospels, the first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome in 336. Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century, the feast regained prominence after 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor on Christmas Day
Linfield Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The club was founded in 1886 as Linfield Athletic Club, and in 1905 moved into the current home of Windsor Park, the club plays in the NIFL Premiership – the highest level of the Northern Ireland Football League. Linfields main rival is Glentoran – the other half of Belfasts Big Two and this rivalry traditionally includes a league derby played on Boxing Day each year, which usually attracts the largest league attendance of the season. The Blues are managed by former Northern Ireland international and record goalscorer David Healy, Feeney resigned in order to become assistant manager of Newport County. Historically, as the most dominant club in Northern Irish football, Linfield holds several domestic records, Linfield won a clean sweep of all the trophies in a single season in the 1921–22 season and again in 2006. They narrowly missed out on claiming 7 trophies in a season in 1961–62 season only failing to win the North South cup. Glenavon won the trophy for the 1961–62 season, similarly due to fixture congestion the final for that season was played at the start of 1963, Glenavon to this day still hold the trophy as it was never competed for again. Linfield won all four domestic trophies to achieve a quadruple. The club has lifted the Irish Cup a record 42 times, the League Cup a record nine times, the club has never won a European trophy, but did reach the quarter-finals of the 1966–67 European Cup. The club was founded in March 1886 in an area of south Belfast known as Sandy Row by workers at the Ulster Spinning Companys Linfield Mill, originally known as Linfield Athletic Club, the team played on ground at the back of the mill known as the Meadow. However, success on the field meant that the club had to accommodate bigger crowds, in 1890, Bob Milne signed for the club from the Gordon Highlanders. The Scot would soon become a key member of the team, the club stayed at Ulsterville for five years before housing development on the ground in 1894 meant that the club had to move on once again. However, this was temporary home. The club stayed here until 1905, when moved into Windsor Park. The clubs first silverware at Windsor arrived in the 1906–07 season and this would be the first of a trio of league titles, with the 1907–08 and 1908–09 league titles to follow. In 1910, team captain Bob Milne left the club with a legacy as one of Linfields best ever players and he had amassed nine Irish Cups, eight league titles, and had earned 27 international caps for Ireland during his time at the club. Another Scot, Marshall McEwan, joined Linfield in 1911 at the age of 26 and he had previously played for Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea. McEwan is perhaps best remembered for his performance in the 1913 Irish Cup final, McEwan retired in 1916, but remained in Belfast and later opened several businesses
Cliftonville Football & Athletic Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional association football club playing in the NIFL Premiership. Founded on 20 September 1879 by John McCredy McAlery in the suburb of Cliftonville in north Belfast, it is the oldest football club in Ireland, since 1890, the club has played at Solitude. Cliftonville contests the North Belfast derby with nearest rivals Crusaders, and also has rivalries with Belfasts Big Two clubs, Glentoran. The club has won the Irish League championship four times outright and once shared, the Irish Cup eight times, the newly formed club, however, was beaten 2–1. In its first match against the Scottish club Caledonians, it fared worse, in 1880, it was again John McAlery who was the moving spirit in the formation of the Irish Football Association. He issued an invitation to interested parties in Belfast and district for a meeting to be called, the first meeting took place on 18 November 1880 at Queens Hotel, Belfast, presided over by John Sinclair, from which the Irish Football Association was formed. While Major Chichester was appointed president, McAlery became the secretary of the association. This meeting also paved the way for the Irish Cup, the first Irish Cup final, played at Cliftonville on 9 April 1881, saw a 1–0 defeat against Moyola Park, an opponent that was well known for rough and brutal play. In the following year Cliftonville lost again in the Irish Cup final, in 1883 Cliftonville won the cup for the first time with a 5–0 win over Ulster. During the 1880s Cliftonville also played in the English FA Cup, competing in the competition proper in 1886–87, in 1886–87 they finally lost in the third round 11–0 at home to Partick Thistle after beating Blackburn Park Road 7–2 in an earlier round. In 1887–88 they scratched their match with Church, the match lost to Linfield 7–0 in 1888 is the only FA Cup match to be played on Christmas Day. The inaugural meeting of the Irish Football League was held on 14 March 1890 in the Belfast Estate Office of the Marquess of Dufferin, eight clubs agreed to participate, Cliftonville, Clarence, Milford, Oldpark, Distillery, Glentoran, Ulster and Linfield. In the 1905–06 season Cliftonville won the League for the first time, in 1891 Cliftonville became the first Irish football club to use floodlights at games. Kick-off in each case was at 8 pm with lights suspended across the pitch and these were dismantled later with the announcement that spectators found it difficult to follow the action and that the player seemed to have all the fun in the middle. It had been an experience, but not a highly successful one with the public skeptical. In 1897 Cliftonville won the Irish Cup after a 3–1 win over Sherwood Foresters, a quite unusual protest was launched by Cliftonville after being beaten by Belfast Celtic in the 1900 Irish Cup competition. The Celtic goalposts were eventually measured and it was out that they were much too short. A replay took place, in which Cliftonville reversed the 4–0 defeat in the earlier match, subsequently they won the Cup that year, after beating Bohemians 2–1 in the Final
Everton F. C. /ˈɛvərtən/ is a football club in Liverpool, England, that currently competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons and won the League Championship nine times, formed in 1878, Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and won their first League Championship two seasons later. The mid-1980s represented their most recent period of sustained success, with two League Championships, an FA Cup, and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup, the clubs most recent major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup. The clubs supporters are known as Evertonians, Everton have a rivalry with neighbours Liverpool, and the two sides contest the Merseyside derby. The club have been based at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool, since 1892, the clubs home colours are royal blue shirts with white shorts and socks. Everton were founded as St Domingos in 1878 so that people from the parish of St Domingos Methodist Church Everton could play year round — cricket was played in summer. The clubs first game was a 1–0 victory over Everton Church Club, the club was renamed Everton in November 1879 after the local area, as people outside the parish wished to participate. The club was a member of the Football League in 1888–89. Everton won the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the football programme while Everton were champions, which was something that would again occur in 1939. It was not until 1927 that Evertons first sustained period of success began, in 1925 the club signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. In 1927–28, Dean set the record for league goals in a single season with 60 goals in 39 league games. He helped Everton win their third League Championship that season, however, Everton were relegated to the Second Division two years later during internal turmoil at the club. The club quickly rebounded and was promoted at the first attempt, on return to the top flight in 1931–32, Everton wasted no time in reaffirming their status and won a fourth League Championship at the first opportunity. Everton also won their second FA Cup in 1933 with a 3–0 win against Manchester City in the final, the era ended in 1938–39 with a fifth League Championship. Everton were relegated for the time in 1950–51 and did not earn promotion until 1953–54. The club have been a top-flight presence ever since, Evertons second successful era started when Harry Catterick was made manager in 1961. In 1962–63, his season in charge, Everton won the League Championship. In 1966 the club won the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Everton again reached the final in 1968, but this time were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley
Chester City F.C.
Chester City Football Club was an English football team from Chester which played in a variety of leagues between 1885 and 2010. The club, which was founded as Chester F. C. joined the Football League in 1931, over the next eight decades, the club spent most of its time competing in the lower divisions playing its home games at Sealand Road. In 1983 it was renamed Chester City, the club moved to the Deva Stadium in 1992 after playing two seasons of home games at Macclesfield Towns Moss Rose. In 2004 Chester won the Conference National, their league title. However, halfway through the 2009–10 Conference season, HM Revenue & Customs served a winding-up order on the club in January 2010, the Conference National subsequently suspended Chester – which had been put up for sale – for breaching its financial rules and for cancelling matches. A month after the winding up order was served it was dismissed from the league with all results annulled, in March 2010 Chester was formally wound up after unsuccessfully trying to join the Welsh Premier League. With the official winding up of Chester City, supporters immediately began forming a new club, Chester F. C. was officially established in May 2010. Chester F. C. was founded in 1885 as an amalgamation of Chester Rovers and Old Kings Scholars F. C. after a few years of playing only friendly and occasional cup matches, Chester joined The Combination League in 1890. In 1898 the club moved to The Old Showground, but were forced to leave a year later when the ground was destroyed to make way for housing, leaving the club temporarily disbanded. In 1901, however, they moved to Whipcord Lane, again their stay was only brief and their new stadium on Sealand Road, called simply The Stadium became their first long-term home and provided them with their first league success, as they won the Combination League in 1909. In 1910, Chester moved to the Lancashire Combination League and stayed there until after World War I, charlie Hewitt was appointed manager in 1930, and in 1931 he guided Chester City to the Football League, in place of Nelson F. C. Throughout the 1930s Chester never finished outside of the top ten in Division Three North, during this period Chester recorded their biggest win in the FA Cup, beating Fulham 5–0 in 1933, and in 1936, they recorded their highest league victory, beating York City 12–0. The period also saw Chester win the Welsh Cup for the time after beating growing rivals Wrexham at Sealand Road in May 1933. Unfortunately, the side was to be split up by the outbreak of the Second World War, although the 1946–47 brought a third-place finish and another Welsh Cup triumph, grim times lay ahead. No top half placings would be achieved until the divisions were merged in 1958. They would still have to wait six years until they finished above halfway in a league table. Chesters fortunes began to take a turn for the better after the appointment of South African Peter Hauser as manager in 1963 who put Chester in contention for promotion from Division Four. In 1964–65 all five forwards managed 20 goals – a unique achievement – as Chester scored 119 in Football League games alone, apart from missing out on promotion by just a point in 1970–71 the next few years were largely uneventful
Maidenhead United F.C.
Maidenhead United Football Club is a semi-professional English football club in Maidenhead, Berkshire. They currently play in the National League South, the tier of English football. The club was founded in 1870 and moved to their current ground at York Road the following year, the Football Association have acknowledged that it is the oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club. On 16 February 1871 the club played their first game on the York Road site against Marlow, the club were one of the original 15 entrants for the first-ever FA Cup competition in 1871–72. The following season reached the last four before losing to Oxford University. Maidenhead reached the quarter-finals in the two seasons, but in 1876 withdrew, returning the following season. They also entered the first-ever Berks & Bucks Cup competition in 1878, in 1904 Maidenhead joined the Great Western Suburban League. Maidenhead Norfolkians, meanwhile, were founded in 1884 and were members of the South Bucks & East Berks League before also joining the West Berks League. In 1904 they joined Maidenhead FC in the Great Western Suburban League, Norfolkians played at Kidwells Park which can still be seen to this day, but as a public park – it once staged a Berks & Bucks Cup Final. After the Great War the two clubs amalgamated as Maidenhead Town and adopted the black and white stripes. They had immediate success winning the Great Western League, in 1920 the name United was adopted and two years later they entered the Spartan League. They won the three times in their nineteen-year stay. In 1936 Maidenhead reached the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup losing 4–1 to Ilford at West Ham in front of 18,000 spectators and it was that season that the ground record attendance of 7,989 was set when Southall came to York Road in the quarter-final. In the 1929–30 season the club’s goal-scoring record for a season was set when Jack Palethorpe scored 65 goals in 39 games and he went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday and scored in the Owls FA Cup win in 1935. Following the end of the Second World War the club entered the Corinthian League and they also made three appearances in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. In 1963 United joined the Athenian League, but were unable to repeat their Corinthian success and they had a flirtation with promotion to the Premier Division in 1979 and 1980 under Geoff Anthony, and then again in 1985 under Brian Caterer and Colin Lippiatt. It took four seasons to get out of Division Two, which was achieved under the guidance of Martyn Spong in 1991. An Isthmian League record of 13 straight wins at the start of the season was the springboard to success, following the departure of Spong to Enfield, Gary Goodwin, John Clements and then John Watt took on the manager’s job with mediocre results, the club regularly finishing mid-table
Notts County F.C.
Notts County Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. With records of games as early as 28 November 1862, Notts County is recognised as the oldest association football team in the world now playing at a professional level. Between 1888–89 and 2013–14 they played a total of 4,756 Football League matches – more than any other English team, the team plays in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system. County play their games at Meadow Lane in black and white striped shirts. The club has had spells in the top division of English football, most recently in 1991–92. Notable former managers of Notts County include Jimmy Sirrel, Howard Wilkinson, Neil Warnock, Howard Kendall, the club has had several owners. In the 21st century, a series of problems has seen the club owned by a supporters trust. Notts County are the oldest professional club in the world having been formed in 1862. Notts pre-dated The Football Association and initially played a game of its own devising, at the time of its formation, Notts County, like most sports teams, were considered to be a gentlemen-only club. Notts County are considered to be one of the pioneers of the game and are the oldest of the worlds professional association football clubs. In November 1872, the Notts County full-back Ernest Greenhalgh played for England against Scotland in the international match. In 1888, Notts County, along with 11 other football clubs and they finished their first league season in 11th place, but avoided the dubious honour of the wooden spoon, which went to Midlands rivals Stoke. However, Notts County did achieve their highest ever finish of third in 1890–91. On 25 March 1891, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time, the Magpies were defeated 3–1 by Blackburn Rovers at The Oval, despite having beaten the same side 7–1 in the league only a week earlier. This achievement is also memorable for Notts County becoming the first club outside the top division to win the FA Cup, in 1910 they moved to Meadow Lane. Notts County were relegated in 1926 in what was to be their last season in the English top flight for half a century. The 1925–26 season was the last season that famed giant goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played for the club, in the 1946–47 season, the ground was used temporarily by Nottingham Forest after the River Trent flooded both Meadow Lane and the City Ground. Forest again used Meadow Lane in 1968, after fire destroyed the main stand at the City Ground, the golden age of the club came just after the end of World War II
Blackburn Olympic F.C.
Blackburn Olympic Football Club was an English football club based in Blackburn, Lancashire in the late 19th century. The club was formed in 1878 and initially took part only in local competitions. In 1880, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, Olympic, however, proved unable to compete with wealthier and better-supported clubs in the new professional era, and folded in 1889. Most of Olympics home matches took place at the Hole-i-th-Wall stadium, from 1880 onwards, the clubs first-choice colours consisted of light blue shirts and white shorts. Association football was first codified in the 1860s in the south of England and played by teams of former public school pupils. However, the spread to the industrial towns of the north by the following decade. The town of Blackburn in Lancashire had more than an active football clubs by 1877, with Blackburn Rovers, founded in 1875. Blackburn Olympic F. C. was founded in February 1878 when two of clubs, Black Star and James Street, opted to merge. The name was chosen by James Edmondson, the clubs first treasurer, the new clubs first match was a friendly played on 9 February 1878 which resulted in a 2–0 win over local team St. Johns. In April, the club entered its first competition, the Livesey United Cup, marks in the final to win the tournament, and, as the competition was not held again, the club retained the trophy in perpetuity. Olympic won the cup in both 1879 and 1880, after which the competition was discontinued when the Blackburn Association was absorbed into the larger Lancashire County Football Association, as with the Livesey United Cup, the trophy remained in Olympics possession for the remainder of the clubs existence. In the clubs first FA Cup match, the Light Blues were defeated 5–4 by Sheffield, and the following season the team again lost in the first round, away to Darwen. The clubs increasing expenses were met with the help of Sydney Yates, an iron foundry owner. At the end of the 1881–82 season, Olympic defeated Blackburn Rovers to win the East Lancashire Charity Cup, in the 1882–83 FA Cup, Olympic defeated four other Lancashire clubs, Accrington, Lower Darwen, Darwen Ramblers, and Church, to reach the fifth round. At this stage the Light Blues were drawn to play Welsh team Druids, Olympic defeated the Ruabon-based team 4–1 to progress to the semi-final stage, where for the first time they faced opponents from the south of England — Old Carthusians. Olympic, however, won 4–0 in a match played at a venue in Whalley Range, Manchester, to set up a match with another of the great amateur teams, Old Etonians. The Etonians had defeated Olympics close rivals Blackburn Rovers in the final a year earlier, the first time a northern team had reached the final. Before the final, former England player Jack Hunter, who had joined the club in 1882 in the roles of player and coach
Oswaldtwistle Rovers F.C.
Oswaldtwistle Rovers Football Club were a team based in the town of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. They first entered the FA Cup in 1884 and, in 1885, Rovers were one of the founder members of the Lancashire League in 1889, but predominantly competed in the Lancashire Combination between 1894 and 1909. In 1909, after leaving the division of the Combination. Oswaldtwistle Rovers were based in the town of Oswaldtwistle, near to Accrington, aside from friendly matches, they played in a number of competitions, including the FA Cup, the Lancashire League and the Lancashire Combination. The first of their 22 appearances in the FA Cup came in the 1884–85 season, however, Olympic were a strong team who had won the cup in 1882–83 – the first time it had been won by a northern team. They fared better in 1885–86, beating Lower Darwen 3–1 in the first round and they were then paired against another local side, cup-holders Blackburn Rovers in the next round. They lost the game 1–0, with the goal scored by Hugh McIntyre, only a thousand spectators attended the game, Blackburn Rovers went on to retain the cup that year. Oswaldtwistle never again made it to the round of the FA Cup. In the 1888–89 season, qualifying rounds were introduced for the first time and that year, Rovers entered at the second qualifying round, winning 3–1 at Blackburn Olympic, before losing to South Shore, who went on to become Blackpool F. C. In the same year, Rovers won the Lancashire Junior Cup, in February 1888, they also hosted Newton Heath – who would later change their name to Manchester United – in a friendly match that they won 6–0. In 1889, Oswaldtwistle were one of the members of the Lancashire League. However, they struggled in league, and left at the end of the 1890–91 season. In 1894 they entered the Lancashire Combination, a league generally populated by small local sides and they ended the campaign in fourth place in the division, their highest ever league position. The team left the Combination in 1897, but returned three years later and they were then relegated to the Second Division of the Combination in 1904. Oswaldtwistle left the league at the end of the 1908–09 campaign, Oswaldtwistle are not thought to have survived for long after leaving the league. Their last recorded games are in the 1909–10 FA Cup, paired against Dobson & Barlows in the preliminary round, they drew 1–1 at home. Today the town of Oswaldtwistle, because of its location, is home to supporters of Blackburn Rovers and Accrington Stanley. Key, LL – Lancashire League, LC – Lancashire Combination, LCB – Lancashire Combination, B division, nR – nth round, nQ – nth round qualifying, PR – preliminary round, EPR – extra preliminary round
Matlock Town F.C.
Matlock Town Football Club is an English football club based in Matlock, Derbyshire currently playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. The team, nicknamed The Gladiators, play their games at Causeway Lane. The club was established in the late 1870s and have competed in the Central Alliance and the Midland Counties League before reaching the Northern Premier League. In the 1974–75 season the club won the FA Trophy which caused a major celebration in the town, their manager was Peter Swan, the coach and physiotherapist on that day was Harry Peck who had played for Chesterfield as a professional. In the 1976–77 season, by then managed by Tom Fenoughty, Matlock reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup and they beat Division Three leaders Mansfield Town and featured in a book Tividale to Wembley during this cup run. In 1978 they won the Northern Premier League Cup for the first time, for the 2009–10 season, they are a member of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. During the 2010–11 season, on 16 October, in an FA Trophy tie at home to Bedworth, ross Hannah scored 7 of the 10 goals in Matlocks biggest ever competitive home win. The result equalled the clubs biggest ever win, 10–0 away to Lancaster City in 1975. Matlock Town F. C. feature in the memoir The Long Road Out of Town by Greg Watts, who supported the club in the 1970s. The club play at Causeway Lane, known in recent seasons as the Reynolds Stadium and Autoworld Arena for sponsorship reasons is now the DCJ Insurance Group Stadium, the ground is on the northern side of Causeway Lane, opposite Hall Leys Park. At the eastern end of the ground is a cricket oval. The clubs record attendance is 5,123 against Burton Albion in the 1975 FA Trophy semi-final, Matlocks chief rivals are Buxton but there is a keen sense of competition with other Derbyshire clubs Alfreton Town, Belper Town and Ilkeston. As of 11 December 2016 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
South Bank F.C.
South Bank F. C. were a football club based near Middlesbrough, England. The club claimed to have founded in 1868, which would have made them one of the oldest football clubs in England. South Banks claim to have founded in 1868 would make them the oldest club in the North-East. While the date is recognised by most football historians, there is contemporary evidence to support it. The club initially played matches with other clubs in the Middlesbrough area. In 1885 they amalgamated with South Bank Eribus and South Bank Excelsior, the Bankers remained at Paradise field for a period of three years during which time they entered the FA Cup for the first time. Their first game in the competition came on 30 October 1886 when they lost 0–4 to Gainsborough Trinity in the First Round, the following year they entertained Newcastle East End and triumphed 3–2 following extra time. They then succumbed to Middlesbrough in the Second Round, the club became founder members of the Northern League in 1889–90 and moved to a new ground at Normanby Road. They left the Northern League after this season, returning for another season in 1891–92 before applying to join the Teesside League in 1892–93 becoming champions. Switching again back to the Northern League in 1893–94, they competed in the first FA Amateur Cup. They then lost a title play-off the following season against Bishop Auckland and they also achieved the largest win ever recorded in the Northern League on 29 April 1895 when they hammered North Skelton Rovers 21–0. The following years leading up to the start of World War I were one the club’s most successful periods, a new grandstand, luxurious at the time, was also built in 1909. The structure remained unchanged until demolished in 1993 after fire damage. A second Northern League title, which had eluded the club before hostilities, was secured in 1919–20 after a three way play-off with Crook Town and Bishop Auckland, the 1921–22 season proved to be one of the most eventful. Leading 2–1 in the FA Amateur Cup Final against local rivals Bishop Auckland with one two remaining, the Bankers conceded a late equaliser and then had a last minutes penalty saved. Bishops went on to win 5–2, consolation came for South Bank in securing their third Northern League title in the same season. They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Amateur Cup in 1926–27, the Northern League resumed operation in 1945–46 with South Bank finishing runners-up. They then won the Northern League Cup for the first time in 1947–48, the following decades were a lean period for the club
London Caledonians F.C.
London Caledonians F. C. was an amateur football club based in London, primarily for Scottish players. They were founder members of the Isthmian League, which won in its inaugural season. They remained in the league until 1939 when the club folded, the club won the first of their five Middlesex Senior Cups in 1889–90 and the first of their five London Senior Cups in 1899–1900. They were founder members of the Isthmian League in 1905 and were champions in its first season and they won the league again in 1907–08 and then three times in a row between 1911–12 and 1913–14. They reached the first round of the FA Cup in 1912–13, the following season they started in the first round, but lost 3–0 at Huddersfield Town. In 1922–23 the club reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup, the following season they reached the semi-finals again, but lost in a second replay. A sixth Isthmian League title was won in 1924–25, the following season they again entered the FA Cup in the first round, but lost to Ilford. In 1926–27 they again lost in the first round, this time to Luton Town, however, the following season they reached the third round, where they lost 3–2 at home to Crewe Alexandra. The club did not return to the league after World War II. C
Clitheroe Football Club are an English football club based in Clitheroe, Lancashire, playing in the Northern Premier League Division One North. They were established in 1877 as Clitheroe Central, after joining the Lancashire Combination in 1903, they removed Central from their name. The club was formed as Clitheroe Central in 1877 at the Swan Hotel in Castle Street by local businessmen, after playing in local leagues, and winning their first major trophy, the club joined the Lancashire Combination in 1903 and dropped Central from their name. During this period, Clitheroe played their games at the Upbrooks ground, located behind houses on Salthill Road, in 1925 the club moved a few hundred yards to its present home of Shawbridge. Except for breaks during the First and Second World Wars Clitheroe played in the Lancashire Combination until the end of the 1981–82 season and they won the Lancashire Combination Cup in the 1934–35 season and the League Championship in the 1979–80 season. For the 1982–83 season the Lancashire Combination amalgamated with the Cheshire County League to become the North West Counties League, Clitheroe became one of the founder members, however the state of the ground meant they started in the third division. In the 1995–96 season when under the joint managership of Dennis Underwood, some 7,500 people watched the game against Brigg Town and although Clitheroe won against them earlier in the season in the FA Cup the club was beaten 3–0 in the Vase Final. A public appeal to help with the visit to Wembley saw £7,400 donated by townspeople, the last decade of the 20th century saw most of the ten years spent getting the ground up to scratch with £130,000 being spent in the process. The sale of two players, Jon Penman and Carlo Nash, helped considerably with the expenditure on the ground. The club saw success on the pitch after the Wembley visit until manager Steve Parry led them to the Floodlight Trophy by beating Kidsgrove Athletic 2–1 in the 1998–99 final. Dave Burgess took over the management of the first team in 2000–01 after several years running the second string. In their first season finished as league runners-up and FA Vase semi-finalists. Work commitments led to Burgess standing down in 2001–02, Sculpher took over and again finished as league runners-up before losing 2–1 to Mossley in the League Cup final at Burys Gigg Lane ground. With the title came the reward of promotion to the Northern Premier League for the 2004-05 season, in November 2004 Lee Sculpher resigned as manager and short spells in charge by Paul Byron, Tommy Lawson and Mark Smitheringale followed before Chris Stammers was appointed manager in September 2006. After the 10–1 loss to Kettering Town in the FA Trophy and his assistant Ash Berry took temporary charge of team affairs before the club appointed Neil Reynolds and Kendals veteran player Peter Smith as the new management team in December. Smith took over managerial duties at the end of the 2008-09 season, going on to lead the club to 8th and 6th place finishes. The end of the 2010-11 season saw Pete Smith replaced as manager by Carl Garner, the vacant position of Chair was taken over by Garners long-standing deputy Anne Barker, who remains in the role. Early success for Garner in 2011-12 was followed by a tailing off in form and he resigned with ten games to go, Dave Burgess and Lee Sculpher returning on a temporary basis to see the season out
Southport Football Club are a professional association football club based in Blowick, Southport, Merseyside. The club participates in the National League, the tier of English football. From 1921 to 1978 they were a Football League club and they play their home matches at Haig Avenue, which has a capacity of 6,008. They are known by their nickname the Sandgrounders and it was on Thursday 12 November 1881 that Southport played its first association football match. Although association football was played in the private schools in the late 1870s the original Southport Football Club began as a rugby team. Southport Football Club arranged rugby fixtures for 1881–82, after some heavy defeats, the last recorded being on 15 October 1881, the club switched to association football. On 12 November, six of that lined up when Southport played Bootle second in their first match under Association Rules. Ralph Rylance did more than anyone to establish association football in the town and he came to Southport from Blackburn having played for the Blackburn Law team, a noted eleven in those days. Performances soon improved with him playing, and Tranmere Rovers were beaten twice whilst the Tradesman of Southport, on 7 October 1882, Southport entertained Liverpool Ramblers in their first ever F. A. or English Challenge Cup tie as the competition was called for years. The game was watched by 300 spectators and resulted in a 1–1 draw, in the 1884–85 season the club merged with the Southport Athletic Society and the team moved to the Sports Ground, Sussex Road. As football grew in popularity other clubs sprang up in the town, Southport Wanderers, High Park, Churchtown and Southport Old Boys were amongst the most prominent however Southport Football Club was considered to be the towns premier side. After 5 years existence Southports first football club folded, at least six former Southport players and many of their supporters transferred their affiliations to Southport Wanderers. Southport Wanderers moved to a new ground in Scarisbrick New Road for the 1886–87 season, on 28 September 1886, at a General Meeting held in the Mathers Saleroom, it was unanimously resolved that in future the club be called Southport Football Club. In the summer of 1888, the year the Football League was founded, with the increasing in popularity. The idea met with favour and the meeting called to form such a club took place on 12 June at Scarletts Rooms. At a second meeting, held at the Railway Hotel a week later, at the start of the 1905–06 season Central moved to its present home, Haig Avenue, which was then known as Ash Lane. In 1911, the club became members of the Central League. In 1918, the club was renamed as Southport Vulcan – having been bought by the Vulcan Motor Company – becoming the first club to take a sponsors name
Grimsby Town F.C.
Grimsby Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of league football in England. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and later became Grimsby Town, the club is located at Blundell Park where it has been since 1898. They are the most successful of the three professional clubs in historic Lincolnshire, being the only one to play top-flight football. It is also the club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final It has also spent more time in the English games first. In 2008 Buckley took Grimsby to the again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy. Grimsby managed to reach the Conference play-off final in both 2015 and 2016, after losing to Bristol Rovers they defeated Forest Green Rovers to earn promotion back to the Football League. Initial relegation back in 2010 made them the club to compete in all top five divisions of English football. Grimsbys claims to fame are that their 1939 FA Cup semi-final with Wolverhampton Wanderers attendance of 76,962 is still a record at Manchester Uniteds Old Trafford stadium and they were also the first English club to appoint a foreign manager doing so in 1954 with Hungarian manager Elemér Berkessy. The clubs record holder is John McDermott, who made 754 appearances between 1987 and 2007, while their leading scorer is Pat Glover, with 180 goals. Grimsby Town F. C. was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street, Grimsby. Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished. The club was originally called Grimsby Pelham, this being the name of the Earl of Yarborough. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become their ground until 1889 when they relocated to Abbey Park, before moving again in 1899 to their present home, Blundell Park. The original colours were blue and white hoops, which were changed to chocolate, in 1888 the club first played league football, joining the newly formed Combination. The league soon collapsed and the year the club applied to join the Football League. Instead the club joined the Football Alliance, in 1890 the club became a limited company and in 1892 finally entered the Football League, when it was expanded to two divisions. The first game was a 2–1 victory over Northwich Victoria, however they finished as champions at the first attempt and at the subsequent re-election vote, replaced local rivals Lincoln City in the Football League
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
Clapton Football Club is a football club based in Forest Gate, East London. The club are members of the Essex Senior League and play at The Old Spotted Dog Ground. The following year the club adopted its current name, Clapton began competing in the FA Cup in 1888–89, and in 1890 became the first club from Great Britain to play in continental Europe, defeating a Belgian XI in Antwerp. They returned to Belgium three years later, recording another emphatic victory as they beat Antwerp 7–0, in 1894 Clapton became founder members of the Southern League, alongside Luton Town, Millwall and Reading, and were placed in Division One. Finishing eighth in a league they were forced to play a test match to avoid relegation. In 1904–05 the club reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup for the first time, in 1905 they became founder members of the Isthmian League, finishing as runners-up in its inaugural season. The following season saw the club win their first Amateur Cup, in 1908–09, they won the Amateur Cup again, thrashing Eston United 6–0 in the final. The 1910–11 season saw them win their first Isthmian League title, in 1922–23 Clapton won another Isthmian League title. The following season saw them win their fourth Amateur Cup, defeating Erith & Belvedere 3–0 in the final and they went on to retain their title as Amateur Cup holders the following season, beating Southall FC 2–1 at the Old Den. In the same season, three Clapton players were selected for the England national team, in 1925–26 the club reached the third round of the FA Cup after wins against Norwich City and Ilford in the first and second round. They were eventually knocked out, losing 3–2 at home to Swindon Town, the club would go on to reach the first round of the FA Cup again in 1926–27, 1927–28 and 1957–58, losing to Brentford, Luton Town and QPR respectively. In 1975–76 Clapton finished bottom of Division One of the Isthmian League, dropping down to Division Two, at the end of the 1981–82 season they were relegated to Division Two, but bounced back at the first time of asking as champions. The club won the Essex Senior Cup for a time in 1984. In 1991 the club was placed in Division Three after league reorganisation, in 2005–06 Clapton finished in bottom of the league for the second consecutive season, and subsequently joined the Essex Senior League after Division Two was disbanded. In 2015–16 the club won the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy, beating Stansted 4–0 in the final, in 1888 the club made their final switch to the sports grounds at the Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate, after it had been vacated by St Bartholomews Hospital. The first game at the Old Spotted Dog on 29 September 1888 resulted in a 1–0 victory over Old Carthusians, claptons support includes the Clapton Ultras. C. Players Clapton F. C. managers Football in London Club website
Nantwich Town F.C.
Nantwich Town Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Nantwich, Cheshire, England. The club was founded in 1884 and is nicknamed The Dabbers, the club is currently a member of the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the seventh tier in the English football league system, with home matches played at the Weaver Stadium. Nantwich Town won the FA Vase Final on 6 May 2006, two goals from Andy Kinsey and one from Stuart Scheuber produced a 3–1 win over Hillingdon Borough at St Andrews. Cup preliminary round tie against Droylsden, Andy Locke scored the fastest ever F. A, Locke completed his hat trick in 2 minutes 20 seconds. This record still stands for a hat trick in any round of the F. A. Cup, Nantwich followed up their FA Vase winning season of 2005–06 with another successful campaign in 2006–07. Nantwich also progressed to the Semi-Final stage of the FA Trophy in their 2015-16 campaign, founded in 1884, Nantwich has a long and proud football tradition. Early years were spent playing friendly and cup matches but in 1891 the club joined the Shropshire & District League, Nantwich moved into the stronger Combination the following season and on 15 October 1892 hosted Liverpool in the Merseysiders’ first ever FA Cup match. Before the First World War, Nantwich also had spells in a variety of including the North Staffs & District. In those early years, the club were honoured to have A. N, hornby captained England at rugby and cricket and, as well as being President, turned out for the club on a number of occasions. After the war, the club became members of the Cheshire County League in which they were perennial strugglers. The season before, a home attendance of 5,121 watched the Dabbers play Winsford United in the Cheshire Senior Cup at their temporary home at Kingsley Fields. Ironically, this is the location where the club is now looking to build a new modern stadium and move to for the 2005–06 season. Success, though, came in the Cheshire Senior Cup in 1933 when the Dabbers lifted the trophy after beating ICI at the Drill Field, Northwich in front of 8,000 fans. After the Second World War, the Dabbers joined the newly founded Mid Cheshire League and in 1952, the club entered the inaugural FA Youth Cup competition. However, the mid-1960s saw considerable success and in the 1963–64 season the club completed a treble, winning the Mid Cheshire League, League Cup and Cheshire Amateur Cup under manager Alan Ball. According to former player the late Mike Brookes, Mr Ball trained us very hard and he made us think ‘the game’ more. One ploy was when we were attacking – for me as centre forward to mark the centre out of the game. The other forwards could still use me for the wall pass to break through
Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1886 and was elected to the Football League in 1950 and it has also competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it six times, a record for an English team. From 1910 onwards, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn, since 2007, they have played at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury Town were formed at a meeting on 20 May 1886 at the Turf Hotel in Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury. This was following the demise of first Shropshire Wanderers and later indirectly after Castle Blues, the Blues were a rough team, leading to their demise after several games were marred by violence. The new team hoped to be as successful but without the notoriety, press reports differ as to the date the new club was formed, The Eddowes Shropshire Journal of 26 May 1886 reported the birth of the club at The Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Chronicle reported the clubs being formed at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill and it may be both accounts are true, with a get-together at The Lion being finalised at the Turf. In 1910, Shrewsbury looked to move to a new ground, having spent early years at locations across the town, the club moved to Gay Meadow on the edge of the town centre, within sight of Shrewsbury Abbey, and stayed 97 years. Shrewsburys Birmingham League days were mostly mid-table, with a few seasons challenging near the top, a move to the Midland Champions League in 1937–38 saw the club enjoy one of its most successful seasons, winning a league and cup treble. Shrewsbury were league champions, scoring 111 goals, in addition, the Welsh Cup was won following a replay, the team enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, and won the Shropshire Senior Cup. After a run of seasons in post-war years, Shrewsbury were admitted to the old Division 3 of the Football League in 1950. Shrewsbury Town were elected to the Football League Division 3 North for 1950–51 following the decision to expand from 88 to 92 clubs, Shrewsbury were then promoted to the Third Division in 1958–59. They remained in the third tier 15 years, slipping back to Division Four at the end of 1973–74, 1960–61 season saw Shrewsbury Town reach the Semi Final of the League Cup. After beating Everton in the quarter-finals, they narrowly lost over two legs 4–3 on aggregate to Rotherham United and this era was also remembered for Arthur Rowley. He arrived from Leicester City in 1958, the clubs first player/manager, during his playing and managerial career, he broke Dixie Deans goal-scoring record, scoring his 380th league goal against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 29 April 1961. Retiring from playing in 1965 he remained manager until July 1968, Shrewsbury were promoted to the Third Division in 1974–75 as runners-up, before another successful season in 1978–79, when they were league champions under Ritchie Barker and later Graham Turner. Over 14,000 fans packed Gay Meadow on 17 May 1979 to see Shrewsbury seal promotion with a 4–1 win over Exeter City, in addition, the club had their first run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before a replay defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Turner is the teams most successful manager, winning the Third Division Championship in 1978–79 – his first season in charge – to take the club into the Second Division for the first time and they remained for ten years, although Turner departed for Aston Villa in 1984
Luton Town F.C.
Luton Town Football Club /ˈluːtən ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based at Kenilworth Road, Luton, Bedfordshire since 1905. Founded in 1885, it is nicknamed the Hatters and affiliated to the Bedfordshire County Football Association and its first-team is contesting the fourth tier of English football, League Two, during the 2016–17 season. The clubs history includes major trophy wins, several financial crises, numerous promotions and relegations, the club was the first in southern England to turn professional, making payments to players as early as 1890 and turning fully professional a year later. It joined the Football League before the 1897–98 season, left in 1900 because of financial problems, Luton reached the First Division in 1955–56 and contested a major final for the first time when playing Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup Final. The team was relegated from the top division in 1959–60. However, it was promoted back to the top level by 1974–75, Luton Towns most recent successful period began in 1981–82, when the club won the Second Division, and thereby gained promotion to the First. Luton defeated Arsenal 3–2 in the 1988 Football League Cup Final, between 2007 and 2009, financial difficulties caused the club to fall from the second tier of English football to the fifth in successive seasons. The last of these came during the 2008–09 season, when 30 points were docked from Lutons record for various financial irregularities. Luton thereafter spent five seasons in non-League football before winning the Conference Premier in 2013–14, Luton Town Football Club was formed on 11 April 1885, the product of a merger of the two leading local teams, Luton Town Wanderers and Excelsior. Initially based at Excelsiors Dallow Lane ground, the club began making payments to individual players in 1890. The following year, Luton became the first club in southern England to be fully professional, the club was a founder member of the Southern Football League in the 1894–95 season and finished as runners-up in its first two seasons. It then left to form the United League and came second in that leagues inaugural season before joining the Football League for 1897–98. The club continued to enter a team to the United League for two seasons, and won the title in 1897–98. A return to the Southern League was therefore arranged for the 1900–01 season, eight years after arriving at Dunstable Road, Luton moved again, settling at their current ground, Kenilworth Road, in 1905. Captain and left winger Bob Hawkes became Lutons first international player when he was picked to play for England against Ireland on 16 February 1907, a poor 1911–12 season saw Luton relegated to the Southern Leagues Second Division, the club won promotion back two years later. After the First World War broke out, Luton took part in The London Combination during 1915–16, a key player of the period was Ernie Simms, a forward. Simms was invalided back to England after being wounded on the Italian front, however, after Luton finished fourth in the division, the squad was broken up as Simms, Bookman and Mathieson joined South Shields, Port Vale and Exeter City respectively. Luton stayed in the Third Division South until 1936–37, when the team finished top and won promotion to the Second Division, during the early 1950s, one of Lutons greatest sides emerged under manager Dally Duncan
Newcastle West End F.C.
Newcastle West End Football Club were an English football club which briefly played in the Northern League and the FA Cup in the late 19th century. Their entire history was played out during the Victorian era in Newcastle, the club was formed in August 1882 after local cricket side West End Cricket Club decided to form a footballing section. There was a Tyne Association club which had entered previous FA Cups in 1880, despite the foundation of The Football League the club did not apply for membership, instead becoming a founding member of the Northern League in 1889–90. The same season as their league spot, West End entered into the FA Cup. The clubs league form declined significantly in the two seasons, where they finished 7th and 8th respectively out of nine. Tom Watson leaving to bitter cross city rivals Newcastle East End is cited as a reason for the clubs decline. Bitter local rivals from across the city, Newcastle East End had a better financial situation, they had become professional. Under heavy financial pressure, West End approached East End looking for a merger, in December 1892, the club decided to adopt a new name in recognition of the merger, suggested names included Newcastle Rangers, Newcastle City and Newcastle United. The latter name was decided upon signifying Newcastles East and West united, the name change was accepted by The Football Association on 22 December, but the name change was not legally constituted as Newcastle United Football Club Co. Ltd. until 6 September 1895
Swindon Town F.C.
Swindon Town Football Club is a professional football club in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Founded as Swindon AFC in 1879, they became Spartans in 1880, the team compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The clubs home ground, where it has played since 1896, is the 15,728 capacity County Ground, the club went professional in 1894 and entered the Football League in 1920. Swindon Town won promotion to the Premier League in the 1992–93 season, Swindon Town Football Club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879. The team turned professional in 1894 and joined the Southern League which was founded in the same year, during this period Septimus Atterbury played for the club. Swindon reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in the 1909–10 season, Barnsley and Swindon were invited to compete for the Dubonnet Cup in 1910 at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris. The result was a 2–1 victory for Swindon with Harold Fleming scoring both of the clubs goals, the following season, 1910–11, Swindon Town won the Southern League championship, earning them a Charity Shield match with the Football League champions Manchester United. This, the highest-scoring Charity Shield game to date, was played on 25 September 1911 at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United winning 8–4, some of the proceeds of this game were later donated to the survivors of the Titanic. In 1912 Swindon Town reached the finals of the FA Cup for a second time in 3 years. Swindons exploits at this time owed a lot to the skilful forward H. J. Fleming who was capped by England 11 times between 1909 and 1914 despite playing outside the Football League. Fleming remained with Swindon throughout a career spanning 1907 and 1924. Swindon entered the Football League in 1920 as a member of Division Three. This result stands as a record for the club in League matches, the club was relegated back into Division Three in 1965 but it was about to create a sensation. In 1969, Swindon beat Arsenal 3–1 to win the League Cup for the time in the clubs history. As winners of the League Cup, Swindon were assured of a place in their first European competition, however, the Football Association had previously agreed to inclusion criteria with the organizers which mandated that only League Cup winners from Division One would be able to take part. As the team were not eligible, the short lived Anglo-Italian competitions were created to give teams from lower divisions experience in Europe, the first of these, the 1969 Anglo-Italian League Cup, was contested over two legs against Coppa Italia winners A. S. Swindon won 5–2, with the scorer of two goals in the League Cup final – Don Rogers – scoring once and new acquisition Arthur Horsfield acquiring his first hat-trick for the club. The team then went on to win the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup competition in a tournament beset by hooliganism, napoli was abandoned after 79 minutes following pitch invasions and a missile barrage, with teargas being employed to allow the teams to return to the dressing room
Marlow Football Club is an English football club based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The club are members of the Southern Football League and play at the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground. They are the football club in England to have applied for entry into the FA Cup every season since its inception in 1871. Their current manager is former Reading Town boss Mark Bartley who took over following the relegation from the Southern Football League in 2012. He was assisted by Marcus Richardson and is now assisted by Neville Roach, the club was formed at a meeting at the Compleat Angler Hotel on 22 November 1870. Cuthbert Ottaway, the first captain of England, played for The Blues at the beginning of its history, in 1871–72 the club competed in the first-ever FA Cup, losing 2–0 to Maidenhead. In 1881–82 they reached the semi-finals, losing 5–0 to Old Etonians, instead, they joined the Spartan League in 1908, but resigned midway through their third season in the league. In 1919 the club left its Crown Meadow ground to move to Star Meadow, resulting in them leaving the Great Western Suburban League, in 1928 they moved to a new ground, which was named after their long-serving secretary, Alfred Davis. They rejoined the Spartan League in 1928, winning Division Two West in 1929–30, in 1965 they joined Division Two of the Athenian League, and were promoted to Division One after finishing third in 1970–71. When the league disbanded in 1984 they joined Division Two North of the Isthmian League and they were transferred to Division Two South the following season, and in 1986–87 they finished second and were promoted to Division One. The following season they won Division One and were promoted to the Premier Division, in 1991–92 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1892, but lost 6–0 to West Bromwich Albion. The following season Marlow reached the round of the FA Cup. They were drawn at home to Tottenham, but the match was switched to White Hart Lane, Two seasons later they reached the third round again, defeating Oxford United in the first round, before losing 2–0 at Swindon Town in the third. They remained in the Premier Division until being relegated at the end of the 1994–95 season, Two seasons later they were relegated again. In 2004 they were transferred to Division One West of the Southern League, the 2011–12 season saw the club finish bottom of Division One Central of the Southern League and the club was relegated to the Premier Division of the Hellenic Football League. The club managed to promotion a season later back to the Southern League, under manager Mark Bartley. After two seasons in the Southern League Division One Central, Marlow were shuffled over to the Southern League Division One South & West ahead of the 2015–16 season. Marlow play their games at the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground, Oak Tree Road, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Scarborough Football Club was an association football club based in the seaside resort of Scarborough, North Yorkshire. They were one of the oldest football clubs in England, formed in 1879, before they were wound up on 20 June 2007, in the 2006–07 season Scarborough competed in the Conference North. They started the season with a 10-point deduction, for a breach of league rules and their last ever game, on 28 April 2007, was a 1–0 win at Hucknall Town. A new club was established by the Seadog Trust under the banner Scarborough Athletic on 25 June 2007, the club was formed in 1879 by members of the towns cricket team, and played their earliest games at the cricket ground in North Marine Road. The football club moved to the nearby Recreation Ground. Scarborough first entered Englands national cup competition, the FA Cup in 1887, before the club became professional they spent their time competing in the Northern League. It was in 1927 the Yorkshire club became professional and joined the Midland League, after only three years they became champions of it, breaking the record for most points in a season. The same year, the club were performing respectably in the FA Cup, Club attendance records were broken when the club reached the same stage of the FA Cup again, during the 1937–38 season. The game against Luton Town, which was a 1–1 draw, saw 11,162 people packed into the Athletic Ground, unfortunately for Scarborough they were soundly defeated 5–1 in the replay. Because of their decent performance in the Midlands League, the club were entitled to one of the founding clubs in the new Northern Premier League in 1968. The 1970s would prove to be a time for the club. However, there was also a tragedy for the club during the 1970s, on 18 May 1977, 21-year-old winger Tony Aveyard died after collapsing as a result of a head injury suffered in a match two days earlier. The 1970s also saw the club performing well in the FA Cup and they reached the Third Round in the 1975–76 season before losing 2–1 to Crystal Palace in a match that was featured on BBCs Match of the Day. During the 1977–78 season, they reached these heights again, with a Third Round clash against Brighton and Hove Albion and they also took part in the Anglo-Italian Cup twice, beating Udinese 4–0 in 1976 and then beating Parma 2–0 during the following years competition. In 1976 they lost 4–1 on aggregate to Italian side US Lecce in the match of the Anglo-Italian Semiprofessional Tournament. By the end of the 1970s, Scarborough had been selected to be part of the new Alliance Premier League and they stayed in this league for several seasons with generally consistent finishing positions in mid-table. The club gained a new manager named Neil Warnock, and his team became champions of the Conference in 1987 and they were automatically promoted into the Football League, the first club to achieve this feat by this route. In 1987 Scarborough were promoted into the Football League Fourth Division, the club had mixed fortunes during their stay in the Football League
Newcastle East End F.C.
Newcastle East End Football Club were an English football club which briefly played in the Northern League and the FA Cup in the late 19th century. Their entire history was played out during the Victorian era in Newcastle upon Tyne, the club are most noted for being one of the two football sides that merged to form Newcastle United in 1892. The club was formed in November 1881 after local cricket side Stanley Cricket Club decided to form a footballing section, based in the South Byker inner city part of Newcastle, the club played their first game, winning 5–0 against Elswick Leather Works resevers. Due to being confused with a side from Stanley, County Durham, the first game played under the new name was against Hamsterley Rangers, taking place on 7 October 1882, it ended 1–0 to East End. Early players for the club included the likes of William Findlay, Alex White, originally East End played their games at Stanley Street in Byker but moved a short distance to Chillingham Road, on the border between Byker and Heaton during 1884, near to a railway network. The club became founding members of the Northern League, East End was the first club from Newcastle to become professional, which in 1889 was a huge step for a Northern football club. They also became a company in March 1890, with capital of 1,000 pounds in ten shilling notes. East End applied to join the First Division of the Football League in 1892, both were asked to apply for the Second Division and both declined. The club entered into the FA Cup and participated against Sunderland Albion in a qualifying round and their second attempt a year later fared slightly better as the First Round was reached in a match which they lost to Nottingham Forest. Bitter local rivals from across the city, Newcastle West End, some of the West End players and backroom staff merged with East End, the ground which West End played at, St James Park, became the ground of the club as it was superior to Chillingham Road. In December 1892, the decided to adopt a new name in recognition of the merger, suggested names included Newcastle Rangers, Newcastle City. The latter name was decided upon signifying Newcastles East and West united, the name change was accepted by The Football Association on 22 December, but the name change was not legally constituted as Newcastle United Football Club Co. Ltd. until 6 September 1895. The original and most common colours of the club was red shirts, with white shorts and black socks. Despite the fact that this was the kit they first wore and indeed the kit originally passed on to Newcastle United after the merger, a second kit has gained more attention in some sources. The second kit was a change in colours during the mid-1880s. It is considered highly ironic in the History of Newcastle United, because the clubs main rivals Sunderland used the same colours
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. The club currently competes in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed as Christ Church Football Club in 1874, founder members of the Football League in 1888, Bolton have spent the highest number of seasons of any club in the top flight without winning the title. The closest they have come to the title is third in the First Division on three occasions, as of 2015, the club has spent more seasons in the top division than any other club outside the current Premier League. Bolton were a successful cup side in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup three times, the club won the cup a fourth time in 1958. A leaner spell followed, reaching a nadir in 1987 when the club spent a season in the Fourth Division, the club regained top-flight status in 1995 after a 15-year absence. In a period of success, the club qualified for the UEFA Cup twice, reaching the last 32 in 2005–06. The club played at Burnden Park for 102 years from 1895, on 9 March 1946, The Burnden Park disaster occurred, which was a human crush in which 33 Bolton fans lost their lives. In 1997 it moved out of town to the Reebok Stadium, the stadium was renamed the Macron Stadium in July 2014, to reflect the clubs new deal with Italian sportswear company Macron. The club was founded by the Reverend Joseph Farrall Wright, Perpetual curate of Christ Church Bolton and Thomas Ogden, the schoolmaster at the adjacent church school in 1874 as Christ Church F. C. It was initially run from the church of the name on Deane Road. The club left the following a dispute with the vicar. The name was chosen as the club initially had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, Bolton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, which formed in 1888. At the time Lancashire was one of the strongest footballing regions in the country, having remained in the Football League since its formation, Bolton have spent more time in the top flight than out of it. In 1894 Bolton reached the final of the FA Cup for the first time, a decade later they were runners-up a second time, losing 1–0 to local rivals Manchester City at Crystal Palace on 23 April 1904. In this period Bolton equalled their record finish of third twice, in 1920–21 and 1924–25, on 28 April 1923, Bolton won their first major trophy in their third final, beating West Ham United 2–0 in the first ever Wembley FA Cup final. The match, famously known as The White Horse Final was played in front of over 127,000 supporters, boltons centre-forward, David Jack scored the first ever goal at Wembley Stadium. Driven by long-term players Joe Smith in attack, Ted Vizard and Billy Butler on the wings, in 1928 the club faced financial difficulties and so was forced to sell David Jack to Arsenal to raise funds
Gainsborough Trinity F.C.
Gainsborough Trinity Football Club is a football club based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. They are currently members of the National League North and play at the Northolme, the club was established in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists by Reverend George Langton Hodgkinson, the vicar at the Holy Trinity Church. In 1889 the club were members of the Midland League. The club finished as runners-up the following season and again in 1895–96, in the vote they finished third, ahead of existing members Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra, and were elected into the Second Division. The clubs first season in Division Two of the League saw them finish seventh, in 1901–02 Trinity finished bottom of the division, but were re-elected. In 1904–05 the club finished sixth in Division Two, their best performance during their Football League membership. In 1911–12 Gainsborough finished bottom of the Second Division for a second time, the club returned to the Midland League, finishing third in 1912–13 and second in 1913–14, after which they unsuccessfully applied for readmission to the Football League. When the Football League created a new Third Division North in 1921, Trinity applied for membership, in 1931–32 they beat Crewe again in the first round, before losing 5–2 at home to Watford. In 1937–38 Trinity beat Port Vale in the first round, before losing to fellow non-League club Yeovil & Petters United, another Football League team was beaten the following season, when Trinity knocked out Gateshead in the first round, before losing to Doncaster Rovers. In 1948–49 they reached the round after defeating Witton Albion in the first round. They went on to win a third Midland League title that season and they reached the first round again the following season, before losing 4–1 at home to Chesterfield. The club failed to repeat the feat until 1959–60, when they lost to Doncaster Rovers in a replay, at the end of the 1959–60 season, the Midland League was disbanded. Gainsborough spent a season playing in both the Central Alliance and Division Two of the Yorkshire League, before returning to a reformed Midland League in 1961. Trinity won their fourth Midland League title in 1966–67, also reaching the first round of the FA Cup, the club applied to join the Football League again in 1975 and 1976, but received only a single vote on each occasion. The 1983–84 season saw them reach the first round of the FA Cup for over a decade, when the Northern Premier League added a second division in 1987, Gainsborough were placed in the Premier Division. In 1997–98 FA Cup saw them drawn against local rivals Lincoln City, another first round appearance in 2003–04 ended with a 7–1 defeat at Brentford. At the end of the season a tenth-place finish saw the club become members of the Conference North. FA Cup first round appearances followed in 2006–07 (a 3–1 defeat by Barnet, in 2011–12 the club finished fourth, qualifying for the promotion play-offs
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
Wrexham Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Wrexham, Wales. Based on the clubs recorded formation date of 1864, they are the oldest club in Wales, since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club. As of May 2015, the club has 4,129 adult members, Wrexham are perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over reigning English Champions Arsenal in 1992 and a 1–0 victory over FC Porto in 1984 in the European Cup Winners Cup. Wrexhams home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the worlds oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games, the record attendance at the ground was set in 1957, when Wrexham hosted a match against Manchester United in front of 36,445 spectators. Their first game was played on 22 October 1864 at the Denbigh County Cricket Ground against the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, as the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at the time, early matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side. In these early years Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to having just 11 players on the pitch at any one time. C, in the 1877–78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park, Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids F. C. 1–0, with James Davies being credited with the goal. Because of a lack of money at the fledgling FAW, Wrexham did not receive their trophy until the next year. 1883 also saw Wrexhams first appearance in the FA Cup, when receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 3–4 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club being expelled from the Football Association, Olympic was dropped from this clubs name in 1888. In 1890 Wrexham joined The Combination league, playing their first game against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, Lea played for the club despite only having one arm as did playing colleague James Roberts. Wrexham finished the second from bottom in eighth place in the first season. Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before an increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League in the 1894–95 season. The club then remained in the Combination league until 1905, by time they had managed to win the league four times. After several unsuccessful attempts Wrexham were finally elected to the Birmingham, Wrexhams first ever match in this league was at home against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, and two thousand spectators witnessed Wrexham win the match 2–1. Wrexham finished sixth in their first season in this league, during their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times, in 1908–09, 1909–10, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1914–15, and 1920–21. They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a time in the 1908–09 season before losing a replay 1–2 to Exeter City after extra time. In 1921 Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League and their first League game was against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators