Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles, the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles, the legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. Glasgow, Scotlands largest city, was one of the worlds leading industrial cities. Other major urban areas are Aberdeen and Dundee, Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europes oil capital, following a referendum in 1997, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs, Scotland is also a member nation of the British–Irish Council, and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels, the Late Latin word Scotia was initially used to refer to Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages. Repeated glaciations, which covered the land mass of modern Scotland. It is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, the groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period and it contains the remains of an early Bronze Age ruler laid out on white quartz pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves, in the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing widespread damage and over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll, when the storm cleared, local villagers found the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. William Watt of Skaill, the laird, began an amateur excavation of the site, but after uncovering four houses
George Burrell Ramsay was secretary and manager of Aston Villa Football Club in the most successful period of their history. Ramsay came to join Aston Villa almost by accident, walking past a Villa players practice match in Aston Park in 1876, he was asked to make up the numbers. Impressed by his skills, the Villa players invited to join the club, Ramsay later described the newly formed clubs approach to the game as a dash at the man and a big kick at the ball. He also took charge of training which saw dramatic improvement that showed in the results and this had become the main style of play in Scotland whereas in England most teams relied on what was known as the dribbling game. He was also responsible for the recruitment of Villa legend Archie Hunter, Hunter later recounted the story in his 1890 memoir Triumphs of the Football Field. Villa played at Perry Barr until 1897 when the club moved to the Aston Lower Grounds, next to Aston Hall, Club folklore has it that Ramsay was the first man to kick a ball at Villa Park. Villa gradually improved under his guidance which culminated in Villa winning their first trophy, The Birmingham Senior Cup, in 1880, Ramsay retired from playing in June 1882, but remained at the club as Secretary from 1884–1926. This position pre-dates the modern role of a manager, which meant that Ramsay was responsible for the team. His duties not only involved looking after the players but also included controlling recruitment and transfers, although the team was selected by the Committee each week, which consisted of such figures as William McGregor and Fred Rinder. He held this position for a remarkable 42 years, in which time Villa won the Football League and FA Cup 6 times each, in 1926, at the age of 71, Ramsay retired as Secretary and became honorary advisor and a vice-president of the Club. His replacement W. J. Smith was unable to continue Ramsays success, in 1934 Smith stood down and the club decided to appoint its first manager, Jimmy McMullan. The following year Ramsay died at the age of 80, within a year of his death the Midlands giants were relegated, an unthinkable notion in the Ramsay era. In all Ramsays association with the club lasted 59 years. Ramsay was laid to rest at St. Marys Church, Handsworth, the Glaswegian arrived in Birmingham around 1871 to work as a clerk in a brass foundry, a position he held until he was appointed Villas Secretary in 1884. He married Fanny Elizabeth Warwick, a native of Aston, in 1893 and they had two sons and one daughter. Aston Villa First Division, 1893–94, 1895–96, 1896–97, 1898–99, 1899–1900, 1909–10 FA Cup, 1886–87, 1894–95, 1896–97, 1904–05, 1912–13, 1919–20 List of English football championship winning managers
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
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