Crusaders Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional football club, playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1898, hails from Belfast and plays its matches at Seaview. Club colours are red and black, the current manager is former player Stephen Baxter, who is the clubs longest serving manager, having been appointed in 2005. Crusaders played intermediate football until 1949, and during time they were one of the top non-league teams in the country. The withdrawal of Belfast Celtic from the ranks in 1949 resulted in Crusaders being elected in their place in time for the start of the 1949–50 season. The clubs fierce rivals are Cliftonville, matches between the two clubs are known as the North Belfast derby. Rivalries also exist with other Belfast sides such as Linfield and Glentoran, Crusaders Football Club was formed in the year 1898, with the exact date unknown. Many names were suggested for the club, including Rowan Star, Cultra United, Mervue Wanderers, Moyola, and others such as Queens Rovers, thomas Palmer felt that a name of more international significance should be adopted and he suggested Crusaders, after the medieval Christian knights. Initially the club was able to undertake friendly fixtures until it was admitted to one of the local junior leagues. Players were compelled to pay a fee of two pence before they could take the field. It was strictly no pay-no play, the very first competitive game of which there is any existing record was on 10 December 1898. It came in the North Belfast Alliance against opponents named Bedford at Alexandra Park and reports state that, in addition, the side were very successful in the top junior cup competition, the Steel & Sons Cup, winning the competition on seven occasions as a junior side. The side also reached the Irish Cup semi finals three times in the 1920s, the first came in the 1923–24 season, where they were defeated by that seasons Irish League champions Queens Island in a replay at Pirrie Park. In the 1924–25 season the Crues knocked out senior sides Larne and they reached the semi-finals once again in 1927, losing 2–4 at home to derby rivals Cliftonville. The Crues also reached the final of the Belfast Charities Cup in 1923, also an achievement as the competition was open to all senior clubs in Belfast. Despite these feats, all applications for entry to the senior Irish League were turned down, the frustration was such that consideration was given to making application either to the Scottish Football League or to the League of Ireland. The Second World War meant that there was no football played by the Crues between April 1941 and September 1945, Crusaders began competing once more in the Intermediate League after the war, beginning with the 1945–46 season. Morrison would also go on to be the top scorer of their first senior season with 11 goals in all competitions
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
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Marks, they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won five major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, by 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million. In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated they were the sixth most valuable football club. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, with it promotion to the highest level in English football. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, after relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer, in the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Further trophies followed, City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy, the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, the final trophy of the clubs most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s, Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone, under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were relegated from the top flight in the 1980s. However, this was only a respite, and following Reids departure Manchester Citys fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, after two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their countrys third league tier, after 1. After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline, under manager Joe Royle, City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a play-off against Gillingham
Bishop Auckland F.C.
Bishop Auckland Football Club is a football club based in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England. They are one of the most successful sides, having won the FA Amateur Cup ten times. Nicknamed The Bishops or The Two Blues, they are rivals with West Auckland Town, the club are currently members of the Northern League Division One and play at Heritage Park. The founding students chose Cambridge and Oxford Blue as the colours to reflect the origins of the new team. A later dispute caused a breakaway team called Auckland Town in 1886, in 1889 Auckland Town were one of the 10 founding members of the Worlds second-oldest football league – the Northern League. The inaugural season was uneventful with the team finishing 8th with the leagues first winners being St. Augustines. Between the years of 1891 and 1893 the team never participated in league football, the team name was changed in 1893 to Bishop Auckland and it was under this name that the football club rejoined the Northern League. The following two seasons under the new name were again uneventful as the finished third bottom on both occasions. During the 1895–96 season Bishop Auckland won their first silverware on a national scale – the Amateur Cup – defeating Royal Artillery Portsmouth 8–0 in the final. Over the following few seasons the team improved their league position. It was also during 1899 that Bishop Auckland picked up their second Durham County Challenge Cup, after the war, Bishop Auckland picked up where they left off finishing as league runners-up to South Bank in 1919–20, winning the following season and runners-up again the following two seasons. During this time the Amateur Cup was added twice more with wins over Swindon Victoria, the next honour was won nearly a decade later when the league championship was added in 1931 along the Durham County Challenge Cup. In 1935 the Amateur Cup final was reached again with Wimbledon being defeated 2–1 in a replay after the tie finished goalless after extra time. The Bishops had perhaps their best-ever season in 1938–39 when they completed a treble, future Liverpool player and manager Bob Paisley played at right-back in the team which won the Northern League title, the Durham County Challenge Cup and the FA Amateur Cup. The Amateur Cup final was played in Durham at Roker Park where the Bishops defeated Wellington 3–0 after extra time, following WWII, Bishop Auckland reached the Amateur Cup final for the eleventh time but went down 3–2 against Barnet. The following season, 1946–47, another Northern League title was added with Crook Colliery Welfare runners-up, the team were runners-up the following two seasons, to Ferryhill Athletic and Evenwood Town respectively. The 1950s were to be Bishop Aucklands best with the Northern League title won in the first three seasons with Billingham Synthonia being the runners-up on each occasion. Bishop and Willington both reached the final of the Amateur Cup in 1950, Willington producing a shock to triumph 4–0 over their more glamorous neighbours, the following season the Amateur Cup final was reached again
Bootle F.C. (1879)
Bootle F. C. was an English football club based in Bootle, Lancashire. Founder members of the Football Alliance, the club was one of the first two clubs to resign from the Football League, and also one of only two clubs to spend a single season in the League. Bootle F. C. were formed in 1879 as Bootle St Johns AFC, later that year the club changed its name to Bootle A. F. C. and then entered the FA Cup for the first time the following season. Playing at Hawthorne Road, Bootle applied to become members of the Football League. Unlike neighbours Everton, their application was unsuccessful, instead, in 1889–90 Bootle became founder members of the Football Alliance. That season was their most successful as they finished league runners-up, reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, in 1887 Bootle signed former Scotland international Andrew Watson, the first black international player. If, as is likely, he was then he was the first black professional footballer in history. When the Alliance merged with the Football League in 1892, Bootle became founder members of the new Second Division, despite finishing in eighth position, the club resigned after one season, becoming one of the first two clubs to do so. It was replaced by neighbours Liverpool, and seemingly disappeared due to financial problems, Bootle and Middlesbrough Ironopolis are the only two clubs to have spent just one season in the Football League. Four Bootle players appeared for Wales, Smart Arridge Walter Evans Billy Hughes Job Wilding Players with articles Bootle F. C. Bootle Athletic F. C
Chatham Town F.C.
Chatham Town Football Club are an English Association Football club based in Chatham, Kent. They currently play in Division One South of the Isthmian League and are nicknamed The Chats, former Premier League club Portsmouth and West Ham United played their first ever league matches against Chatham. The club was formed in 1882 as Chatham United, when Rochester Invicta merged with the Royal Engineers Band football team, Chatham played their home games at the Army owned pitches called The Lines, where they were to remain until 1889 when they moved to the Maidstone Road Ground. The move to the new ground was prompted when the reached the quarter-finals of the FA cup in 1888–89. So the club moved to the Maidstone Road site which was owned by a George Winch, in 1894 Chatham became founder members of both the Southern League and the original Kent League, winning the Kent League in its inaugural season. For the first two seasons the club competed in leagues, but left the Kent league to concentrate on the Southern league in 1896. In the 1900–01 season, owing to difficulties, Chatham resigned from the Southern League. After The First World War, Chatham returned to play and in the 1919 season won the Kent Victory Cup and they rejoined the Southern League in 1920–21, but withdrew at seasons end because of the burden of travel costs on club finances. In 1927–28 they rejoined the Southern League for two seasons, again, the expenses to play proved a financial strain on the club, and returned to the Kent League. The club struggled financially and for the 1933–34 season the club took a voluntary relegation into Division Two of the Kent League, a season later they won the division but decided against promotion, and reverted to Amateur status. Having played in both the Kent League and Kent Amateur League in 1938–39, they decided to play to amateur competition the following season. After the War Chatham won the Kent Amateur League Premier Division in 1946–47, on 7 January 1947 they merged with Shorts F. C. with the amalgamated club taking the name Chatham Town at the request of the local council. They then joined Division One of the Kent League for the 1947–48 season and stayed there until 1959, for the 1959–60 season they joined as a founding member of the Aetolian League. The following year captured the League Championship and the Aetolian League Cup Final. In 1964–65 the Aetolian League merged with the London League and the moved to the Metropolitan League. Four Seasons later they returned to the Kent League when it was reformed in 1968 and they remained in the Kent league until 1983, when they joined the Southern League. During the 15-year period in the Kent league they won League 4 times and won League, the club changed its name in 1974 for 5 years to Medway F. C. at the request of the local council, returning to Chatham Town in 1979. The club stayed in the Southern League until 1988, when having failed to gain re-election they were relegated to the Kent League and they experienced crowds, as had other poorly supported clubs, in double figures, Kent League days had healthier attendance with more local competition
Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922. Watford spent most of the half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours. England manager Graham Taylors tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights, between Taylors appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division. The team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, the club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyds management. After eight years, Watford are again competing in the Premier League 2015–16 season, Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 by Henry Groverand, who went on to play for the club as a full-back, Rovers, originally composed entirely of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford. The team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, the team became the football section of West Hertfordshire Sports Club in 1890, and consequently moved to a ground on Cassio Road. Renamed as West Hertfordshire in 1893, Rovers joined the Southern Football League in 1896, West Hertfordshire merged with local rivals Watford St. Marys in 1898, the merged team was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and he led Watford to promotion, and kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, there was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. The Football League was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War, Football resumed in 1946, with Watford still in the Third Division South. Ron Burgess replaced McBain during that season, and in the following campaign Burgess presided over Watfords first Football League promotion and this team included Fourth Division top scorer Cliff Holton, who scored a club record 42 league goals in the season. Holton was sold to Northampton the following year after another 34 goals, eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings also featured under McGarry, and made his international debut despite being a Third Division player. Furphys rebuilding came to fruition in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, Watford secured the Third Division title in April, at home to Plymouth Argyle. A year later Watford reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time, defeating First Division teams Stoke City, hampered by a lack of funds, however, Furphy eventually joined Blackburn Rovers, to be succeeded by George Kirby
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